Most of us have a lot of experience using online stores, if you combine that knowledge by listening to your online customer’s feedback or watching them use your online store there are a few themes that start to emerge.
If you are looking for quick wins to make your ecommerce store more effective try focusing on the following.
Improve product information and product images
It is surprising how often product information does not have enough detail or includes low quality product images. This applies to both large and small retailers, I was very frustrated to not to be able to find ingredient information on a very large retailer’s website recently.
If you have a complicated product or a product that requires a 360 degree view then a video can be the best way to showcase the product attributes.
Cover all the payment methods bases
Often I get all the way to the end of a checkout process only to find that a site only offers a debit or credit card payment option. If I am using my phone or ipad to shop online then I might not have my payment card with me and by including PayPal/ stored credit card info as a payment option can make difference between a sale or a customer leaving your store.
Where possible give the customer the option to store their payment information for their next order. There are many payment gateways who provide this service so that you do not need to invest in the infrastructure to store credit card information on your own servers.
Keep the number of checkout steps to a minium and where possible try to reuse information e.g. don’t ask customers to enter their billing and delivery address, assume they are the same and then give them the option to change it.
Ask for the bare minimum and do everything you can to get them to complete the transaction. Also don’t force customers to open an account but you should offer it as an option.
This is perhaps the most important part of your site if you have a lot of products. Search results are perhaps the most aggravating area to a customer if you do not get it right. You need to invest a lot of time and effort analysing your search queries, getting feedback from your customers and investing in the best search technology.
Amazon have recognised the huge importance of search and have even spun off a product search product called A9. In many of the large high transaction sites I have deployed the most widely used is Adobe Merchandising (formerly Mercado) which among other things lets you create the rules engine for product searches.
If you are John Lewis, Tesco.com or Amazon.co.uk how do you spilt your products down into categories? Should a fridge go into electrical appliances or kitchen? Your categories and subcategories require a lot of thought. I have seen a couple of good presentations on ecommerce taxonomy recently given by former librarians, so leverage the experience of experts in categorising.
Make your contact information available and accessible and it will create credibility in the mind of the customer. Also for those customers that do contact you by phone or instant chat it can provide a valuable source of feedback on your shopping experience.
Make sure you offer a range of postage service and do not charge extortionate rates.