Do you run an eCommerce business? Do you want to increase your sales? Then you need to know how to optimize your eCommerce website.
There are a number of eCommerce optimizations and enhancements you should look at. If you look at the best converting eCommerce websites in the world you will find they have all followed the below eCommerce optimization checklist to a large degree.
But first, let me answer a few common questions on how to optimize your eCommerce website and increase your conversion rates.
How do I optimize my ecommerce website?
This is a very broad question which the full article answers in more detail. However, the basic answer to this question is this … To properly optimize your eCommerce website you need to ensure you optimize your product catalog, your products, and the product page design, your checkout process as well as many general website optimizations and your marketing.
What is ecommerce optimization?
eCommerce optimization is the systematic process of strengthening successful elements and processes in your eCommerce business and eliminating weak non-optimum elements in your eCommerce operations.
How do I optimize my website for sales?
The simple answer is this … know your customers! Take the time to learn about your customer’s needs, desires, problems, and expectations. Then offer products and services that match while ensuring both the product and your delivery and customer experience exceed their expectations. Improve the above continuously.
How to Optimize Your eCommerce Website and Conquer Digital Space™?
There are many areas where you can optimize your eCommerce website, I’ve broken these optimizations into a few broad categories below.
It is also important to remember that when you look at how to optimize your eCommerce website there are going to be optimizations that produce bigger gains than others.
However, it is the combination of many small optimizations that will eventually add up to increased sales. There is no single magic optimization that will turn your eCommerce business into the next Amazon.
eCommerce Product Catalog Optimizations
If your eCommerce shop has lots of products then it is important to make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for. This can be done as follows:
- Display product categories – rather than displaying all your individual products try displaying your products by category. This makes it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for. If you only have a few products it is not really necessary but once you have more than 30 or 40 scrolling through products or having to click through multiple pages of products is not great for usability.
- Use product filters – another good option is to let your customers use filters to find products that meet their needs. The filters you use will of course depend on the products you offer and how you have categorized your products and what attributes you have assigned to them. A good filtering system can do wonders for usability.
- Provide a ‘quick view’ option – ‘quick view’ is a useful feature that allows your customers to see an overview of a product without having to click through to the product page. When displaying multiple products, especially ones where people tend to order more than one product at a time (think online grocery store) being able to quickly view multiple products and add them to their cart is a really convenient feature.
- Use ‘Infinite Scroll’ – rather than having to click to view multiple pages let your users scroll to keep loading more products. This also makes it easy to go back to products that might have caught their attention as they just need to scroll up. Combined with the ‘quick view’ option it can make ordering multiple products really easy.
- Create ‘collections’ – similar to categories it can be worthwhile creating collections of similar or related products. Some products are often bought together and if your products are typically bought in combination with others then pre-selecting them as part of a group can be very helpful to your customers.
Optimize Your eCommerce Products
Enhancing your products and product page layouts is of vital importance if you want to optimize your eCommerce website to increase your sales.
It is important to remember that the biggest difference between an eCommerce store and a brick and mortar shop is the fact that online you cannot touch and inspect the product up close.
But there are ways of getting around this disadvantage and there are also many advantages eCommerce has over brick and mortar stores.
- Use multiple images – when it comes to eCommerce, people buy with their eyes. Images sell! Because your customers cannot touch and inspect your products it is important to provide good quality photos that display your products from every important angle. If your products have texture then get a close-up, if they come in different colors then show each color. Don’t use poor-quality photos. Use photos where your product is isolated on a plain background so you can focus on the product and include a few lifestyle/product in use images too if you can.
- Use video – a 360-degree view of your product is another great way to sell it. A product video is an excellent way to showcase your offerings. If you want to optimize your eCommerce website with the future in mind this is definitely one to look to.
- Provide detailed descriptions – this is good for both your customers and for SEO. The more information you provide about your products the better. Remember, there may be many online stores selling the same product and your customers may have many questions. The more questions, concerns, usage examples you can cover the less likely your customers will go seek answers elsewhere. If your visitors don’t stay on your website they won’t buy through your website.
- Offer multiple options – everyone likes choice, so don’t be that shop that doesn’t offer any choices. Granted, not all products can or should have variations or customizations but if you can offer a choice you probably should. Most options will likely be size and color choices or flavor and package size. In some cases, you might allow customizations such as the adding of a name or text, or design. Offer a choice and let your customers decide. In time if you notice one option is chosen far more often than the rest then focus on that and do away with unpopular options. Learning about which options are the most popular is a great way to really get to know what your customers want.
- Display variations – If you offer product options be sure to display images of the variations. When an option is selected this should change the image being displayed to allow your customers to see what they will be purchasing.
- Show reviews – people tend to trust the opinions of others more than sales pitches. If your products are really good and you deliver when you say you will, then for the most part your reviews should be good, and displaying them can help you drive even more sales.
- Highlight and offer payment options – not every customer wants to use PayPal or pay into your bank account. Providing multiple payment options gives your customers the choice to decide what works best for them. You obviously need to balance this with managing the costs and management of multiple gateways but in time you will find the sweet spot and then you can offer only the most popular options. It is also important that you make your payment options highly visible throughout your website as it not only increases trust but also answers questions of convenience.
- Link to shipping and returns policy – before committing to a purchase, many people will want to know how your shipping and returns work. This is especially true for first-time customers. Thus it is important that you make it easy for your customers to find this information. If you also include an FAQs page this will add to the trust and usability of your eCommerce store.
- Display related products – if you really want to increase your sales be sure to show your customers related products. In brick and mortar stores many purchases are made on impulse simply because an item looked attractive and was convenient to put into the basket. By displaying similar or related products or upsells you can also benefit from extra impulse buys, especially if you are also displaying ‘sale’ products.
- Allow breathing space – another often overlooked way to optimize your eCommerce website is to design it well in the first place. Depending on the eCommerce platform you use you may have more or less freedom to do this and it may be something you can optimize at a later stage. Allowing breathing space means grouping related webpage elements together and creating a ‘flow’ or user journey through your web pages. If you condense elements too much it can be hard to differentiate different parts of the page and find info. Likewise, if you allow too much space it makes elements difficult to view without big screens or lots of scrolling, so there is a balance. Well-thought-out eCommerce website design can do wonders for your sales.
- Use only the form fields you need – the more form fields you require your customers to fill in the more you will lose sales. Each additional field adds friction to the sales process and you want it to be fast, easy, and smooth. Only provide the fields you actually need. Don’t require your customers to give you their life’s story.
- Use a distraction-free checkout – to ensure your customers finish the checkout process it is important to remove distractions. Distractions include the headers and footers of your website which typically display lots of links. You don’t want your customers to click any of these links and go wandering off the beaten path never to be seen again. By hiding distracting elements on your cart and checkout pages you can minimize distractions and help more people complete their purchases.
- Use placeholders – instead of using labels above each form field, use placeholder labels in the field itself. This will make your form look more compact and easier to fill in from your customer’s point of view. Naturally, this can help increase your sales.
- Offer upsells & cross-sells – this has already been mentioned in the optimization tips for eCommerce product pages but you can also offer upsells and cross-sells on the cart page. This gives you yet another opportunity to increase the size of each customer purchase.
- Use eCommerce sales funnels – if you really want to fine-tune your checkout process and aggressively push upsells and additional purchases then you need to use eCommerce sales funnels. Funnels allow you to customize the sales process for your customers based on a variety of factors such as the type of products they are purchasing to the type of customer you are catering to. Funnels are a very powerful means to optimize your eCommerce website.
- Provide shipping options – lie payment options, shipping options add another level of convenience. By allowing your customers to choose from more than one option you are making delivery more suited to their needs.
- Include marketing communications signup – successful eCommerce businesses communicate with their customers regularly. In order to do this, you need to get them to opt-in. Permission-based email marketing always beats spammy emails and there are also privacy laws to consider. When it comes to the future of your eCommerce business, this is one of the simplest and most important optimizations to consider.
General eCommerce Optimizations
- Speed your website up – make sure you do everything possible to optimize your eCommerce website for speed, especially on mobile. Ensure your Core Web Vital scores are good. eCommerce CRO (conversion rate optimization) is closely tied to the speed or at least perceived speed with which a web page loads.
- Make your policies easy to find – don’t hide your policies. Make it easy for your visitors and customer to find. It is common to find links to legal policies in the footer of a website, so this a is a good place to put your links as people tend to look there.
- Use clean clear store design – we have already touched on this. Good eCommerce website design is important for so many reasons from usability, to trust and professionalism. A poor eCommerce design can put people off buying from you before they have even looked at your products. That being said, form follows function, and overdoing your design to the detriment of function must be avoided.
- Use an abandoned cart saving feature – sometimes people get distracted. If your customers are logged in and they have full carts that get abandoned it is important to try to save the sale. Using abandoned cart emails is a great way to get your customers to complete their purchases.
- Invest in email marketing automation – the more often you communicate with your customers the more sales you will make. It is a natural law really. To help you with this automated email marketing campaigns can be used to schedule communications ahead of time and based on triggers. Maybe a customer purchased a product that requires maintenance from time to time, why not set up an email that showcases your maintenance products? The options here are almost endless. Be sure to personalize these emails as far as possible for the best results.
- Blog regularly – blogging and eCommerce just go together. Blog articles can be used to educate your customers about product use, they can showcase new products, talk about situations where your products can be the solution and they are great for generating traffic and conversation on social media and for email content.
- Offer rewards to loyal customers – making your customers feel special is important. You should really make all your customers feel good but there are those who deserve a little extra attention. Be sure to keep an eye on your top customers and reward them. Turn them into your biggest fans and they will not only reward you with loyalty and repeat purchases but they will drive new customers your way.
- Set up an affiliate program – Amazon owes much of its success to its affiliates. Sadly Amazon doesn’t treat their affiliates as well as they used to but this may be a blessing for smaller eCommerce businesses. If you can offer a really rewarding affiliate program and you treat your affiliates well they can drive a lot of sales. Amazon’s loss becomes your gain.
- Be compliant with privacy laws – again, we have touched on this but now from a different angle. It is important to look after the privacy of your customers both from a trust point of view and a compliance point of view. You don’t want to run into legal issues and problems down the line while you are trying to expand your business. Get privacy compliance in early and you can avoid problems down the line.
- Promote often – I cannot state this enough! You have to promote all the time, consistently in high volume, and as widely as you can on as many relevant channels as you can. Sales come from good marketing and strong promotion is a hallmark of good marketing.
- Add new products regularly – grow your inventory. The more products you offer the more you can sell. If you specialize then find or create more related products. Never stop adding new products or improving existing ones that can be newly promoted.
- Use targeted promotions – never use shotgun marketing to try to sell something. Choose a product or product range and target a specific type of customer. Targeted marketing is far more cost-effective than shotgun marketing because it matches the product to customer needs or desires. Never stop promoting a product in favor of another one, add a new promotion while maintaining the old one. This is the secret to high volume sales!
- Run shopping ads – make use of adverts to reach more people. These can be search ads such as Google’s shopping ads or they may take the form of ads on social platforms, private ad networks, individual websites, and blogs. Promote, promote, promote!
- Use social media – in addition to running social ads make sure you also build up your social pages and profiles. Find out which networks your customers use and prefer and tailor your content to their needs. There is no need to use every platform but do use the ones your customers are on and post consistently.
- Know Your Customer! – Lastly, no matter what make sure you know your customer. What are their needs, desires, pain points, challenges, hopes, dreams, etc? If you do not get to know your customers the above will have little value so take the time and talk to them!
An eCommerce Agency to help you Conquer Digital Space
Do you need help navigating the world of eCommerce? Do you need a professional eCommerce partner to help you to optimize your eCommerce website? Are you building a new eCommerce business from scratch, then get in touch with SME Rocket now!