In a world of numbers and data, it is easy for ecommerce businesses to get bogged down in their site metrics. From CPC to CPA, sifting through what is relevant is tough with so much information at your fingertips. Traffic generation techniques do work but is your traffic converting to sales?
If your business is getting site visits without purchases, it’s time to look at your site’s shopping experience. There is no trick, technique, or silver bullet when it comes to user experience. Make it easy for a purchase to be made and you will see an increase in conversions.
The most common mistakes made by ecommerce companies are:
• Distracting the User
• Adding Unnecessary Steps
• Not Sweating the Details
• Putting the Workload on the User
• Resistance to Change
The Success Stories
Consider brands that you follow or sites that you look to for your own purchases. We encourage you to type in a site you’ve purchased from and guide yourself through a sample purchasing experience. Teefury.com is an excellent example. When you get to the homepage of the site, it is all about purchasing without distraction, adding unnecessary steps, or putting an educational burden on the customer base. You have a simple navigation bar, access to two limited time sales, and five category boxes just above the fold.
Distracting the User
The Problem: Because of distraction caused by other data points, it is too easy to distract users from buying. Everything from pushing the latest product offering to prompting for newsletter signups propels the consumer away from the shopping cart and into the depths of your site.
Ecommerce businesses getting traffic but not enough conversions are missing out on those consumers that are at least considering a purchase. Consumers don’t go to your site for offers or social media, they click through to buying your product. Clutter is distracting, confusing, and often overwhelming.
The Solution: Before adding a new element to a website, we suggest asking yourself this question — “Does the newly added element take the user one step closer to buying?” Amazon is king of the purchase process. Not only have they patented their “one-click purchase” they also take away every distraction once the checkout process has started. The user sees Delivery Method, Payment Method, Review Items, and an Order Summary.
Adding Unnecessary Steps
The Problem: Another aspect of a distracting user experience is adding unnecessary steps to the process. While fields in the checkout process may capture information you want about your purchasers, it may frustrate a buyer so much that they leave your site behind. Even a seemingly simple problem like not finding their country on the checkout list can be enough to make a customer walk away.
The checkout process should be your starting point, but unnecessary steps are often peppered throughout a site. Don’t forget to make it easy for: customer contact, returning products or finding the return policy, understanding shipping costs, and getting answers to frequently asked questions.
The Solution: Look at your own checkout process. Are there any elements on the page which capture marketing data only? This is likely an unnecessary step. Every additional field is a hurdle your consumer must overcome just to make a purchase you’ve already convinced them to make! Minor annoyances add up to a painful shopping experience.
Not Sweating the Details
The Problem: Too many ecommerce businesses launch their sites and walk away. You must change to accommodate the consumer’s needs, wants, and expectations. A site that isn’t working well now won’t suddenly become easy to understand as your customers learn about the brand. By this time, your potential purchase base has moved on to a better site.
The Solution: Never stop tweaking and improving your website to create a better shopping experience. Many problems only become clear after real life use. Some of the proven ways to make changes the consumer will like are through the use of multivariate testing, analytics, and usability sessions. Agonize over small changes.
Putting the Workload on the User
The Problem: Simply put, improving a site takes serious work. Have you ever noticed that the largest sites online don’t use CAPTCHA codes? It’s not that these companies aren’t getting spam, it’s that they have invested their time into an alternative solution (like a honeypot) that doesn’t require consumer intervention. Your problem with spam is not the problem of your users.
Of course, this is not the only example. Too many ecommerce businesses burden the shopper with the workload in situations like:
• Formatting Their Own Telephone Numbers
• Finding Old Accounts Because We Don’t Allow Duplicates
• Adding Postal Codes in Our Preferred Format
• Creating Complex Passwords to Meet Our Security Standards
• Clicking Through Multiple Offers or Pages to Reach Checkout
• Not Integrating Online Payment Solutions with Our Site
• Suggesting Other Products if Size, Color, or Preference Is Out of Stock
The Solution: Solve your ecommerce site issues without involving the customer in your issues. If every step or piece of information required scares off 1% of customers, which steps can you remove? Place the user’s needs before your own in building your site as well as with product offerings.
Resistance to Change
The Problem: Because of exposure to an endless number of websites, your customer base is constantly exposed to innovation in the user experience. Staying stagnant in an online world has the potential to cripple a business, especially a business that didn’t start out online. In the past decade, we have seen exponential changes in areas like: return policies, shipping costs, shipping speeds, access to products and services, flexible sizing, online ratings as well as complaints, reaching customer service, and getting customer service assistance. New players in an industry often disrupt a current model because they are not resistant to change.
The Solution: Overall, this comes down to adapting. Stay educated concerning what your main competitors are offering and how they are boosting their conversion rates. In addition, be realistic about which companies are actual competitors. By the time a change in your industry becomes widespread, you are already behind. So why not change and be on the cutting edge?
Your Business Can Adapt
Improve your user experience and you will boost your conversion rate. By honestly assessing your website and its interface, you will see measurable change. A website is always a work in progress. The largest and most successful companies in the world are constantly innovating their ecommerce platforms. Customer expectations change more rapidly than ever. Is your website able to keep up?