The journey from the moment a visitor first lands on your website to completing their first purchase is complex and fraught with dangers. The gusty winds of mistrust may blow them away. The treacherous path of website navigation may give out. And the temptation of a smoother path leading to another website and another shopping experience may lead them astray.
Do you think that the description above is overly dramatic? It is not. There are so many things which could happen while a visitor browses your website that could cause them to leave without buying anything. They are in a hurry and they couldn’t find the product they need quickly. The phone rings and after the conversation they forget all about your website because it failed to draw their attention. Or they are just about to make a purchase, but they abandon the cart because they don’t feel they can trust you with their personal data.
That being the case, how can you make provisions for every single obstacle in the path towards a purchase? These tips will help you create a smooth shopping experience for your customers.
- What Is This Website About?
Caveat this question from anyone. It means that your homepage or landing page is not clear on what you are selling and what brand values you stand for. Every website has around three seconds to attract a visitor’s attention. If they are not clear about what products they can find there, they will click away.
There are few mistakes as blatant as that of not designing a homepage which states your business as clearly as a shopping window in a brick-and-mortar store.
- Clear Navigation and Advanced Search
Some people are runners through e-commerce stores, others are walkers. That is, some like to go straight to the product they want, others want to explore various products and ranges. Your website should accommodate both these types of shoppers.
A clear navigation menu is a must-have for any site, not just an online store. When it comes to the search box, do not be cheap: implement an advanced search option where people can sort products, filter them by features, and compare between them.
- Invest in High Quality Product Photos
There is nothing more discouraging to the potential shopper than seeing one small, low resolution photo on a product page. It does not look like a legitimate product photo at all, but something you scanned from an old magazine.
Product photos – and videos, as well – should be made by a professional photographer, showcasing the item from all angles so that the customer can truly grasp what it looks like.
- Consider Implementing Augmented Reality
If you are selling clothes, shoes, eyewear, hair styling products or makeup, it is a great idea to add an augmented reality widget which allows people to virtually try on your products. Thus, they can upload their photo (or snap one with the phone camera) and test how various products would look on them.
Augmented reality is still a new thing among e-commerce websites. If you are one of the early adopters, you will gain more trust and loyalty from your customers.
- Keep the Checkout Form Short
The last obstacle between the customer and purchase completion is the checkout form. There is one golden rule here, which we have repeated before: keep it as short as you can. Now, we will also add statistical data to support our claim.
A study conducted by the company Get Elastic indicated that a single page checkout form attracted 21.8% more sales than a two-page form. And another study conducted by TRUSTe (a company specializing in monitoring security and private data compliance by e-commerce websites) indicated that a staggering number of 73% of people abandon their shopping carts if they feel the checkout form asks for too much personal information. That’s right, nearly three quarters of potential shoppers will not go through with the purchase if they think you want to obtain too much information from them.
Last, but not least, do not forget to add security seals on each page to reassure customers that their purchases are protected by the most advanced technology available right now.