You’ve got your online store off the ground and you’re doing well. Now you need some eCommerce site optimization to help strengthen your business and broaden your brand. At Allied Wallet, we’re focusing on how online businesses can appear more attractive to the consumer, so here are 7 important optimizations your eCommerce website needs to succeed.
One quick note: well-written, informative, and clear content is currently and will almost always be the most important way to help customers and boost your search engine rankings, so we’re not going to go into it too much. You should always be conscientious of the common SEO tactics, like keyword density and keyword friendly URLs, and strive to create content regularly, whether it’s by blogging, updating product descriptions, or creating product videos.
Below are 7 key optimizations your online store needs to succeed.
1) Make Your Site Responsive
This has been important for a few years now, as customers have increasingly used their tablets and smartphones to make mobile commerce purchases. A responsive site looks different depending on whether a customer accesses your site from their phone, their computer, or even their tablet.
If you currently have a responsive eCommerce store, then consider looking at it with a critical eye. Do you still like the design? Have you been putting off making your site compatible with certain devices? Does your shopping cart only work on laptops and desktops? Make this year the one that you’re as proud of your responsive mobile pages as your web page. Ask people to test it thoroughly.
You should, however, make your responsive site more than just a mobile version of your desktop site. Your website should be a tailored experience for those who choose to check-out via mobile phone. Online businesses with eCommerce site optimization that values mobile shoppers will sure outrun those with perfunctory mobile sites.
2) Improve Your Search and Navigation Functionality
Can you find products on your site without typing in the exact product name? It should be easy to find products via your search function, an online Google search (at least a site search), and through intuitive navigation. This last bit requires some attention to the hierarchy of your site, as well as the strength of your filters.
Your online store should be designed intuitively, with customer experience in mind. Referring to the content note at the top, each of your categories should have content explaining what that category offers and what differentiates it from other categories. It should then link to similar categories for those who read the content and decide they were looking for those similar products instead.
3) Make Checkout Fast and Easy
A big buzzword right now is “Cart Abandonment,” referring to items placed in a shopping cart but never purchased. A major factor that adds to cart abandonment, especially in smaller businesses and with new customers, is issues with the checkout process. Too many steps, including confusing new customer registration and multiple checkout pages, cause this abandonment.
An easy fix is to make sure your site has a save items for later function. Another is to make the checkout process about 3 steps long to incentivize customers to purchase while they’re first there. Add a progress bar so shoppers know what to anticipate and don’t leave in frustration when they’re one step away from finalizing the order.
Other fixes include drop down menus help here to clearly delineate the options a customer has, including multiple payment and shipping options. A comprehensive credit card processor can accept many different currencies and credit cards, letting the customer use the payment method they were hoping to use. Finally, links to pages that talk about store policies means you don’t have to put those policies on the checkout pages, making it look daunting, and that they’re readily available.
4) Utilize Customer Investment
Does your site inspire your customers to create a long-term relationship with your brand? Helpful pairing options at checkout, interactive images, and merging similar items (ex. the same shirt in different colors) on the same page gives customers something to do. Modern shoppers also like to see products in the real world; helping them find real people using your products via social media or user reviews gets them excited about your product and brand.
Let this inform your branding decisions through the creation of user-generated content. Product reviews, testimonials, pictures from Instagram, and hashtags referring to your brand create buzz about your business and, more often than not, is free to generate. Many customers will also be delighted to be featured on your site.
5) Revamp Your Images
A lot of the items on this list of eCommerce site optimization tips are about cleaning house; this one is no different. If your inventory hasn’t changed in a few years or if you’ve been uploading photos to your site the same way you always have, then it’s time for a change. Large, high-quality images of your products, ideally featuring multiple angles and people using them, can help customers solidify their decision to buy from you.
Remember that your product images are also part of your site’s design and brand. Consider using a similar structure for each product’s default image to make your site look uniform and intentionally designed. Think of this almost like well-planned outfits on a mannequin in a boutique versus. clothes strewn about in a discount bin.
While you’re enjoying your new high-definition images, continue to optimize for SEO. Name your images with keyword friendly alt-text descriptors, but don’t focus too heavily on images, as this can overpower your navigation and text.
6) Increase Your Store’s Credibility
If you recall any major corporate scandal such as Wells Fargo’s false bank account controversy or Target’s credit card information link, you can see that customer distrust rises when companies lack transparency or have insecure or unstable platforms. To keep your online store credible, there are a few key steps you need to take.
Make your site look legitimate. Have a contact page with accessible contact information. Place a phone number or a professional email prominently on each page. Keep in mind that if customers feel that they have to work hard to find something out, they’ll assume you’re hiding something.
Proudly showcase any associations you have with authoritative bodies , such as the Better Business Bureau, TRUSTe, and other groups whose mission is to validate businesses. Your affiliations with brands that you carry in your store and the types of payments you accept will also make your online store appear as trustworthy as you know it is.
7) Touch Up Your Online Store Payment Gateway
This ties into your store’s credibility, but it needs to be said; don’t skimp when it comes to the safety of payment gateway. Fees and chargebacks can be incredibly damaging to your bottom line and you can damage a significant portion of your customer base in the process.
At Allied Wallet, we promote a variety of valuable payment gateway services including data encryption, an around-the-clock security team, fraud scrub protection, and top-level certifications like Level 1 PCI compliance. We let your store accept over 160 currencies and purchases from over 190 countries, as well, showing that we’ve created a strong infrastructure to your checkout process. We can also explain to you in depth all of the safety precautions Allied Wallet takes so that you can promote them during checkout.
If you want to learn more about how you can make your online business a success, please call our team at 1-888-255-1137 in the US or 44 203 318 8334 in the UK. We can also be reached online through our contact page.