We’ve come a long way since the mid-'80s, when CompuServe was the world’s first and only ecommerce option available. Today, ecommerce has become an invaluable part of everyday life, with essentially every retail entity — from major corporations on down to local brick-and-mortar shops — having some form of online store. In fact, by the end of 2018, ecommerce sales (B2C) are expected to hit more than $2.3 trillion.
That is a lot of money — and opportunity — for your brand. As such, it is vital that your ecommerce site be perfectly optimized to stand out in the sea of competitors, maximize conversions, and keep customers coming back again and again. To do that, you need to provide the best user experience possible, connecting shoppers to the products they want in the fastest, most effective, and most convenient way.
Here are six ecommerce conversion optimization best practices to help you get started.
“Ecommerce optimization” conjures up images of search terms, keywords, and optimized CTA buttons. But first, it’s important to take a step back and make sure that your site is clean, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. Most users are quick to vacate sites that are too busy or over-complicated, and once they bounce you’ll have a hard time getting them to come back.
For example, 54% of ecommerce sites suffer from over-categorization. As an increasing number of people prefer to shop on their mobile devices — where intent-driven micro-moments are reshaping how we view the customer journey — overly complicated or crowded menus can be a hassle more than a help, potentially driving your customers off to look elsewhere. Over-categorization can cause navigation issues that result in customers leaving rather than completing a purchase.
More than half of consumers have said that they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize its communications with them. This goes beyond email and social media, to onsite shopping recommendations. Use AI-driven tools such as intelligent product recommendations to personalize the shopping experience, giving your customers more of the experience they want, and increasing the chance of conversions.
AI-powered product recommendations not only offer more personalization, but enable a more relevant and efficient experience for your customers. And the evidence is there to back it up — in one case study, Black Diamond saw a 15.5% increase in revenue after implementing AI.
Improve your search feature with language- or location-based search settings, allowances for hypernyms and synonyms, and searches based on audience segmentation. Predictive sort is a tool that incorporates AI and customer data to create personalized search drop-downs, search pages, and even category grid pages.
You can learn more about best onsite search practices here.
The purpose of a good ecommerce website is to make the end goal — final purchase — all but unavoidable. This means facilitating a clear journey to purchase from every part of the site. Is the purchase CTA button easy to locate and available on every page? Do your customers have to scroll to find it? It should be easily visible from any part of every page, on both desktop and mobile. We also recommend that the purchase CTA always remain in plain sight at the top or side of the page as your customer scrolls.
You must also collaborate on all inbound marketing efforts and ensure that everyone involved is aligned with this goal. For example, if a shopper is coming to your site from a social media post, blog post, or video, be sure that they are on a clear journey to purchase.