If we get back to basics, what's the most important function of your e-commerce site? To make the shopping experience as easy and enjoyable for your customers as possible, and to encourage them to make a purchase. So, before you get lost in complicated features and technology, make sure your site covers that basic requirement. There are so many ways to improve an e-commerce site, depending on what industry you're in and who your customers are. We explore a few of the options below, to make sure you're optimising your offering. Here are 7 easy ways to improve an e-commerce site...
How to improve your e-commerce site
1). Focus on site navigation
This is the most important thing when it comes to making online purchases easy for your customers. You need to make the process of landing on the site page to checking out as simple as possible. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Pick an item and try to find it and pay for it, assuming you have no prior knowledge of how the site works. You might need to adjust simple things like filters or product categories. Any improvements made to site navigation will seriously impact the success of your e-commerce site.
2). Make images and copy top-quality
With an e-commerce site, shoppers don't have the luxury of seeing items in real life, so your images and product descriptions need to be excellent. You're trying to entice customers to make a purchase without being able to feel textures and measure sizes. Make sure you have several image options, including zoom capability, and think about getting a professional copywriter to work on the text. The copy from suppliers or manufacturers might not be enough. It's a simple way to improve customers' experience on your e-commerce site, but it's effective.
3). Optimize the site for mobile
Unless your target market is a much older generation of shoppers - unlikely in the world of e-commerce - you'll need to make sure your site is optimized for mobile. This means the site looks good across all platforms - from smart phones to tablets - and functions the same. No weird font sizes or cut-off pages. A responsive website is the way to go. Or, better yet, build a complementary m-commerce mobile app to draw in more customers and keep your mobile users happy. We'd love to build a custom m-commerce app for your business, so contact us to find out more about this offering.
4). Improve site speed
Think about this from your own experience. If a site takes too long to load, how likely are you to close the tab and look elsewhere for those products or that information? Back in 2012, e-commerce giant Amazon calculated that if their pages took just 1 second longer to load, it would cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year. Your numbers might not be so extreme, but it makes the point about impatient online shoppers. There are many ways to improve the speed of your e-commerce site, but talk to a professional about the best approach for your business.
5). Encourage reviews
With e-commerce, customers don't have the physical item in front of them, and there's no charming sales rep to boost the product and guide shoppers toward the checkout counter. This means users rely on reviews from other customers. A recent survey by SEO reporting and data platform BrightLocal found that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. With an e-commerce site, it's easy to set up a follow-up email process once an order has been delivered, where you can ask for feedback and request a review. Then make sure all those positive reviews appear on your website, Facebook page and Google My Business listing. The more stars, the better.
6). Make it easy to check out
Let's face it, this is where you want your customers to end up. And, even if they've had the best online shopping experience and found dozens of products they need, if the checkout process is clumsy and laborious, you could lose them anyway. Fortunately, there are loads of e-commerce payment options that help make the checkout process easy for the buyer. And, if there are a few more steps in your process that normal, simply alert shoppers so they know what to expect. And make sure you have an appropriate payment gateway in place.
7). Build cart abandonment solutions
Say your potential customer gets distracted right before they're about to checkout. The phone rings, they get an urgent email, or they simply change their mind at the last minute. With cart abandonment software, you can re-engage those customers a few minutes later to remind them about what they left in their cart. In brick and mortar stores, once a customer is in line at the till, they're likely to make the purchase. But, if online customers abandon a site at the last minute, no one's the wiser. Fortunately, there are ways of countering this with software development tools or push notifications.
We're well into the digital age, and consumer behaviour has adapted to this new way of doing business. We hope these insights help you create the best e-commerce site possible and help propel your company into the digital era.