The digital sphere is ever-changing, and within it – ecommerce is one of the fastest-evolving platforms. It’s not too far-fetched to say that ecommerce reflects customer buying habits. But what makes an ecommerce website successful?
In the words of Jeff Bezos, “You do build a great experience; customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”- Founder of Amazon.com.
So, let’s dive into the what, why, and how of making an ecommerce website successful.
Let’s start with ‘the what’ first:
What makes an ecommerce website successful?
- Adding Products to the Cart/Wishlist
- Sign Ups via Email
- Online Sales
- Social Media Engagements
The keyword you’re looking for here is conversion rate optimization (CRO). This metric essentially breaks down the number of visitors on the website and its ratio to the number of visitors that made a purchase/added a product to their cart.
Ideally, a CRO should entail the purchase, but depending on the sales funnel integrated, some ecommerce websites might target the action of adding products to the cart for a big sale. Furthermore, some ecommerce websites also consider email sign-ups / newsletter sign-ups to be a conversion metric.
So, the success of an ecommerce website strongly depends on the metrics in focus.
Considering the different goals of an ecommerce website, let’s narrow the CRO to a typical ecommerce sales funnel. The ecommerce website visitor would need to go through the following steps to achieve the ecommerce sales funnel goal.
Visit Ecommerce Website
- Initiate ‘Product View’
- Click on the ‘Add to Cart’ Button
- Checkout Page
- Purchase Successfully
An ecommerce website containing amazingly high-quality stock photos but with inaccurate product information, lack of keyword optimization, and mistargeted ads would lead to detrimental results.
A few strategies can help make the most of this ecommerce sales funnel. This could include using high-quality media, eradicating the shipping cost where necessary, creating discounted deals through seasonal campaigns, increasing customer engagement, and more.
Let’s go through some of these strategies and understand the ‘Why’ of why it works.
Structuring the Website
Structuring the Website so visitors can find product information is crucial to maintaining a healthy traffic flow. This includes having filters to help potential customers find products they like.
Structuring the website to fit the needs of potential customers is a vast topic on its own. However, there are plenty of software that help pick website data, analytics, visitor behavior, and testing tools to help improve user experience.
Simplifying the Checkout Process
When working on the checkout page, consider reducing information to only what is necessary for the customer to purchase. For example, simple tips such as auto-formatting credit card details can make purchasing easier for the potential customer. Similarly, a date picker makes it easier to add the relevant date of the credit card.
Removing distractions from the checkout process is another essential factor to consider here. Hence, most product pages or checkout pages focus on the product order, mode of payment, and a communication channel if the potential customer needs help completing the purchase.
If this potential customer scrolls away from the focal point of the webpage, relevant products or ‘people who bought this, also bought” categories. This would re-engage the customer if they decided not to go through with the purchase.
Build on Recurring Customers
When building ecommerce websites, it’s essential to focus on recurring customers for a loyal customer base. These customers intend to make multiple purchases from the website and are more likely to return and buy again. Focusing on these customers helps increase revenue and build brand loyalty via positive word-of-mouth.
To pull customers back to the ecommerce website, a loyalty program that offers personalized promotions, discounts, and stable customer service can pave the road to success.
A loyalty program is an effective strategy to keep customers coming back. Consider tactics like
- Points for purchases that can be redeemed for discounts or exclusive offers.
- Personalized promotions and discounts, such as birthday discounts or tailored product recommendations based on their purchase history,
These tactics can make customers feel valued and increase the chances of repeat purchases.
It’s worth mentioning that these tactics have a prerequisite. That’s building on excellent customer service.
Improve Customer Service
Responding promptly to inquiries, resolving issues quickly, and providing clear and helpful communication throughout the purchase process. Whether customer service is available through calls, chatbots, social media, or email submission, finding a method that clears customer cases rather than just identifying customer issues is essential.
As part of the customer service, the ecommerce website should have a section on the return policy and specific pages that establish authenticity and trust. There’s nothing more dubious than an ecommerce website selling products at ‘steal’ prices while lacking product information.
Build on User Experience through User Interface
When building ecommerce websites, consider having a UI/UX (user interface/user experience) centric focus to create a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for visitors. Building on UI/UX requires you to have behavioral feedback such as visitor data, customer buying behavior, intuitive actions, and audience demographics. Email opt-ins, website heatmaps, and website analytics can help gather this data.
Consider collecting visitors’ emails by implementing a user-friendly email opt-in form. This helps build an email list for marketing and interacting with potential customers after they leave the website. Website visitors are cautious of email forms as they may result in excessive spam emails, so they may not warm up to providing their email address quickly; however, offering incentives such as exclusive discounts or valuable content can help ease this process.
In a Nutshell
This covers some crucial strategies to increase an ecommerce website’s conversion rate. To recap, it’s essential to understand the ecommerce sales funnel, the metrics to focus on, and to target specific goals.
Understand why specific strategies work better for certain demographics and improve conversion rates through constant feedback. This feedback could be from customers/visitors or tools that help read user behavior on the website.