Tips to build a successful ecommerce web site
An ecommerce site needs to be conversion friendly. The site must attract visitors and convert them into paying customers. Improved conversions are a direct result of a site that offers a satisfying shopping experience. When designing ecommerce sites, you need to make sure your site has been designed from a target shopper’s point of view. Give them what they want and you have a profitable site, but create a site that doesn’t cater to their needs you will have to say good bye to any chance of achieving a high conversion ratio.
Here are 15 tips that need to be kept in mind to create a conversion friendly ecommerce site:
1. Know your target audience
Your target audience is the one that will buy products from your site. So, know what makes it tick. Remember, buying is an emotional decision, so get an idea about the kind of user emotions that will trigger a buying decision. Also get an inkling of their shopping behavior and the various qualities that they look for in an ecommerce site to make a buying decision. Understanding your target audience is crucial for ecommerce success, because your audience is going to make a decision to buy the products, based on the visuals and product information you have on offer. Therefore, you must be able to provide them with the information they are looking for. If you don’t, it will result in shopping cart abandonment.
2. Simple Navigation
Prospective shoppers want a navigation that is very easy to understand and gets them from point A to point B on your site, with a minimum fuss. So give them a navigation that will allow them to browse your product portfolio quickly and conveniently.
3. High Resolution Product Images
Product images are the single most important visual element on your ecommerce site. High resolution product images that showcase the products in all their glory are an absolute must. Shoppers want to know what they are getting, so give them what they want. Zoomable product images taken from different angles are also a great conversion booster.
4. Detailed and Engaging Product Info
Think of an ad for a product that you see in newspapers or magazine, but with more info about the product; that’s how your product information should be. It’s another important element that triggers conversions. Great product copy is not just about the kind of information that you offer, but also the way you offer that information. It must be complete, interesting and engaging.
5. Call to Action Images
Forget about call to action buttons (these are a part and parcel of every ecommerce site), what you need to use are great call to action images. These are images that have one defining quality about them – persuasion. These are images that persuade people to buy products from your site.
6. Product Videos
Shoppers love an interactive website that offers the kind of interactive elements that serve some purpose, for e.g. product videos. Videos are the next best thing to touching or feeling a product, and what’s more they help you talk about the benefits of using a particular product. This is a subtle kind of marketing that adds to your efforts towards better conversions.
7. Shopping Cart Visibility at all Times
Make sure that their shopping cart is visible to shoppers at all times, preferably at the top of the right hand corner of their screens. Another good idea would be to make sure that they get info about the products on their shopping cart via a drop down menu. Shoppers have a habit of checking the items ready for purchase and therefore want continuous access to their shopping cart. This is again something that boosts the conversion ratio of the ecommerce site.
8. Don’t Charge for Shipping, if Possible
Here’s a question for you – Would you rather offer free shipping or a discount on products? A number of people choose the latter, thinking most shoppers love discounts and that will prop up the conversion rates, but you know what the truth is? Shipping charges are a real conversion killer. So, why not offer free shipping? Agreed, it doesn’t make sense to give free shipping for products that are priced at the lower end of the scale, so define a shopping amount, above which you will offer free shipping. Work out a business model that allows you to offer free shipping to boost conversions.
9. No Distractions Please, We are Shopping
I see plenty of ecommerce sites where there are product ads on the checkout page or links to the company’s blog or something else. Remember, shoppers don’t like to be distracted and might abandon the cart if they find certain elements interfering with their shopping experience. So, in your website’s checkout process, only offer the order information and nothing else.
10. Have a Section of Featured Products on the Landing Page
There are plenty of shoppers who will have no clear idea about what they are shopping for when they come to an ecommerce site. This is why featuring specific products on your landing page is always a good idea. This will get rid of confusion in their minds and help them focus on the products that they would like to buy. Another conversion booster!
11. Clearly Display Specials and Discounts
If you are offering discounts on products or running some specials, this information must be clearly visible on your site, preferably on your Home Page. You want your discount offerings to improve your conversion ratio, so make sure they grab the immediate attention of your target customers.
12. Show Contact Info
Something as simple as mentioning your contact info on your ecommerce website can make it more conversion friendly. That’s because online shopping is all about trust. If customers trust your site, they will buy from it. One of the ways this trust can be established is by offering detailed contact information.
13. Multiple Payment Options
Some shoppers might have doubts about sharing their credit card information on your site, which means they will abandon it before buying anything from it. So, make sure that you offer multiple payment options to ensure you give all your customers an opportunity to buy from your site.
14. Don’t Just offer Search, Offer Advanced Search
Offering advanced search facility will help shoppers find their products easily and quickly. The Search bar is an important part of your ecommerce site navigation, and is especially important if you have a huge ecommerce site, a ’la Amazon or eBay. One of the ground rules of improving conversion rates of a site is to make the shopping experience simpler. Search is one way of doing this.
15. Keep it Simple
Avoid onsite complexities as much as you can. Make sure that you stick to a simple user flow that makes products and their information easily accessible to the user. No shopper is looking for a brilliantly crafted ecommerce site. They are only looking for a site that makes shopping a breeze.
Taking note of these fifteen tips will definitely help you build an ecommerce site that sets cash registers on fire. But, keep looking up new tips that will help you further improve the site’s “shoppability”. You would do well to remember that a successful ecommerce site is always a work in progress and you will need to keep tweaking it to make it more conversion friendly.