When I had my first eCommerce site, one of the questions often on my mind (and even written on the wall!) was: “How to generate more sales?”.
Back in those days, as an amateur eCommerce merchant I knew that I needed to generate more traffic. I spent the majority of our budget on marketing, however the conversion rate was too low (~0.7%). And most importantly, the majority of customers and users never came back to re-order.
User Experience Has a GIANT Role to Play
Yes, the essential problem was that users experienced the site’s poor usability. Right now, after gaining a lot of experience in eCommerce, I can strongly say:
Traffic is a good thing, but traffic alone can only get you so far.
A lot of research has been conducted on how user experience impacts eCommerce business. Some of my favorites:
88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
Good UX is its own marketing… Delightful user experiences naturally cure(ate) brand advocates
So to cut a long story short, we at SearchNode believe that a Great User Experience is the key to converting and retaining customers. And eCommerce businesses should invest more time and money into this.
We have highlighted these 6 particular eCommerce website areas which must be optimized in order to achieve great customer retention:
1. Better product view with proper description
Imagine yourself shopping in a bricks–and-mortar store. You can touch, feel, smell and even try out the product. Online it’s difficult to get such a detailed view and feel. Fortunately, online stores can add functionality which will actually persuade users:
- Zoom in & out plus high resolution imaging should both be properly maintained. They give users better visibility of every product detail. Whether it’s fashion or an electronics store, this is relevant for the majority of categories.
- 360° product view. Like zoom in & out, this facility engages users, providing a more natural shopping experience, which helps to persuade users. It gives a feel to the user more like a transparent store and when the product is delivered it will be as portrayed online.
- Proper description. Make sure the description answers all possible questions and overcomes potential objections. Moreover the copy must be compelling.
To dig deeper into the details of the product page, Conversionxl has published a great article about it.
2. Shopping Cart
Cart abandonment is one of the main small-medium eCommerce site challenges. And that’s one of the user experience areas which should be crafted well to retain customers. Who wants to come back when it’s simply frustrating to complete an order?
Just take a look at this quick funny video which tells you a lot:
3. Site Speed
Knowing that 8% of users cited slow loading pages as a key reason for abandoning their purchase, eCommerce sites must make sure that their site works smoothly. Users are not going to come back when their shopping is so time consuming.
4. Experience after ordering
Ok, the customer has made a payment, and filled in all the information you have requested. What’s next? The most important thing now is to give the user an understanding of the order’s status. Common questions customers ask after the order:
- When will I get the product?
- What if I am not at home at the time of delivery?
- Has it been already dispatched?
- Whom should I call to ask about my order?
Build a clear, inviting page for users where they can find everything about their order. Open a ticketing system and research all the questions customers ask after ordering. That will give an awesome user experience, users will not need to worry and they will be more likely to buy from you again.
5. Offer Help
Regardless of your site’s quality, there will always be someone who needs help. Lack of a way for users to reach out and get help creates a feeling of frustration and helplessness, which often results in site abandonment.
- Create a searchable FAQ list and a help wiki;
- Provide a support number which can be called 24/7;
- Provide live chat support.
6. Smart Search
You simply can’t sell the product if users can’t find it. In the current internet world people have big expectations when they search. They use Google every day, they are also familiar with Amazon and other eCommerce giants where the search bar is the first feature they use.
According to Econsultancy research: “People who use site search are more likely to purchase compared to those who use standard navigation, as they are shopping with intent.”
So make sure your small-medium eCommerce site has these features on site-search:
- Smart search engine. It must understand different word forms e.g. writing desk and writer’s desk or writing table.
- Search results filters.
These are the major search features that will help to convert and retain users. If it takes just a couple of seconds to find a desired product, users will be more likely to come back again as they know your site provides an easy and productive experience.
Unfortunately, many small-medium eCommerce businesses which have a limited web and software development budget have challenges with this degree of functionality.
Projects like ElasticSearch or Solr require at least 200 – 400 development hours, infrastructure maintenance plus knowledge in these technology areas.
SaaS tools like SLI-Systems or Celebros are enterprise-oriented, making them too expensive for small-medium eCommerce sites. Some others just lack functionality or they are not eCommerce oriented.
So today, we invite you to join SearchNode – the retention-oriented SaaS search for medium-big eCommerce sites. Our mission is to build the best on-site search which will help to retain customers by giving them an outstanding experience.