The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the shift towards online shopping, with many existing eCommerce businesses reaping huge rewards and a flurry of new entrepreneurs and business owners taking their businesses online to make the most of the opportunities presented by the move towards home-based shopping.
The eCommerce industry was already on an upward trend before the pandemic arrived, and it shows no sign of slowing down. By 2040, it’s predicted that 95% of all purchases will be conducted online. With this in mind, the eCommerce marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, especially when it comes to creating a strong online presence and delivering a customer experience that converts users and promotes loyalty. In this article, we’ll explore six tips that you can follow to improve your eCommerce website and ensure you’re keeping up with your consumers and competitors.
#1 Use trust signals to build credibility and loyalty
Security and credibility are key concerns for online shoppers and should be at the top of your agenda. The first and most crucial aspect of this is implementing an SSL certificate. You should also consider displaying the payment providers’ logos that you use on your site, ideally in the website footer or a USP bar. A USP (Unique Selling Point) bar is also the perfect place to display all the great things that make your business different (and trustworthy). This might include a one-year warranty, free next day delivery, or a specific accreditation that’s important to your audience.
Alongside your trust signals, you should revisit your branding to ensure your logo, colour palette and site layout reflect the positioning and trust you are trying to convey to your users. Visual cues can help businesses establish an emotional connection with users and significantly impact conversions. Quite often, a customer’s ‘gut’ reaction to a brand can be subliminal and happen within the first few milliseconds of them visiting a website, often without them being able to explain it. Convincing customers to part with their hard-earned cash when they may never have come across your site before is one of the biggest challenges of eCommerce, and so creating a strong brand that builds trust is key to this.
#2 Be upfront about your policies
It can be frustrating for customers and potential customers when they cannot locate information about deliveries, refunds, return policies, and general terms and conditions. When a customer is making a purchase, factors such as long it will take to receive the purchase and what happens if they want to send them back are essential considerations that may affect their purchasing decision. Make sure these are identified in your purchase emails and displayed in your website footer as this is where users are accustomed to finding the information. Environmental sustainability is also an area that is gaining traction for consumers. You may consider including a clear policy about what you are doing to contribute, which will help you stand out from your competition.
It’s also vital to address GDPR and complaint procedures within your policies so that this information is accessible too. It’s important to remember that while not all consumers will need to find or read these policies, simply making them clear and transparent will establish trust with users and build your brand’s credibility.
#3 Use live chat or chatbots make yourselves accessible
Being able to quickly communicate and ask questions is also an important consideration for customers, not just for after-sales support if something goes wrong but also during the buying process. Providing as much information as possible through your product pages is vital. But if a potential customer is still unsure about something, then giving them the ability to quickly ask that one last burning question could be the difference between making the sale or not.
This can be a pivotal aspect of the customer journey and one which you can control and improve. We recommend using a live chat service in the first instance, and when that’s unavailable, potentially a chatbot that can provide key information about things such as opening hours and contact details and the answers to common questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to manage expectations by providing information about your response times and how quickly someone can expect to hear back from you. Managing live chat services doesn’t have to be a big commitment. Nowadays, most services have the flexibility to work around your availability and provide apps that mean you’re not chained to your computer.
#4 Cultivate a positive user experience
User experience is an industry buzzword that is often thrown around when we discuss a website’s success. Essentially, cultivating a positive user experience builds on your business’s customer experience, and the smoother this is, the better. You could use the following features and functionality to improve this experience:
- Cross-selling and upselling techniques: ‘you may also like’ or ‘users also purchased.’
- Self-selection tools to streamline the filtering process to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.
- Product reviews and user photos.
- FAQs for products and services.
Another critical aspect of user experience is mobile inclusivity, not just responsiveness. This means ensuring that everything a user needs can be accessed and achieved via their mobile device without accessing a desktop. This experience should be just as good, if not better, than your desktop experience, using sticky buttons and thumb-reaching calls-to-action.
#5 Minimise friction at checkout
The average cart abandonment rate is 69.56%, with users leaving the process at each stage for many reasons, from slow site speed to failed discount codes. Below we’ve collated several elements for you to consider to optimise this process and reduce this number:
- Turn on guest checkout and social sign-on to prevent people from entering lots of information in the registration process.
- Provide multiple payment methods such as PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay etc. Also, payment financing options such as ClearPay or Klarna, are becoming increasingly popular for higher value items.
- Introduce one-click payments for repeat customers.
- Use purchase process indicators to show how far a user is through the checkout process.
Another significant consideration around the checkout process is abandonment recovery techniques in the form of follow up emails or push notifications, of which nearly ¼ result in a conversion.
#6 Collect feedback, review, implement and revisit
It’s not enough to collect testimonials and reviews from your clients; you need to be regularly surveying your company’s performance to understand where there is room for improvement. You should consider how you could be collecting feedback both online and offline to understand the needs of your users and how well your team are meeting them, including:
- Measuring on-site behaviour using HotJar
- Regular NPS (Net Promotor Score) ratings to determine your customer’s willingness to recommend you.
- Service testimonials and product review requests from all customers.
- Surveys to segmented customers about their experience (i.e., repeat visitors and one-time purchasers).
Once you’ve gathered feedback, you’ll need to act on what your customers are telling you. Not all of their comments will be relevant. However, some will highlight areas of your business where you might be failing to meet your users’ needs. This is where you can review their comments, implement changes, and even invite those customers to re-evaluate you based on these changes.
Each of these areas interlinks with the next, and they are all part of a wider website strategy designed to improve the user experience and your conversion rate. Our free eBook explores this topic in more depth, including a product page checklist to determine which features are missing from your site.
We recommend producing a roadmap of ideas to improve your current website or build a new site if your current one isn’t fit for purpose. This will allow you to address each area as and when you have the time and budget to do so, and it will also allow you to measure the impact of these changes and how successful they are to improving the conversion rate.
We hope you found this blog helpful. Download our free eBook ‘How to Improve Your eCommerce Website’ if you’d like to learn more.