Ecommerce sites are geared towards maximizing sales. Every design feature, navigation branch, and piece of text should drive people towards the checkout portal. However, there’s much more to consider besides a streamlined sales process.
From reliability and rapid download speeds to helpful product descriptions and dependable hosting, this blog post will guide you through a list of tips to help you boost your ecommerce conversion rates. First, we consider below ten golden rules underpinning any successful shopping portal…
Top 10 Ecommerce Site Rules for Success:
This is number one on our list because an unreliable ecommerce site will inevitably fail, irrespective of its other merits. Optimize loading times by appointing a dependable hosting partner like Midphase, offering a 99.999% Service Level Agreement and flexible hosting options.
Rigorously beta test the site on numerous web browsers and output devices, checking every page for functionality issues or display errors. Launching a glitchy website isn’t an option in today’s mature marketplace, since customers won’t come back to a portal that hangs or returns 404 errors.
Search engine optimization comes second only to reliability on the priorities list for an ecommerce site. Build written content around keywords and long tails – multi-word search terms people use to find exactly what they’re looking for through Google and Bing/Yahoo.
Of course, SEO goes far beyond text. It involves using every piece of HTML in the site’s coding to advertise its contents, from meta tags to a robots.txt file. Good SEO also demands a blog or news page to demonstrate the site is regularly updated, while every photograph requires a detailed caption explaining what it is.
#3. Minimal registration
People often get exasperated when confronted with a lengthy registration page. By contrast, being able to check out as a guest and register later encourages spontaneous purchases. It shouldn’t be necessary to create an account to make a purchase, and every user field needs to justify its presence.
Ensure people aren’t tricked into being signed up for marketing literature by displaying a prominent tickbox to refuse newsletters or promotional material. If payment details are going to be stored, provide a reassuring description of how data will be protected. Finally, never trap people in checkout functionality, forcing them to close the browser to amend their basket or add more items.
#4. Looks great on any device
A responsive template is pivotal for customers to navigate a site easily on any device, acting as a universal path of least resistance towards the checkout. Top menu bars may need to become hamburger menus, but there’s no excuse for making the mobile experience any less intuitive or simplistic than on a desktop computer.
#5. Testimonials and reviews.
Even the most loyal customer has to start somewhere, and what better way to reassure first-time site visitors about integrity and dependability than existing client testimonials and product reviews?
High-quality items shouldn’t have any problem attracting favorable critiques, and it’s also fine to offer people a small discount or incentive off their next order in exchange for leaving a review. Social media platforms act as unofficial testimonial sites as well, so set up Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Respond to any contact within 24 hours, and remember even critical comments can become positive brand adverts with diplomacy and courtesy.
#6. Extensive product information
It’s hard to provide too much information about a product. When people can’t physically touch or smell an item, they rely heavily on photos and descriptive text. Upload pictures from multiple angles in a slideshow, and provide detailed product descriptions in easy-to-read paragraphs. Videos have merit, but ensure they don’t automatically start to play.
#7. A smooth payment portal
Hidden charges and concerns about payment security are the two most common reasons for ecommerce checkout abandonment, so be upfront about postage costs and taxes. Having enticed customers this far, streamline the purchase process with Verified by Visa 2FA and “please wait” messages while transactions go through.
Offer multiple payment options. Enable people to amend their order, payment, or contact details right up to the point of purchase. Finally, automate concise (yet informative) emails and/or texts to confirm order receipt, dispatch and delivery, making sure the order number and customer services contact details prominently displayed.
#8. Rewards for loyalty
Returning users ought to be able to log in using a simple username and password combination, with cookies saved in their browser and payment details stored securely. Some companies offer discounts on a customer’s first purchase, but the second transaction is the key one for building loyalty.
Consider discounts for repeat custom or new customer referrals, and integrate one-click repeat orders or an ability to view and re-order past transactions. Occasional “we miss you” emails may bring wandering customers back into the fold, while organic client databases can be used to promote new products or services free of charge.
#9. Filtered navigation
Many sites include dropdown menus where customers can narrow a search by category or attribute, such as size and color. Incorporate customer reviews as a filter, and ensure any reviews section can be searched for using relevant keywords. TripAdvisor does this particularly effectively. Make sure navigation menus inform audiences of exactly where they are in the website hierarchy. Allow selected options to be unclicked rather than having to reload the page with each change, and list the number of items in each subcategory using real-time stock levels.
#10. Unique flourishes
Rolls-Royce are famous for incorporating “power reserve” dials into their cars instead of rev counters, and some ecommerce sites have adopted similarly distinctive flourishes. There are plenty of ways to add character to a website, from mouseover effects to unconventional product descriptions. Add urgency with a “rarity indicator” in lieu of conventional stock levels, and augment studio-based product shots with photos of items being used in the real world.
Now that we’ve covered tips for making your ecommerce website shine, let’s discuss the tools that can help you reach these heights, as well as the tools you would be better off avoiding.
Ecommerce Tools You Should (And Shouldn’t) Use
Ecommerce accounted for less than 20% of retail sales in America last year. That’s a shockingly low figure, especially considering most consumers express a preference for shopping online rather than in-store. Almost everyone has easy access to the internet, yet too few of us feel confident about clicking Buy Now.
Consumer confidence is a key issue. Last year was disastrous for data protection with high-profile thefts from firms like Zynga, Capital One, and Quest Diagnostics. The public is rightly concerned that handing over card details might put them at long-term risk.
Therefore, it’s imperative for any online retailer to treat checkout and payment processes with the utmost respect, rather than installing an untested WordPress plugin and assuming it’ll be sufficient.
These are some of the ecommerce tools helping to build consumer trust, along with a few that are best avoided…
Reassuring consumers about data security is one of the biggest hurdles faced by the ecommerce sector, and digital payment platforms are attempting to resolve this issue.
PayPal has overcome its phishing nightmares to become a trusted way of making a payment without entering card details. Its arch-rival Stripe offers Apple Pay compatibility without storing consumer data on retail websites, ensuring PCI compliance. Stripe is also easier to manage from a corporate perspective, thanks to superior customer service and a simpler API.
Given the interactivity and database integration required by ecommerce portals, creating a slick shopping site might seem daunting. You can easily save time, money, and stress by utilizing a website builder like the terrific website building tool offered by Midpahse. Learn more on the Midphase website.
Marketing and SEO
Even the best ecommerce tools won’t help a site if it isn’t receiving any traffic. Fortunately, an entire industry has evolved around search engine optimisation and digital marketing. It’s possible to track where audiences move their mouse cursors (VWO), optimize pay-per-click ad campaigns (Google Analytics), and track KPIs in one place (Neatly). MailChimp is ideal for email campaigns, Buffer distributes pre-prepared social media updates at specified times, and Hustle provides WordPress-hosted ecommerce sites with targeted ads, pop-ups, and widgets.
WordPress offers numerous ecommerce tools among its 53,000 plugins. Some perform a specific function, with Ecommerce Product Catalog incorporating multi-level category selections and customisable tags. Others, like WooCommerce, handle everything from shipping and subscriptions to downloads and discounts. WordPress has become the world’s leading website management tool thanks to its extensive flexibility, but it’s important to check individual plugins on a regular basis. Developers often pull support to older or disrupted plugins, leaving them vulnerable to hacking or at risk of conflicts with newer software.
Ecommerce Tools to Avoid
Be wary of software without any customer reviews – it’s usually either too new to have been real-world tested, or a scam. Don’t use those horrible reCaptcha forms requiring users to identify every photograph containing a traffic sign or house number, since it’s often unclear which photos meet the criteria. Finally, avoid any registration form with more than a dozen fields – you don’t need to know someone’s date of birth or how many kids they have to approve an ecommerce transaction.
With so many different tips, tricks, and tools for your website and inventory, your online store can quickly become overwhelming. Below we’ve gathered helpful ways to organize your online business for maximum creativity and efficiency.
10 Tips For Organizing Your Ecommerce Business
The life of an entrepreneur is anything but calm. Most small business owners are kept busy from sun up to sundown, trying to squeeze the most out of each minute. The early years of running a small business typically entail being almost constantly short on time, money, and resources.
However, entrepreneurs find that the more organized they can be, the easier their tasks are to complete. So, in our effort to help the busy entrepreneur, below are our favorite ways to stay organized and keep a managed workload.
#1. Task Manager
While configuring a task manager may feel like more trouble than it is worth, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised. Apps and Chrome extensions like ClickUp, Todoist, and Any.Do can help you keep track of your to-do list while also instilling a sense of accomplishment each day.
It can be easy to convince yourself into believing that your Gmail or Yahoo account is fine for your business, but a professional email account dedicated to your business creates a secure place for mailing lists, contacts, and your calendar. Learn more about email hosting today.
#3. SEO Help
Making sure that your website ranks well in search engines can be a full-time job in itself. Take help where you can get it by adding meta tags and updating your website content regularly. For WordPress websites, be sure to download Yoast.
#4. Password Manager
Nobody has time for lost password forms. Avoid the hassle with a password manager. Our personal favorite is LastPass, but there are many others that will do the trick. Just be sure to safeguard access to your password manager – if you lose that password you may be out of luck.
#5. Virtual Assistant
If you feel like your day-to-day life is bogged down with paperwork and other administrative tasks, consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to help cut down on the time you spend in the office. There’s no sense responding to email all day when you could be out improving your business.
Don’t let your website security keep you awake at night. Instead, add SiteLock Malware Detection to your Midphase account. Your site will be regularly scanned for nasties, and if any are found, SiteLock can quickly and easily remove them.
#7. Established Goals
Whether you are looking at days, weeks, months, or years, be sure that you know what your goals are and exactly how you will achieve them. Clearly defined goals help you determine if you are on track or if you need to adjust your course.
#8. Multiple User Accounts
Remember that a good rule of thumb is to always create multiple user accounts for software, social media platforms, email, websites, and other digital tools. Your accounts will be more secure and you can place safeguards to prevent human/user errors.
#9. Social Media Manager
Who has time to tweet six times a day? We don’t, which is why we use a social media manager to do the posting for us. Social media managers let you spend some time creating posts for the tool to post while you are busy working through your other important tasks. We love Falcon, Hootsuite, and Buffer, but any social media manager platform will do the trick.
#10. Keyword Lists
Don’t leave your content, social media, and SEO to chance. Invest some time into a master keyword sheet for easy reference when updating your website, blog, or social media feeds. Keeping up with one keyword list will help you focus your narrative and define your audience.
Now that you are an ecommerce expert, be sure to head to Midphase.com to start building your online store with a web host you can trust. We have the tools, connectivity, and expertise you need to become a success. Best of all, our experts are on hand 24 hours a day to answer questions and give you a helping hand. Get started today!
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