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5 things that can make or break an e-commerce site

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category GuestBox

Guest post by Alex Granger

E-commerce is a constant challenge.  You have to convince complete strangers to type their card details into a website they may never have heard of before without having a two-way conversation with them (if you are hoping to convert them on their first visit, of course).  Whilst people are becoming more au fait with online purchasing and feel comfortable with the concept, some highly publicised online fraud cases have left many potential buyers feeling cautious.

E-commerce website conversion rates vary massively between sectors and merchants.  After looking at a number of benchmarking reports from the UK and US from the past few years, the average e-commerce rate seems to lie somewhere between 2% and 2.5%.  This probably does not include the many thousands of unattractive, poorly constructed websites out there that only have a few items for sale.

So what can e-commerce sites do to make their website into a success?

1) Answer a question before it is asked. You don't want to get into an email conversation or have to answer the phone in order to convert a visitor. Draw on your own experience and maybe do a little research to see what would vital information (delivery charge? ingredients? dispatch time?) would stop someone from ordering your product. Ensure this information is highly visible on your product pages.

2) Invest in a great site search facility. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to find something on a site. Your visitors are ready to spend... but they can't find that cream in a travel size! Agh! Make sure your site search function works and gives them the right results quickly and in a well presented manner.

3) Give people an option to check out without registering. Yes, it is nice to be able to capture user data for future marketing campaigns but a lot of users hate having to sign up. Incentivise registration by all means but do not make it mandatory. For every field that the visitor has to fill out, there is a greater chance that they will pull out of the purchase. Don't let them!

4) Have a user friendly basket page. The basket is a critical stage in the check out process. Don't make it difficult for your users to change quantities or delete products. It is better to make a smaller sale than no sale at all – and you never know, they may wish to increase the number of items in their basket!

5) Nothing is EVER too obvious.

You may think that it is completely obvious how to view the basket or purchase multiple items but do not take it for granted. If you continually have customers emailing or calling with what you deem to be an obvious question, you have a problem. Use that feedback to improve the user experience on the website and identify browser compatibility issues.

About the Author

This article was written by Alex Granger.  As well as e-commerce and SEO, Alex also writes about spas like The Sanctuary.

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