E-commerce is the lucrative future of shopping. According to PFS “total e-commerce sales shot to almost $2 trillion in 2016, an increase of 8.7 per cent in comparison to 2015.” And e-commerce sales are poised to hit $434 billion in the US.
Optimizing your e-commerce site to make more sales can result in huge profits for your online business and just a few tweaks to your current e-commerce site can really boost your sales.
1. Mobile Responsive Web Design
Experts say that the most impactful action you can take in 2017 to improve your e-commerce site’s sales numbers is to upgrade to a mobile responsive web design. Reports indicate that in 2016, nearly 40% of all e-commerce traffic came from a mobile device. Moreover, the same sources predict that within a few years, up to 70% of e-commerce will originate from mobile devices. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your site has to be great on cell phones.
So, what is a mobile responsive design? It’s a webpage that works as well on a cell or tablet as it does on a desktop. The mobile version of your site is generally going to look and work more like an app than a traditional website, which makes it easier to use on your phone or tablet’s smaller screen.
If your mobile site works well, your customers can and will use it from anywhere. That means you have even more opportunities to get the conversion.
2. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Clicks
One of the great challenges of e-commerce is displaying and sharing your products to customers. An advantage of a “real storefront” shopping experience is that your customers can touch, sample, and try on the products. How do you create that same experience for e-commerce sites?
The reality is that e-commerce can never mimic the real world experience of touching or sampling your products. So, you need to make up for it with the sense that you can use: sight. Use high-resolution, sharp photos and videos to demonstrate quality to your customers. And show lots of aspects of your product. Don’t just put up a photo of a t-shirt – show a video clip of someone actually wearing the shirt. Use your photos and videos to make potential customers see themselves using your product.
3. Keep It Fresh
Websites aren’t a one-off event – you have to keep updating them to keep them relevant. And those updates can make a big difference in your sales. It’s not just about keeping your products, pricing, and business info current. It’s also about really highlighting your new products, company news, and promotions.
In general, especially for a small business, that just means updating your home page. Make sure your web design allows for you to put big news or big deals front and center so they’re the first thing visitors see. By opening their experience with a promotion, you’re priming visitors to believe that they’re getting a good deal. That makes them more likely to buy, even if they end up buying something outside the promotion. It also makes your site seem more professional, since you’re clearly paying attention to it and updating it regularly.
4. Make It Easy
It’s tempting to get caught up in designing your website – cool pictures, a great design, mobile responsiveness, and all the bells and whistles. But at the end of the day, this is a store. You’re trying to sell a product or service. And you don’t want to lose sight of that as you work on the design.
Bottom line, you have to make it easy for customers to make a purchase. That means:
- Your site needs clear menus and icons so it’s easy to navigate
- Keep the structure simple so it only takes a couple of clicks to get to the product
- Make sure your site is searchable so that customers can look at just red shoes or just vanilla cupcakes – give them exactly what they want! You’ll need to talk to your web developer about making your site searchable.
- Make sure it’s easy to add and remove items from the shopping cart
Most of all, make sure it’s easy to check out.
First, think about your payment methods. Do you accept all major credit cards? What about PayPal or Google Wallet? You don’t necessarily have to take every payment method on the planet, but think about what your customers will want to use.
In addition, set up your site so that people can create accounts using their email addresses. This is great for a number of reasons. First, it means you can save their payment information so they can buy with one click – that’s as easy as it can possibly get to make a purchase. It also means you can send them email reminders if they leave items in their cart, making them more likely to go ahead and complete the sale.
Treat your e-commerce store like you would a physical storefront. Keep it tidy, up-to-date, and looking sharp. And remember that no one would make a purchase in a physical store if they had to do an obstacle course to get to the register – the same goes for your website. Make it easy, and they’ll be happy to click “Buy.”
E-commerce sales are the future of online business. In your mind, you should think of your e-commerce website as your virtual storefront. By making simple tweaks to improve your site, you can elevate your customers’ sales experience so that they have positive shopping outcome each time.