Let’s face it, online shopping has been growing at a rapid speed for years. And its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. The comfort and convenience of shopping from home are appealing to consumers of all ages.
With this boom of online shoppers comes a dramatic increase in e-commerce sites flooding the internet. The world of online sales has become an uber-competitive one. Making your site successful can be a challenge. It’s a steep hill to the top of the e-commerce world.
However, creating a site that customers love interacting with can help you win big. By loving the online shopping process, they will return to your site again and again. So take the time and effort to create an e-commerce site that shoppers truly adore.
Create an Intuitive Design
Whether you are using a web design agency or creating your website in house, the foundation of its design is fundamental. It’s just as important that your site is highly-functional as it is beautiful. In fact, to many customers, it’s even more essential.
No one likes to interact with a clunky site. Extra steps to get to a product page or complete a purchase can easily turn off your customers. Keep them shopping on your site with intuitive tools and features.
An easy to use menu is essential for shoppers to quickly find the department they are interested in. Make narrowing down items to sub-departments simple with a well-organized inventory. Be sure to make it easy to quickly find things like sale tabs and popular, trending products.
No one wants to read a ton of verbiage while browsing for clothing or houseware online. Even more technical items can benefit from visuals. Create menu items with images that represent the product categories. Wayfair does a great job at creating a clean, easy-to-use menu.
This makes it much easier for customers to bounce around to pages with less effort. In an instant, the department that they are searching for can be easily found. Plus, the catchy images might even create the need for additional items to browse for. Save the wordiness for informative product descriptions and let your menu images speak for themselves.
Mirror the Real World Shopping Experience
In e-commerce, mirroring the real-world shopping customer experiences can make browsing and buying more fun. Think of ways you can create an immersive experience so ecommerce customers feel like they are part of your online store, not sitting in front of a screen. This will likely encourage them to hang around longer, paying off in more sales for you.
Customers will likely have questions that can’t be answered on your site. Maybe they are unable to find the information they need to make a purchase decision. Mimic the brick and mortar sales model and provide them with access to a salesperson. Real-time chat ability is a great feature so they can quickly get the answers they need and return to shopping.
In a virtual world, customers crave interaction. Make sure you give it to them so they feel like they are truly shopping from your online store, not just an impersonal website. Here, Nordstrom does a great job utilizing online tools to interact with customers.
Customers have two options to receive customized products and outfit selections. This not only creates loyalty but also shows your customer that you care for them on an individual level.
Sometimes the lack of immediate gratification can make online shopping less thrilling. Online customers often want their brand new items as soon as possible, just as with in-person shopping. Offer expedited shipping options so they can receive their purchase more quickly. And take advantage of physical locations you may have with pick up in-store options.
Stay True to Your Brand
Consistency in branding is one of the best ways to forge a meaningful connection with your customers. They want to know what to expect from you. The same experience across all of your digital channels provides them with that reliability.
Make sure your website reflects who you are as a brand. Obviously, the colors, fonts, and branding will all be cohesive with your other branding materials. However, the voice and personality of your website are also important.
Say you are a playful brand focused on fun and adventure. Keep your shopping site lively and energetic. Fun videos, clever puns, and even popping in some emojis can make your site enjoyable to interact with. This high energy can make shopping more entertaining for customers, resulting in return visits and higher sales.
However, if you are a brand rooted in serious tones and developing trust and reliability, keep your site clean and to the point. Skip the fluff and make essential information easy to find. Make sure your site’s voice is all about being an authority on your products and selling items that your customers know are high-quality and reliable.
However you have chosen to personify your brand, keep it cohesive in the marketing and channels that shoppers use to get to your site. Everything from your Facebook ads to your Google Meta-Descriptions should make sense and feel like they fit together. This allows customers a seamless transition to your e-commerce site and a feeling of familiarity.
Keeping it Fresh
Creating an e-commerce experience is just the start of your goal here. You need to be constantly monitoring and evolving the experience for long term success. Part of this is making sure your site has fresh content and the most relevant information is front and center.
Adding content to your site can be a big win. It can be anything from a simple blog to a complex series of videos and tutorials. The most important thing is that it’s valuable to your customer and relevant to your brand.
Are you selling apparel and accessories? Customers love tips on how to style your newest inventory. A blog is a fantastic way to share your on-trend products or tips on creating the perfect look. You can even add links to the blog posts on product pages and vice versa. This makes navigating between purchasing products and learning about them simple.
Maybe you are an e-commerce site that is marketing home improvement supplies. Tutorial videos can be priceless assets to consumers. It also makes your page a one-stop-shop where they can both buy the product they need and learn how to use it from an expert.
Home Depot does an amazing job at providing guides and project ideas for everything from bedroom decor to storm preparedness.
They even have activities for the littlest Home Depot shoppers. And all of these guides use, you guessed it, products available to purchase at Home Depot. Not only are they providing valuable info to their customers, but they are also creating additional need for their products.
Content alone isn’t enough to keep your site fresh. Your homepage is a perfect place to make small adjustments to make the ecommerce customer experience exciting with each visit. This will prompt them to return time and time again to see what’s new.
Highlight seasonal items or promotions right on your home page. Holidays are big business, make sure to capitalize on them. Put the products that customers are currently looking for right on your homepage. The easier you make it for them to quickly locate the products they need, the more likely you are to earn the buy.
Include Features That Browsers Love
Not everyone that comes to your site is going to hit the buy button. Though users that pop in and browse are super valuable assets to your e-commerce site. In fact, 98 percent of visitors won’t purchase the first time they interact with your brand. Include features that they will love to keep them coming back again and again.
In a world of online shopping and gift-giving. A wish list function is essential. And we’re not talking just wedding and baby registries. Give customers the ability to create a variety of wish lists allows you to capitalize on all gift-giving occasions. Plus, they will be thrilled to actually receive the gifts that they want.
Allow kiddos to make lists for their birthdays and holidays. Create options for teachers to fill their classrooms with supplies and charities to create lists of items in need of donations. Making these lists simple to create and send makes communicating these wants and needs simple and seamless.
Customers may have found an item that they love and might be willing to by themselves in the future. Maybe they just aren’t ready to pull the purchase trigger just yet. But if you provide tools that make it easier to retrieve that item when they are ready, it will make them more likely to add it to their cart later.
A favorites feature or shopping list function is a super useful tool. Even better, make it organizable. So a browser is looking to redecorate their house and is collecting ideas for each room, give them the functionality to sort their favorites by category like “kitchen items” or “flooring choices”.
Set up a system to remind the customer if an item has been sitting idle on their wishlist for a while. Also, alerts about low stock or price drops could encourage them to buy more quickly. Plus, they’ll appreciate the heads up from you!
E-Commerce Site Success
By being strategic, you can give your website the best chances to be a soaring success. Be thoughtful about design and the all-around experience of your customers. Create a virtual world where they can identify with and interact seamlessly with your brand. Change up your content and site to give customers an exciting experience, each and every time.
Your e-commerce site has the potential to do big things for your ecommerce business. So work to craft a customer-focused experience and you’ll have impressive success to show for it.