How to build an unstoppable e-commerce experience
by David Dwyer on 05/06/2019 992 Reads
Improve the performance of your online store
A survey by Episerver, the global software company, revealed that 92% of customers who visited a web store in 2017 left without completing a purchase. That’s less than one sale for every dozen potential customers.
So how do you improve that score?
If your e-commerce platform could start to sell to one out of every ten visitors you receive, that’s going to treble your revenue for the year!
The best e-commerce sites out there – your real competition – are engaging, secure and make shopping easy e.g. single click or single page checkout. In fact, they make shopping a fun experience, which is a result that is also likely to bring those happy customers back for repeat sales; and turn them into advocates for your brand.
To achieve this transformation you need to introduce the right features at every stage of the sales cycle.
You’ll need the shopping experience on your site to become flexible, to reflect the preferences of different customers; and you’ll need to create content to engage and attract them.
You will also need to keep analyzing your customers’ behaviour and be willing to constantly evolve everything, in order to keep your customer experience targeted and optimised.
1. Mobile first
Smartphones or tablets now account for more than half of UK online retail sales and the average person in the UK now spends more than a day a week online: an irresistible customer experience must therefore be mobile first – always. For the best possible mobile experience, use what we call an Advanced Mobile Responsive approach or if you’re using an Open Source platform make sure it supports Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These deliver an app-like experience but are built and delivered on the web and so give you full tracking, just like an HTML5 site.
2. Build for speed
There’s ample evidence that slow speeds contribute to many abandoned shopping carts. Your site must also use an e-commerce platform that delivers fast download speeds, even during traffic surges and transaction spikes. The simple fact is that if pages don’t load quickly then customers will simply move on and try other online providers. Make sure your imagery is compressed, Product Search or Filter functionality utilizes Apache Solr, the website itself is built on PHP7, and you use Content Distribution Network (CDN).
The best server solution you can afford, to ensure you maximise speed and server configuration flexibility.
3. Extreme flexibility
The greater flexibility supported by your platform, the easier it is for you to design a customer journey that can engage each and every customer. Can your current solution be configured in different ways? Does it allow you to access and change the code?
Choose a system that can integrate artificial intelligence to provide product enhancements that might appeal to customers (based on past shopping patterns or unique choice paths in the sales process). But if a platform requires you to use a rigid, unchangeable template then ditch it.
4. Rapid content creation and publishing
Content is king; we all accept that. 87 percent of consumers now rate product content ‘very highly’ when deciding to buy, according to research by Salsify.
And two-thirds of consumers say it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on their current context (see CMO.com)
Put simply, you need to get the right content to the right people and always keep it fresh, so look to segment content by user interest and behaviour, and exploit a variety of visual themes to create an original look and feel.
If a content management system doesn’t support content segmentation, then pass it by.
Convenience is also critical. That’s customer convenience, not your convenience. Give the option to “click and collect”; introduce order online terminals at your physical store(s). And remember a personalised experience will recognize the individual customer and greet them by name.
You must work hard to give your customers what they want—when, where, and how they want it.
To make shopping irresistible you need rich analytics. There are many different options here based around a plethora of different purposes, whether it be User Interface, perhaps Crazy Egg or HotJa; User eXperience or Customer Journey, perhaps Google Analytics or any of a multitude of others. Create a single data set that everyone uses, don’t rely on combining multiple CSV files in Excel as that’s how errors creep in.
Follow those 6 steps and your investment in time and any new purchases required will show themselves to be a valuable investment that delivers a significant and ongoing return.
Content Management, Content Marketing, e-commerce, Mobile Apps, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Websites