10 Steps to Boost Your Ecommerce Website’s Conversion
19th June, 2012 | Posted by: Sutton Silver
These days, any man and his dog can find success online – it’s fairly simple to claim online entrepreneurship thanks to ‘off the shelf’ technology and social media. Defining the best route to making a profit, however, is not as straight forward. There are a vast array of small details that could dramatically affect how your business thrives online — you can’t expect to just put up an ecommerce portal and see streams of customers come rolling in.
Developing the most intuitive (and most successful) ecommerce website requires a lot of consideration. Online merchants must balance great web design and development with marketing practices to successfully drive sales.
To further confuse the balancing act, your website and business will benefit when you consider what your customer wants online and what their optimum experience would be. Most visitors are looking for a simple, straightforward shopping experience and even the majority of those are just looking to have a quick browse.
We’ve put together a small list of basic considerations to bear in mind whether you’re a small business owner or an online shopper. Have a think – as a customer, what features do you appreciate when you’re purchasing something on the web?
1. Keep Navigation Simple and Obvious
In order to convince visitors to convert into customers and purchase your product, they must know how to get to it first.
Your site should be simple enough so that customers can maneuver with ease. Each category and subcategory should have a clear title, and they should be in a prominent location on each page.
2. Incorporate a Slick Search Bar
Even if your site is easy to move around, every sucessful website has a search bar. It’s a quick and convenient way for customers to find exactly what they need, and as the level of customer enhances with time, so will the expectancy of the search bar functionality, so make sure it works correctly and even offers suggestions where possible.
Consider making each search yield relevant responses specific to what the customer is actually looking for.
3. Keep Your Payment Process Simple!
Everyone likes an easy payment system. Consumers are more likely to purchase your product if the checkout is streamlined and as hassle free as possible.
A recent A/B Split Test determined an obvious 20% increase in conversion when users were able to checkout in one click. So if the functionality is available to you, use it!
Amazon is known for its one-click checkout, and there’s a reason its the best. Take a note from them and make your payment system as simple as possible.
4. Offer Little Extras
Although the previous point briefed to keep the payment process simplified, users shouldn’t feel like their options are lacking either.
Bear in mind that some consumers will be purchasing your products potentially as gifts. Would they be interested in add-on’s such as wrapping, receipts, personalised notes and returns? These features give a customer more reasons to buy, whether it’s for them or someone else.
5. Improve Your Looks
No one will ever doubt you’ve spent a mammoth amount of time on your product – why cut corners and not show it off in the best possible way? Are your photos up to scratch? Do you have multiple views? 360′ view maybe?
Showcasing your products as best as possible is a great way to grab potential buyer’s attention. Great pictures don’t always require a professional photographer either, there are several ways to improve the images on your ecommerce website without it costing you a fortune. Pretty pictures and clean design are always a factor in customers hitting the “Buy” button.
6. Provide Detailed and Interesting Information
Basic product information like sizes, colour options and stock availability are a standard necessity, but other things can act as catalysts to convince the user in buying too.
Some consumers appreciate being made aware of how the product was made, how it will be shipped and what other peoples opinions are of it.
7. Shipping and Tracking
It’s been proved a million times that shipping costs must apparent before the customer’s final checkout, in order for them to have a positive experience throughout the whole buying process. The earlier they can factor in additional charges, the less likely they are to abandon their purchase.
After placing an order, most customers will check for their confirmation email and the majority of customers will even have a nosey at their ‘Account Area’ within your ecommerce website.
Make sure they can view the status of their purchase, so it’s a transparent process the whole way through to landing on their doorstep. Order tracking and history will also negate the desire for the majority of customer service calls, giving you more time to focus on launching your next product line!
8. Be Sincere
From time-to-time customers maybe unhappy with their product or maybe even the level of service they received during their sales process. No one likes to feel tricked after they’ve made a purchase, especially one that they’re not happy with.
Also, be clear about your returns policies as consumers will appreciate a site that provides an easy returns process. If they feel like you have worked closely with them to resolve their enquiry and actually ensured they ended up with the product they wanted in the first place, they will reward you with Brand Loyalty. Priceless in any online or offline marketing activity.
9. Be Human and Responsive!
Customers may like the secrecy and anonymity of online shopping, but a truly personalised experience will likely bring good reviews and recurring business. So if a customer comes to you with an enquiry, make sure you’re in a position to respond rapidly and professionally. This will positively assist the customer in trusting you as a valued and credible merchant to buy from now and in the future.
Websites that are succeeding in their perspective industries are the ones who have stopped acting like salespeople and started to partner with consumers to help them fulfil their unique shopping desires.
10. Be Browser Friendly
Websites that run smoothly on all browsers will drive more sales. Savvy and non-savvy browsers both share the hatred for slow sites and unresponsive pages, so make sure your website is hosted on a suitable server in the country that the country it’s targeted at (If your customers are based in the UK, host your website in the UK, you’ll be amazed at the difference this can make!).
Remember, there’s still only a small portion of the web using Google Chrome. So for their sake, test your site on multiple platforms and make sure it’s operating across the board.
The future of Browser Friendly Ecommerce is rapidly changing too, with Responsive Web Design quickly becoming the norm.