Unlike traditional retailers, an ecommerce outfit usually doesn’t have a physical location for selling products and services. What it has instead is a website that acts as a digital storefront. And just as a retailers are always trying to make their physical outlets more appealing to customers to encourage more sales, an ecommerce enterprise has to optimise its online shop to do the same. In digital marketing lingo, this is process is called conversion rate optimisation, or CRO for short. There are numerous ways of to implement CRO – some are effective, some less so. To help you understand which are which, we have compiled a list of 10 methods with a proven track record in the field of CRO.
1. Product Images
One of the disadvantages of running an ecommerce store is the fact that customers can’t see your products in person. And no one likes buying something without seeing what they’re getting. In order to alleviate this shortcoming, online shops have to rely on product images to give customers an impression of what they’re buying. There are several practices that are best for creating informative product images. They include taking photos of products from multiple angles, creating zoomable, high-resolution images, and adding an indicator for scale when appropriate.
2. Product Videos
Images only tell a part of the story. Namely, they are limited to showing what a product looks like. However, barring decorative items, most products are meant to be used in some manner by the consumer. And if you can’t try out the product in person, you will have little basis for judging whether it will suit your needs. One of the ways in which ecommerce stores can get around this limitation is by providing videos of their products in use. Product unboxings and tutorials are two other types of video that you should consider producing as well.
3. Product Descriptions
The final piece of the product puzzle is the description. It contains all the information that can’t be expressed efficiently through images and video. The quality of your product descriptions is therefore one of the most important CRO factors. A good product description should contain an exhaustive feature list, full technical specifications, relevant performance benchmarks, and the appropriate industry certificates, if applicable. It should also be clearly written, adequately structured through the use of headings, bullet points, and other formatting aides.
An extra feature that you can sometimes add to your product pages are customisation options. In today’s consumer culture, uniqueness is a much a much coveted quality, so allowing customers to personalise their purchase can be a powerful incentive for shopping at your store. Providing a variety of colours and patterns is one of the most common ways to provide additional customisation. Another customisation practice would be to offer the same product bundled with different related items.
5. Free Shipping
A high shipping price is one of the most common reasons for why customers abandon their digital shopping carts. No one likes paying half the price of the gadget they bought in shipping fees, especially when they find out about the fee near the end of the checkout process. Instead of charging your customers an arm and a leg in shipping, try adjusting your base prices to include shipping costs by default. People are more willing to pay $80 for a product with free shipping, than to pay $40 for shipping a $40 product.
6. Dedicated Sales Section
If there is one thing that customers like at least as much as free shipping, it’s discounts. The prospect of obtaining a product you’ve wanted for a long time at half the price is usually enough to get anyone to buy. You can even use the trick whereby you inflate the base price of a product but offer to sell it at a permanent discount. Another way of leveraging discounts for CRO is by having a dedicated sales section on your ecommerce website.
Even if you have followed all of the tips so far, some customers will still be on the fence when deciding whether to buy from your store. What they need is a nudge in the right direction. And the best way to make this happen is to have others do it in your stead by showcasing customer reviews on your product pages. Consulting reviews before a purchase is a common practice for a lot of consumers, so hosting them on your digital storefront will save your customers time in trying to find them online.
8. Responsive Design
The percentage of people that use their smartphones and other portable devices for online shopping is close to 63%. And if more than half of your potential customers are coming from mobile, you should make sure that your ecommerce sites is optimised for mobile browsing. This can be accomplished by designing your site according to principles of responsive design. This set of standards and practices ensures that a site will render equally well on screens of different sizes. If you lack the technical expertise to implement responsive design on your own, try procuring the services on any number of these design companies.
9. Calls to Action
Another design element that you should pay attention to are your call-to-action buttons. If your customers have a problem with adding products to their cart, registering an account, subscribing to your newsletter, or finishing their purchase as a result of poorly designed buttons, they will quickly grow annoyed. When designing CTA buttons, you should choose an appropriate colour
and typeface, surround it with enough whitespace so it stands out against the background, and make sure that it executes the desired action without delay.
10. Progress Indicators
Progress indicators are an understated element of ecommerce web design. Their role is to give customers a clear indication of where they are during the checkout process. Without it, your customers will be at a loss with regards to how much time it will take them to complete their purchase, and what sort of information they will need to provide along the way. This could also come in the form of having a visible progress bar that serves as a guide during the buyer’s journey. This will give your customers a sense of control and confidence, both key elements of a positive user experience.
This concludes our list of the 10 golden rules for CRO-friendly ecommerce design. Try them out and let us know how they’ve been working out for you.
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