Handbags, shoes, skirts, dresses and tops; these are just some of the commodities that never seem to stop growing. Shopping malls across the country are teeming with them and they are fueling the growth of the e-commerce scene.
For the past few years, online stores have been popping up into the virtual existence like an endemic virus. It is easy and near zero cost to set up. Opening an account is free. There are readily available templates for site designs. The images and the goods are provided by manufacturers. The amount to stock up and cost are low. As such, it attracted a lot of small timers to begin a journey into e-commerce.
Web designers saw opportunity and latched onto this growing trend by providing online shopping cart solution. This is a crucial next step for these business owners to take. On the other hand, blog shops have tremendous flaws in customer retention. They are difficult to browse; this make buying in bulk and multiples item non-existent, and payment is manual. In short, the blog shops buying process is slow and inefficient.
So are the online businesses gaining more customers and replacing the offline shops? The answer is no; the business owner do not understand the internet as much as think. There are many examples of mistake due to the lack of understanding the internet by the online retailers.
So, how are the successful ones optimizing their e-commerce site to make more sales?
Here are a couple of key items that e-commerce site owners need to know when selling online:
- The Designs and Content Management Cannot Be Outsourced
- The Search Function More Important Than You Think It Is
- Don’t Misuse Your Category Navigation
- Don’t Try to Sell Everything in One Single Page
- Don’t Force Your Customer to Sign Up
- Your Shopping Cart Needs to be User Friendly
1. The Designs and Content Management Cannot Be Outsourced
The virtual world is ever changing and constant upgrade need to be done in order to stay competitive. For example, if you are selling a product, make sure you have multiple photos of the product taken at different angle. Since the nature of e-commerce does not allow the customer to touch and feel the product, pictures are the next best thing.
So, by optimizing your e-commerce site with more photos on the product, it will give your customer more confidence to buy the product. You may understand your product and have one of the best products in the market but if you do not provide the right content and make it is easy to locate, no one will buy from you.
2. The Search Function More Important Than You Think It Is
People browse through sites and they browse them quickly. According to usability experts, most users just scan your site and do not read in detail. They will ignore most of the things that are not important to them. That’s why optimizing your e-commerce site navigation will help your visitors to surf with ease.
If they could not find what they are looking for quickly, they are going to use the search function. Let’s face it we have been spoiled by Google. A lot of the sites have the search function but most of them still work with a 20th century algorithm.
They churn out inaccurate results. They frustrate customers and frustrated customers are not going to be a paying customer! So investing money and time to have a good internal search engine will help customer to feel good about your site.
3. Don’t Misuse Your Category Navigation
This relates to what was mentioned; people need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly. The common misuse is listing everything out in one category. Products need to be categorized properly like different sections in a book store.
You should try your best to follow what is commonly used by other people and generally accepted terminologies. Sites such as Amazon and Ebay will be a good a reference point on how to categorize your own goods.
4. Don’t Try to Sell Everything in One Single Page
Putting too much information and items on one page will make your site look messy and annoy your customers. When everything is important, nothing is. Avoid the kitchen sink approach at all cost. This is not the way to optimize your e-commerce site.
Remember, if they are already on your page, they will use your navigation to look for the items that they are interested in. Let them have an easy time browsing your shop.
5. Don’t Force Your Customer to Sign Up
You can’t force people to sign up in order to browse your site unless you are already highly reputable. People don’t have to sign up as members to buy goods at retail stores. Online stores shouldn’t be any different. If ever online stores will replace retail, the process should be as seamless as retail.
Many reputable e-commerce site optimize their checkout process by only asking for sign up information at the payment stage, which is where the customer most willing to provide their contact details.
6. Your Shopping Cart Needs to be User Friendly
To be honest, your whole site needs to be user friendly but your shopping cart is one of the most important piece of feature. If people can’t find where it is or work out quickly on how to use it, they will not use it.
If the current online business owners do not learn quickly, they will be knocked out of business by new comers. It is an extremely competitive business and it’s only going to get more competitive. You will need to realize that optimizing your e-commerce site is an on-going process and not a one off mission.
This is also because your customers’ preference will change in time, and you will have to optimize your e-commerce site to suit their new preference. One way to get feedback from real users is to do quick usability testing service.