2018 marks the year of personalized, online shopping experience. More and more ecommerce sites have been revolutionizing their approach to selling online. In the US alone, there are now 1.3 million ecommerce sites, a far cry from 2014 when there were only 110,000 ecommerce websites on the net. Businesses are noticing the benefits of having their own ecommerce sites and ecommerce optimization to improve their sales and expose their brand online.
Despite a large number of ecommerce websites online, not all of them can ride the tide along with large competitors such as Amazon or Walmart. In a report from Fundera, they discovered that “20% of small businesses fail in their first year, and 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year.”
This simply means that it’s not enough to just exist online — you also have to do something about your website to thrive under pressure against your competitors and the market’s demands. Even giant companies are shutting down its retail stores — this may seem like a bad move, but they are shifting their attention to where the business is thriving: selling online.
One of the primary reasons why ecommerce businesses do not survive is the lack of sufficient conversions that lead to different failure points for a business. In this article, we will focus on a single point that affects the majority of all the other failure points combined: cart abandonment.
According to a study conducted by Baymard Institute, a better checkout design can yield 35.26% increase in conversion rate. That translates to a whopping $260 billion in sales that could have been recovered only if there were countermeasures implemented to recover those abandoned carts.
Cart abandonment results from users leaving the website without completing a purchase. There are several factors why people abandon carts — and we will cover every aspect that may trigger a user to leave his purchase.
Having your own ecommerce store is not an easy task. Managing the store alone can be daunting but optimizing your store’s checkout is an important duty to further improve your conversions. You might be losing revenue due to cart abandonment!
Are you ready to tweak your site to its optimal performance? Let’s start!
WEBSITE DESIGN AND LAYOUT
We’re jumping right ahead with your website layout and design. Before you start working on the following factors, we recommend that you check out first if your website is already mobile-ready, responsive, and optimally loads around half a second at its best.
1.Be transparent with total pricing
Isn’t it shocking if it turns out that you have to pay more than you should have after checking out your orders? Avoid that shock factor by automatically showing the total amount to your customers from the get-go. You can include the breakdown such as taxes to incur, shipping fees, and more. However, give your customers the opportunity to cut the costs, like choosing their own shipping option, or eliminating any add-ons that add to the total cost.
Walmart includes a breakdown of the costs once you click their Add to Cart button. It automatically calculates shipping and taxes, so each time you add a new item to your cart, you’re aware of how much your total is.
2. Allow a guest checkout option
Some shoppers are in a hurry — and some of them just happened to visit your website. Allow them to check out as a guest so they can finish their purchase. Some first-time customers prefer not to divulge their personal information upon the first time, so this kind of checkout option will be convenient for them. You can encourage people to sign up; here’s another fantastic idea from Walmart’s checkout option:
It’s just a simple checkout page; no clutter or noise to distract the users. They have the option to sign in or checkout as a guest. On the other hand, you don’t even need to check the previous page to check how much you need to pay; the total amount of cost is still displayed at the right-hand corner.
3. Make navigation and interface easy to use
Again, it’s admirable how Walmart has kept the clutter down to a minimal level. No big navigation menus that occupy too much space; the noticeable parts of a product landing page are:
- Name of the product
- The amount
- Time it takes to ship an item
- And the call to action “Add to Cart”.
They’ve kept the product categories in a neat drop-down, and faster access to important things like Pickup Today option, Gift Cards, Store Finder, and Track Order.
Take time to track the important pages in your store. From there, decide on which pages should be visible, and which pages can be hidden in a drop-down menu. If possible, you can also create categories that will simplify options, similar to how clothing websites categorize their products. Instead of showing categories of shoes, tops, and bottoms, they let you choose between WOMEN and MEN to narrow down the choices.
4. Provide better product images
Images describe a product more than words can. This is especially true for ecommerce sites. In a blog on Consumer Psychology by Justuno, they stressed the importance of product images in e-commerce. Approximately 93% of consumers consider the “visual appearance” of a product before purchasing it. You should work on making your products more appealing and more desirable. ASOS has a unique take on product imagery; aside from product photos, they also have photos where the product is worn by a model. Moreover, you can even view the product in 360°, and you can even zoom in to take a closer look!
5. Take advantage of social proof
If you haven’t tried adding social proof to your product pages, then it’s about time to take advantage of social proof. Aside from the usual integration of social media to your pages for testimonials, there are other ways of integrating social proof into your pages:
- Use certifications – usually, these are accreditations or third-party entities that certify your product or prove that you’re trustworthy.
- Use social media metrics – you can actually use Facebook as social proof. When people see that “50 of their friends like this page”, they are inclined to follow suit.
- Celebrities – classic old marketing technique that has now shifted on social media.
- Herd mentality – it helps to flaunt those numbers! You can either show how many people have bought an item, or how many reviews it has already gathered.
6. Improve the buying process to increase trust
People are wiser; the majority of people online are aware of the different scams that they may encounter online. They already know that they can trust a website with a green padlock; they are aware of phishing and malware on the Internet. What can you do to increase trust to assure your customers that you aren’t a scammer?
- Establish an HTTPS connection. According to the CA Security Council, 53% of their respondents in a consumer survey recognize the green padlock as a trust factor. It certainly means people are now aware of these trust factors online.
- Be professional. Whether you’re selling auto parts or babies’ clothing, your website needs to look professional. Have a fully functional and informative Contact Us or Support Page; anything that can help people contact you for questions about their purchase. On the other hand, it would be best to include a returns policy page and an FAQ, so people can refer to it if they have any doubts.
- Include testimonials. Get testimonials or reviews for your products. Even you know that your product is superb, people will still believe it others will say so. Meanwhile, if your company had received an award or recognition, it’s best to include an article about it on your website.
- Mitigate risks on social media. Believe it or not, people also do their research before purchasing anything from your website. Aside from the product, they search through your social media sites for any feedback on how you treat your customers. Have your social media team take care of these problems; make sure that you resolve issues quickly.
7. Determine which part of the funnel to improve
Once you’re done with optimizing your website, it’s ideal to regularly check your performance over time. Your e-commerce site isn’t the only component to improve — assess which part of the sales funnel you have to improve in order to maximize your funnel’s effectivity. Does it seem like you’re not acquiring new customers? Pay attention to your Awareness funnel and check if you lack efforts on lead generation. Do you lack in piquing the Interest of your audience? Did you try offering promotions, free trials, and more to help your customers decide to purchase? Are you offering every possible payment option?
You have to re-assess at every step of the funnel to make sure you’re all covered.
8. Use emails for abandoned cart reminders
Abandoned carts are one of the major reasons why ecommerce sites lose sales. In the 2nd quarter of 2017, it was found out that a whopping 77.3% of online orders ended up abandoned instead of purchased. What can you do to resolve this?
Believe it or not, most of the largest brands online rely on emails to push their abandoned carts. Abandonment emails achieve a 29% success rate; not bad given that these emails can be triggered automatically whenever someone leaves his cart unpurchased.
Ideally, it’s a three-stage process to recover these unpurchased carts. For example, an online retailer can use the first email to remind the customer that he “left some items in the cart”. The second email can offer a discount or free shipping if shipping costs were being determined as the bottleneck of the funnel. The third email can elicit a sense of urgency that the item is running out of stocks, or a final attempt to offer a discount for the item.
Are you ready to chase those abandoned carts? Here are some tips on writing irresistible emails for your abandoned cart outreach.
Remarketing, as defined by SEMRush, “…typically refers an advertising campaign which targets previous visitors to one’s website and displays advertiser-defined ads.”
Remarketing applies to all parts of the sales funnel. Through remarketing, you can segment the people you want to target for your campaign. Whether you’re targeting those users who have abandoned their cart, those who have left your website after seeing the home page, or those who have viewed a specific page in your site — all of these are possible remarketing tactics.
It’s hard to remarket on new buyers; thus, remarketing is purposely aimed at retaining customers or reeling in past customers who made a purchase on your website.
Here are some tips you can follow for remarketing.
- Using Facebook or Google Analytics, zero down in your impulsive buyers. Those buyers are the ones who spent less time on your site but directly made a conversion on your website.
- Did you know that it costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than retain the previous ones? That’s why in remarketing, most of the attention is towards those who have already made a purchase on the site. Target your new customers and turn them into repeat buyers!
- The best tactic: Target your biggest, frequent buyers. Those who have already spent a huge amount on your website. It means something — they already trust your website and without a doubt, they’re here to stay. You can tap into their wish list and look for products you can push forward for remarketing.
10. Adapt personalization
Personalization refers to the customization done by ecommerce sites that is specific for every user at certain touchpoints.
Though it may seem troublesome to keep up with the demands of personalization, retailers will be able to maximize customer value. Personalization isn’t just for increasing revenue; it helps increase customer loyalty. If a customer loves your brand, the frequency of purchases will increase, and the number of products in the cart will also increase! Imagine having a repeat customer with minimal effort = less expense, more revenue!
Personalization may be an entirely new concept for you, so here’s Optimonk’s 25+ ecommerce personalization tips and tools for you to enjoy!
Staying Alive: Customer Retention
As mentioned earlier, it’s indeed too expensive to acquire new customers than retaining the previous ones. According to the same resource, companies spend only 18% of retaining customers, as opposed to acquiring new customers. We’re not saying that you should solely focus on retention — sought after the balance between the two.
There are different ways on how to retain your customers; if you’re looking for a guide on how to retain more customers, here’s NGDATA compiled list of 46 experts and their top tactics for customer retention strategies. Here are our favorites:
- Joe Cercere’s tactic on leveraging an ecommerce site’s employee base to provide the best service for the customers, therefore increasing customer loyalty.
- Analyzing why customers are leaving in the first place – Filiberto Amati.
- Creating loyalty programs – Zach Goldstein.
- Offer a simple way to pay – Meagan Rhodes.
- Listen. – Corey Barnett.
Surviving in a Competitive Market
It’s no denying that it’s a tough market out there. You’re direct competitors with giants Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy. These are websites that can offer just about anything for their customers. Despite that, ecommerce sites are still given an equal chance to acquire customers in their chosen industry. We are all given the chance to use different marketing tactics.
We hope that this Ecommerce Website Optimization 101 has helped you get on track on what you still need to improve on your website.
Get those thinking caps on and start optimizing!
Kenneth Sytian is the head honcho of Sytian Productions Web Design Philippines. His no-nonsense approach to design coupled with his vast creativity is a winning combination for his clients.
(This is a guest post. View guest posting guidelines.