Setting up an online gun parts store can be overwhelming with the number of items needed to ensure your website is high-quality and done
to the correct standards. To combat this challenge, we have come up with
a checklist list of essentials you will need when setting up your
eCommerce store. From the basics of good user-interface design to the complexities of the checkout process for online gun stores, we hope this
checklist will help you stay organized and on track when setting up
your firearm eCommerce website. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks for online gun shops in Parts II and III coming soon.
One of the main keys to a clean user interface is making sure the website is as clean and clear as possible by avoiding unnecessary or busy graphics, inconsistent fonts, and too many colors or patterns. It’s okay to include some of these items as a part of your branding but you don’t want to go overboard with too many of these elements. You want your user interface to appear polished and easy-to-follow with no distractions right from the homepage to the product categories and then ultimately to the detail and checkout pages. A clean user interface is especially important for a website selling guns or gun parts since you will want your customers to trust your brand right away as they are investing a lot of money into the product itself. Don’t forget to make sure your mobile experience is just as easy to follow and clean as your desktop site since many users, roughly 230.5 million according to Statista.com, are shopping via mobile nowadays.
Be sure to thoroughly plan out your navigation and sub-navigation before the design and development process begins. Whether you decide to break-down your categories by product type, brand, style, or size you will need to find a consistent way to plan your navigation structure. Here at GunShop Commerce, we like to create detailed wireframes or ‘website blueprints’ before beginning the gun show website design process to keep things thoroughly organized. Wireframes are basically a way of showing all of the links and interaction on a website with no design elements to make sure we get all of the avenues and necessary links down first before beginning the creative process. Without the distractions of design elements and photography, we can focus solely on what is needed on the site — functionality over aesthetics is the goal in this phase of the planning process.
For an eCommerce site the number one goal, after all, said and done, is to sell products. For a website selling guns, we recommend you have your firearms and firearm parts advertised on the homepage and subsequently on each category page and product detail page. Don’t forget to include product reviews or information about your products in your blog and news component. Including reviews, testimonials, great product photography and detailed product descriptions will help your guns sell online by providing the user with as much information as possible on their possible purchase. Lastly, be sure your product descriptions are accurate and up-to-date to answer any questions the user may have on your firearms.
Similar to the navigation and sub-navigation you need to think about what category pages you want to have on your gun website and how to lay them out. Make sure they are well organized by offering filters on the side of your category pages to toggle between product type, color, size, price, and any other filters you deem necessary. For a website selling guns we especially recommend you include the options to display your products' prices from high to low since firearms can be expensive and most shoppers are trying to stick to a budget or price range. Lastly, be sure to include some detailed content and keywords about each category on the landing page to make sure you are providing relevant information about each category and in turn optimizing your SEO potential.
There is no way around it — a difficult checkout experience can cause a user to leave a website and choose to purchase a product somewhere else. To ensure this does not happen, make sure your website checkout is smooth and easy to follow with the basic steps labeled. Try to keep your checkout process as short as possible so users don’t get overwhelmed and decide not to checkout or go to another website selling guns. Lastly, be sure to show all of the fees and shipping costs (if applicable) before the user completes checkout so they can be sure of the amount they are spending.
Don’t make your cart information difficult to find as users often want to check to see what is in their cart when shopping online. They’ll want to make sure they are purchasing the correct items and also check on prices from time to time as they add items to their cart. Notice how Amazon.com has the cart in the top right corner with a number indicating how many products are in the cart at any given time. Once you click on this section on Amazon.com, you come to the page listing your products, prices, and total before checking out which is important for shoppers to be able to double-check for the correct information before checking out.
According to BusinessInsider, 44% of conversions on eCommerce sites will be done on mobile by 2024. While purchases like firearms are more often done on a desktop or laptop-sized computer, you’ll still want to optimize your mobile experience to be the best it can be for those users who are accustomed to using their mobile devices to shop online or for users who are browsing your firearm website online with the plan to actually purchase once they get home to their desktop.
Don’t flood your mobile experience with too many graphics or hard-to-find categories or products. Make sure it is simple and to the point, so the user can find what they need and check-out in a timely manner. Back in 2015, Google decided to start penalizing websites that are not mobile-friendly through an algorithm update so this is even more of a reason to get on board and ensure your firearm website is mobile-friendly.
One of the keys to selling products online nowadays is including positive reviews and testimonials of your products, brand, and website. Users want to know that what products they are buying and who they are purchasing from is trusted by other customers that have bought from your brand before. There are many ways to generate reviews on your website but one of the ways we recommend is to simply ask your customer-base to do so. Think about sending out an email every now and then asking for reviews or promoting asking for reviews across social media. It doesn’t hurt to include some free swag, like hats or t-shirts from your brand, for a few of the users who leave positive reviews which will encourage loyal customers to start writing a testimonial or review ASAP. Lastly, be sure to offer spots on your product detail pages for a user to leave a review on each individual product.
Nothing is more frustrating to a user coming to your website to shop than to not be able to purchase a product because it is not in stock. In order to eliminate this frustration, make sure to put a bold and easy-to-find message on the product detail page, above the fold that says “product is out of stock” or something to that effect. Be sure to also include a timeline of when it might come back in stock and possibly the ability for the customer to be notified via email of when it is back in stock. If you have products that are similar to what this product was, for example, the same firearm but maybe in a different color, then go ahead and provide a link for similar products so the user can consider purchasing those instead.