19 Tips For E-commerce Success
E-commerce today represents a huge slice of the economy, especially in the UK, which has the largest online retail to total retail ratio in the world. But it doesn't mean that any old website can prosper as a merchant. In the past we've posted tips to build trust in e-commerce sites, an integral feeling to evoke in a visitor if you are to succeed as an online trader. After all, who wants to hand over personal details and money to a shady, faceless business? In addition to what we covered in that post, here are 19 more tips and techniques that are proven to improve e-commerce store conversions and overall profitability.
The navigation of your site should be as simple and predictable as possible. Categories and subcategories should be clearly titled and easy to navigate, through a horizontal bar at the top of pages.
Key Selling Features
Take time to highlight your key selling points, for example free shipping or same day delivery. Display them in a prominent position on your site, where it’s difficult for visitors to ignore.
If your e-commerce site has an extensive catalogue it should be searchable. A search bar should be easy to find and easy to use. It should be familiar and consistently present throughout your site.
Advanced Product Search
Again, if you offer a large volume of products and product variations, this is a beneficial feature to include on your site. An advanced search tool makes it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for, without scrolling through pages and pages of irrelevant items.
Detailed Product Info
Ensure the information about products is detailed and complete. You do not want to leave visitors feeling like their questions have been left unanswered.
High Quality Product Images
Images are extremely important. If visitors see a poor quality image of a product, chances are they won’t be sticking around to read the description, let alone add it to their basket! Product images should be of high quality, with the option of a larger view and zoom if possible. Also, the more images, the better.
The postage and shipping price of products should be displayed as early as possible during the checkout process, otherwise the customer may view it as a hidden cost. Better still, incorporate postage prices into product prices and offer site-wide free postage.
Add To Cart Button
Make sure your ‘Add To Cart’ button is as clear as daylight. It should be obvious how to purchase something - if visitors have to look for it, you’re probably losing out on sales.
Customers should be able to see their checkout progress, perhaps through a step-by-step format. The checkout process should also be free of distractions: advertisements, links to other pages etc. Let the visitor focus and complete the transaction!
For many stores, a ‘Proceed as guest’ option at checkout is definitely a good idea. Having to register before purchase can be off-putting, discouraging users from proceeding. Anyway, with the information supplied during checkout, an account can be automatically created for them.
Being flexible with the payment methods that you accept can increase conversions. For instance, some people prefer not to share bank details online and will only opt for an online payment system such as PayPal.
Personalise your customer’s shopping experience. Display related products, recently viewed products and even recommend products for visitors according to browse or purchase history. One of the wonders of e-commerce is the potential to cross-sell and up-sell.
The Internet is great for consumers to collect information and make informed decisions when purchasing products. And they do! 60% of customers read online reviews before purchasing something. Add product review functionality to your site and visitors won’t have to leave your site to find external reviews and information.
In a nutshell, you need one (obviously depending on the nature of your offering!). Make sure it’s on the page, easy to find and thoroughly detailed. The ability to return goods is particularly important to online shoppers - you can’t physically inspect a product before purchase on the web.
There are always customers who will have questions about your products. An FAQ section is a nice way of answering these questions, potentially eliminating the need for customer support interaction.
A live chat widget can be a great tool to ‘seal the deal.’ If a customer is uncertain about your company or products, it provides them with an instant point of support communication - an instant answer.
As a form of multimedia content, videos are excellent for communicating detailed product information, giving users a further insight into your offerings or business.
A technique used by many e-commerce stores, displaying the level of stock for a product creates urgency. Seeing that there’s only a few pairs of the trainers you like left in stock will encourage you to take action there and then, and go through to checkout! Additionally, it’s a good idea to integrate a ‘back in stock’ notification system, where a visitor can sign up to be emailed when an out of stock item is restocked.
So, your brand or product has been featured in a popular magazine or blog? Great! Show off this approval to your visitors by adding a ‘Featured On’ section to your pages.
By implementing at least a few of these features and techniques you could increase e-commerce sales and conversions on your site - you’ll notice that extremely successful sites such as Amazon employ the majority of them! However, the effectiveness and suitability of certain features is dependant on the nature of your business and offering. For instance, your offering may be non-tangible - such as a piece of software - and it therefore incurs no postage costs.