When building an online store, there are certain basic rules of internet hygiene that should be followed to help you achieve a higher ranking in Google search, stronger conversion rates, and an improved online shopping experience to help encourage repeat business.
These are essential features for every e-commerce store, irrespective of what products or services it sells.
1. Mobile Responsiveness
One of the key guidelines set by Google for desktop sites to have a better Google rank is that they should be optimized for viewing from mobile devices. Having a mobile responsive website will also improve the chances of the site showing up in search results when a user searches directly from a mobile device. Since most e-commerce traffic comes in through online product searches, having a mobile responsive store will help you to keep up with the competition.
2. Guest Accounts
E-commerce sites usually have membership models for targeted marketing, to increase their customer base and to encourage repeat business. While this is a solid strategy, asking to sign-up as a member during order placement may discourage the user from visiting your site, let alone making a purchase.
Around 35% of shopping cart abandonments occur because users were not allowed to proceed with their order without first signing up. A typical online shopper does not want to spend their time signing up while their goal in visiting is to browse through your site and potentially place an order. Having a guest checkout feature will significantly improve conversation rates and reduces the number of users abandoning their carts midway through their purchase flow.
If you think that having registered customers is vital for your business, make the user create an account at the end of the checkout flow. During the checkout flow, the user will have to input information that can populate their profile if they choose to make one in the end. Once they arrive to the “Create an Account” prompt at the end, the user has already invested too much of time and effort to abandon. You can also find plugins that will help you convert your guest users to registered customers quickly.
The next most important conversion factor for any e-commerce website is the user experience it offers. Online users should have a smooth online shopping experience and be able to find the product they’re looking for, seamlessly. An unstructured site experience can easily turn your users off.
Creating refinements allows shoppers to filter down their search by different factors such as color, size, price, brand, rating, and even sale items. Ultimately, this allows customers to reach their desired product faster, without having to waste time scrolling through pages of products.
Some platforms may not have the option to incorporate many refinements, but there are a few tools that offer this solution. With Nextopia’s solution, you can incorporate an unlimited amount of refinements.
4. Stronger Product Descriptions
A thorough description for each of the products listed on your site is crucial for improving traffic arriving from search. Having just the image of the product you are listing is simply not enough. It’s also important to keep the product description content as unique as possible- since any duplicate/copied content may be filtered out by the search engines.
5. Product pricing:
Product prices in your e-commerce listing should reflect the total cost. Give your users a clear breakdown of all costs involved (price of the product, taxes, shipping costs, etc.) to establish transparency and trust. Users will lose faith in your website if there are hidden costs involved which get revealed only at the time of checkout.
6. User Reviews
The best e-commerce sites should offer users the ability to provide reviews, feedback, and comments. This will help to further establish trust and, in general, improve the reputation of the site amongst both its users and search engine rankings. Having a community of users commenting and reviewing products on your site helps in driving traffic from product searches- especially if the product has many specifications (eg. mobile, laptop, software, etc.)
7. Upsell and Cross-Sell Lists:
E-commerce companies have started adapting to the latest trend of upselling and cross-selling their products and services by using featured lists- such as “similar products”, “also bought”, or “frequently bought together” lists. This strategy not only improves the conversion rates by offering a wider variety of choices to users but also helps in maximizing the revenue per user.
Several e-commerce platforms offer ready-built plugins and extensions to implement such lists into your site, such as this Magento extension.
8. Optimizing Your Checkout
Fewer checkout screens will earn you a higher conversion rate.
An interesting statistic suggests that having a long and tedious checkout flow was the reason for approximately 27% of the shopping cart abandonment cases. Simpler checkout flows and on page checkouts are become wildly popular among today’s e-commerce sites.
An ideal checkout page should have a minimal forms fields, helpful tips, and the ability for the user to navigate back-and-forth through each screen. You can take cues from some of these great examples of checkout flows by popular websites to design the best possible checkout process for your needs.
9. Secure Payments
It’s wise to use only those payment gateways offered by trusted and verified payment service providers- such as Stripe, Worldpay, Authorize.net, and Paypal. Users will generally only enter in their credit card details if they feel a strong degree of security. Even just including a small icon of a lock next to your payments screen has been proven to increase conversions.
BONUS: Other Must-Haves:
In addition to the above 9 must-haves, don’t forget about including the following:
- A clearly-defined return policy
- A detailed FAQ section
- Customer support contact form
Thanks for reading The West Agile Labs Guide to E-Commerce. West Agile Labs is a digital product agency based in San Francisco and founded in 2012. With over 130 employees and 300+ projects under their belt, they’ve worked with top startups (including 7 from Y-Combinator) and enterprise clients (Samsung, Ritz-Carlton, Natera, etc) alike.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about West Agile Labs, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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