The world of e-commerce has expanded in leaps and bounds, since its humble beginning in 1994. When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon on July 1994 and Pierre Omidyar launched eBay in 1995, neither them nor the world could imagine the expansion that e-commerce websites would see, especially in the 21st century.
Today, every major and minor retailer across the globe is expanding their operations to include an e-commerce website. After all, 4 in 10 purchases are made using only an online channel and millennials now make 54% of purchases online. These numbers are also expected to increase drastically as the years go by and technology becomes more accessible. To stay ahead of the curve, most companies have already built a website with which, users can purchase their products.
But is it enough?
The sheer volume of e-commerce websites out there means that you need to have a highly-customised and effective website to make an impact. To help you make your website pop and sparkle, here’s four things you should look into about your e-commerce website.
Make Checkout Easy
Amazon’s list of achievements in the world of e-commerce are far too many to list here. But one of the things often overlooked is how intentionally simplified their checkout process is. It’s ease of accessibility reduces the likelihood of customers abandoning their shopping cart and closing the tab. For any e-commerce website, this should be a key focus. The average cart abandonment rate for Q1 2018 was 75.6%, which is a massive number. If your checkout process is overtly complicated (too many pages, constant pop-ups, non-user-friendly interface etc), you can be certain that even the most patient customer will end up rage quitting.
What to do: The first thing to remember is to ensure that the shopping cart is prominently visible on your website. The shopping cart is the gateway to checkout and if it isn’t displayed prominently, any customer will have difficulty navigating and buying the product.
Secondly, display prices, shipping charges and taxes (if applicable) on the product page. Misleading your customer will only harm your reputation and will lead to lower customer retention. Be upfront about what customers must pay on purchasing a specific item.
Thirdly, condense the checkout process to a maximum of four pages. When a customer clicks on the cart to checkout, they are led to the first page which contains the order summary. The next page would ask them for the shipping and billing address. The third page is the payments page and the last page will be the order confirmation page. Keeping it tight will keep your customers invested and will assist with customer retention.
Lastly, have a list of recommendations displayed on the order summary page. A list of products, like the one customers are browsing, will help in boosting upsell and keep customers interested to keep purchasing.
Improve Website Navigation
Too often, e-commerce websites are designed with a focus on business rather than UX. This leads to a website that can be best described as user-unfriendly. Such webpages have low turnover and transactions, with a terrible customer retention rate. As a rule of thumb, if the percentage of people reaching a product page isn’t >= 50, they are having difficulty navigating through your website.
What to do: Use mega menus, dropdowns and hamburger navigations on your website. These help in condensing your website to the essential and avoid being too cluttered.
When you design a website, your key focus should be on how you would like it to be and what would make purchasing more likely. A customer-centric approach to navigation and discovery will not only improve the user experience, it’ll also improve your website ranking as more people explore your website.
Make it Mobile Compatible
Here’s a statistic that will blow your mind: In 2018, customers using smartphones to buy online is poised to account for 63.5% of total purchase. Keeping that in mind, mobile integration of your e-commerce website is crucial to tap into this huge market.
Aside from being mobile-present, you also have to make sure that your e-commerce website is mobile screen compatible. If a website, when opened on a mobile phone, isn’t adjusted to scale and
resolution, it can be a very jarring experience for the user, who’s likely to not return to the website again.
Have a look at the image below. If any website looks like this, when opened on a phone, how do you expect to keep customers invested, let alone retain?
What to do: Get your website ready for a mobile phone. Even if you can’t afford to have your own app, ensure that the website is polished for a mobile device of any size. Use navigation tabs, dropdowns and hamburger navigation to minimise your display and allow customers to focus on the essentials.
Include Customer Reviews on Your Product Page Customer reviews are an essential part of any shopping experience. Studies show that up to 91 percent of people read online reviews and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Online reviews help customers in choosing products that are suited to their needs, as well as, in understanding people’s experience using the same.
The purpose of including customer reviews on product pages is to create transparency. Help users in making a clear-concise purchase decision and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty based on reliability and trust.
What to do: You can have a rating and written review system, along the veins of Amazon or Zomato. A user can either give a rating or give both a review and rating. Additionally, include filters for reviews highlighting the best and worst reviews.
Making checkout simpler, navigation simpler, including mobile compatibility and customer reviews, are the four ways with which you can take your e-commerce website from 9 to 99. These are quite simple to initiate on your website, but their impact will be deep-seated and will yield returns in customer retention and purchases.