Your company’s ability to thrive in today’s ultra competitive e-commerce industry hinges upon your ability to create an extraordinary experience for your customers. This experience begins with an inviting, captivating website that helps your customers achieve their goals quickly and easily. Below are five ways to increase your e-commerce conversions.
1. Revamp your website
Your path to e-commerce prosperity begins with a fantastic website. After all, new customers will never make it to the decision-making phase unless they are drawn to your website. While the extent to which you update your site will depend upon the current state of your website, you should consider a total overhaul of your website if any of the following conditions are met:
- Your website contains content or design elements that are severely outdated
- Your business goals have completely changed
- Customers are unable to submit questions or inquiries through your site
- Your website does not function properly on mobile devices
- Your website is not secure or has outdated software
- Customers cannot find your website
- Your website is stuck in the 1990s
- Customers complain that your website moves at a snail’s pace
Even if your website does not require a complete overhaul, you should still regularly review its functionality to ensure that your website is your company’s best asset. While the frequency with which you should review your website will depend upon the nature of your e-commerce business, experts suggest that a website can benefit from a complete facelift or redesign every two or three years. If your customers are technologically adept, you may wish to revamp your website more frequently. A key goal of the web redesign process should be to foster a positive user experience, as outlined below.
2. Lay the foundation for a stellar user experience
According to a Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) report, 77 percent of agencies acknowledged that a subpar website user experience is a big weakness for businesses. Successfully updating your e-commerce website requires you to understand the needs of your target audience and update your website in a way that exceeds their expectations. The result is a captivated customer who is unable to resist the allure of your company and products. Below are tips to creating such a user experience:
- Build an eye-catching landing page that holds the user’s attention.
- Make sure that your website is speedy. Pages should take no longer than 2 to 3 seconds to load.
- Customers should be able to easily navigate through your site or search for items.
- Your website should be intuitive and easy to use.
- Ensure that your website has a mobile-friendly design.
- Avoid the inclusion of too many ads or pop-ups.
- The content on your site should be helpful to your audience and easy to view.
- Customers should have a means of submitting an inquiry or request through your site.
- Your website should be well-organized and aesthetically pleasing.
You can speak with your user-experience specialist about a/b testing your e-commerce website or run some tests yourself. There are some amazing tools online to help get a better grasp on your website’s UX and conversion performance. Here are a few tools that you should check out:
3. Create an outstanding customer experience
An impeccable customer experience is astonishingly powerful. In addition to helping you increase conversions, a great customer experience can even help ease the sting of a poor user experience. Key elements to remember when fostering a positive customer experience are as follows:
- Be transparent with your pricing. Make sure there are no hidden fees.
- Make the online checkout process seamless and intuitive.
- Provide customers with prompt notification of their tracking information.
- Notify customers immediately if a product is on back order.
- If an item is sold out, suggest a comparative alternative if one is available.
- Make it easy for customers to return a product that is not satisfactory.
- Offer customers a means of providing feedback about their customer experience.
This last point is particularly critical, as customer feedback is an incredibly valuable tool to employ in bolstering your e-commerce conversions. Seeking suggestions and comments from your existing customers will help you increase conversions and grow your business in the following ways:
- You gain valuable insight into the minds of your target market
- You cultivate loyalty among existing customers by showing them that their opinions matter
- You receive unfiltered criticism and positive feedback from an honest and unbiased source
The importance of an exceptional customer experience cannot be stressed enough. A good customer experience will increase conversions, while a poor experience will undoubtedly be detrimental to your bottom line. According to Esteban Kolsky’s presentation at the Callidus Customer Conference, 13 percent of unhappy customers will tell 15 or more people about their experience, while 72 percent of customers will share their experience with six others if they are happy.
4. Generate a list of best practices and adhere to them
Identifying best practices and committing to follow them is vital to the continued success and growth of your business. Ideally, you should involve your employees when discussing best practices to ensure that you are fostering a unified culture at work. Four of the most fruitful best practices within the e-commerce industry are:
- Create a blog and update it regularly. Your blog content should be current and relevant to your target audience. Use a calendar to ensure that you update your blog in accordance with your desired frequency.
- Feature star-studded testimonials on your website. Customer testimonials are one of the most influential forms of advertising available, especially if the testimonial is provided by an industry expert. Keep testimonials short and to the point, and include a customer photo with the quote if possible.
- Present an offer your customers can’t refuse. Few things are more enticing to a prospective customer than an irresistible offer on a product that they need or want. Examples include bundling free accessory packages with key products or extending a 15 percent discount to all new customers.
- Keep a close eye on your competitors. As the owner of an e-commerce store, you cannot afford to live in a bubble. Failure to monitor your competitors’ pricing and sales tactics may ultimately lead to customer abandonment. In addition to monitoring the websites of your online competitors, you can maintain a competitive edge by participating in industry trade shows and surveying your customers.
5. Enlist the help of an industry expert
The best way to increase your e-commerce conversions is to seek the guidance of an experienced industry professional. An industry expert can help you define your goals, enhance your website and create a superb user experience for your customers.
Consider the example of KITH, a multifunctional lifestyle brand for both women and men, as well as a progressive retail establishment. The KITH team recognized the need to increase their online brand identity and create a better user experience. KITH reached out to my agency, Avex Designs and embarked upon a campaign to develop their online brand experience. We helped the NYC-based brand achieve this goal through the following steps:
- Enhancing the KITH website by making it faster and more SEO friendly
- Creating a custom user experience that focuses on KITH’s strong brand identity
- Educating the KITH team about how they can better manage their content
- Providing ongoing support by providing a website style guide
As you evaluate marketing and design companies, you should remember that web design companies are not all created equal. You should choose a creative agency that is committed to collaborating with their clients and educating them about the ways that the customer’s digital experience can increase conversions. Ideally, you should seek a marketing and design company with the following attributes:
- An impressive breadth of experience that includes web design, SEO, web development and digital strategy
- A robust portfolio of references
- Experience using testing and prototyping to develop client solutions
- A desire and ability to facilitate customer growth
With the help of a trusted creative digital agency, you can optimize your e-commerce company’s online presence and foster a winning user experience. However, many of the above enhancements can be applied by you or your web designer. Either way, the end result is an increase in your overall conversion rate and a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com/g/Vladyslav+Starozhylov