Today’s ecommerce website conversion rates are lower than most people realise. In fact, the industry average is currently hovering just under the 5% mark. Given this reality, you should seize every opportunity to optimise your digital strategy, engage shoppers, and ensure their ability to complete purchases quickly and easily.
Good ecommerce website design should be at the top of your list of priorities. When people shop online, often their only experience with your brand is your website. The modern consumer expects a seamless, personalised journey — an effortless path that leads them from initial click to the completion of their purchase. Anything that hinders this shopping experience has the potential to drive clients away. For example, consider that nearly eight in 10 consumers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
Writers and ecommerce web developers alike will be familiar with the “inverted pyramid” concept. This is essential in crafting an effective webpage that captures browsing customers and inspires them to pause, consume, and engage with your content. Following the inverted pyramid model, place the most eye-catching important message and desired action at the top, then follow with supporting content and secondary actions. Since most visitors rarely scroll past the first or second message presented to them, it is important to lead with something strong, leaving background details for the bottom of the page.
How you present your content is as important as the order in which you present it. Most people tend to quickly scan website pages, jumping from headline to image to text, and from page to page. The use of catchy headlines, images that engage directly with both the content and the user, and concise, action-oriented messaging are all great tricks to catch the user’s scanning eye and ensure that your message is read. Be careful not to go overboard — too many images, colors, headlines, and fonts can be as difficult to navigate as no variation at all.
Ensure that all your webpages have easy-to-find links to all your social media platforms, and be sure that your brand’s message is consistent across all channels. When clients reach out to you over social media, don’t let them go unanswered. Show them that you value them as individuals, and respond promptly and politely. Answer questions, address concerns, or even just chat. When shoppers see that your brand is willing to meet them on their turf, they’ll be more willing to do business.
Level with them. Take an objective look at who you are and what you are offering, and try to anticipate the questions, objections, and concerns your targeted audience may have. Address these issues directly on your page using clear, concise language, and easy-to-consume formats. Your customers must be able to find what they need to make an intelligent decision without having to expend a lot of effort.
User experience is paramount in any retail business, but even more so in ecommerce. Users can abandon their cart, close their browser, or take their shopping elsewhere with no more than a click of a button. If any aspect of your page ends up confusing or slowing them down, you will lose them.
The solution is to keep it simple. Cut out any unnecessary obstacles. Request only the information you need. Allow buyers to make purchases without having to set up an account. Offer multiple payment options. Make errors easy to fix, without forcing customers to restart the purchase or payment process.
Shoppers who make it to checkout are nearly at the finish line. Make their last few steps straightforward and easy, and they’ll be much more likely to see it through.
Today’s shopper is connected and tech-savvy, and expects the latest and greatest website experiences from brands — including yours. That said, keeping up with the latest trends is a double-edged sword.
If you start relying too heavily on trends to drive your site design, you may find yourself scrambling as the latest feature quickly becomes obsolete. For example, website slide features are still a popular aspect on many ecommerce websites, but their effectiveness is in question — a recent study showed that only 1% of all website visitors clicked on a five-feature slider, 89% of whom only clicked on the first image.
The hard work doesn’t stop once you have a site design that you’re happy with. Both before and after launch, your ecommerce web developers should constantly monitor and update the site to keep things running smoothly. These are just a few of the tasks required:
- Regular audits and analysis of your competitors are essential. Review sites, social media, customer experiences, pricing, and market positions regularly to stay up to date with the market.
- Regular audits are also important for your own site. For example, don’t forget the importance of SEO audits and functionality reviews. For example, just a one-second delay in page load time can decrease your conversion rate by up to 7%. Make sure that everything is working smoothly and that any problems with functionality are corrected as soon as possible.
- You can also use audits to monitor checkout flow and identify the most common places on the site where users stop shopping, bounce from the site, or abandon their carts. There are a lot of tools and programs that can help you track these vital behaviours and inform future design decisions.