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GDPR and websites

On May 25th 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force which focuses on the data protection and privacy of European Union citizens. The aim of this regulation is to give the EU citizens control on their personal data that is collected and used by websites and apps.

All websites and apps that deal with EU citizens or worldwide audience are required to adhere to this regulation or face a penalty of either $2 million or 2% of their annual turnover worldwide (whatever is more).

Here are the highlights of GDPR:

Explicitly taking permissions from users before soliciting data: As per GDPR guidelines, before any personal data is sought from an individual, an explicit permission should be taken along with clear description of where this data will be used and why. An example would be to have a tick box under a web form seeking permission from the user to store their data along with a mention of what that data is going to be used for.

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Sitemap: one of the most important page of a website

Sitemap as the name suggests is a map of the website that has a list of all the pages and sections of that website. Think it of as an index page of a book or a map of a town. If in a book, you want to get straight to a certain section, you would open the index and locate the topic and then open the corresponding page. The sitemap serves the same purpose as well – it shows to the website visitors all the sections the website has and allows them to click on a section name to directly get to that page. It also gives an insight to the website users of all the sections and pages the website has. An ecommerce website development company may suggest that it is useful for only a certain kind of websites like big ecommerce website, but the fact is that it is helpful for all kinds of websites (of course except for one to five page websites).

As per wikipedia’s sitemap definition: it is a planning tool used to decide or plan or list the hierarchy of a website’s pages. So if we are building an ecommerce website, we would first decide the pages and sub pages the website will have. For example the main categories, sub categories and possible sub-sub categories etc., We would then plan the design and structure of the website accordingly. So this is the first use of the sitemap. Then after the site is ready it is added to the site as an index page to help the visitors.

Its a helpful tool that makes the website user friendly and also search engine friendly -as search engines crawlers get one page that has all the links to the site and thus can index them all.

There are two types of sitemaps HTML and XML. HTML sitemap is the page that has links to all the pages of the website. Like the sitemap of this website on which you are reading this blog. A sitemap.xml file is a search engine crawler friendly file that webmaster adds only for search engines in order to give them a list of the pages that the website has.

Whether html or xml sitemaps, it is important for them to be updated all the time.

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Ecommerce business model: Dropshipping

In a traditional ecommerce site we see sellers selling the products that they have in stock (like a typical brick and mortar store). There is another business model in ecommerce that does not require the seller to stock goods and that is the ‘Drop shipper’. In this the seller has an ecommerce site that looks and works like a typical site and when the orders come in, the owner sends those order details to various manufacturers who directly send them to the customers.

There are advantages of a drop shipper business model, some I am listing below:

  1. Easy to start: All you need is a computer, working internet connection and an ecommerce website and marketing for which you can hire an expert ecommerce website development company.
  2. Zero Capital Investments: In a traditional ecommerce store you need to build up inventory and for that you have to order the inventory from a manufacturer or a distributor and then hire a warehouse to store and manage this inventory. You have to pay logistics charges to get the inventory to your warehouse and have to pay expenses for staff at the warehouse etc., At various steps you need to make good investments and for that you need to invest capital. In a drop shipping business you save cost of all of this as you have someone else fulfilling the order.
  3. No accounting nightmares: The only accounts a drop shipper has to maintain is of the orders he got for his manufacturers that he has tied up with. A traditional eCommerce store has staff salaries, cost of maintaining stock, purchase orders from manufacturers etc., and maintain accounts for each of these.
  4. Lower risk: Since your business is only dealing with generating orders for manufacturers you have tied up with the risk is lower compared to a traditional ecommerce company that has to deal with possible losses caused by accidents, fire, law suits etc.,
  5. Mobility: In a drop shipping business your business can be based out of any place and you can move your office/location of work easily as you virtually just have a computer or a few computers to move. This is not that easily possible with a traditional eCommerce website.
  6. Sell anything and everything under the sun: Since you can become the drop shipper of many manufacturers you can sell as many diverse products as you want.



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Easy Marketing Tips for Ecommerce Websites

ecommerce website development solutions in recent times is all about personalization by knowing the users, their demographics, preferences, past purchases, buying trends, motivations etc., The more personalized experience the ecommerce store provides to a user the higher its conversion rate. Therefore there is a direct link between personalization and marketing strategy that every ecommerce website developer should consider.  Here are some marketing ideas keeping that in mind:

Personalized Messages:  In a typical brick and mortar store you would directly walk up to the customers, greet them and ask them what they are looking for and how you can help them. Since this cannot be possible as it is in an ecommerce store, you can greet customers on the site by showing customized messages based on their preferences. budget etc.,  Customized emails by customers yield a higher return on marketing dollars – though it is a painstakingly slow process.

Focus on Shopping Flow: The shopping cart is the most important part of an ecommerce website where the marketing and personalization focus should be maximum. There are some common reasons why the users abandon shopping cart, such as not being sure on how safe it is to use their credit card, unexpected shopping costs that come up later in the check out process etc., Make sure these points are addressed and also identify in that particular website what is driving users away after they have added products to cart.

Motivate customers to come back:  There are good chances that a customer who has bought from you and is happy with the experience and product will not come back to your online store to buy again.  To motivate them to come back entice them with points program, customized offers and referral programs.


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Some pointers to make your ecommerce store more customer centric

A customer eccentric commerce store is a win win for both the ecommerce website developers as well as the customer as customers can buy with confidence and the store owner gets more customers and sale. To make your store more customer centric, you must think from your customer’s point of view or ask yourself that you as a customer have what kind of expectations from a seller (whether online or offline). This will give you good insights. Here are some pointers:

Top Notch Customer Care: New users who come to your site are driven by what kind of post purchase support your business provides. You should have your pre sale and post sale phone no.s and email ids prominently mentioned on your website. If possible have a live support for a couple of hours each day to instantly address the customers questions. Always remember if you keep your existing customers happy, they will keep on coming back to you to buy more and also send referrals.

Returns: Have easy policies for returns or money back that you should put on a page on the website. Again new users look for return policies before buying and if they do not find anything they hesitate to buy.

Reviews: Having good and neutral reviews that are genuine install confidence to potential buyers that others have bought from you and are satisfied from your product and services.

Good Content: Having clear descriptions of your products that explain how the product looks like, how it works etc, is a must. It should be simple and concise and give a clear idea to the customer.

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Link Building for ecommerce

Link Building is an extremely important way of getting traffic to a website. The traffic comes from search engines like Google when the website ranks and also directly from popular pages/sites.blogs/directories etc., where the links were placed. Therefore link building should be the underlying activity of an online marketing technique. So what are the factors that make a link good?

  1. Age of the Domain:
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Integrating Analytics in Ecommerce Strategy

Thanks to Big Data, we have almost every tool to measure all aspects of marketing in recent times. Almost all the popular online analytics tool sell based on the host of data that they provide. This has caused an overload of information to the website owners who are struggling to use this data. The idea is not get overwhelmed with this data rather use it to the advantage of ecommerce website development marketing strategy.

Traffic and Leads: Stats of how many users visit the site and how many bought your products/services/submitted inquiry give insights of conversion rate and how effective your marketing strategy is. If the traffic is good but the conversion rate is less then the data pertaining to user behavior on your website, source of traffic and your website page insights such as the load time data should be analyzed. Altering marketing tactics such as finding newer ways of generating leads, focusing on new keywords, making updates on the webpages, offering promotions etc., and then matching the old data with the new one gives a competitive study on how the new initiatives have impacted the sales  eventually.

ecommerce website developers

Ecommerce website development


Customer Targeting: Marketing tactics to focus on current customers can be formed after analyzing data received after customer reviews, response of customers to discount emailers, referrals, finding repeat visitors, customer purchase history etc.This gives a good insight to ecommerce website marketers on what works and what does not with the existing customers. They can work on a different strategy for current customers.




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Should your ecommerce site be HTTPS?

On ecommerce websites, security should be the most important feature. An additional security layer called SSL encryption should be used to add security by encrypting the data transferred between the customers and the ecommerce sites. Installing SSL on an ecommerce site not only adds more security to the site but also improves the conversion rate (by building trust) and seo rankings on google (because secure sites get more benefit).

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) stands for encrypted standard for ecommerce site and customer interaction. For sending the info as HTTPS, the data is encrypted using an encryption system called Secure Socket Layer. A very simple example of this is of a security guard outside a building in which the building is the ecommerce website that the customer is trying to access, security guard is the HHTPS and the SSL is the ID of the customer who is trying to enter the building.

To get SSL installed on an ecommerce site the website owner must purchase an SSL certificate from a SSL seller in the website’s name. The process involves providing and authenticating details of the website and the owner. Usually SSL’s are sold only for a fixed period of time such as an year. Your ecommerce website development company would be able to help you with this.

SSL is not only recommended for ecommerce sites but also other sites where the website users are required to share their personal records such as their medical records, date of birth, drivers license number, social security number etc.,


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How to get more customers to share your products on Social Media

Adding social media sharing buttons on an ecommerce website to allow website visitors to share on sites like facebook, twitter, instgram etc., has many benefits that include more publicity, sales and a higher ROI. But just putting those buttons on the product pages is not enough to motive the users to share. There are some creative ways that ecommerce website developers can use to motivate the users to share products more often on their social profiles:

  1. Place the social share options prominently on the products pages: Include share options for all the major social media website such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., You can design the buttons to match your website design and use cool effects like floating button as you scroll up and down the page.
  2. Discounts/Coupon Codes on sharing: Build an ecommerce website that generates a discount or a coupon code on a share. Everyone loves discount and if they can get it by sharing on their social media profiles, they will gladly do it and this will create a buzz with their friends as they would know sharing would get them a discount.
  3. Post Purchase Surveys: After the user has bought the product, send him a feedback survey. For all positive feedbacks have an email trigger to the customer that says that they can share the product they purchased and are happy with on social media. This way you are sure that the happy customer will share and leave a good comment as well.
  4. Be careful of overdoing it: While social sharing has its benefits in boosting sales etc., however one must be careful as not to over do it as it could seem very annoying. Do not ask the customer to share over and over again. Just have the icons to share strategically and prominently placed throughout the buying process.
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Got a conflict to resolve? There’s an app for it!

Everyday we have to choose from various options such as to do this or that, to buy this or that, to go there or not etc.,Sometimes we feel we had someone who would help us to make a choice on the go. What if there was a mobile app that would help you with making a sound choice? It would send a message to your friends, family and colleagues (whoever you want) and ask them to make a choice for you and on the basis of most popular options, guide you on what option to choose. Vantage Webtech has created an ‘Conflict Management’ app that does exactly this! It allows a user to download the app for free and add a new conflict that the user is facing in terms of making a choice along with the options and their details. The friends of the user on and outside this app (such as on facebook, twitter, google plus etc) are informed about the conflict and they can make a choice for you. The app also allows the conflict to be shared using drop box and google drive between friends.

Screen to add conflict

Screen to add conflict


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Up selling and Cross selling in ecommerce

Cross sales and upsales are a very important source of revenue for any ecommerce website and should be leveraged to the maximum potential. Amazon reported that it earns atleast  35% revenue from cross sales and upsales.

So what are cross sales and upsales and how can ecommerce website developers to improve their online sales?

Cross Sales: When the customers are shown products that go with a product that they are buying. For example if you are buying a camera then cross sale will be to show the customer products they would need with that camera such as batteries, stand, cover etc., Since you are telling the customer that here are the things you would need with this product, they are more likely to buy them also as they may need them.

Up Sales: This is when a customer is seeing a product and you show him a better variant of that along with the extra he has to pay to get that. This way ecommerce stores end up in selling better and more expensive items more .

Bundled Items: This is when the products are also sold together. Like in the example of the camera purchase, the store owner makes a bundle of camera + battery + stand as one bundle and camera + battery as another bundle, so on and so on. They give a discounted price on the bundles to entice the customers to buy the products together.

The options for cross sales, upsales and bundled items must be included in your ecommerce development solution and presented to the customer at various buying steps on the site: the product detail page, cart pages and the order summary pages so as to give enough visibility.



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How is your mobile home page performing?

Many ecommerce website developers follow the approach of simply scaling down their site to fit mobile screens; what is called as a mobile site. This approach is not the best as the focus shifts from focusing on mobile access to fitting the website’s data in a mobile’s frame.Since mobiles have taken over the desktop usage for searching and buying, the strategy should be of ‘Mobile First’ rather than ‘Desktop site first’ and trying to make a mobile site out of it. Here are some ideas on how to make an effective mobile site:

  1. Content Usage: The content on mobile sites should be more concise than on the websites since the screen size is smaller and users access mobile site usually on the go. Thus there is no need to use a lot of content. Focus on only the main points. The fonts should be bigger with more spacing.
  2. Simpler Menus: Avoid using multi level menus on mobile and try to club products under broader categories so that the need of having too many menu categories reduces.
  3. Fluid Layout: Instead of designing for fixed screen sizes like 176, 240, 320, 360, 480-600 and keeping it fixed width, make it fluid so that it recognizes the device size and displays the mobile pages as per that.
  4. Better Search: The search should be on all the pages, be intuitive and recognize the typos that mobile users generally make due to small screen area to type. The search should be prominently displayed at the top of all the pages of the site.
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February 27, 2017

Users make up their mind on whether to stay on your ecommerce site or leave within a few seconds of reaching the home page. Therefore it is important to have an mobile landing page for your ecommerce website that works. Here are some tips to make your mobile landing page more user centric:

Search: Ecommerce website developers have a short time to seal a deal on mobile. Therefore it is important to have a search that is prominently displayed on all the pages, is intuitive and can recognize misspelled words that a mobile user is prone to type due to the short area to type words. If search is good then it can be used as a good starting point for the mobile site.

Use the advantage of geo: A mobile users is on the go and if the brand has a brick and mortar store in various cities then using push notifications the users can be informed of the latest deals in the stores near them. The shipping cost should also auto calculate based on the current location of the user as an option. This makes the buying experience customized.

Focus on Speed: For an online user nothing matters more than speed. Ecommerce website developers could have the most amazing home page in the world but if it cannot load in three seconds no one will stay long to see it. Mobile users surf the websites on the go and the internet connection is not always stable. Therefore it is extremely important to have a home page that load real quick.

Navigation: The navigation menus have to be less and more broad than on a desktop site since the space is less on a mobile screen.




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2017 Ecommerce Trends

Every year we witness many new trends in ecommerce website development industry. The world wide web is extremely volatile with ecommerce forming a very important part of it. So what are the new trends that we have noticed this year to bring and will see more of in the rest of the year? Below are some obvious trends:

  1. Digital Wallet Payments: Online Payments without having to use credit cards is becoming all the more popular. Payments made using digital fingerprints, pin numbers, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal etc., across phones, apple watches etc., are already happening a lot and this trend will grow.
  2. Big Data: Collecting raw data and using that for giving customized user experience to customers like the way Amazon and Netflix is doing. Users are expecting a more personalized user experience even more than before and Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will play a big role in ecommerce website development.
  3. Mobile First: Since 2015 the mobile experience focus and sales from mobile have greatly increased. The new mobile devices that are coming out have bigger screens and better user experience. Mobile experience is no more just an ecommerce website that ‘works on a mobile’ by simple optimization and is much beyond that. Those sellers that are focusing on mobile first are getting more sales. Creating a custom experience that works with the phone’s size and features are the focus.
  4. Intractability: Users are expecting a more interactive experience in the form of push notifications, online chat support etc., Artificial intelligence such as chatbots that interact with online users and answer questions are becoming more and more popular.
  5. Rewards: Marketing surveys have shown that users would gladly change brand for a discount coupon where they would save some money. This is an evergreen trend and ecommerce website developers are encashing on it even more in the new year 2017 as almost every second retailer is luring customers using this. More customer loyalty schemes in ways of customized offers is going to be more popular.
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Tips to improve ecommerce website conversions:

The design of an ecommerce site plays a vital role in converting a site visitor to a customer.  It is how the design makes the visitors feel, impacts their buying decision. And this decision is made within a fraction of a second. It is not only the design of the Main/Home Page but also the important inner pages such as the cart pages that effect the conversions.

Here are some clear cut points to follow for a better user experience that leads to conversions:

  • Images should be full width: Research indicates that big images in ecommerce website design catches attention more effectively. Full images engage users more. Images should be high quality and placed smartly at the right areas of the pages.
  • Colors Use: Buttons, banners and other call to actions that prompt the users to perform an action like submit an inquiry, sign up or buy should be of bright colors and contrast to the colors used in the site. Bright colors make the call to actions to stand out.
  • Ecommerce Videos: Videos that explain how the website works, the people behind the company etc., instill a sense trust amongst ecommerce buyers. Well made videos can greatly contribute to improving ecommerce conversions.
  • Navigation Structure: Be selective of the navigation links you want to show on your website as seeing too many navigation links can overwhelm the user. Only display the main links and put the not so important links under the main navigation.
  • Content: Content should be precise and say more with less words. Website visitors do not have time to read long pages of content. Also the typography should be well selected so the content is easy to read.

Following the above points can greatly contribute to improve ecommerce website conversions. Ofcourse other factors such as mobile site,  load speed of the site, search engine optimization, etc., play important roles as well and cannot be ignored.

Vantagewebtech an ecommerce development company offers ecommerce website development and marketing solutions.

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Mobile sites: an important component of Digital Marketing.

As a growing number of users are accessing the web on the go on mobile devices, mobile sites are playing more significance in Digital Marketing. The mobile site is therefore a very potent platform for digital marketing of your brand. Here are some tips on how you can bank upon mobile marketing for enhancing your Digital Marketing campaign:

1) Stick to the basics: Keep the information on the mobile site as brief as possible since the mobile users usually do not read so much text. Add text as bullets and do away with extra content. Make the content short, crisp and like an elevator pitch. You can have read more or link bullets to more detailed pages if you think that some customers would make a buying decision only after reading more text. Add stuff that you would usually use in your Digital marketing campaign such as marketing material containing product catalog, testimonials, offers, customers etc.

2) Highlight contact numbers: The phone no. should be a click to call link that launches a call to your sales department. It should be highlighted across all the pages. If your team uses Skype then you can do the same by adding a clickable sale link that launches a skype call to your sales department.

3) Speed Matters: Google gives a lot of importance to speed these days. Sites that load faster get a benefit to rank better. Make sure that the google page speed test for mobile scope is above 85. Consider Accelerated Mobile Pages to make the site load even when the user is facing slower internet connections.


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Starting your new online ecommerce business

As an online merchant, making your first sale is a lengthy and multi-step process. Planning, training and marketing are required for selling products successfully. Below are some of best ways, which can help you to make your first online sale:

Search Engine Marketing                                                        

  • PPC: Pay-per-click advertising is an immediate way to get traffic to a brand-new site. A PPC ad shows on search engine pages immediately.
  • Google Places: Google Places is simply a Google account any business can sign up for. A local business listing is an easy way to get online presence for a company. These listing can help your business if users will search for a term that includes a specific geographic location. It will reduce competition and can benefit your business with local customers.
  • Get SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can improve the ability for your online store to appear high in Google’s results. You can drive organic traffic to your website. It’s a long process; that means it can take few months to get ranked for your keywords.

Social Media

  • Facebook: Make a personal and a brand page on facebook for your business. Leverage your personal facebook profile and your business page to engage with friends, family, and acquaintances and to get people talking about your products.
  • Begin Tweeting on Twitter: Twitter’s beautiful simplicity is what makes it one of the most effective ways to engage with your target market. An excellent method for finding potential customers is to proactively search for people tweeting questions about your industry and reach out to them in a helpful way.
  • Make Connections on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the office block of the Internet. You may not make many direct sales through LinkedIn, but you’ll discover an array of opportunities with other companies, suppliers, related websites, and more.
  • Go Visual with Pinterest and Instagram: When it comes to representing personality and creativity via social media, these two big platforms do it best. These platforms are the perfect place to present the creativity and passion that goes into your business product. Snap pictures of your products, take videos of the manufacturing process, tell a story with images etc.

Press Release

  • Publish a Press Release: Publish a press release about your products. A press release should be presented in a way that is concise and professional, without being too monotonous. Don’t expect a massive response unless you’re giving the public something seriously interesting to read about.

Content Marketing

  • Start Your Own Blog: Starting a successful blog can be cheapest way to attract thousands of new customers. All you need to do is create valuable content for your readers. By producing free, valuable content, you will create trust in your brand and keep people informed.
  • Build an Email List: Building up an email list for marketing purposes is absolutely essential. Having an emails list of customers means you can get your information, products, and content into their personal mailboxes.
  • Write a Controversial Blog Post: You can get consumer attention for your products by writing a controversy blog post.

Paid Ads

  • Pay for Advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Google Adwords.
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How can you improve customer’s journey on your ecommerce website

Customer journey analysis is very important step to increase conversion rate of your ecommerce business. You need to understand customer’s pre- purchase behavior. Customer’s journey can be easy if you use advanced strategies and technologies to guide customer. You need to use filters, categories and site search option for customer’s comfort.

Following tips can help you improve customer’s journey on your ecommerce website:

  • Responsive Checkout: Your customers are on tablets, phones, laptops etc. and ready to make a purchase. Complicated checkout process can change your customers mind and make them purchase with other website that’s easier to navigate. So it’s compulsory to make your checkout process responsive and easy for your customers. Shopify, an ecommerce company can provide you responsive platform to organize your products, customize storefront’s and accept payments from various payment methods.
  • Product Recommendations: Product recommendations are important, but to improve customer journey you need to suggest products which are closely related to customers purchase. For example: If your customer is shopping for shoes, then your recommendations should be socks, shoe polish kit, combo of socks pairs etc. The predictions should be on the basis of customer’s purchase history. It puts a positive impression on customers and makes their purchase journey short and easy.
  • Self Service Support: Online customers like self service support then email or telephonic support. For an ecommerce store, this means offering detailed information about products on website. You need to provide product photos, technical product details and customers reviews to win customers confidence. Amazon, an ecommerce brand is a good example of self service support.
  • High Quality Content: Educate your customers with high quality content for products. Quality content doesn’t mean content marketing. High quality contents are those who can educate your customers about product detail and capture their attention. Informative and interesting content can force website visitors to make a purchase with you.

(Vantage Webtech)

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Designing the Perfect UX of Mobile Ecommerce in Few Simple Steps

Mobile phones are now an important part of our life. A huge crowd of people is using mobile phones to shopping online. If you are running an eCommerce store it’s important that your website design will work well with mobile and other small internet devices. Mobile shopping can be difficult because mobile screens are small, however you can make it possible to create a smooth and delightful shopping experience to your customers. The best shopping experiences are ones where products are shining through screen, designs are navigating and content are providing necessary information. Your website will be able to attract customer’s attention. Below are few tips to create a great mobile shopping experience.

Focus on product: Mobile shopping experience can be improved if your eCommerce website only focuses on products.  Excess navigation, excess promotions and excess content can irritate users. If you are using excess navigation then its waste of space. You need to allow user just shop, don’t over use promotional material and distract visitors.

Provide Quality Photos of Products: Maximum number of mobile phones have small screen resolution. Product photos should not be tinier as visitors wish to see products in detail. If photos are small then it will surely annoy visitors. Shopping on mobile is difficult but you can low difficult level by focusing on your products through big and quality photos.

Don’t Force Customers to Log In: In order to shop through mobile apps, user is often required to log in. It makes customers shopping experience bad and customers can also visit to your competitor website. Simply, don’t do this. Don’t force your customers to register and log in. Allow user to browse without logging in and checkout as guest.

Build Lightweight Website: Make your website lightweight and fast loading. Your customer will surely get convinced, if your website will load in 3-5 seconds. Visitors have come to shopping, and they are already convinced with site speed, so it makes them trust you and make shopping with you.

Design a clear basket and an easy checkout: Once someone decided to buy with, don’t let them change their decision because of poor checkout process. Make sure the process from adding products into cart, to confirmation of order, is seamless and awesome. Allow visitors to checkout as a guest. Things like meaningful flow, good copy writing, simple form design and privacy considerations can create a great checkout experience.

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