Retail is a tough market, and as more and more people shop online, the average consumer has become more demanding.
With so much competition at your customer’s fingertips, it’s important that your eCommerce website is easy to use.
How can you, as a small business, compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay?
The key is to pick your market and cover as many bases as you can in a never-ending quest to provide the best customer experience possible.
Below are 14 easy steps to improve your eCommerce website and start driving more sales.
1. Site navigation
Your site navigation is everything. If your users can find what they want in the shortest time possible they are more likely to buy something.They are also more likely to return to your site when they want something else.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; identify an item and try to find it without previous knowledge of your site. Ask your friends and family to do the same, or check out Usability Hub to test the navigation flow. Any improvement to your site navigation will have a dramatic effect on the user experience and your business objectives.
2. Site speed
Amazon has calculated that if their site took only a second longer to load, they would lose $1.6 billion in sales revenue every year.
Recent research indicates that 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
The online consumer, with more choice than ever before, is fickle and impatient. If you keep them waiting for even a second, they may leave your site without purchasing.So it’s best to make sure that your site is fast. Did you know that Google takes speed into account when ranking sites? No one wants to lose traffic because their site is slow and clunky.
How fast is your site? You can test it with GT Metrix.
3. Product copy
Great copy can have a serious impact on advertising and online sales. A professional copywriter can take a description of a product and make your customer think they can’t live without it.
You work hard to get someone to visit your site, so don’t waste the opportunity. If a great product description can improve your online sales by just 10% each month, what is this worth to you?
4. Product images
If a picture tells a thousand words, what can great product images do to improve your online sales?
Hire a professional to show your products in the best possible light and alleviate any concerns your customer may have about quality. As more and more people shop online, we are accustomed to not being able to touch something before we buy, but we still need to experience it as much as we can before we hit the ‘purchase’ button.
5. Fixed or free shipping
Shipping charges are often the biggest obstacle in completing an online purchase, especially when they appear as an added cost towards the end of the consumer’s experience. This extra charge can override the convenience of shopping from home.
You can avoid this by offering fixed or free shipping, which can be factored into your costs. Everyone likes to feel they are getting a bargain.
“Approximately 60% of online retailers cite ‘free shipping with conditions’ as their most successful marketing tool.”
Convincing someone to visit your site and purchase something requires a lot of hard work, so you want to make it worth your while. One way to increase sales is to suggest a product that complements the one they are about to buy. If you are selling clothes for example, you can recommend a bag to go with that dress. If you are selling books, show your user titles other customers with similar interests have bought.
7. Display security badges
The online consumer experiences anxiety just like the brick and mortar consumer but they can leave the checkout without embarrassment. Think about it; you’ve picked up an item in-store, reached the counter and you’re starting to question the purchase. Chances are you’ll buy it because you don’t want to draw attention to yourself by leaving.This is not the case online. If you hesitate at the last minute, you leave. No one knows any different.
What, exactly will your user be anxious about?
One major concern for the online consumer is security. Are they putting themselves at risk by entering their credit card details on your website? Are you a legitimate business?
The best way to alleviate these concerns is to display the security badge provided by your online merchant so that it is visible throughout the checkout process.
8. Display social proof
Your users will feel at ease when knowing that their peers have purchased products from your site and they have recommended the experience. This is social proof. Displaying social proof on your website will improve your checkout conversion.
So make sure you display customer reviews, Facebook likes, or recommendations. You can also display alerts at the bottom of your page when a purchase it made, or a calculator to highlight how many people have bought a product in the last month.
This is the online version of a sales assistant telling a customer, “This is very popular at the moment.”
9. Checkout process
This needs to be as simple as possible. If your checkout process involves multiple steps, simply let your customer know. This will decrease the chances of them leaving your site frustrated before purchasing.
10. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is free and will help you understand how your customer navigates your site and which of your pages are most popular. It will also help you understand where potential customers lose interest and leave your site, and how quickly they make a purchase.
Most importantly, it will give you a clear understanding of where you online traffic comes from, allowing you to calculate your return on investment for your marketing activities.
11. Clear call to actions
Every page on your website should have one clear objective. On an individual product page, for example, your objective is to get the user to add the product to their cart. So make sure they understand how to do this. Create a clear call to action – your ‘Add to Cart’ button.
The colour, size, location, and copy of the button all contribute to your customer’s purchase, so it’s important to test each of these before committing to one. We use Optimizely.
12. Implement cart abandonment software
If a customer decides to leave your site without making a purchase, you can lure them to stay with software like PicReel.
PicReel allows you to create an offer which is displayed to users when they move their cursor outside of your site, to open a new tab, for example. Encourage them with a small discount or free shipping if they stay and buy something then and there.
If you can regain even just 10% of the people who abandon your cart with a small discount, what would that be worth to you?
13. Encourage customers to come back
If someone has already bought something from your site, you don’t have to spend money telling them about your store or convincing them your products are worth having. So encourage them to come back.
Follow up with an email a week after their purchase. Ask them for feedback, offer assistance or a discount code for when they return.
14. Implement an FAQ page
Users always have questions. Create an FAQ page to answer the majority of these while they are on your site and considering buying something. If you can alleviate any concerns they have on the spot, they are more likely to stay and make a purchase.
Other things to consider include; making sure your site can be navigated using mobile devices, conducting conversion testing and getting your online advertising strategy right. To learn more about these, read the articles below.