Before I became an Organic Search Analyst, I spent many years working eCommerce in a wide variety of roles from warehouse work to product page development. The time I spend in eCommerce has made me a bit of an online shopping elitist; I have come to expect certain things from online features and often, if most of those features are missing, I usually abandon the site. Many consumers have the same expectations and habits.
To help prevent customers from abandoning your website, here are some user experience tips to keep your customer engaged (and converting).
You Can Never Have Enough Images
People don’t read the way they used to and have become much more visually driven, especially when shopping. It is imperative to have high-resolution images that can be enlarged with a variety of angles. If your product has color variations, make sure there is at least one image of the item in the alternate color. You can write all day to explain what a great product your selling, but without a visual to entice users to read on your copy will probably not be enough to get customers to “Add to Cart.”
Don’t Skimp on the Details
Once you’ve got their attention with an awesome product, provide details. How big is the item? What is it made of? Dry-clean only? Does it need special installation, and can I find instructions on the product page to ensure I’ve got the skills to do it? Informed consumers are more confident in their potential purchase, putting them closer to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Check Your Checkout Process
On the long road to conversion, there are plenty of opportunities for customers to abandon your site, but one of the most common places for cart-abandonment is at checkout. An unclear checkout page is frustrating. Clearly identify the important forms such as billing information and the shipping address and avoid extraneous fields. Make sure to indicate and define the shipping options you have; many people don’t instinctively know the different shipping times for standard v. economy or express v. premium. Something as simple as having a rough idea of the delivery date can prevent angry customers later.
Customer Service is More Than Bad Review Triage
Speaking of angry customers, too often I see eCommerce businesses scramble to clean up bad review on the web and by that point the customer has already been lost. Having a customer service department that is knowledgeable, empathetic, empowered and easily accessible can calm upset customers and save a sale or turn a one-time shopper into a loyal customer. Most eCommerce sites now have an online chat feature making it easier to get in contact in a world where answers are expected quickly, but with minimal effort. Oh, and it’s a bonus if you don’t have to listen to bad hold music while waiting to connect to a phone representative.
An eCommerce website should be unique to your product and brand, but don’t let your sites design overpower the consumer’s experience. Creating a smooth shopping experience before, during and after a purchase can provide plenty of opportunities to retain current customers as well as bring in new ones through the word of mouth of happy consumers both online and offline.