What makes an ecommerce business successful?
You might come up with a lot of answers to this question. Remember, you are not only competing with local and regional brands, but you also have to deal with international giants like Amazon.
There’s so much competition in the ecommerce business these days that it can be challenging for you to build up and stand your ground. Luckily, in this demanding and fast-paced industry, the only way to outrank your competition is by providing a better customer experience.
In this article, I will emphasize several of the best ecommerce practices that will help you keep your customers happy and increase your conversion and sales.
The perfect ecommerce website is a myth, even the most profitable ones have flaws. However, you can design your own version that converts like crazy.
These tips are the “must-haves” and tested with many of our clients. So, get ready for this value-packed blog as it’s about to show you the 15 best practices you can adapt for your ecommerce business.
1. Clutter-free Homepage.
The Internet is a shopper’s dream. With just a click from your fingertips, you can buy products without hassle and shop anywhere in the world.
The congested ecommerce space against other online merchants lets you be more competitive when joining the ranks of the highly successful ecommerce stores. But for this very same reason, you are expected to provide consumers with a convenient online shopping experience.
Your homepage serves as the face of your business; this is why you need to make it free from distraction. There’s a psychology behind this design principle, as most online shoppers have an attention span of a goldfish.
It also needs a powerful magnet to attract consumers and encourage them to buy. Declare your USP (Unique Selling Point) and match your brand personality through this. Write down the benefits of your products in a concise way. Make sure your value proposition is clear and visible; don’t hide it on pages your visitors will not pay attention to.
2. You need to have a search bar.
Putting a search bar on your ecommerce website is incredibly important.
Ensure that when the consumers scroll down, the search bar is still available in the navigation bar and scrolls down as well. Your visitors shouldn’t have to scroll back up the page just to search for your products.
3. Have beautiful high-quality images.
Did you know that 67% of online shoppers admit that product images are more important than customer reviews or product descriptions?
This is why it’s crucial to use the most attractive images to grab your customer’s attention. Only use quality images that adhere to your own style. Design your own images instead of relying on third-party images. Online shoppers cannot physically touch your product, so high-quality images encourage them to imagine the product. High-quality images also helps your conversion rate.
4. Deploy advanced filtering.
Ease of use is a big factor why shoppers stay or not. If your website is confusing they will bounce off your website and never come back.
Deploy advanced filtering to help your visitors go through your catalog more effectively and get the necessary items faster. Your filtering has to be coherent and logical. Apply simple staging and the possibility to combine several specified categories that will work together. Filters should be noticeable upon request, so don’t inundate the users by showing the entire list of categories right away.
5. Have a website that loads fast!
Slow loading pages will certainly kill your business.
Who wants to shop on a website that takes forever to load? No one.
In a 2018 Google-backed study, 53% of mobile users left a website that took longer than three seconds to load.
To improve your site load time, determine how long it takes to load. Use Page Speed Insights, GTmetrix, and Webpage Test to run diagnostics with your current loading speed. You will also get a report for exactly what steps are needed to be taken in order to solve the problem.
The tools mentioned above will specifically point out the things you have to fix to make your website load faster. After fixing the basics, begin working on more high-level tasks to increase the loading time. Even fractions of a second can help.
6. Have an easy and secure checkout.
Let me ask you this, have you ever shopped online only to abandon your shopping cart in the middle of the process?
A lot of website visitors do that, and there are several reasons for this. A complicated and lengthy checkout process is one of the most obvious reasons. Most ecommerce platforms use one-page checkouts, autofill sections, and even credit card scanning to fix that.
You can also add a visual progress bar and secure payment badges to assure them that your website can securely process their sensitive financial information.
7. Messenger chatbots.
Automate your customer nurturing process with automated broadcasts. Schedule messages to be sent to your audience to remind them about something they didn’t buy or prompt them about upcoming events and current promotions.
Messenger chatbots also have an 80% open rate. Imagine if you could retrieve abandoned carts through this channel. It would generate a lot of additional sales.
8. Offer free shipping.
Shipping costs are another reason why customers abandon their carts. Free shipping works like a charm. Let me explain.
9 out of 10 consumers admit that free shipping is the highest motivation to shop online more, and orders with free shipping average around 30% higher in value. 93% of online buyers are swayed to buy more products if free shipping options are possible, whereas 58% of consumers add more items to the cart to qualify for free shipping. If you offer free shipping, your Average Order Value (AOV) also increases.
9. Well-written product descriptions.
A compelling copy can be the crucial difference between a sky-high conversion rate and a normal one. Write a compelling narrative in your product descriptions. Tell a story about your product and how it can benefit them. People love stories.
Stories only move forward. We pass knowledge and experiences from one person to the next through stories. In fact, telling a story about your product will increase its value for your customers, thus promoting higher conversion rates. It can be the motivation for why people support your brand or why they don’t even remember you.
Provide the technical aspects as well, but if you can stir up some emotions and desire onto your copy, then they will most likely take action and hit the checkout button.
Also, don’t forget to make your product descriptions SEO friendly. SEO product descriptions for ecommerce stores are even more important. Focus on writing product descriptions that inform, inspire, create value, and also rank favorably on search engines.
10. Social Shopping (Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping).
Product advertisements on Facebook and Instagram implement the direct-shopping functionality. Take Instagram for example, this platform added the possibility to sell products last March 2018.
Did you know that 30% of online shoppers are willing to purchase through Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest? That’s a big market share, which should be more than enough to make you admit that the social sales channel can be profitable.
11. Structured product categories.
As I have mentioned earlier, clear navigation is an absolute must. It doesn’t matter how many products you offer. Create a logical user journey and compartmentalize your product categories to make it a more customer-centric shopping experience.
Amazon invested a lot on money in studying their platform’s navigation and it certainly paid off. You can also seek advice from experts to help you out.
12. Allow customer reviews on product pages.
Did you know that 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews?
Showcase all kinds of reviews, even the negative ones in order to reassure consumers that they can trust your brand.
Impartial reviews are regularly a strong foundation for trust.
13. Responsive and mobile-ready design.
According to Statista, 4.78 billion people will have access to mobile phones. Meaning, more people will use their devices to access the Internet and buy from online stores.
Having a responsive and mobile-ready website with fast loading time, advanced filtering, and an easy checkout process is a must for every ecommerce businesses. It doesn’t look innovative, yet they create a competitive user experience.
14. SEO-ready website.
Neil Patel writes, “There’s no question that ranking higher than your competitors on Google is a must. But, what if you don’t know the SEO tips and tricks that will get your ecommerce site to the top? If you’re missing out on clicks, you’re probably also missing out on sales.”
Google has a 74.54% market share for all search engine traffic in 2017. You have to keep in mind that there are multiple combinations to make your website rank better on search engines.
Make sure to enforce the following:
- Off-page high-quality backlinks from reputable sources
- On-page metadata
- Keyword research
- Utilize long-tail keywords
- Identify competitor keywords
- Make keyword research part of your process
These are just the basics, but we can talk more in-depth about this more in a separate blog post.
15. Have multiple payment options.
There are various payment gateways you can use.
Make sure to offer your shoppers the freedom to choose their payment methods, such as PayPal, Stripe, Mastercard, cash on delivery, etc. If you have limited options, it will lead to abandoning their cart.
There are hundreds of innovations, new apps, and great strategies that you can use for your ecommerce business. Some are easily available while others are more expensive to use.
I can say with confidence that your business will benefit from the tips I have listed here if you use them.
You have to find the perfect balance between giving a top-notch and memorable customer experience while striving for cost-efficiency.