When you’re running an ecommerce business, you have a duty to provide your customers with a seamless online shopping experience. Here’s how to do it.
Is your business one of the roughly 2.5 million ecommerce stores in the US?
Considering that a vast majority of American adults now routinely shop online, you’ve made a smart decision to run an online business. However, while ecommerce stores aren’t as abundant as physical stores, competition for customers is fierce, and the market is dominated by a few large players.
To stand out from your competitors and have a good chance of being successful, it’s important that your business offers a seamless online shopping experience. The modern consumer is choosy and won’t hesitate to abandon a site that frustrates them.
So, what can you do to enhance the online shopping experience of your customers? Read on to find out.
Good Website Design
As an ecommerce business, your website is like a physical store. This is where your customers come to check out your products, make orders, track delivery progress, and even contact customer support.
As such, it’s essential that your website’s design is as welcoming and aesthetically pleasing as possible.
When you’re building an ecommerce website, there are design standards and trends you must observe. For example, utilize white space to make the site feel spacious and improve user focus. It also makes the site more readable and navigable.
Don’t make the mistake of taking a DIY approach with your ecommerce website’s design. Yes, there are tools to make building a website easier and more cost-effective, but you’ll likely end up with a site that offers a poor user experience. It’s best to hire an experienced ecommerce website designer and let them do the job.
Keep in mind that ecommerce web design standards are always evolving, and new trends emerge often. Consumer preferences also change. Be sure to improve your site’s design from time to time.
Speed Up the Site
Google says that 53 percent of people will abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. In other words, 3 seconds can make the difference between getting and losing a customer.
It’s a no-brainer that when you’re selling products online, your website needs to be super-fast. But this can be challenging to achieve, given that ecommerce sites typically have lots of heavy content, such as high-quality product photos and videos.
Should you trade site speed with content quality? Absolute not. Consumers what fast-loading sites with high-quality product photos and videos.
The solution is to invest in the site’s infrastructure. For example, you can use a content delivery network and migrate the site to a fast web host. As the site’s traffic grows, you may need to look into dedicated server hosting.
Enhance Site Security
Ecommerce sites are a prime target for online hackers because they process and/or store lots of consumer financial data. A single data breach can cost your business more than $3 million and take about a year to contain.
Ensuring your website is secure isn’t just key to your business’s survival. It’s also central to your customers’ shopping experiences. To start off, no customer is going to make a purchase or even create an account if they notice that your site doesn’t have HTTPS encryption and an SSL certificate.
Ensure your web host has robust server defense systems, keep all plugins and applications up-to-date, and train your employees on cybersecurity. At the end of the day, you want anyone who comes to your website to gain full confidence that their data will be secure.
Seamless Checkout Process
In ecommerce, getting a prospective customer to your website is the easy part. The hard part is getting them to make a successful purchase. The average cart abandonment rate is about 70 percent.
Why are so many prospective buyers failing to complete their transactions?
Certainly, some consumers abandon carts because they change their mind about the purchase along the way. However, in most cases, the cart abandonment will be due to something with the site, such as difficult navigation or being required to create an account.
Removing as many obstacles as you can identify from the checkout process is key to improving the buyer’s shopping experience. If the website doesn’t allow shoppers to add an item to the cart without leaving the product page, for example, they’ll quickly get tired of the back-and-forth and abandon the cart.
Another reason most online shoppers will abandon a cart is if their preferred payment option isn’t available. If someone wants to pay via credit card and your business doesn’t accept credit cards, count that as a lost customer.
In this day and age, you have no reason not to offer virtually every form of payment available. Even if you’re running an ecommerce business that card processors consider high-risk, you should still be able to get the service. Be sure to learn more about high-risk credit card processing.
Offer Free/Fast Shipping
There’s a running joke that an online shopper will happily pay $10 for an item with free shipping than pay $6 for an item with a $4 shipping charge!
It’s no secret that consumers love free shipping and will come in droves if your site is offering the free service. But since offering free shipping in perpetuity isn’t sustainable, there’s another alternative customers love: fast shipping.
In a world of instant gratification, an online shopper wants their order delivered now. They’ll rather pay more at an ecommerce site that offers same-day shipping than pay less at a site that takes longer to deliver.
Elevate Your Online Shopping Experience
As shopping online quickly becomes the order of the day, e-commerce business owners have every reason to smile. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a bumper harvest is coming everyone’s way.
Only sites offering the best online shopping experience will have a good chance of making the most online sales. You now know what to do to improve your customer’s experience on your site.
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