Secret #1: Keep it simple
Navigation. Make it easy for your customers to find the products they are searching for. Using simplified navigation (for instance breadcrumbs like the Apple Store example) gives your customers instant orientation to which page they are viewing and a visual path back.
Search. Since approximately 50% of users are search driven - they instantly locate and use the closest search tool - having a search that narrows search results as you type is a great feature. Your results page should effectively and graphically list the results, proving to be simple to understand.
Checkout. An easy checkout system or shopping cart can make the buying process smooth and more inviting. For example, it's easiest for me to checkout online with simply my e-mail address as a guest checkout, rather than having to create a new user account at each site I shop at. If your site requires customers to create an account for future orders, streamline the process into as few steps as possible, illustrating at each step, what step comes next and how a customer can complete his order.
Secret #2: Be sure to use compelling images
Check out the Schick Razor photo above. The photo is compelling AND informative and clearly shows customers a view of the blades, grip, and power operating buttons. Using multiple high-quality images to show the different views of your product will give users the ability to get the full 360 degree experience of your item.
Secret #3: Don't forget about your mobile customers.
Internet shoppers are increasingly turning to mobile. The trend has been and will likely continue to be to become increasingly reliant on mobile or tablet devices to access the internet. In fact, "64% of mobile owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online, a fourfold increase since June 2010." Having a website that's not mobile compatible is a turnoff to regular smartphone users. Imagine getting an e-mail newsletter on your phone with a set of cool new products to check out. Except when you click on the product link, it takes you to the desktop version of the site, where nothing is optimized for your phone's screen size and scrolling is a headache. No regular smartphone user likes to pinch, zoom, scroll through your website just to make a simple purchase. It's been said that mobile users are more likely to make quick decisions and instant online purchases. Make sure your e-commerce website is mobile compatible and you'll have a more effective online storefront and a host of happy customers.
Think about the mobile market this way: creating a convenient sales experience for a customer will easily translate into greater customer loyalty. For example, Walgreens has a remarkably simple mobile app which I use to refill my Rx's. All I have to do is scan a barcode on my prescription, hit "OK" on a few quick details, and in a matter of only a few minutes, my prescription is ordered. They have made my busy life that much easier. Since Walgreens focused on making my experience one that is quick and simple, I have no reason to think about switching to another pharmacy. In our fast-paced society, convenience is a big key to making long-term customers out of busy people.
How big is the mobile market? It's slated to surpass desktop usage by 2014. Check out some stats from this infographic by Microsoft Tag.
Secret #4: Promote your products & engage customers through social networks.
Whenever I see a company offering an online discount or coupon for a product or service on Facebook, I'll jump through several hoops to grab that savings. In the last couple weeks I've done things like sign up for an e-newsletter from Chile's in order to get a $5 coupon (I'm not sure I would ever choose to go to Chile's if it weren't for having a coupon for them), "Like" The Cheesecake Factory on Facebook to get a half-off-a-cheesecake coupon, and pin a specific pin to my Pinterest account in order to enter a drawing for free body lotion. I am very average when it comes to internet usage and let me tell you - I would not have done any of those three things if the deals weren't on the other end. So, take my experience as one example; promote your products and services socially and you will gain customers who might not have given you a second glance otherwise. It's true! With our e-commerce add-on for Backstage CMS, you can generate your own promotions, discount codes for social media, and apply sales to individual or who categories of products. With Backstage, you can post your new discount campaign to your blog - or send it out to prospects through e-mail marketing.
If you're looking to improve your store's e-commerce experience or create a new one, our web design experts at Your Creative People can help you. Our team of marketers are highly experienced and knowledgeable in how to create an effective online storefront, with backend product sales, and customer management that's highly intuitive. We love simplicity; our team takes pride in creating simple, usable and engaging online solutions. Get in touch and let us help you create an effective online storefront.
Web Design, Web Development, Social Media Strategy, e-commerce