As an eCommerce business, one of your main challenges will be keeping your sales up and finding new revenue opportunities. But there is so much you can do to actually streamline your business processes around maximizing your existing sales and revenue channels.
When it comes to increasing your sales, the secret is to focus on your customers; in simple terms, how can you make it as easy as possible for your customers to make a purchase? How can you give them a positive user experience that will make them feel good about making a purchase, and encourage them to return in the future?
In this article we cover the top ways you can optimize your customers’ experience and increase your conversion rates. We focus both on your customers’ journey throughout your website and how this can be made as seamless and intuitive as possible.
1. Increasing your site’s speed and performance
Nearly 57% of visitors will abandon a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. If this is the first experience your users have of your site, you are off to a bad start. Ultimately, a slow site could be costing you considerable missed out sales and revenue
eCommerce sites are particularly prone to slower performance due to the many integrations involved in the process of selling products, so it is especially crucial that you ensure your website speed is optimal. Look into your hosting options and upgrade if necessary. Ideally your site pages should load in under a second.
2. Ensuring a seamless user experience
Once your users are on your site, how can you make it as easy as possible for them to find what they need? The easier, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Think of ways to make the user journey as smooth and intuitive as possible, mapping out several alternatives and testing them to determine which one is best. This is an extremely critical, but often overlooked, step of developing a website.
When thinking about user experience also consider your branding: does the entire site and checkout process accurately represent your brand? How can you make your visitors associate the experience of being on your website with their experience of your facility or event?
In addition, is this experience consistent across touchpoints and devices? For example, is the user experience on your site consistent with that of your POS, kiosk and mobile channels?
3. Optimizing for mobile
Part of improving your customers’ experience of your site is ensuring it is mobile-responsive. According to Gartner, in 2017 mobile commerce will equal 50% of all digital commerce revenue, so if your site is not already optimized for mobile you could be missing out on significant revenue. Mobile-first design is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.
Of course, this includes ensuring that the checkout process is simple and mobile-friendly, without excluding any of the capabilities of the desktop design, such as product variants.
Another aspect is enabling digital products, such as eBooks or tickets, to be generated in your customers’ desired format. This may include a downloadable PDF, or a text message with a link. The easier you make it for your customers to save their product or ticket, the more satisfied they will be.
4. Implementing a simple and intuitive checkout process
27% of online shoppers have abandoned an order due to a too long or complicated checkout process. If your checkout process becomes a frustrating experience for your customers, they will leave without purchase.
There are several ways you can make your checkout process as simple as possible:
- Try and keep the checkout process to as few pages as possible, ideally one.
- Reduce the number of form fields customers are required to fill in. For example, allow them to check a box if their billing and shipping addresses match.
- Remove any steps of the checkout process that aren’t absolutely necessary.
- Allow users to check out as guests if they wish to, rather than requiring them to create an account.
- Other things you can consider in relation to your checkout process are payment providers; are you accepting the forms of payment your customers require or desire? Should you look into adding new ones, such as Apple Pay?
Finally, when it comes to your checkout process, design is incredibly important. Customers will feel more comfortable making a purchase if the site is well designed and mobile-compatible, as an outdated-looking site will give them the impression that it is not secure. Always ensure that your checkout pages are responsive and have an up-to-date design.
5. Increasing the value of customer accounts
Although creating an account should be an optional step for customers, it does provide a great opportunity to build customer loyalty and encourage return visitors.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that account creation isn’t geared towards collecting lead data for your sales team. As with every other step of the journey, customer accounts should be ways for you to benefit your customers, not the other way around.
Each customer’s account should be a central hub for them to check their purchase information, find and re-download tickets where relevant and keep track of shipping and delivery.
You could also offer special deals and discounts to account owners, or implement a point-accumulation program to encourage future purchases or other actions. For example, you could award points every time a user completes a review or shares content on social media. These are all incentives that will keep you in your customers’ mind and encourage them to choose you, and not a competitor, for future purchases.
6. Upselling and cross-selling
The checkout process also provides great opportunities to generate additional revenue through upselling and cross-selling. You can do this by encouraging customers to purchase “upgraded” versions of your products, or by recommending relevant products.
Clearly display the upgrade options and recommended products as one of the steps of your checkout process and include positive ratings and “most popular” tags to make them more attractive and give them additional credibility.
Upselling and cross-selling is particularly effective when coupled with personalization, which is the next item on our list. Through personalization you can ensure that relevant recommendations are automatically generated depending on the item being purchased, increasing the chance that customers will purchase them or upgrade.
7. Implementing personalization
Personalization is fast becoming a key element of any web strategy, with marketers reporting a 19% uplift in their sales thanks to personalization initiatives.
A great way of implementing personalization on your site is to include relevant recommended products on each page. You can set up recommended products by assigning categories across your site content and dynamically implementing it on each product page.
Personalization can also be applied to content as part of your content marketing strategy. This is an area where you could take advantage of analytics to help you determine what kind of content is most popular with your target audience, and focus your efforts on that.
By including personalization elements on your site you are effectively tailoring the user experience to each of your customers and pushing them in the right direction towards making a purchase.
8. Providing great customer service
Finally, great customer service could give your users the final nudge they need to make a purchase. Typically, a customer will contact customer service when they are having an issue making a purchase, or when they are experiencing a problem with a previous purchase. In both cases, a positive customer experience could make a huge difference not only to their ability to make the purchase, but also to the likelihood that they will return to your site in the future.
Ultimately your aim here is to delight your customers; even if a customer is experiencing negative issues on your site, a positive interaction with your support team could radically shift their experience from a negative to a positive one.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make your customers’ experience as memorable as possible, to help define your brand and remain in your customers’ consciousness. This includes ensuring that your messaging is consistent across online and in-person communications. Is your website’s design and user journey consistent with that they experience when attending your events?
For more web strategy best practices, visit http://blog.agilitycms.com/.