With e-commerce booming all over the world, it is longer about the product alone but the user experience. The challenge right now for online retailers is figuring out a way to stand out in a saturated market. In this blog we discuss some of the best practices for e-retail to optimise the experience for each stage of the marketing funnel and for different devices.
- Impactful images on the homepage to make an emotional connection. People don’t just respond faster to pictures, but they also respond emotionally to them. capitalise on this to attract new visitors on your homepage – top of the funnel (TOFU) fodder. Trial images to see what sparks the most curiosity, or which gains the best attention. Remember to use more artwork for TOFU pages rather than BOFU pages. For instance, the checkout page must be simple and focussed, without any distractions to the task of checking out.
- Which e-mail capture method will work best for you? There are a few tested methods, but you have to experiment to find out what your customers respond to the best. If you’re using a lightbox pop-up, introduce it only for return visitors as new visitors would close it without even reading it. Secondly, introduce it in a section a little past the home page; you have to allow visitors time to interact with the website content before popping up with the request. This let’s them navigate past the home page and gives them a chance to decide whether they want to hear back from you later or not. At any rate, never let the first point of interaction be a pop-up requesting personal information as that just puts people off. An alternative to pop-ups is having text input fields for e-mail that appear on the side/bottom of the page and scrolls with the user. This is less intrusive than pop-ups.
- Make value propositions louder on the product page. You probably have another page dedicated to your value propositions or you already have it written on another part of the product page. It doesn’t matter. Offering money-back, easy returns, or free shipping are fantastic values to customers and set your services apart from competitors. So mention it again close to the primary CTA on the product page for customers to know about the delightful e-commerce experience awaiting them and to encourage or influence their decision to add the product to the cart.
- Breadcrumbs on your site help shoppers navigate without distraction. When a new visitor comes in, they are exploring your site and discovering what you’re all about. From that stage they move to orienting themselves to the task they came for in the first place. At the product page they are in the middle of both these processes. They are exploring but they also need to be focussed on decision-making to move the product to the cart. A focussed user has a higher rate of converting. Breadcrumbs help users navigate the site. Breadcrumb navigation is displayed to the user, so they can easily see exactly where that web page is located within the website without getting lost.
- Have a product confirmation when shoppers add a product to the cart. Sometimes shoppers can just keep adding things to the cart because they like it, and get distracted enough not to check out. By showing or asking them confirmation of the product added to the cart, along with the checkout CTA unobtrusively visible, you make the next step obvious without them having to look for it and before they get distracted. This keeps them focussed on getting on with the task and checking out.
- Do your A/B tests right. Firstly, this method is one of the conversion rate optimization strategies that work when you have a good footfall. Next consider the importance of the page. The home page sees greater TOFU traffic so it’s easier to see how changes influence behaviour at the BOFU level and draw statistical information. However, testing on a page closer to the check-out funnel will have a direct impact on your KPIs and accurately show you how variations can create business value. So it’s good to have a mix on various pages from different parts of the funnel.
- Should you completely redesign and test, or test changes iteratively? If you revamp a page completely and then try to test it against the original, you won’t know which element is influencing the change in its reception by customers. In an iterative process, you can easily attribute the changes in reception to the element or design that was introduced or changed in the original page. However, instead of tediously trying out one changed element at a time, you can group related elements (that have a common goal) in a multivariate test. For example, you can try various combinations of the elements that drive CTA clicks to see which element worked and which ones didn’t complement the other.
- You know which e-mail capture method works best, but at what point do you ask for the registration to receive it successfully? E-mail marketing is excellent – to market new promotional material or to remarket when you have abandoned carts. So it’s best to request e-mails at different points in the funnel but without being conditional or exasperating. An example of asking without insisting is instead of letting a customer checkout as a guest, ask if they would like to register as a member and checkout. You could also mention the perks for members. On mobiles, where checking out has a slightly lower rate than desktop, avoid too many layered steps. Direct them straight to the page that only asks of the registration.
- Determine which way of breaking up form fields works best with your customers. The question is whether you should have very few form fields, or if you can’t reduce the number of form fields because of the relevance of the information to your business, and so you have many form fields but break them up into sections, and then show customers the steps of the entire process. The answer is, test which method works for your audience. On mobiles, you certainly have to break it up into smaller steps. Whether on mobile devices or desktops, showing the progress bar helps create a sense of achievement after each section is completed, and also lets users know in what part of the process they are at.
These steps may seem like common sense things to do, because they are the fundamentals in providing good user experience. However, you will still find e-commerce merchants who don’t follow these best practices and suffer quite easily for it. Make sure these points are incorporated into your site as every stage to see the difference in response from customers.