As an owner of an e-commerce business, you’re probably accustomed to the idea that you have to tackle more than one barrier on your road to success. Every person who ever started an e-commerce business was faced with obstacles. And many of them seem to be perfectly fine do it, if the size of global retail e-commerce sales is an indicator. In 2017, global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach over $3.4 trillion and are forecast to go over $4 trillion by 2020.
So as a business owner who knows about obstacles, you’re also probably aware that the obstacles you face are not the only obstacles that affect your business. It’s equally as important for you to remove any obstacles your customers have when making their purchase. In the world of e-commerce, that usually entails doing some improvements on your website.
Improve Your Website’s Search
Let’s start with the improvement you’re very likely to overlook. Your website might already include a search function that allows your website visitors to quickly find what they need. The problem is that website search doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to, and it doesn’t always add to your website’s navigability.
Upgrading your website search to predictive search will benefit your business in several ways. It can greatly improve the findability of your products, which can reduce the time your customers have to spend looking for what they need. Predictive search can also help your customers even when they make spelling mistakes in the search box, providing them with good results and suggestions. Most importantly, a predictive search can give you more insight into what your customers are searching for, giving you access to valuable analytics you can use to improve your offer.
Don’t Forget About Navigation
Website navigation is one of the four key elements in website design. A website that’s easy to navigate will enable its visitors to easily move around and find the things they need. For you, a website that’s easily navigated means that at any given point of time you know where your customers are, and what options are presented to them at that point.
A well-organized website also sends signals to search engines that it provides good user experience. And search engines will look at it — when you submit a sitemap to search engines, they will map the organization of your website and evaluate it. The better the organization, the better ranking your website will have. This can improve your organic website traffic and bring more visitors — potential customers — to your website.
Implement Responsive Design
When mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop Internet traffic in 2016, it was the final wakeup call to start taking mobile-friendliness seriously. With mobile devices becoming increasingly powerful and accessible to people for whom desktop devices are too expensive, mobile Internet traffic and purchases performed on mobile devices have nowhere to go but up.
Among the several different design options you have for making your website mobile-friendly, responsive design is the one that is recommended as efficient and cost-effective. If you enable your website to resize and reorganize based on the size of the screen it’s displayed on, you’ll get a lot of goodwill for mobile visitors. More importantly, you’ll also get the money from their purchases.
Clean and Simple Checkout
What’s the point of no return, when you know you’ve acquired another customer? It’s when you make a sale. Not when they put an item on your e-commerce website in the shopping cart because a long and complicated checkout process can turn a lot of customers away. Once the sale is finalized, you’ve got yourself a customer.
Some of the things you can do to improve your checkout process include making payments easy, being upfront on shipping costs, making it easy to create an account, and maybe even experiment with a one-page checkout process.
Embrace A/B Testing
The truth about e-commerce websites is that there’s always room for improvement. And because a website is relatively easy to manipulate and change, you can always be testing a different way to do things. You can test different versions of copy to see which performs better, different button placements, and many other things.
A/B testing is when you test two different versions of the same web page simultaneously in order to determine which performed better. You can test everything from landing pages to different functions on your website, as long as you remember that the best way to do it is to test one change at a time. Set one metric that will help you determine the success, and pair the results to see which one comes on top.
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