On the onset, it looks easy. You put up your wares in a well-designed website. Customers log in, they buy, they pay, you ship and you both are happy.
Then, walks in a competition. For every customer you are trying to win, there is a dozen or more e-retailer trying to snatch them away from you.
Business in any form is riddled with cut-throat competition. In the eCommerce era, what sets the winners from the average is how well they are at making customers buy compared to their competitors.
Take for instance the story of Amazon. How did the brand become the first-choice for all to buy anything when there are so many other options like eBay, etsy, etc.?
It is not just the pricing, but, also certain other tactics that turned clicks into customers.
The average conversion rate for eCommerce stores hovers in between a meager 2-3%. That means for every 100 visitors who click into your store, only 2 or 3 make an actual purchase. The rest are mostly cart abandonments.
The reason for cart abandonments? Among many other, a primary motivator for cart abandonment is a lack of website user-friendliness.
An ideal eCommerce website should be a combination of usability, flexibility, great design, and trust. Each page in your must be crafted to perfection that takes out the difficulty in online shopping.
Here are some proven ways to augment the user-friendliness, selling prowess and brand power your online store.
Building the perfect product page
The product page reveals in-depth information about the product, it’s pricing, customer reviews and many such features.
Unlike in the offline environ, where the customer gets to see the product in his hand, up close to his/her satisfaction, in the online selling medium, you need to provide as much as details to convince the customer to make a buy.
High-res multiple-angle images (more brownie points for 360-degree photos)of the product with zoom-in function is a must-have. Similarly, there should also be other elements like a genuinely written product description.
Of course, you can copy + paste product descriptions as given by the manufacturer. But then, you will lose the vantage of SEO. original product descriptions with proper keyword density can help add more search engine friendliness to your product page.
Also, optimize the page with proper header tags, meta descriptions and text content that will ensure search bots crawl your page and place it on top of search engine results.
Other things you need to integrate into a product page for better selling is a clearly displayed CTA, social sharing buttons, links to products for upselling, customer reviews, shipping costs and estimated delivery time.
Prepping up the category page
Category pages help steer the customers to more sub-category or product pages where their impulsive shopping tendency can be leveraged.
Here are some essential features that you product category page must have to sell more:
Display the product category title clearly. Customers need to know if they are in the right place while looking for products.
Sub-categorize products for quicker navigation. For example, smartphones can be classified as Android, iPhone, Windows, etc. Broad categories like smartphones, basic phones, phablets can also be included if you have a vast product collection.
Display a handful of featured products. Each featured product can be shown with a full-size high-res image. Sliders for reiterating their highlight features, ongoing deal, etc. will also help amplify sales.
Also, make it a point to include great content for your products. Content that is concise, to the point and fetching can help sell more. Great images + Great content = A sale half done.
Bringing a customer till the checkout age is a feat of its own. Don’t lose them thereby making it any more difficult to complete the purchase.
Keep the checkout page simple and user-friendly. Ask for minimal information. Provide auto-fill suggestions wherever possible.
The last thing in a customer’s mind will be to feed in lengthy personal information before completing the order. Moreover, what if they have a change of mind while filling up the information?
Don’t let that happen. Follow these best practices to set up your checkout page where your customers will pay happily without any fuss.
Show all costs. Don’t give a jumper by adding hidden delivery charges or shipping costs in the end
Allow guest shopping. Not all customers will be in a mood to create a new account just to buy a single product
Protect eCommerce store using SSL certificates, trust seals and other security measures you have taken to protect their online privacy
Consider offering coupon codes, promos or discounts for repeat orders. You might have them come back for more
Make input fields easy to re-edit if needed. Don’t make them give inputs from ground zero if something goes wrong
Conduct periodical A/B testing to see what structure of checkout page makes it more convenient and less demanding for customers.
Other Website Utilities
Like tiny drops that make up an ocean, there are several other tiny things that you must care for in your online store to render a memorable customer experience.
Here are some of them which most online store owners tend to overlook or undermine to aid in effective selling.
A recent Cisco study confirms that, by 2019, 80% of the world’s Internet traffic will originate from mobile devices. (Source)
Your online store must be gear up to face the inevitable. Mobile responsiveness is here and is going to stay. Moreover, most businesses, including your competitors could be adopting a mobile-only strategy sooner or later. You cannot afford to miss the bus.
So, prep up your store to be mobile responsive. Your customers must be able to experience an identical, if not, better shopping experience right from their mobile screens.
Most customers buy to show it to their peers. Make it easy for them to share their recent buys from your store with their social circles. Social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, etc. can be easily integrated into your store to help customers publicize their purchase. Not only will it make them happy but will also double up as a branding exercise for your online store.
Recently, Amazon did something that spiked its user base. They gave existing customers gift cards for introducing new members.
Customers were more than happy to introduce all those who were not using the online retail giant. As soon as a new customer signed up, Amazon shot an introductory email with discounts thus inducing the new customer to make an order.
This brilliant strategy not only earned Amazon the goodwill of its existing customers but also gave them a big boost in numbers. The conversion rates were soaring at an all-time high.
The bottomline is, referral programs work like charm. Include them whenever possible. You have nothing much to lose, but have everything to gain.
Wish lists are a big boon to online stores that want to curtail their cart abandonment rates. Let’s assume there is Mr.X who sees a product but is not in a mood to buy it right away. What do you do?
Let them shift away from the decision. Or give them a simple option to save the product for buying later. The second one is wiser and is known by the name Wishlist. Wishlists are a collection of products that customers might want to buy on a later date. Wishlists drive engagement and help retain customer leads for later conversion.
Real-time customer support
The real pain in online shopping is that there is no salesperson dotting in on you. You are on your own. From making the choice to finishing the payment, everything happens on its own.
It is exactly the reason why a small population of the world still does not want to shop online. The hook to bait such customers is real-time customer support.
Real-time customer support features like live chat, on-call assistance, etc. elevate the experience of online shopping. It will make customers feel attended to and more engaged to the brand.
Also, make a note to make yourself available easily. Don’t play hide and seek with customers. Display your helpline number, customer care email or social reach outs easily accessible. The more clearly they are displayed, better will be the customer trust on your store.
On an average, eCommerce experienced cart abandonment rates of 67%. Conversion rates hover around a modest 2% to 3% except for few rare cases where they spike up to 10%.
The online stores which enjoy a higher conversion rate deploy strategic tactics that hook and bait visitors into buyers. Some of which we have outlined above.
Should you try it? Why not? After all, these are deployed by successful online stores where customers checkout with happy smiles. These tactics will improve the conversion rates of your online store and will also build your customer base gradually naturally.
So, why wait any longer. Tweak your website for maximum selling and reap the benefits. Good Luck!