One way to do so is to focus on converting more website visitors into customers (also known as conversion rate optimization.)
Imagine you are currently getting a 5% conversion rate. That means for every 100 visitors to your website, you’re turning 5 of them into customers. If you can increase your conversion rate to 7% (or maybe even 10%), you are essentially spending the same amount of money… and getting MORE returns!
To do that, you can follow certain ecommerce best practices.
These best practices were discovered either through research or the experience of successful online stores.
Which also means that these are merely “best practices” for other people. To get the best results, test them on your own store to see if they work for you.
With that said, here’s 24 ecommerce best practices you should test on your website:
1. Stop Using The Sliding Carousel
The carousel has been popular with ecommerce retailers because:
- That’s what most people have been doing.
- It looks kinda cool
- It showcases the products the store sells in one clean swoop.
It’s time to stop.
Research from the Nielsen Norman group discovered that sliding carousels like this annoy users.
Users would much prefer to take their own time to read the content on the website, and will abandon it if they are unable to get the information they want.
Also, sliding carousels cause banner blindness.
Look at this image:
This eye-tracking study clearly shows that users conveniently ignore the sliding banners and move straight to the content of the website.
Nobody is checking out the products in your sliding carousel.
2. Use Better Quality Images
Was your cousin your last photographer? Unless he is a trained photographer, start replacing your images with high-quality ones because you’re losing sales.
Take a look at this case study from Visual Website Optimizer:
Czech eCommerce retailer Mall.CZ improved their sales by 9.46% by using larger product images with the product description.
Wouldn’t you want an additional 9% improvement in sales? (I bet you would.)
The reason for this is because high-quality product images actually help potential customers imagine the product in their hands.
If you’ve noticed customers checking out products in an offline store, you’ll see that they will pick out things they like and examine them closely in detail.
Since they cannot physically touch the product from your online store… High-quality images help them to better imagine owning the product — which improves your conversion rate.
3. Inspire Trust On Your Website
Let’s be honest:
Unless you’re already a well-established brand like Louis Vuitton, most people don’t know what your brand is. They might not have even heard of it before. Neither have they ever visited your website.
So, why should they trust you at first glance?
They have no reason to. Not unless you give them one.
Here are some suggestions you can add to your website to up the ante on the trust level:
A – Trust Badges
Look at this 2nd case study from Visual Website Optimizer:
Express Watches, a UK-based retailer of Seiko watches wanted to eliminate customer anxiety over whether the watches they sold were real or merely imitations.
To test if adding trust badges (or elements) would help in improving conversion rates on the website, Express Watches ran an A/B test where:
A (control): An image of the watch was shown with the copy “Never Beaten On Price”
B (variation): An image of the watch was shown with the copy “Seiko Authorized Seller Site”
A 107% increase in sales. Which effectively doubled Express Watches’ sales for the month.
ConversionIQ also ran a similar experiment where they added the standard trust badges (McAfee Secure trust mark and the Norton Secured trust mark) to several websites.
In a test with an Internet Retailer Top 200 supplier, adding the McAfee Secure trust mark improved conversion by 3% for all traffic and 12% for new visitors.
Adding the Norton Secured (SSL) trust mark also helped US Cutter, a supplier of vinyl cutting supplies increase conversion by 11%.
B – Press
Positive press coverage is a great way to instill credibility in your business. So if you have been featured in any notable publications in your industry (for e.g Forbes, GQ, Esquire etc.), then consider adding them to your homepage to show new visitors that you are legit.
Your customers will look for reviews of your products before they purchase anything. Since you can’t prevent potential customers from seeking reviews of your products, why not guide them to it?
Adding customer-submitted reviews to your product pages will help improve trust in your products and help customers make better decisions.
The best part?
It improves conversions too. Diamond Candle, a scented-candle store boosted its product page conversion rate by 13%. Express Watches (our friend in the above example) tested the addition of inline customer reviews to their product pages — and improved their conversion rates (from traffic to sales) by a whopping 58.29%!
(Wouldn’t you want that?)
Using customer-submitted photos and reviews also helped Diamond Candle grow their Facebook Page to 469,661 fans.
Isn’t that a double win?
D – Phone Number
What better way than to show potential customers that you are legit by giving them a real physical number to call?
Flowr tested placing a phone number on the website to see if they could improve conversions. They ran an A/B test where:
A (control) – no phone number
B (variation) – phone number
They managed to improve their conversion rate by 0.5%. Not fantastic, but a positive trend for them to continue further testing.
Side benefit: most companies shy away from taking phone calls, so if you’re available for a chat with your customers, you will stand out and they will love you!
E – Physical Address
Similar to the phone number, this helps show visitors that you are legit as you are physically located somewhere.
4.Answer All Relevant Questions On Your Website
Because you’re not there physically to answer all their questions, it is important that you provide every single piece of information your customers need to make a decision.
Don’t overestimate what your customer knows. Lay everything out for them, from Frequently Asked Questions to your Return Policy, and from Delivery Dates to your Shipping Policy.
Be clear and transparent in your transactions with them, and your customers will trust and love you.
5. Add Live Chat Support To Your Ecommerce Store
The difference between an offline salesman and an online store is that a salesperson can answer queries by the potential customer on the spot… which often results in a sale.
In an online situation, you don’t even know why visitors bounce away from your website. If they have on-the-spot concerns or objections, you can’t handle them because well… there is no way to.
Unless you leverage live chat.
Customers value personalised interactions – in fact, 75% consider calls the most effective to get a quick response.
By installing a live chat system on your eCommerce store, you empower your visitors to ask questions about your products… while giving you a chance to close them on the spot.
That’s how Intuit did it too.
By adding live chat to different parts of their website (e.g checkout process, product comparison page etc.), they improved their conversion rate by 211%!
Interested now and want to add live chat to your online store? Here are a few services you can consider:
6. No Clear Value Proposition
What is a value proposition?
According to Peep Laja, founder of Conversion XL, a value proposition must:
- Explain how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
- delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
- tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).
Your value proposition is the MAIN reason why your customers buy from you.
If a customer lands on your website — and has no idea why they are there, or what you sell… they are going to bounce.
That’s why you need to make it crystal clear to your potential customers why they need you, and why they should choose you.
Here are a few examples of value proposition done right.
Dollar Shave Club:
Study them, get inspired, create your own and test them.
FSAStore.com, a one-stop-destination where visitors can buy FSA eligible products tested simplifying their homepage by removing sub-categories.
The result? A 53.8% increase in revenue per visitor.
Similarly, the Weather Channel simplified its homepage and focused on one main call-to-action. The result?
A 225% improvement in conversions.
These two case studies teach us one simple guideline for eCommerce site designs:
Keep Things Simple.
Many eCommerce stores tend to flood their homepage with every single product they sell, leading to confusion, distraction and low conversion rates.
Instead of featuring every product available, test to see which one deserves to be on your front page (or maybe even none at all.)
The product you feature on your homepage should generate curiosity or increases the desire of the visitor to purchase, not drive them away.
- Your Website Is Not Responsive
If you have not realised by now… More and more of your customers will begin to shop in your online store via their mobile phone.
In fact, according to CMO Council, mobile eCommerce will contribute 24.4% to the total revenue of the eCommerce sector by the end of 2017.
This means that in order to provide a seamless user experience for your visitors, you HAVE to consider mobile as part of your marketing strategy.
How do you do that?
By making your website responsive.
Make sure your website will resize to any device so that your visitors do not get frustrated while surfing your store on their phone.
Plus… It is now a must if you want to rank well on Google as the big G has been punishing un-optimized websites since 2016.
Wait… Still, need more push..?
Then let Offspring, a UK sneaker store show you how they:
- Improved 15.19% in mobile conversion rate
- Created 102.58% in mobile revenue year on year
- Increased organic traffic by 25.59%
- And improved mobile usability score to 100/100
By shifting to a mobile-responsive design.
9.Improve Your Website Loading Speed
I’ve got bad news.
According to Neil Patel:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- And…. A 1-second page delay could potentially cost a $100,000/day eCommerce site to lose $2.5 million in sales every year.
I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration when a particular website you’re trying to visit takes forever to load.
And that’s the same frustration your visitors are experiencing… if your website loading speed is poor.
Not sure how long your website is taking to load? Check your website loading speed using HubSpot’s Website Grader.
imply input your URL and Website Grader will tell you how fast (or slow) your website is.
If it’s doing great, then well done. Keep ongoing.
If it’s slow… then follow CrazyEgg’s website speed checklist to hasten it up. These are the elements you should look at:
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Reduce server response time
- Enable compression
- Enable browser caching
- Minify resources
- Optimize images
- Optimize CSS delivery
- Prioritize above-the-fold content
- Reduce the number of plugins
- Reduce redirects
10. Simplify Your Navigation Bar
Cognitive load is the mental effort required to process and learn new information.
Similarly, cognitive load in user experience design is the amount of mental processing power needed to use your site.
The higher the cognitive load, the tougher it is for the user to find the things they want, the more likely they are going to bounce off your website and never come back.
That’s why it is important that you simplify your navigation bar — and make it easy for the visitor to direct to where they want to go.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Herschel uses a simple, proven horizontal navigation bar with visual cues that tells the visitors where to find what they’re looking for.
This significantly reduces the number of clicks the visitor needs to go to where he wants to go… which results in more sales for Herschel.
In fact, take a look at this case study by Frosmo:
A simple navigation bar change (changing the “watches” tab to “men’s watches”, “women’s watches” and “children’s watches”) helped online watch retailer Saat & Saat increased conversions by 62.5%.
That’s how important getting your navigation bar right is.