By: Ian Drysdale
Executive Vice President Global eCommerce, Elavon

You’ve taken care of your in-store customer experience, making sure your customers feel welcomed and at home. But is your digital experience secure and mobile friendly? Does it offer payment options? Ensuring this best-in-class in-person experience translates to your digital shopping experience is crucial to stand out in today’s crowded online marketplace. You need an efficient, mobile-friendly website featuring design that effortlessly melds form and function. This is crucial for the online portion of your business to succeed, because a great website doesn’t just make for a great customer experience — it’s also good for your bottom line. Remember, customers are global and can visit your online store from around the world, so here are some tips to get you started.

Versatility is essential. You customers and potential customers might have an old iPhone 4 or the latest Samsung Galaxy; they may prefer to browse the internet on their phone during their commute to work or on their tablet while sitting in front of the television. They might want to use Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Rather than predicting what the majority of your customers use or what smartphones will be like in the future, your website needs to be versatile enough to work well on any device, screen size and web browser. Expert web designers recommend planning for big — laptop or computer screens — and then hiding items as necessary the smaller the screen gets, also known as responsive design.

Think differently. A mobile-friendly website isn’t just about a smaller sized screen — the way we use and navigate around a website is an entirely different experience on mobile than on a computer. Make sure to factor in these changes in human experience and behavior. How long does it take to scroll through your product offerings? Is your checkout button so small that your customers have to zoom in to click? Consider your demographics, too. If your target market is boomers, their eyesight may require larger text.

Integrate an eCommerce solution. A great website is less valuable if you can’t convert that superior user experience and added traffic into sales. Your website should try to mirror the same goods and services you sell in your retail store. To optimize your online sales, choose a flexible omnicommerce payment solution like Converge from Elavon that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments as well as newer payment methods such as Apple Pay. Converge has flexible, secure eCommerce options, whether you’re looking for a plug-and-play shopping cart like 3DCart or Shopify, or if you are a developer looking for tools to incorporate payment acceptance without holding payment sensitive data.

Put security first. It can be easy to get wrapped up in features, cool apps and fun widgets when you’re developing a mobile-friendly website consumers will love. But even though it’s less sexy, security should be your top priority. An attractive, consumer-friendly online experience will draw your customers in, but you need top-of-the-line security to keep them. After all, would you return to an online shopping environment if your credit card was compromised after a purchase? Ensure that whenever your customers entrust you with their personal information and cardholder data, you keep it safe. At Elavon, we are a leader in upgrading customers to the latest technology solutions standards, protecting your business with secure solutions like encryption and tokenization.

For more information visit http://www.elavon.ca/point-of-sale-products/online-ecommerce

About the author: Ian Drysdale is EVP of Global eCommerce for Elavon, where he leads its eCommerce, integrated payments and payment facilitator businesses. A 25-year veteran in the payments industry, he is focused on growth through value-added capabilities and disruptive payments technology that matters to businesses. Ian is married with three children and enjoys playing tennis on the weekends in his hometown of Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter @ianmdrysdale