Customers today are increasingly sophisticated about e-commerce sites, and keeping up with the latest trends can be a challenge. But there are tried-and-true strategies that are virtually guaranteed to appeal to customers, and if it’s time to rethink your site to optimize sales, using these techniques can ensure that each visitor has a great shopping experience.
- Make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. There’s one site feature that should be non-negotiable in any design: an easily identifiable dashboard and search bar. Make sure your site gives customers a way to immediately find the item they seek, using the type of familiar search and navigation tools that companies have used successfully for years, including a dashboard that directs customers to information about past and current orders.
- Showcase products with appealing photos. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but according to research cited by Ecommerce University, a large product photo might be even more valuable on your e-commerce site: High quality photos can improve sales by more than 9 percent. Also, make sure to convey any information not shown in the photo in the product description, keeping the copy between 75 and 200 words in length.
- Include customer reviews. Today’s customers typically distrust ads, but they tend to believe product information from sources they perceive as unbiased, such as comments from product users. Provide a platform for customers to leave feedback on your products. It’s a great way to augment the product description, and often customers will add context and insight that are not available in the product description.
- Handle out of stock items with care. When a product is out of stock, it’s tempting to remove it from your site. But if you take the product off the site, you’ll lose out on customer visits because the item will no longer be searchable. That said, it’s unfair to lead customers to believe you still have the item, only to tell them at check-out time that it’s not available. Keep out of stock items on your site, but warn customers that the item is out of stock at the product page. Then suggest similar items or offer to notify customers when it becomes available.
- Give customers the information they need about your policies. Every company has its own policies on shipping, returns and other customer service issues. Make sure potential and current customers can easily find this information on your site. It’s a good idea to add a Frequently Asked Questions page that gives customers insight into your policies on refunds, deliveries, contacting the company and other pertinent issues.
The portion of total consumer spending that takes place online is growing – in fact, according to eMarketing, B2C e-commerce sales are expected to hit $1.5 trillion this year. That translates into incredible opportunities for CEOs whose companies sell products online. But the competition is fierce, so you’ll have to find a way to make your site stand out from the crowd. By following these tips, you can improve your customers’ experience – and supercharge e-commerce sales.
This guest post comes courtesy of Nikole Haiar, Director of Marketing at Hostway Services, Inc.