We are preparing for a very different holiday season. The change to online shopping has been accelerated by Coronavirus and social distancing. However, this new environment has opened the doors to innovation. I am so inspired by the ways I’ve seen businesses serving their customers in new ways like curbside pickup, delivery, and providing new experiences. But right now, the e-commerce experience can make or break your online sales. Before the holiday rush, review your website paying attention to these ten features.
1. High-Quality Images. Grainy, dark photos are not going to show off your products and make you look less than professional. Go for clean backgrounds that allow your product to shine. If you are going to use a holiday theme or other setups to accent the product, make sure your product is clearly the center of attention, and the setup doesn’t distract.
2. Sense of Urgency. Do your ‘sales’ and promotions go on without end? What reason does a visitor have to buy now versus next week? Have you ever noticed how major retailers always have a sale and it always ends within 24 hours of when you are shopping? This isn’t a coincidence, this is creating a sense of urgency. How are you encouraging shoppers to buy now?
3. Simplified Checkout. I loathe 15 step checkouts! But when you add steps to any checkout process, you decrease the chances of someone getting to the goal line. Simplify your checkout and overall website by reducing the number of clicks from shopping all the way to completing checkout.
4. Payment Options. Offering multiple payment options allows customers to shop in ways that are convenient to them. If I love shopping by Apple Pay, and I see the Apple Pay option, I’m more likely to complete the sale because I know the process is streamlined. I won’t have to dig my credit card out of my purse, type it in, and fuss with a shipping address. Great options include PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay.
5. Mobile-First Design. If you are selling consumer goods and services, chances are mobile traffic accounts for over half of your visits at any given time. Your website design should be mobile-first, meaning optimized for mobile screens above desktop or tablet sizes. Grab your phone and review the entire shopping experience on a small screen.
6. Leverage Reviews. Shoppers want to feel confident in your products and in your business. Reviews tell the story from the perspective of the buyer. Did you take care of them when there was an issue? Was the process convenient? Did you help them solve a problem or make life a little easier with your services? Also, be sure you are monitoring review outlets and addressing any problems. Encourage reviews but also highlight them on your product pages, homepage, and within your social media. These are powerful in the perception of your business.
7. CTA’s: Call To Actions. A call to action is a button, popup, or link, that is supposed to take your shopper from where they are, to where you want them to go. These should be positioned around your website to draw attention. They should also stand out in a contrasting or eye-catching color while still aligning with your brand standards. Too often sites have too few calls to action or they are placed in obscure locations.
8. Clean Layout. A cluttered circus-like design can be overwhelming. If you don’t know what to do, or can’t find what you want- chances are you leave the site, and you’ll leave pretty quickly. Clean up your design and layout. Give your user clear and clean navigation, clean links, and colors that work well together.
9. Clear Product Description. Are your product descriptions updated and do they clearly describe your products? A long description for the sake of word count may not be helping you. A bulleted list of features and benefits is easier for a customer to digest than a few paragraphs of flowery language. If you can’t say it succinctly, go back to those product reviews and see what your customers are saying. There may be ideas on how to describe your products from the people using them.
10. Why Buy? Is it crystal clear why someone should do business with you? Is it your quality, customer service, bonus offers, competitive prices, experience, or free shipping? What makes you different from your competitors? Do you have the world’s best loyalty program? Whatever makes you different, needs to be just as evident throughout the e-commerce process as for someone walking through your physical store. Utilize announcement bars, pop-ups, and contrasting colors to make sure your ‘why buy’ message is front and center.