Get Out Of Your Customer’s Way for Ecommerce Success
Before you start driving traffic to your site…
Before you spend a single penny on marketing….
You must be absolutely certain that your site communicates exactly what your brand is.
Visitors need to know not only who you are, but what products you sell and how to purchase them. Not only that – they also need to know why you do it…and they need to know it all in three seconds or less.
Sound like a tall order? Well…it is. But, don’t worry…here are a few tips to help get you on your way to having a kick ass ecommerce store that connects with your audience.
Having a clear path for visitors to take through your site, and specifically, through your product selection, is crucial.
This may sound a bit obvious, but believe it or not, is one of the most common stumbling blocks for business owners. When you live, eat, sleep, and breathe your products every day, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that your potential customers don’t. Business owners often assume that potential customers know much, much more about their product than they actually do.
This leads to a confused visitor. And confused people don’t buy things.
How can you keep your customers from getting confused? First, make sure you’re products are structured into a simple hierarchy using categories. Make sure those categories make sense to the customer. For example, instead of sorting by technical specifications that likely mean nothing to a first time visitor, sort your products by more user friendly categories like whether they’re meant for home or work use.
Create an entry point into your product line that is more than just the extremely top-level categories (like men, women, children, etc.) to help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for. This is where knowing a lot about your audience comes in handy.
The Laser vs. The Browser
When it comes to online customers, people shop in two different ways:
The Laser knows exactly what they’re looking for.
Your site just needs to help them find it as efficiently as possible. This is where clearly organized categories and a great search functionality will help.
The Browser is not quite sure what they’re looking for.
Instead of “I need an Oxford-style formal shoe,” they just know they need a new pair of shoes for work, and they want something that looks nice.
Ideally, your site will work well for both types of buyers. However, if you know that your customers tend to be more of one kind, then you can tailor the experience for that type of buyer.
Product Detail Pages
Once people find the product they’re looking for, you need to have a great product page to give them the details and close the sale.
Here’s what makes a great product detail page:
- Images. Great Images, amazing images, magnificent images – get the point? Stellar images will sell your product. Period. Furthermore, your images need to put the product in the context of the customer’s life, not just show them what it looks like. Think about house staging: you can walk through an empty mansion and think it’s a beautiful space. But when you walk into a staged house, you can actually feel what it would be like to live in it. High quality images are the single most important facet of a product page, because they create an emotional connection to the buyer.
- A clear call to action. With the proliferation of “save for later” and social media share buttons, it’s easy to add so many options to the page that the “add to cart” or “buy now” button gets lost in the clutter. Don’t let this happen.
- Simple product description. Keep it simple, well-written, and brief. Get to the most important points quickly and get out of the customer’s way.
- Clean and effective design. These elements should be the stand out elements on the product page. If something else is the “star of the show,” you need to rethink the design of your product pages.
Your checkout process
So, you’ve got the ball, you’ve beat your man, and you’re headed for the goal line. There’s no one left to beat. You just have to walk it in and not mess up. Once someone has decided they want to buy, the checkout process should be as quick and easy as possible.
Keep your customer laser-focused on finishing the process:
- Eliminate Upsells. In general, we don’t recommend upsells or cross-sells at checkout, because they can be distracting to a ready-to-buy customer. Focus. You can always sell to them again. The last thing you want to do at this point is take the customer out of the checkout process to look at an additional item, and then have them abandon their cart altogether.
- Shipping. Simplify shipping as much as possible. Can you do flat-rate shipping? Can you have a free shipping option? Many customers now expect an option for free shipping. Our suggestion? If possible, roll shipping into the price of the item and eliminate the shipping cost all together.
- Billing. There’s no easy way about it. Entering billing info over and over across a thousand websites sucks. So, you should be constantly looking for ways to ease that pain. Make your billing entry as easy and undaunting as possible. This is one of, if not the biggest area of opportunity in increasing checkout conversion rate.
Throughout this process, the main thing to keep in mind is to get out of the way of the user.
In most cases, people are landing on your site because they want to buy something. Don’t let poor experience design change that. Make sure your navigation, product page, and checkout are designed in a way that makes it simple and easy.
And then, once you have a well optimized machine, you can really start focusing on your marketing and driving the right traffic to your store knowing that they have the best chance of converting to a paying customer.