1) Invest in High Quality Photography.
Investing in high quality photography is one of the most overlooked and underutilized aspects of most websites, especially small business websites. Having high quality photos can be the make or break for your website.
A great web design company is at the mercy of the quality of the photography they are using on the website. Unless the site has minimal images they will be forced to use whatever hero images and other images they have from that business, therefore poor images can offset the quality of a great web design company devaluing your website.
Investing in professional photography is worth the money for your product images and other images you will use on your eCommerce site. If you cannot afford professional photos of all your products and other images, maybe look for some quality stock photos or reach out to the manufacturers to get their best photos of your products if that is an option.
2) Survey Visitors and Existing Customers
At the end of the day it does not matter how good you think your site is, its what your customers think that matters. There are plenty of affordable survey software solutions available such as Survey Monkey to send out surveys to existing customers and website visitors. This data will be crucial for determining what features and design elements will be most successful for your clients.
3) Promote Your Products On Your Homepage
Having popular products or new products is a great way to promote the most important part of your eCommerce store: your products. If you have several flagship products or regularly have new products in stock make sure to showcase them on your homepage so that visitors can quickly identify what makes your store special or worth coming to on a frequent basis.
Amazon, the number one eCommerce store in the world, features plenty of products on their homepage and changes them frequently to entice returning visitors into buying new products.
4) Offer multiple Payment Options & In Store Pickup
Consumers are becoming more and more savvy and they want a user-friendly experience. Offering only paypal checkout or one payment option is no longer enough to be successful. Make sure your customers can check out with Paypal and credit card as well as any other options that may be more convenient for some customers.
Every country has specific checkout and payment preferences; therefore if you sell internationally, offering multiple payment options through something like the Magento extension Computop is a must.
5) Offer Multiple Delivery Options
Offering multiple delivery options goes hand and hand with the convenience of multiple payment options. Only offering ground shipping or one delivery may turn away customers who want faster delivery or those whom are willing to wait longer in order to save on shipping. Fedex, UPS, USPS, DHL, Pickup From Store, Overnight, International, Ground and other shipping options that might benefit your customers should be considered when setting up shipping for your eCommerce store.
6) Add Login with Social Media
Its clear that social media is exploding, so why not use it to improve the user-friendliness of your eCommerce store account sign-up process? Many customers are more likely to sign up if they can simply sign up with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google plus because this will save them time. You can also use services like Gigya to collect more data about the customers logging into your store through social media.
7) Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Mobile traffic accounts for almost 30% of visits for the average website. Building a responsive, mobile friendly website or separate mobile site is crucial to getting a strong conversion rate on mobile. 55% of respondents to a study by Adweek say a bad mobile experience hurts their opinion of a brand and 61% will leave to find a better mobile experience.
8) Invest in Quality Product Descriptions
One of the biggest mistakes I see is eCommerce stores that do not invest enough in their product-listing page. This is the most important page of your eCommerce store aside from the homepage. A new site we designed Designs By JuJu has a great product page and is getting over a 5% conversion rate since the launch date, twice the average conversion rate for most eCommerce stores. See for yourself at designsbyjuju.com.
9) Create A Blog
It might be counterintuitive to focus your efforts on a blog if you have an eCommerce store because your main priority is driving users to products, not static content. However blogs offer tremendous SEO and other benefits that will help drive more and better traffic to your website. You can also use your blog to promote your industry, products, social media accounts, and newsletter which will in turn help you grow your eCommerce store.
There are blog extensions and modules to many eCommerce platforms. You can also use an extension like Fishpig’s Magento WordPress extension that integrates WordPress into Magento if you are using Magento for your online store. WordPress might be the best blog option for your online store because it is one of the best blogging platform options available.
10) Post on Social Media Daily
This is an absolute must for any eCommerce store as social media continues to grow as a major part of Internet marketing. Social media still has lower numbers than other major traffic sources for eCommerce relative to email marketing, SEO, and direct traffic. However, despite not being a top eCommerce traffic driver, it is still growing faster than most other traffic sources and provides many other benefits such as credibility (sites with more social recognition are often trusted more) and a source to directly converse with customers.
11) Encourage and Promote Reviews
Reviews are a critical part of many eCommerce stores, and many online shoppers will not buy something unless they see reviews from other users who have bought that item first. According to Iperception, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews and that was from 2011. The numbers in 2014 are most likely much higher.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to write a review and try and encourage customers if you really need to get the review ball rolling. Reviews should be easy to find and write on every product-listing page if possible.
12) Search Accuracy & User Friendliness
Having a robust search feature is another feature many customers will use, especially if you have a lot of products. There are many modules or extensions to shopping cart platforms that will allow you to add more robust functionality to the standard search feature associated with most shopping cart platforms.
Test your search feature to make sure it is bringing up the results you or your customers would expect. If it is not, talk to your developer or look into ways to get it to work more consistently with how you would want the search feature to function.
13) Optimize Check Out for Convenience
Optimizing checkout for convenience is critical to reaching a high conversion rate. Offer things like persistent shopping cart, pre-filled information, preserve information when errors are made during checkout, and anything that else that will make it easier for your customers to go through the checkout process. Ensure that your forms are clear and easy to use such as clearly marking mandatory fields, making the field length input as long as the input is supposed to be as not to confuse the user.
Consider using things like one page checkout and other extensions or modules that might make it easier for your customers to check out on your store. Be aware that things like one page check out can increase customer service requests because the faster checkout process reduces the amount of information the customer provides, but if the ROI is there its worth it.
14) Optimize Your Email Confirmation and Auto Responders
When a customer signs up for an account or purchases a product you should make sure you have the appropriate email confirmation and auto responders setup to keep the customer engaged. If a confirmation email is not sent right away or does not contain the right information, the customer could be confused or turned off by the lack of efficiency with your eCommerce store.
Companies that have upsells and cross sells can benefit greatly from sending out auto responders to suggest products that might be a great compliment to a recently purchased product. If a customer purchased a product that you know requires additional products to maintain or use properly this a great opportunity to setup auto responders suggesting those products.
15) Offer A Chat Feature For Customer Support
Online chat is growing, and more and more websites are utilizing online chat features to improve their customer service. At this point you don’t want to get left behind the competition that may be using online chat support to enhance their customer support, so now is the time to get an online chat feature enabled. There are plenty of chat features available like Olark chat, Kayako, and Velaro that you can implement on your E-Store.
16) Utilize Video
Video is the future of the web in many respects. Youtube has exploded over the past 10 years, and more and more companies are using video on the web to fuel their online growth. Video is especially useful for eCommerce because rather than just showcasing an image and information about a project, why not go one step further and show an in depth video of the actual product in a real life setting.
Video can be used to promote your overall company like the killer marketing video by Dollar Shave Club, or to promote products like Stacks and Stacks that have video on their actual product page. Kissmetrics has found valuable evidence that video offers massive upside for eCommerce store for many different reasons behind just conversions on the actual product page itself.
17) Use Ajax Add To Cart
Ajax is something that can really supercharge your eCommerce store. Ajax allows you to load a page or a feature on your site without reloading the page by interacting with things like PHP so that you can trigger a feature like add to cart without reloading the page. A new site we developed Designs By JuJu has this feature, and the convenience has certainly helped to increase her conversion rate to over 6%.
This type of functionality is crucial to becoming a more successful eCommerce store because your customers can add products to the cart without reloading the page to see what is in their cart. This only speeds up the checkout process further increasing conversions.
18) Have a Best Sellers Category
Customers like to see a best sellers or top seller list of your products. At the end of the day most people are followers not leaders so let them follow by purchasing what other people already like. It also shows your customers what products are popular, proving that you have a brand and company with products and services consumers want to purchase.
19) Build Out A Segmented Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing is critical for a successful eCommerce store and is one of the highest converting forms of traffic for most online stores. Email converts at a significantly higher percentage than search and social traffic according to a study by smart insights, and is also one of the highest traffic drivers of many eCommerce sites ranking above social and in many cases search too.
20) Optimize Load Speed
Find ways to utilize things like a content delivery network or other applications that may help load things like images or other data heavy assets on your site more smoothly.
21) Setup Google Remarketing Ads
Remarketing is crucial for increasing sales on your eCommerce store. Returning visitors are significantly more likely to convert than new visitors, therefore building a strong base of returning visitors will be critical for your online success. There is no better way to influence more returning visitors than Google remarketing ads that follow visitors with a branded ad on the web to other sites after they have visited your online store. Just remember not to get too aggressive with the ads.
22) Optimize Your Store For Different Countries
International eCommerce growth is far outpacing US growth, especially in developing nations. This is a great time to optimize your store for different countries as the opportunity to become an international leader in the eCommerce space is still relatively new compared to the more saturated US market.
Platforms like Magento offer multiple store and website views for creating international sites. Look at what your platform offers as far as international eCommerce capabilities. If you have such features try and get your developers and team on the same page as possible international areas of expansion.
23) Enable Facebook Open Graph Protocol
Facebook open graph protocol allows your site to be shared on Facebook the way you want it be shared. If you do not enable this properly your share buttons and other share features will pull default images from the Facebook share features which might be a logo or random image on your website page.
Enabling Facebook Open Graph Protocol will allow you to specifically choose what content and snippets you want shared so that the images and other elements of your site being shared are exactly what you want and not the default settings.
24) Enable Google Analytics eCommerce Conversion Tracking
eCommerce conversion tracking is essential for analyzing and evaluating your eCommerce success. The average eCommerce site converts at around 2-3% online, therefore finding ways to grow beyond the average conversion rate for your industry and previous YOY rates will keep you ahead of the curve.
We recently launched a site generating a whopping 6% + eCommerce conversion rate post launch, 2 to 3 times the average conversion rate. As we meticulously track what days specific promotions and modifications to the website and marketing campaign create spikes or dips in the conversion rate we are able to fine tune the site to an expected YOY increase of over 50% in sales. Paying close attention to your Google Analytics eCommerce conversion tracking will give you the insight you need to make the improvements necessary to grow your online store.
25) Sign Up With Google Trusted Stores
Google trusted store will help your products get more readily shown on Google search results and deliver a higher perceived level of trust for the consumer. This should result in increased sales and a better customer experience.
Take the effort to go through the steps to becoming a Google trusted store. If there are things you are lacking to become one then it is likely those are elements of your store that need to be improved regardless of doing them for the sole purpose of becoming a Google trusted store.
eCommerce is incredibly complex and difficult to become successful in despite the fact that starting an eCommerce platform has become easier than ever with platforms like Magento and Shopify available at low cost. Starting an eCommerce store may have become easier but actually competing online for market share is more competitive because companies have invested more and more into growing their online stores for that market share. Therefore, a successful eCommerce site requires a strong SEO foundation, technical infrastructure, quality content, photography, social media, email marketing, and many other elements. A blog post by Moz on eCommerce conversions has even more in depth and specific actions you can take to improve your eCommerce store.
For a free evaluation of your eCommerce store’s conversion ability send us a message or feel free to give us a call at 781-202-4618. And don’t forget to come back to our blog as we have plenty more useful tips to share.