Online shopping in Australia has annual revenue of $16 billion and records average annual growth rates of around 14% (according to Ibisworld). It’s no surprise then that every man, his dog and his dog’s fleas wants to get a slice of the immense pie.
But opening an online store and creating a real eCommerce solution are two completely different things. Both can be simple, but only one will really get you the results you are after. That’s because there are a plethora of ways a business can lose a customer during the online shopping experience.
It’s too hard to find what you’re looking for. There are too many clicks to purchase. The site bombards you with a range of other irrelevant things to buy. These are just a few of the ways you can lose customers. Unfortunately, there are hundreds more.
Thankfully, there are a few simple tips that should get your business online and attracting the business it deserves. They are basic tips but extremely important. Keep these front of mind when discussing your needs with your eCommerce solutions expert and you should see a sales spike.
1. Be your customer
What will your customers be looking for and how will they find it? Your audience can be split into two groups: one group that carries the intent and knowledge of what they want, and another group that are essentially window shopping. Both will look for things in a different way and have different intents. Consider both sides.
Search results that are easy to filter is a solution that will benefit both, but dig deeper and be business relevant. What works for one business may not work for another, so think long and hard about your specific customer.
2. Group similar items
By default, our brains love order and organisation. From a business perspective, this organisation and order can actually boost your sales. Either group complementary items (such as shoes and socks) or group recommended items (an amp being recommended after buying a guitar, for example). Whichever route you choose; this design is a sure-fire way to make a few more sales.
3. Go mobile
eCommerce — it’s big, and for good reason. Coupify predicts that eCommerce will grow 13% between 2013 and 2016, while mCommerce will grow 42%, hitting US$31 billion. Unfortunately, 70% of mobile users who put items in their cart fail to follow through with purchasing — that’s a much higher rate than desktop users.
Make sure you have a well-designed mCommerce solution and most importantly, make it as easy as possible to purchase items. The fewer steps to finalising the purchase, the less business you will lose. Remember, mobile users will need a different experience to be a happy customer.
4. Design seals the deal
The above three tips all have one thing in common — they require great design. Like the well-used saying ‘you eat with your eyes’, you shop with them too. User experience for online has never been more important and will only increase in importance.
Become your customer again. Is your eCommerce solution easy to use? Does it look good? Are you encouraged to continue to browse after you have found what you want? Apple, Mr Porter, Ray Ban — there is a reason they do fantastic online sales. You just want to keep browsing well after you found what you wanted. A lot of the times, you will add to your cart.
5. The backend matters
Remember when your mother used to tell you to always eat your greens? eCommerce is the same — what is on the inside counts for a hell of a lot. It can be a pretty complex issue, but there are a few sure fire ways to make sure your site’s internals are humming along. These include compressing your code, resizing your images correctly, slimming down your plugins, keeping the structure lean and using a good caching tool.
You can find out more about all of these here. It’s a good idea to ask your website developer about each one as they can be quite complex.
Nick Bell is the Co-Founder of Hosting Australia, a leading supplier of domain and website hosting across the country boasting on-shore servers to keep customers’ information 100% secure. Hosting Australia pride themselves on delivering worry-free up-time, all of the time, without exception and managed more than 100,000 domain names to date, a number which is continuously on the rise.