Not having an eCommerce store is no longer an option, not even for small retail stores. On the contrary, it is the demand of the current market if small businesses want to stay in the game and not lose out customers to retail giants and marketplaces. But in the race to get online, do not make an in the selection of an ecommerce platform. Every element of an ecommerce website contributes to your conversion ratio. It is important to ascertain that the ecommerce platform you choose has certain characteristics that make the shopping experience enjoyable for users. There is no dearth of options for shoppers today, and if your ecommerce store is not top-notch buyers will not hesitate to ‘close the tab’ and move on.
Here are the important features that make an ecommerce store user-friendly and increase conversions:
47% of buyers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less with 40% people saying they’d abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Of the 40 % that leave your ecommerce website, 80% will never return.
Your store’s page load time is the foundation on which you build your conversion rate. Having a beautifully designed store with great prices is of no use if your customers start getting impatient with the load times. That credit card will go back in the wallet, and you’ll lose a potential customer.
Not only do people like fast website, but so does Google. When a buyer abandons your website, your bounce rate goes up. Google sees this as your site not having relevant content and pushes your products down in search results.
Then there’s word-of-mouth negative marketing. The dissatisfied users will tell their friends and family, thus impacting your brand further.
In 2017, BBC declared they lost an additional 10% of users for every additional second it took for their site to load. If it could happen to BBC, can your business afford to lose conversion because of slow page load times?
How will users on your ecommerce store buy a product if they cannot find it? In a physical brick-and-mortar store, the consumer has the help of a sales assistant if they’re struggling to find a product.
When shopping online, buyers are on their own. If finding a product on your store is not easy, they will simply leave your website and go to another.
The navigation of your website should be simple and easy for users to quickly find what they’re looking for. The search engine should be powerful with parametric search and filtering options. This lets users filter products based on color, size price or compatibility. The search bar should be prominent and on the top of all your product pages.
The easier you make for users to find products, the more conversions your ecommerce store will have.
Four out of five Americans shop online. Think about it, how dependent are you on our mobile phones and how many times a day do you browse on your phone?
In 2017 almost 1.7 billion people world-wide shopped online with that figure expected to go up to 2.15 billion by 2021 with mobile dominating online sales predicted to generate $659 in sales.
An ecommerce website that is not mobile-friendly will eventually lose customers. According to Google, 73% of consumers will abandon an unresponsive mobile store, switching to one that makes buying easier and enjoyable.
Businesses must keep up with these shifting buying behaviors and improve the shopping experience they offer their customers or risk losing out to competitors who have optimized their sites for mobiles.
A JP Morgan Chase report revealed that 73% of online consumers decide whether they will make a purchase from a company based on the type of payments they accept, with 9 out of 10 users saying they prefer having multiple payment options when shopping online.
For example, some buyers may not be comfortable using their credit cards online but prefer using PayPal. You will lose those potential customers if you do not have a PayPal integration on your ecommerce store.
Different payment options include bank transactions, credit and debit cards, PayPal, cash on delivery, etc.
An ecommerce store catering to different countries should integrate with popular local payment options too. This builds trust and customers feel secure making a purchase when they see payment methods they are comfortable with.
A customer reaching the checkout page is a sure conversion, they want to buy. Not offering customers their preferred payment method means losing what would have been a confirmed conversion. And the chances that the same customer not ever returning to your store are high.
Also, ensure that your store is PCI compliant and displays security badges assuring your customers of a safe and secure transaction and data protection.
Online chat assistance has become an important and integral part for every online business and is the best method of communication to offer real-time and prompt answers to customer queries. Customers appreciate online chat assistance as it helps them in their buying decision.
A Forrester report revealed that 45% of consumers in the United States would leave a website in the middle of an online transaction if there is no one around to answer their questions and concerns.
Online chat assistance lets you address customer queries while they are on your website, increasing the chances of them converting. Online chat assistance is crucial not just to acquire new customers but also retain existing ones as it allows for immediate problem resolution and provides your customers with instant access to your support and sales staff. This assurance builds trust in your brand and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Consumers generally do not like paying shipping costs. 44% of shoppers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs. 60% of ecommerce businesses rank free shipping as their most effective marketing tool, especially when combined with a minimum order amount. This also increases your average order value as shoppers are willing to spend an extra few dollars and qualify for free shipping.
A Statista survey on digital shopping trends in the United States revealed that 48% of the people surveyed said they’ve added items to their shopping cart to qualify for free shipping.
If shipping costs are such a big decider for consumers, ecommerce businesses must ensure they keep their shipping costs low to increase conversion rates. Whilst competing with giants like Amazon or ASOS on free and fast delivery is a big challenge, if your customers see value in your products and are impressed with other aspects of your ecommerce store, a shipping charge will not be a deterrent if it is relatively low.
An effective shipping strategy will work wonders for your ecommerce store. Be sure to communicate your shipping policy clearly on your e-commerce website, so customers are aware of what to expect. Always provide tracking details to customers so that they’re informed about the status of their order and know when to expect it.
35% of transactions are lost because the website required the user to create an account before checkout. Once a customer has decided to buy why would you put them off by asking them to fill in a form and create an account? What you want is for them to quickly put in essential billing and shipping details and be done with it!
ASOS cut down the abandonment rate on their checkout page website by 50% simply by making it optional for users to create an account.
Customers like a quick and hassle-free checkout. They will not hesitate to abandon their shopping carts if faced with a long registration form. As tempting as it is to collect user data for marketing, keep the checkout page simple. Do not make it mandatory for users to register, instead, offer the option to check out as a guest. You can always offer customers the option to save their profile and payment details for future purchases AFTER they’ve already made the purchase. Reducing the number of clicks needed to purchase will increase the conversion rates on your eCommerce store.
Ensure that the eCommerce software you use can support all these features. You do not want to subscribe to an ecommerce platform and later discover the pitfalls. All the features mentioned above are basic requirements in today’s digital age. Big brands too cannot afford to slip on these without facing huge losses.
The good news is, your small business can still hold a candle to bigger brands provided you offer your customers a similar online experience. The SaaS market is so competitive that there are many great eCommerce solutions within the financial reach of even small businesses. Do your research well and explore eCommerce solutions to find one that suits your business and has all the characteristics mentioned above without being too hard on the pocket.
Shane is an American writer for various digital news publications. After being in the eCommerce industry for more than 15 years, Shane has a good understanding of what it takes to make an ecommerce business successful. He likes to cover newsworthy events related to business management software, eCommerce platform, customer relationship management (CRM) and Quoting software and Value Added Resellers.