How to get more from your Ecommerce Website

Hi everyone, last week I had the pleasure of a great meeting with a very nice young lady who is looking to set up shop (no pun intended there), by selling a unique but somewhat necessary range of clothing. The astute entrepreneur (day job — nuclear physicist) came prepared with a tonne of questions about how to plan for a future in ecommerce. Questions ranged from domain purchasing to email set up (the basic stuff), front end ecommerce website design, SEO, marketing; this girl had done some planning! Over coffee we talked about these areas and factors she should consider.

It then spurred me on to write this blog post. As all my recent articles have been about social media and SEO, I thought it time to fascinate or baffle you with key areas you need to think about when looking to venture into ecommerce. Don’t be naive; it’s a tough market out there, not only with the competition, but the customers. They want more these days, better, faster. Ensure you plan, you probably won’t have the funds to create an ASOS or Amazon size website just yet, but if you get your foundations right, there’s no reason why you can’t.

When thinking about ecommerce there are ten factors which could very easily decide whether or not you’ll break through and keep on trading.

1) Price

Between 2011 and 2013, Qubit, through extensive online shopping customer surveys, found that price is still top dog for complaints. Research shows that customer gripes fall into two categories. There’s the “that product is too expensive” one and the “it’s too much for me” one. Believe this, customers are 7.4 times more sensitive to price when surfing the net compared to shopping in store, so it’s imperative that your sites prices are competitive and that you offer something others don’t.

2) Range

You may have noticed yourself that when shopping online there always seems to be more range available than when in store. Well you’re not deluded, there usually is and it’s for this reason more and more customers are taking their shopping online.

Your customers want an easier experience giving them the chance to explore your products and discover new ranges, your site must reflect this desire.

Think about improving your site by presenting more choice to the consumer using recommendation engines, displaying dedicated lists for new, sale and seasonal items and I think this goes without saying, related item groupings.

3) Size

From personal experience I can say that returning goods bought online is frustrating! If only there had been a reliable sizing chart on site. You can drastically reduce the number of complaints you get by presenting even a basic sizing chart. Think about that.

4) Website functionality

This might blow your mind, if Amazon’s checkout button was down for just an hour, the website could potentially lose $2 million in sales. So with this in mind, if you have a function on site, please make sure it works, and I don’t just mean the checkout button. Social buttons, contact forms, product zooms, image galleries, make sure they’re doing their job.

If you have a problem on your website and a function isn’t working or a page is down, be transparent and open about it. Provide an entertaining error message.

5) Website latency

Patience is a virtue (apparently) but when online that patience diminishes very quickly! Let’s be honest, when shopping, people are impatient and trigger happy and this has resulted in site speed becoming a big area for customer complaint. This quick-to-click attitude is only increasing so fixing any latency issues now will help in the longrun.

6) Site search

Let’s blame Google for this, if they hadn’t created the fastest, smartest search box in history ever, then regular Joe might not be quite so expectant of lightening fast, autocorrected, knowing what you’re going to type before you’ve even thought of it search results. You’re not going to have a search box quite like this just yet so help to calm a shoppers rage and frustration by expanding your tagging system and advanced search features.

7) Stock availability

This is another of those recurring complaints and poses a problem for your site as customers expect to see a greater variety and selection of stock online. Bear in mind that customer frequently complain when items are still displayed on site when they’re out of stock or discontinued.

8) Navigation

Poor navigation is a real bug bear and will cause your customers to leave your site. Ensure that popular and sale items are highlighted and various pages are easy to find and navigate.

9) Discounts, vouchers and sales

If you’re going to offer a voucher code make sure the customer can use it easily. Not being able to enter a code or redeem a voucher will cause annoyance and customers will leave.

10) Images

You’re only going to let the side down if you’re site isn’t pretty. Product images are more important than ever now, eye tracking studies have shown that web users scan first, then read.

Consumers also like to see multiple images before making a purchase and like to see clothes on models rather than just laid out. Video content to show the product in use also goes a long way to obtaining that all important conversion.

Conclusion

There are lots of things to consider when setting up a shop online but hopefully these points will cover the main areas of customer complaint and frustration. You need to be aware that shoppers want and expect more these days, and it’s up to you to deliver. Ease of use, attractiveness, availability and price are what you need to keep in mind. If not you’ll lose them to your competitors.

What changes have you applied to your ecommerce website to improve shopper experience?

Don’t forget that as a digital agency in Manchester we’re able to advise, help and assist with all your ecommerce website related issues. Just give us a call.

For the original article and all other articles to help with your online marketing, visit our digital marketing blog here.

Christian Michaels

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