At the moment I hate our e-commerce website. Sure, I customized almost every aspect of it, but there is always room for improvement. If I could get my programmer/partner to be as willing to adopt and implement change as I am, I’d be happier. Anyways, here are some tips we follow to keep our e-commerce website in tip-top shape for sales conversions.
1. Speed up your website
According to Gomez, the application monitor from Compuware, Every 2 seconds of load time on your site equals an 8% abandonment rate. The concludes that reducing load time from 8 seconds to 2 seconds will increase sales conversions by an astounding 74%.
Unfortunately, some ecommerce websites are at the mercy of the 3rd party content provider (such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion etc.) and will run into speed problems if that company is experiencing troubles. There isn’t much you can do there.
Many sites also utilize third party plugins and scripts for stuff like Facebook, Twitter, Google Widgets and more. It might be wise to limit those. We stopped using the Facebook “like” script because it was slowing our site down.
Check every image on your website and be absolutely sure each one is condensed as much as possible. This is probably the easiest place to improve downloads speeds for your customer.
Optimizing the HTML, CSS, database calls, scripts and any other code is also helpful and considered part of an overall SEO strategy. There is an abundance of methods to increase speed especially if you’re a developer or programmer.
2. Keep it simple
Try to keep each page of your website as clean as possible. Don’t add too many images or too much information. Think through each page and only provide absolutely necessary information.
E-commerce pages should be simple along with an easy-to-follow shopping cart. Only require customers to fill out essential information in as few steps as possible. Bogging them down severely limit first-time sales and the complexity will keep customers from returning.
3. Paying should be a cinch
Implement strategies that make paying simple. Is there anything more frustrating than entering your name, address, 16-digit credit card number and three-digit security code, and then restarting from scratch because you forgot your ZIP code? If most of your business is in the U.S., why not put “United States” first on the scroll instead of way down at the end, as it would appear alphabetically?
According to Mashable, Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research, says there’s a standard sequence of information for credit card information. If you mess with that order (by putting the credit card number before the name and address, for instance), then users are apt to enter the wrong info because they’ve been trained to log such data in a certain sequence. Says Mulpuru: “Follow the industry standard.”
Also, despite high percentages, be sure to accept AMEX. I’ve read that websites accepting Paypal have seen as much as a 20% increase in sales.
4. Keep shipping low
Sucharita Mulpuru indicates that if you’re charging more than 10% of the total cost of the item for shipping, then you’re charging too much. “You’re probably depressing your sales significantly,” she says. “People are more likely to abandon your cart.”
Shipping prices are a continuous battle for our small business. We keep prices low, but customers gripe about shipping anyways. In the end, be sure to compare your shipping prices against your market competitors to ensure you’re in the same range or lower.
5. Browser friendliness
You may be a Google Chrome fan (like me), but there’s a world full of people who are using old versions of Internet Explorer. Not to mention, Firefox and Safari are hugely popular. Have you tested your site on those other browsers? If not, you should. Many sites don’t perform well across various browsers so people abandon them.
When considering browsers, also consider devices and screen sizes. I download different browsers on each our office computers and check everything. We’ve also visited Best Buys and Home Depots to test our website’s shopping experiences on numerous computers (PC’s and MACs) and tablets (iOS and Android).
Even ask the staff to view the website on browsers and at home to see if they notice any funny business you missed.
Yes, there is a much better and more convenient way to test your browser compatibility. It’s called BrowserStack and it’s worth is priceless.
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