Attaining consistent return on investment from an e-commerce facility is no easy task. Competition, price, and changing customer behaviour can all affect online sales performance, impacting your bottom line from one month to the next.
To combat peaks and troughs in web sales, some businesses increase marketing spend, seeing this as the only feasible means of achieving greater long-term consistency. But without regular refinement and optimisation, this approach risks seeing your e-commerce site turn into a cash drain.
Instead of piling more money into marketing your site, focus on improving what you can control. Simple changes can have a sizeable impact on the performance of your e-commerce site, reducing basket abandonment and encouraging customers to convert.
Here, we list 18 simple tips for improving your customer journey and reducing steps to purchase.
- Make sure that checkout buttons are visible
Pay attention to the position, colour, and size of checkout buttons, as they can make the difference in how likely users are to convert. Having ‘checkout’ and ‘view basket’ options at the top of every page is considered good practice for effective e-commerce.
- Let users add/remove items from their basket and adjust quantities
We’ve all faced the frustration of amending a web shopping basket, and sometimes it’s enough to put us off making a purchase. Design your basket function in such a way that it’s easy to amend quantities and remove items with ease.
- Improve the look and feel of your product pages
Product pages are often overlooked when optimising an e-commerce site, but just like your homepage, they need to have impact. Experiment with new layouts, visuals, and typography and, if necessary, update your product photography to make things as attractive as possible.
- Include as much product information as you can
While we’re on individual product pages; make sure you include adequate information. Having the right details to hand can prevent abandonment and encourage customers to continue with their purchase, without the need to click away from the product listing.
- Don’t require customers to create an account before checkout
Obligatory account sign-ups can be a major deterrent for some customers, creating a roadblock between checkout and conversion. While acquiring customer emails for remarketing is important, a better option would be to encourage customers to create an account after completing their purchase, as a means of tracking their order.
- Be transparent about delivery charges on individual product pages
No one likes to be stung with delivery costs at checkout, and it’s surprising how many people abandon their cart after seeing shipping charges. Presenting delivery costs earlier in the customer journey ensures total transparency and no nasty surprises for customers ready to make a purchase.
- Support your e-commerce function with efficient inventory management
Efficient and high-performing e-commerce relies on well-oiled inventory management. Out-of-stocks and inaccurate quantity information represent key barriers to online growth, so make sure your inventory system is optimised, up to date, and integrated with your web store.
- Include product reviews and testimonials on product pages
Did you know that over half of customers read at least four reviews before buying a product online? Reviews are a must for any product page, to the point where potential customers may not trust a listing without them. Always request reviews from existing customers to ensure your site is loaded with relevant and recent testimonials.
- Offer a choice of delivery options…
As touched on earlier, delivery charges can often be a make or break in the customer journey, so consider what options you could introduce to improve this. Offering free delivery is always a good option, while a premium next-day solution could be just as effective for attracting customers who want their items ASAP.
- …And payment options
The rapid evolution of e-commerce now means that leading brands offer a plethora of methods of payment at checkout, with customers able to choose from a range of flexible options. Investigate alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as buy now, pay later facilities such as Klarna and Clearpay to ensure you’re giving customers a competitive and flexible experience at checkout.
- Outline why certain personal information is required
With a growing awareness of privacy and online security, some customers may be wary of handing over too many personal details when buying online – particularly if they’re new to your site. That’s why it’s always a good idea to caveat any form requests with a simple explanation why the information is needed and how it will be used.
- Make clear your returns policy
Having a clear and flexible returns policy can be a major selling point, providing the reassurance some customers need to hit buy. Make sure your returns policy is well worded and made clear on individual product listings and on the checkout page, as this could satisfy tentative customers and boost conversions.
- Provide a live chat function and make FAQs easily accessible
While a live chat option may not be possible for all businesses, it’s an excellent way to answer customer queries in real-time and encourage sales over the line. If you don’t have the resources needed to man a live chat function, include FAQs in product listings as a way to help customers along the way.
- Simplify the navigation of your site
How easy is your site to navigate? And how many steps are there between entering the homepage, finding the right product, and checkout? Simplifying the basic navigation of your site can improve the customer experience and make conversions easier to attain, so consider a rejig if your current setup is overly complex.
- Make sure customers can exit the checkout page without emptying their basket
There are plenty of reasons why a customer may wish to exit the checkout page and go back to your main site, so make sure they can do this easily without forfeiting the items in their basket. A clunky checkout experience can prove frustrating and may be enough to divert potential customers to a competitor, so it’s something that’s worth refining.
- Personalise the experience for each customer
Developing a personalised experience is a powerful way to drive sales and boost conversions. You only need look at the success of Amazon – one of the best in the business when it comes to personalisation – to see how effective it can be. Real-time customer insights and cookie tracking mean you can recommend products based on browsing history and behaviour. You should also ensure that any related items are highlighted to customers purchasing certain products e.g., bulbs for lamp purchases.
Another way to deliver a hyper-personalised experience for your B2B customers is to offer access to an online customer account management portal. Here they can not only access quotes, invoices, and pay their bill online but can very quickly repeat orders. This is a great way to reduce the steps your customer has to take to make a purchase whilst also being a quicker and easier route to getting your business online. A key point here however is to ensure these digital platforms are designed and built to fully connect with your core business software solution.
- Regularly share compelling content to boost authority and trust
Working on building your overall web presence can bring myriad benefits to your e-commerce platform, and one of the best ways to boost engagement and traffic is through sharing compelling, authoritative content. Maintain a blog and make sure social channels are resourced as a means of earning trust and driving visitors to your product pages.
- Follow up to receive feedback, make improvements and increase retention
After completing a sale and dispatching a customer order, be sure to follow up with a thank you email and an invitation welcoming feedback. This not only improves retention and helps build advocacy, but is also a great way to earn those all-important reviews that are so beneficial to list on your product pages and testimonials page.
So, there you have it, 18 tips for improving your customer journey and reducing steps to purchase. If you’re looking to take your e-commerce activity to the next level, Intact can help. Offering advanced solutions for businesses of all sizes, we can help elevate your web presence and exceed customer expectations. Visit the homepage to learn more or contact our experts today.