Everyone knows that the internet is a great place to find new customers, but it’s also a tough market to crack. Figures supplied by WordPress plugin builder, WPForms, suggest that there are somewhere between 12 – 24 million eCommerce websites across the world in 2021. Naturally not all of these are in competition, but that does not mean that the market is any less saturated.
If you want your shopping website to be profitable, you need to keep your users’ attention for long enough to make a sale. Beyond that, you need to make certain that their overall experience whilst on your site is a positive one. The simple reason for this is that a complicated and arduous online shopping experience won’t help you to acquire repeat custom – and it’s widely established that it takes much more effort to bring in new customers than to retain old ones.
With these thoughts in mind, here are 8 tips to help you supercharge your eCommerce efforts and give your customers cause to return time and time again.
1. Speed matters
Online shopping is all about convenience, and if your website does not offer that, it stands very little chance of making a positive impression.
Perhaps the best way to approach this is to think about consumer attention spans. These are generally short, and so you will need to make sure that your website captures their attention quickly. If it takes too long to load, that simply will not be possible.
There are tonnes of ways to improve your website load speed, from minimising HTTP requests to choosing a better hosting provider. Some of these are more technical than others, but it is worth speaking to a web designer to find out exactly what is happening with your website.
2. Easy navigation is best
Sites that have simple designs and easy-to-navigate menus will almost always beat competitors that use more complex site structures. Why? Well, as we have already mentioned, customers value convenience and if they cannot find what they are looking for, they might just go elsewhere.
From planning a winning wireframe to simply creating accurate and easy-to-find product categories, do not make it difficult for users to find and purchase the products they need. Remember, this is an eCommerce website – not a maze!
3. Provide accurate and high-quality images
When you visit a physical retail location, you choose your purchases by picking them out from shelves or rails of other products. You can see what the shop has and select exactly what it is that you like. The same should be true online.
When consumers shop on the internet, they do not want to be entering into some kind of raffle or guessing game – and so it couldn’t be more important to provide accurate and high-quality images of the products that you sell.
Allowing customers to see exactly what they are buying will lead to higher sales volumes, fewer returns, and a better customer relationship. So, whether it is different colourways or just the size and shape of a product, make sure that your website users can get a feel for what they’re buying before they have to part with their money.
4. Include product reviews
Believe it or not, product reviews are more than just a way to increase your ranking and visibility on sites like Amazon and eBay. In fact, displaying reviews from existing customers could prompt new website visitors to give your products a go.
This is known as social proof, and it can be generated from customer reviews, social media feeds, and other online interactions. If you can show that web users are already supporting your brand and enjoying your products, you will stand a better chance of gaining the trust of new users and minimising any doubts they may have about your retail credentials.
5. Make it easy to checkout
The quality of your website does not just end with the products. Even if your users have decided to purchase a product, they could still be put off by a convoluted and time-intensive checkout process.
To ensure that you do not fall at the final hurdle, make it a priority to get a reliable payment solution in place. Payment services provider UTP Group, who also offer physical retail solutions including card machine paper, offer an easy-to-use eCommerce payment gateway system that will allow you to serve your customers 24/7, 365 days a year.
It is the simplest way to improve your checkout process, and it’s important to remember that the last impression you make on a customer is often the most enduring.
6. Clearly display your store policies
High-quality retailers can manage their customers’ expectations effectively, even when they are dealing with a negative issue such as a return or a complaint.
To foster trust among customers and build your site’s credibility, you should consider displaying your returns policy and other similar shop rules in a prominent place. This will help you to communicate your sales and returns processes to customers, who will be grateful for the clarity even if their purchase was not the perfect fit for them.
7. Keep your website up to date
Websites that are kept updated sell more, not least because customers can take heart that the brand behind the eCommerce store is probably responsive.
Thankfully it’s not hard to keep your website up-to-date even if your product lines aren’t changing and doing so could help you to rise through the Google ranking pages as part of a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
The bottom line is that if you want your e-commerce site to succeed, you need to leave users with a good impression. Remaining active on blogs, product pages, and social media, will help you to do exactly that.
8. Use plain English!
Regardless of what you sell, cutting the jargon could help you to make more sales. The simple fact is that customers want to find and purchase products simply. Impenetrable walls of text and unclear descriptions could prevent them from doing that and lead them straight into the arms of your competitors.
Writing in plain English is one of the easiest ways to connect with your customers, tell them about what you do, and encourage them to make a purchase. Whether it’s product descriptions, shipping information, or you’re about section – leave the technical language for another time.
Attract more customers, and make more sales
All things considered, improving your eCommerce website should be a priority – and it doesn’t even have to be hard. With millions of competitors out there, there are plenty of examples to take a lead from, and even more to do exactly the opposite of.
Whatever it is that you offer, whether it is fashion retail or HVAC eCommerce, focus on simplicity, customer service, and user experience. It’ll make a real difference to your online sales strategy.