Can you imagine shopping at a grocery store where the products weren’t organized, the checkout lanes weren’t clearly marked and no one was available to answer your questions? That’d be an unsuccessful business model. Yet when designing e-commerce sites, businesses sometimes fail to think about the user experience. If you make it difficult for potential customers to find what they need, they’ll go somewhere else.
Following are some key considerations for businesses that hope to increase website sales.
Good navigation is essential for e-commerce sites. Your products or services should be grouped together logically, and it should be easy for customers to quickly move from one area to the next. And don’t forget about the importance of easy mobile navigation.
One European survey reported that nearly a third of consumers polled found mobile websites difficult to navigate, with 35 percent of those respondents saying they leave such sites.
Because navigation and structure are so important in winning over customers, you should enlist the help of Web design professionals who understand site architecture – whether you’re launching your first website, or simply redesigning to include more pages within your website.
Offer the Right Content
Your site may draw visitors because of the products you offer, but the best way to keep them coming back is to have a useful, informative blog. For example, if you sell gardening supplies, why not use your blog to provide gardening tips? Make sure to include easy-share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – or for any platform where your content might be shared and reach new customers.
When placing content on your site, always keep readability in mind. Use white space freely, and break up text with images, bullets, subheads or some other graphic element. Just don’t go overboard with images – too many elements can confuse readers and increase page-load times.
So you’ve built a great website that makes it easy for customers to find and research your products, but now you need to get them through the final steps of the sale – and that’s often where businesses lose customers. In 2011, 75 percent of online consumers abandoned their online shopping carts. If you want to prevent that from happening, it’s good to study what the most successful online retailers are doing.
Amazon has mastered the art of getting people to click the “buy” button, with a few simple strategies. First, the buy button stands out prominently next to any product. Amazon also offers multiple, easy-to-understand shipping options, so buyers can accurately predict when their items will arrive.
Your online order form should be clean, simple and – ideally – no longer than one page. Ensure the form has good error handling, providing users with specific prompts for incomplete fields.
While there are many other elements of good website design, the above recommendations should help you keep customers, once they’ve found you. And remember that good content will not only keep them coming back, it’ll help generate buzz about your brand, as website visitors share your content with their networks.