4 Signs Your ECommerce Site Needs Improvement

E-commerce store owners should adhere to best practices to optimize performance. These tips outline the top improvements retailers can make to their shop

E-commerce is one of the “it” words of 2017. Everyone is opening an online shop, from mega retailers taking brick-and-mortar stores online to mom and pops that are venturing into the digital world on their own. It’s no surprise, considering half of America prefers to shop online, and eCommerce is growing 23% year-over-year.

Retail giants have been exploring the eCommerce space for years, but independent shops often have limited insights into best practices. Add to that a limited budget and many eCommerce shop owners find themselves lost in an online world.

Don’t let fear take over. There are 5 key signs that indicate you may need an eCommerce site refresh. We’ve outlined these indicators below along with some helpful tips you can implement to see improvements right away.

  • Your Site Architecture isn’t Optimized for Sales

When it comes to a successful eCommerce site, everything is related to conversion optimization (CRO). The best way to analyze CRO is to A/B test different variables and features on your website. One of those variables is site architecture. You should ask yourself the following questions:

Does the homepage prioritize your top-selling product? There should be a hot item or “best-selling” product featured prominently above the fold.

Are categories organized by popularity?  You can figure this out by reviewing the Content Drilldown within Google Analytics to analyze popularity.

Are navigation links organized by popularity?  Once again, Google Analytics can save the day. View top landing pages from organic: Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic > Landing Page

If you offer a large suite of products, do you provide a search tool?  Faceted search can be both developmentally challenging and expensive. Keep it simple and use an open text field box at the top of every page. Use faceted search if you have more than 20 products in a category and allow users to filter by price, color, and size.

  • The Checkout Process is an Obstacle Course

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Checking out should be a simple, seamless process. Your customers have what they want, now let them pay for it! Unfortunately, many eCommerce sites get mired in sticky requirements that turn users away. Check your eCommerce site against the following questions:

Do you require registration? Requiring users to register for an account before checking out is a bad practice. You can showcase the benefits of registering for an account, but don’t require it.

Is there a progress bar? Most checkout processes are a multi-step affair. Let people know how far along they are to alleviate frustration and confusion. If entering an address is step 3 of 5, let people know.

Are forms redundant or unnecessary? Make sure you only ask people to fill out information that is actually required. Pre-fill forms where possible and make sure not to ask people to provide the same information more than once.

Some platforms like WooCommerce offer checkout customization guides to help you tweak your experience accordingly.

  • You Haven’t Prioritized Selling Points

Let’s not overlook the obvious: your eCommerce site needs to be attractive if people are going to be compelled to make a purchase. Everything from the logo to your domain name should be part of a well-thought-out strategy geared towards conversion optimization. Use a site like Shopify to help lay the foundation of your storefront. If the most appealing offers, deals, and giveaways are featured below-the-fold, you’re missing a critical opportunity to capture more customers. Other attractive factors to consider prioritizing:

Same-day shipping – people go crazy for this option, particularly in an age of instant gratification.

Sales and discounts – Advertise great offers upfront and splash sales across the banner of your homepage

Freebies – Do you offer any freebies? Alluring offers like “free gift with purchase” go a long way in compelling people to spend money on your eCommerce site.

  • There’s Too Much Friction and Not Enough Communication

Reducing buyer friction should be a top priority for anyone with an eCommerce site. Without the ease of face-to-face interaction, there’s room for much to get lost in translation. When online shoppers get confused or frustrated, they leave and visit a competitor’s site instead. To avoid this, consider the following:

Host live chat – a chatbot can help address simple questions and customer service issues. Be sure to implement on all pages of the site and carefully consider whether it’s best to use a smartbot or live person.

Contact info – contact information should be clearly posted in the header and/or footer of every page of your website. This includes a phone number and a customer support email address.

Return Policy/Pricing Guarantee – Be sure your return policy is clearly communicated on your website. This helps customers understand their ability to return something they aren’t satisfied with. It can also avoid unnecessary disputes and returns later on. If you offer a competitive pricing guarantee, be sure to outline that on your website too.
If you take the four points above into account, you are on your way to a better eCommerce site. Implementing these tips can help boost your conversion rate and make your eCommerce site a go-to resource for potential customers.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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