Improve the Shopping Experience
Improve the Checkout Experience
Improve Your Fulfillment Process
Optimize Site Performance Through Testing
Market Your Site Effectively
Improve the Overall Customer Experience
Take Care of the Details
Ways to Increase
Optimize the Customer Experience, From Search to Fulfillment
Increasing conversions on your eCommerce site creates a healthy bottom line and a loyal customer base. But eCommerce websites are complex, making it hard to be sure that everything is working to peak effectiveness. Even the most successful online retailers may fall short.
Use these eCommerce best practices to optimize your site and increase your conversions.
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Improve the Shopping Experience
Write clear, detailed product descriptions.
The customer needs to understand what they’re buying or they won’t add it to their cart. Keep your product descriptions concise, but include all relevant information, such as product fit, materials used, and instructions for use or care. Aim for five to seven bullet points. Good product descriptions also help SEO in significant ways.
1. Write clear, detailed
These can be particularly useful if you sell apparel. Seeing the fit of an item on a real, moving human can help customers envision how the product will look on themselves. This allows customers to “try before they buy,” which can also cut down on returns. Bonus points if you include models of different sizes to highlight the fit of the product.
3. Use product videos.
Make your product pages easy for consumers to find by using keywords in product descriptions and titles. Write in plain, concise language and optimize your pages with appropriate metadata. Not sure if your pages are optimized? Schedule a free site audit.
10. Optimize your products
Nothing lowers the perception of a brand’s quality quicker than pixelated, text-overlaid product images. Take product photos against clean, solid backgrounds and capture as many angles of the product as possible. Make sure your images are high quality and well-lit, and don’t add text to them.
2. Follow best practices for images.
The more relevant your content is to your customer, the more likely they are to convert. Creating personalized category landing pages lets you address different segments of your target demographic and recommend products to them directly.
4. Create personalized category
Allowing customers to filter their searches by an extensive list of product attributes helps create a more seamless path to checkout. Additionally, sorting options such as “Price: Low to High” and “Best Sellers” allow customers to shop the way they want, making them more likely to convert.
6. Make it clear how to filter
and sort results.
This is a simple one. Make sure customers can find what they’re looking for, no matter where they are on your site. Remember to consider the customer experience across all devices – desktop, tablet, and mobile.
7. Make the site search box visible across the entire site.
Customers won’t always type in the exact right phrase, spelled correctly, to get the search result they need. Build in a back-up plan with alternate options to aid in the search process. Also include alternative products or a generic best sellers list as options on a “no results found” page.
8. Add synonyms, alternate phrases – even misspellings – into site search.
Without filters, customers have a harder time finding what they’re looking for. It also puts a heavier load on merchandisers, who have to come up with more categories. Consider adding search box text (such as “bathing suits, hiking boots...”) that disappears as a customer clicks into it, to cue them how to search.
5. Add category and search filters.
A whopping 88% of online shoppers read reviews, and having product reviews can increase conversions by 178%. Reviews provide social proof, giving shoppers the confidence they need to make a purchase. Review platforms like Revere make implementation quick, so you can start capturing customer sentiment almost immediately.
9. Add ratings and reviews
on your site.
Follow best practices for images.
Use product videos.
Create personalized category landing pages.
Add category and search filters.
Make it clear how to filter and sort results.
Make the site search box visible across
the entire site.
Add synonyms, alternate phrases – even misspellings – into site search.
Add ratings and reviews on your site.
Optimize your products for discovery.
Before a customer can buy, they have to find the products they want. Not only do you need to present products clearly and attractively, you need to organize them in ways that match how your customers will be browsing and make sure that the whole site is easily searchable.
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Improve the Checkout Experience
Incorporate cross-selling and upselling.
Apps are available to enable you to make personalized recommendations to a customer based on what they’ve placed in their cart. You can suggest additional items that pair well with their purchase, or upsell them on pricier items that fit their tastes.
11. Incorporate cross-selling
Allow your customers to hover over the shopping cart and view its contents without having to click to a separate page. Display the cart clearly at the top of the page and make it easily clickable.
13. Always display the contents of the shopping cart and provide a clear path to view it.
Test their placement, size, and color. This seemingly small portion of the product page is incredibly important. If customers can’t find these buttons quickly, the likelihood that they will abandon their carts increases exponentially. Certain button colors and placement options can significantly increase conversions. Perform A/B testing to see what formula works for your site.
12. Make “Checkout” and “Add to Cart” buttons highly visible.
Nothing creates more friction at checkout than forcing a customer to create an account and submit multiple pieces of personal data before making a purchase. Streamline checkout by allowing shoppers to check out as guests. You can capture account sign-ups in a post-purchase email or through a loyalty program incentive.
14. Let customers check out as guests.
Two-thirds of shoppers will read a brand’s return policy before making an online purchase. Make your return policy easy to find in the site navigation. Address a wide range of FAQs (such as “Which shipping carriers can I use to return my items?”) in easy-to-understand terms.
16. Write a clear return policy.
Limiting forms of payment means consumers can’t shop the way they want to. Enabling payment options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay gives customers flexibility and can increase conversions.
15. Enable multiple forms of payment.
Make “Checkout” and “Add to Cart” buttons
Always display the contents of the shopping cart and provide a clear path to view it.
Let customers check out as guests.
Enable multiple forms of payment.
Write a clear return policy.
You’ve made sure your customer finds the products they want – now you need to remove friction from the checkout experience so they complete the purchase without abandoning their shopping cart. You may even be able to persuade them to add a couple more items before completing their purchase.
Offer free shipping.
According to the NRF, 75% of US consumers expect free shipping when shopping online. Amazon has set the industry standard with fast shipping times and free Prime shipping, and customers have raised their expectations. Retailers need to deliver – literally – in order to compete.
17. Offer free shipping.
Give your customers an easy way to complete returns without involving a customer service representative. No one wants to talk to a real person if they can help it, and an automated return process can improve the customer experience and reduce the burden on your call center staff.
19. Create an online return portal.
Incorporating BOPIS (buy online pick up in store) gives customers greater flexibility when shopping and reduces turnaround times for them to get their products. Shop by Store allows customers to see where products are located before they head to the store, improving traffic for both your website and your brick-and-mortar locations.
18. Include BOPIS
and Shop by Store.
Outsourcing your fulfillment is just one way to streamline your back-end processes and deliver a better experience for your customers. Consider where else you can improve fulfillment efficiencies to deliver products faster and cut costs for your customers.
20. Tighten up your fulfillment strategy.
Provide regular updates on order status via well-designed emails or timely text messages. Update your website with the latest order information as well. Clear and timely communication of order status goes a long way toward making customers happy and reducing support calls.
21. Keep the customer experience great.
Include BOPIS and Shop by Store.
Create an online return portal.
Tighten up your fulfillment strategy.
Keep the customer experience great.
The customer experience doesn’t end when your customer hits “place order” – they need to receive their products quickly and conveniently. Whether you’re shipping to them directly or providing a pick-up option, make sure the transaction ends with a happy customer.
Perform user testing.
Test your entire customer experience on the path to checkout, including every button, dropdown, and pop-up. Services like those provided by User Testing can streamline the testing process and provide valuable customer insights to improve conversions.
22. Perform user testing.
Sometimes your site doesn’t work the way it should. Don’t lose conversions because of
site errors. Make sure you are continually testing your site to find errors and implement a strategy to reroute customers properly.
24. Create an error strategy.
Consider if your mobile customers have to put too much effort to browse and check out. The thumb zone is the most comfortable area for touch with one hand, so key CTAs and buttons should fall in that zone.
23. Make sure your site passes the thumb zone test.
Set up your Google Analytics implementation correctly to capture the rich data available with the Enhanced Ecommerce options. The right data can reveal hidden opportunities for improvement in revenue, conversion rates, customer experience, and more.
25. Ensure you are capturing accurate data.
At Virid, we regularly perform free site audits to help retailers identify opportunities on their site, from SEO to UX, all delivered in one comprehensive report.
Request a site free site audit now.
26. Get a free site audit to identify problem areas.
Make sure your site passes the thumb zone test.
Create an error strategy.
Ensure you are capturing accurate data.
Get a free site audit to identify problem areas.
Building an eCommerce website is not “set it and forget it.” Testing starts before you launch and should continue regularly after that. Find performance issues yourself, instead of letting customers find them – and decide not to do business with you.
Market Your Site Effectively
Understand your target market/demographic.
This should go without saying, but often retailers forget to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. Build your site for the end user and keep their needs and desires at the forefront of your strategy.
27. Understand your target market/demographic.
Target your customers where they already are. If your target demographic spends most of their time on Instagram and YouTube, partner with influencers or launch marketing campaigns on those channels. Likewise, if your customers largely shop on mobile, make sure your site is mobile optimized.
29. Meet customers where they are.
Not only should your site be optimized for mobile, but your marketing efforts should be as well. Optimize your emails, your social media campaigns, and any other outreach that you do. Target customers on apps and with SMS. Reaching customers where they already are often means getting in front of them on their smallest screens.
28. Incorporate mobile into
your marketing strategy.
Create an omnichannel experience by making your social media posts shoppable. Different social networks support selling with different methods, but many have apps or plug-ins available to simplify the process. Customers are already on social media, so allowing them to shop on social can remove friction on their path to checkout.
30. Enable social selling.
Email has one of the highest conversion rates, but a strong email marketing strategy doesn’t come easily. Make sure your emails are creative, with emotional or urgent subject lines and personalized content. According to Experian, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. Additionally, make sure your email marketing is optimized for mobile devices.
32. Refresh your email marketing.
In the age of Amazon, customers are increasingly looking to marketplaces to shop. Selling in marketplaces like Amazon and eBay can help increase your online sales and contribute to a healthy bottom line. For information on how to break into selling on Amazon, check out our whitepaper, the Ultimate Guide to Selling on Amazon.
33. Start selling on marketplaces.
If you decide to enter into marketplaces, optimize your product listings just as you optimize product pages on your own site. Follow
these principles to determine how to list your products.
34. Create optimized
Influencer marketing has proven to be valuable for many brands. Not sure how to implement it in your own business? Check out this comprehensive guide to eCommerce influencer marketing.
31. If it makes sense, partner
Holidays are a great time to run marketing promotions and sales, but plan in advance. Before key times such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure your site user experience has been optimized to maximize conversions. Otherwise, you risk losing out on substantial revenue.
35. Make the most of holidays.
Incorporate mobile into your
Meet customers where they are.
Enable social selling.
If it makes sense, partner with influencers.
Refresh your email marketing.
Start selling on marketplaces.
Create optimized marketplace listings.
Make the most of holidays.
To market your site, you need to understand your customers – who they are and what they want, plus the social platforms they frequent, who they are influenced by, how they want you to communicate with them, and more.
Improve the Overall Customer Experience
Make sure your customers can access the information they need anywhere, even in-store on a mobile device. Make sure product ratings and reviews are visible on mobile, allow for mobile payment options such as Apple Pay, and create mobile-responsive pages. With 200 million mobile shoppers in the US, you can’t afford to alienate this massive population of consumers.
36. Put mobile first.
True omnichannel eCommerce involves creating a frictionless, seamless customer experience across all channels and customer touchpoints. Customers should be able to shop where they want, when they want. This involves optimizing your site for mobile, bridging gaps between your online and brick-and-mortar stores, and building your business with the customer in mind. Learn how to achieve true omnichannel commerce.
37. Create an omnichannel
According to SaleCycle, 79.17% of visitors add products to their carts without completing a purchase. Targeting this segment of your site visitors is crucial to improving conversions. Consider sending abandoned cart emails to recapture that traffic and return customers to your site.
38. Send abandoned cart emails.
Coupon codes and flash sales can be implemented by your eCommerce team or platform vendor. These promotions draw in new traffic because of the urgency they create. You can also include coupon incentives as part of your loyalty program offering.
40. Offer limited-time coupon codes.
Customers want to know that they can contact someone immediately if they run into an issue when shopping. Retailers are expected to offer 24/7 support, so highlighting contact information lets customers know that you will be there for them.
41. Display a support phone
Along with a standard support number and email address, customers want to be able to get in touch with customer service immediately when they have an issue. Chatbots can field customer service requests, reducing the team’s workload. If a customer can get their question or issue addressed quickly, they can go back to shopping and complete the purchase.
42. Implement chatbots.
Loyalty programs can improve customer satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases. To encourage enrollment, place the CTA as close to checkout as possible, and consider offering a value-based incentive, such as free shipping, that can be redeemed immediately.
39. Implement a loyalty program.
To create an omnichannel customer experience, you need a seamless connection between online and brick-and-mortar stores. Reduce friction by ensuring your store employees know how to look up out-of-stock products online and customer service representatives know how to address basic user issues on your website.
43. Update your training.
Put mobile first.
Create an omnichannel experience.
Send abandoned cart emails.
Implement a loyalty program.
Offer limited-time coupon codes.
Display a support phone number prominently.
Update your training.
Certain improvements to your site affect several stages in the purchase journey, or fall outside it altogether. Consider the customer experience (CX) holistically to serve customer needs and reduce all possible friction points.
Include social media training for
With the rise of social selling and more customers finding your products through social media, social media training is increasingly important for your customer service team. They should know how to respond to direct messages and address issues that come out of social media. For example, customers may use social media to complain about defective products.
44. Include social media training
for customer service.
Take Care of the Details
Stay on top of the latest regulations.
Retailers are under increased scrutiny and required to comply with an ever-growing list of legal regulations. GDPR was just the beginning. California is passing legislation around privacy and more states are likely to follow. Retailers need to pay attention to article 11, which applies to copyright rules. Tax regulations are changing quickly on a state by state basis in response to updates from the Supreme Court tax ruling. Stay aware of regulatory changes that could affect your business.
45. Stay on top of the
The Supreme Court’s refusal to review a recent ADA website lawsuit verdict has moved accessibility to the forefront of every eCommerce manager’s mind. Creating an accessible eCommerce site is challenging and the key WCAG guidelines can be overwhelming. If your current team is not equipped to achieve compliance, contact Virid to see how we can help.
47. Make sure your site is accessible
to all your customers.
Partnering with a vendor such as Kount or Visa CyberSource ensures that financial data is safe from fraud. Highlighting your company's commitment to maintaining
PCI compliance gives customers the confidence to shop your site.
46. Let customers know
their data is safe.
Google Analytics can help track metrics such as bounce rate, exit rate, and average session duration. Heat-mappers can add additional insights about how users interact with your site on a page by page basis. Combined, these tools will give you a clear picture of which user groups are struggling on which pages, and what needs to be optimized to increase conversions.
48. Use tools to understand
Your site is only as strong as the technology behind it. Make sure you are working with the right eCommerce partners who will support your business goals. And before signing any contracts, make sure you ask vendors these questions. If you’re not sure which vendors are right for your business,
give Virid a call. We offer full tech stack reviews for your eCommerce business.
50. Choose technology
Most mobile users will click away if a site takes more than three seconds to load. And if a page does not garner interest in less than 15 seconds, most people will leave. Increase site speed by optimizing images, choosing apps wisely, and partnering with a top-notch CDN provider.
49. Optimize your site for speed.
Let customers know their data is safe.
Make sure your site is accessible to
all your customers.
Use tools to understand consumer behavior.
Optimize your site for speed.
Choose technology partners wisely.
eCommerce involves more than just the immediate customer experience. Regulations, compliance, security – you have a lot going on behind the scenes. Make sure your optimized website also functions safely and legally.
Virid has more than 20 years’ experience in architecting, building, and optimizing eCommerce websites for fashion retailers and others. It leverages its expertise to help its partners navigate complex business challenges.
To learn more, visit virid.com.
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Reston, VA 20191
Phone: (703) 689-2121