Nine University Discusses the Anatomy of a Great Ecommerce Site

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If you’ve been reading their blogs and watching their videos, you know that Kale Abrahamson and Taylor Hiott of Nine University know what they’re talking about. Kale and Taylor are the founders of Nine University, an online eCommerce training program that teaches everything you ever wanted to know about starting an online business selling Amazon products. “Most people have already figured out by now,” Kale of Nine University begins, “that the most important part of a great eCommerce site are the products.” But a close second is the platform that it’s on, he adds. Here, Kale and Taylor talk about eCommerce websites and what goes into making an eCommerce website successful.

“When we take a look at what successful eCommerce sites have in common,” Taylor of Nine University begins, “it becomes apparent what’s needed to have a profitable site, and when you add in all the factors we know from our years of research and testing, it becomes really obvious.” Taylor Hiott says he looks at two parts when evaluating a new eCommerce site: the inside and the outside. “When I say the inside,” Taylor adds, “I’m talking about the products themselves and options for each product that the site offers.” Taylor of Nine University goes on to say that when he talks about the outside of an eCommerce site, he’s referring things pertaining to the site itself.

One of the first things Kale Abrahamson of Nine University notices when critiquing a new eCommerce site is the name. “The name is the first thing people see,” Kale says. It helps if the name of the site is simple and easy to remember, he adds. Having a dot com or dot net extension is the best, although I’ve seen some good sites with other extensions, Kale says. “I like seeing a logo with the name too,” he adds, although that’s not mandatory.

The name of the site doesn’t necessarily have to reflect what’s inside. It helps if the name has an interesting story or a special meaning to go behind it. “For example, Amazon is a simple name,” Kale says. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, chose that name since it represented something to him that was exotic and different. The Amazon River is the world’s biggest river and Bezos wanted to become the world’s biggest retailer, Kale adds.

The next thing Taylor and Kale notice is the layout of the homepage itself. “This works just like a storefront in an actual retail location,” they added. Here is where you really need to impress your visitor, as he’ll make a subconscious decision about your site within seconds. It should be readily apparent what type of site it is and what you’re offering, they add.

Nine University says the site needs to be functional. “This is one of the primary rules of eCommerce,” Kale explains. Having a site in which the navigation buttons or the checkout button doesn’t work can be the kiss of death, he adds. “Visitors assume if you don’t care enough to keep your site working properly, you’re probably not going to care about their order either,” Kale says. He talks about the many sites he’s visited in which something either doesn’t work or just doesn’t look right. “I won’t even bother looking around,” Kale of Nine University says.

Another thing Taylor Hiott of Nine University recommends is that the store has a section where you can find products by category. “Unless you’re just selling one thing,” he adds, “this is a really helpful feature to have for your customer.” A search feature is another helpful area if you have more than a few products. He says your customer will appreciate the convenience these features provide.

Next, Kale says he will examine the product pages. In a good product page, he adds, your customer will expect to see a clear up-close photo of the product (preferably more than one), a good description of the product, details and specifications, clear pricing, and the buy button. Sometimes, you’ll even see suggestions for similar products as well.

It also helps to have a page about the business itself although this isn’t mandatory, Kale Abrahamson says. “An ‘About’ page helps to build that all-important thing we call trust, which boosts sales in the long run,” he says. Kale of Nine University likes to see photos of people working in the company. “That might just be me,” he adds, “but I like knowing who I’m ordering from.”

Kale and Taylor say they want to see a simple checkout page. “Not only does the checkout page need to be streamlined,” they explained, “We also want to see a nice thank you page after someone orders.” They also say the thank you page is a great opportunity to get someone to click on your social media links or even look at a product that others have purchased with the product the customer just bought. “It’s a last chance for you to increase the sale for that customer on that visit,” Kale adds. Kale Abrahamson and Taylor Hiott of Nine University say they also expect to receive a follow-up email after purchase as a receipt or confirmation of purchase. “It’s what customers expect nowadays” Taylor adds, “and it’s really all about the customer experience.”