With so many competing companies, capturing the attention of online shoppers is no easy task. From the moment a customer lands on your ecommerce site, you must grab their interest and keep them engaged, or you risk losing them to one of the thousands of other places where they can spend their money.
There are approximately 1.92 billion digital buyers worldwide, with the number expected to increase to 2.14 billion by 2021. The world of online shopping will continue growing, but your site will only be successful if it’s user-friendly.
Focusing on a few distinct elements of an ecommerce site helps to improve your conversion rate and keeps customers coming back for future purchases. Here are eight improvements you should make to your site today to help catch and keep customers!
1. Improve Page Load Speeds
In a study of more than 150,000 random websites, 82 percent of sites had issues that impacted their overall performance. Around 43 percent of the problematic sites had slow page load speeds. People are impatient, and they expect a website to load in milliseconds.
Crossrope uses caches, fast servers, and optimized images to load its ecommerce site at lightning speed. Upon your first visit, you’ll wait mere milliseconds for the entire site to load, and subsequent visits will be instantaneous. The mobile site loads the text before the images, allowing for delays in mobile connectivity while still presenting necessary information while the user waits.
2. Create a Style Guide
Have you ever visited a site that seemed as though a team of strangers pieced it together? Over time, with different people working on your pages, your website can become a mashup of different styles. A style guide works at creating a consistent look and feel for your site.
Your style guide should address topics such as:
- Your brand’s color palette
- The tone of the site — funny, serious, youthful, etc.
- What fonts and font sizes to use
- The layout for various types of pages
- Language and image standards — for example, all images are under 100 kb and 600 pixels wide
3. Animate Your Site
Video comprises about 80 percent of global Internet traffic, and slightly more in the United States, at 85 percent. Adding video animations of your products shows users different possibilities, such as how to put a product together or the object from different angles. It adds an element of entertainment to any site and engages visitors.
One Point Partitions uses an animated video to show the way its partitions come together and how easy installation is. One Point Partitions shows each phase of the installation, including where screws get placed for stability. Any customer wondering if they can install the partitions themselves receives an immediate answer to their question.
4. Optimize for Mobile
More and more people use websites via their smartphones, so if your site isn’t mobile responsive you’re missing out on a large segment of your browsing audience. Think through the types of things that annoy mobile users and adapt your design accordingly. Users hate to pinch and zoom, so create images and text that automatically adjusts in size without the user needing to do anything additional.
Also, think through button placement and size. A cursor is tiny, but someone using a finger to tap a link needs a bigger range to click on. Little changes make a big difference in user experience on a mobile device.
5. Simplify Your Navigation Hierarchy
Some ecommerce stores sell so many different products that the number of categories on their website becomes massive. Spend some time thinking through a simplified navigation hierarchy. What are the three or four main categories all products fall under? Remember, you can always create subcategories if you need further definition. However, for navigation, keep the number of choices small.
Zara uses clean, simple navigation to point the user in the right direction. At the beginning of the buyer’s journey, they choose Woman, Man, Kids or Shoes & Bags. After narrowing their preference to a specific category, additional options appear under subcategories, such as T-shirts, Pants, Skirts, and Beachwear. Other search filters narrow the choices even more under each subcategory, creating a personalized shopping experience.
6. Improve Product Descriptions
Your product descriptions serve as the sales pitch for your products. Online shoppers aren’t face-to-face with your sales staff, so the copy on your product pages is of utmost importance. Not only do your descriptions need to be detailed enough for your audience members to make a decision, but you must reach them on an emotional level and show them how the item fits into their lives.
Create a buyer persona and put yourself in your customer’s shoes — what type of information would you need to decide whether or not to purchase the item? Why do you want this item and what kind of story is behind it.
For example, if you’re selling a nonstick cooking skillet, you might start with a story about how busy moms have very little time to get dinner on the table between work and kids’ sporting events, and how burning food is common, but getting the stuck-on food off is nearly impossible — except with this specific skillet. Describe a scenario that makes sense to your audience.
7. Make Your Unique Value Proposition Clear
Your unique value proposition, or UVP, is what you offer customers that make your brand or product special. Why should the user choose you over your competitor? If you don’t have a UVP, you must first take a step back and figure out what value you offer customers. Then, communicate that value on your website.
Farmdrop presents its UVP on its site landing page. The benefit for users is that it’s simpler to do your weekly shopping and get high-quality food from independent, local producers. Farmdrop then describes the ways its offering is better, such as high animal welfare standards and reducing the use of plastic.
8. Focus on Your Search Feature
Sometimes users land on your page looking for a specific product. Your search function must be easy to find from any page, such as in the top or bottom navigation, but it must also return valid results. If you aren’t happy with search results or notice a lot of users bouncing away after using the search function, look into improvements for your search filters and how you can tag items, so results are valid.
Conclusion: Improve Your Return on Investment
When looking for ways to improve your ecommerce store, consider which changes have the most significant impact on your revenue. As a small business owner, you should consistently reinvest in your company, but how you invest makes a big difference in the returns you see and the success of your brand. Make small changes, test them and keep the things customers respond to, while replacing the features that don’t encourage them to shop with your site.
Author Bio: Lexie is a web designer and UX design strategist. Her work is featured on Marketo, Creative Bloq, Website Magazine, Envato and eCommerce Tips. She manages Design Roast and reach out to her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.