What is an e-commerce website?
According to BigCommerce, e-commerce is growing 23 percent year-over-year. And that’s not all. Their research discovered that the majority of Americans (51 percent) prefer shopping online to shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.
In order to increase e-commerce traffic, there are a few primary elements to look at. First, we’ll look at how to boost online sales for your e-commerce website with proper design and conversion rate optimization. Then we’ll explore how best to leverage the proper sales management tools and resources.
E-commerce for small businesses
Let’s start with some of the e-commerce basics that will help turn traffic into conversions and help grow your business:
A flawless shopping cart experience
One of the primary reasons your customers will buy from you is because they can trust you. The shopping cart must communicate trust to each and every customer.
An e-commerce business can’t afford to over-promise and under-deliver. Be prepared for big days, like Cyber Monday, for high volume and make sure your deliveries arrive on time.
Word of your consistency and efficiency (or lack thereof) will get around.
Interesting product pages
At the center of your business is whatever you sell. If you want your business to shine, your product pages need to shine.
Even if you’re a reseller, there’s a lot you can do to make your product pages unique, branded, and even shareable:
- Use original product photos
- Write your own product descriptions
- Use clear pricing, sizing, dimensions, and weights, etc.
- Product videos drive sales. Add videos to your product listings.
- Be sure your CTAs are above the fold
- Post reviews on product pages
- Show amount in stock
- Use high-quality images of products
- Social sharing
One of the most powerful forms of advertising is word-of-mouth. To encourage organic sharing of your product pages, add social share buttons. Social sharing makes it super simple for your customers to brag about their purchase to their friends.
Since you may not be able to take your brand to every social channel, do some research to find out which social platform is right for you.
Ease of subscription
The best way to stay top of mind is by sending special offers to your current customers. But they’ve got to tell you how to contact them. Make it easy on them—provide a way for customers to sign up for updates or a subscription. Be clear on how frequently you’ll contact them, whether by email or SMS and what kind of content they’ll be getting.
Be sure to send useful content that keeps the customer coming back for more. Free shipping, new blogs, great advice, and new products—these are what make your messages count.
E-commerce website design best practices
You may not judge a book by its cover, but most likely you do when it comes to a website. Ninety-four percent of customers base their impression of a website on the design and look alone, and that first impression is key to their decision to purchase.
There are a lot of elements that cause customers to leave a site, leading to lost business and lower revenue.
Visual hierarchy is the way in which the page is laid out to visually communicate order and importance of the content. This is created by mapping out certain cues such as size, color, contrast, shape, positioning, and arrangement to form a sense of depth.
The placement of the products on your website can make a measurable difference in sales. Using text-heavy pages, confusing navigation or low-contrast colors can cause confusion and lead to higher bounce rates.
Notice the calls-to-action, color contrast, use of images, and white space in this Shopify example:
Designing your site based on the path your consumers’ eyes follow will draw their attention to the exact products that you want to offer to them and increase your E-commerce CRO.
We are psychologically programmed to be told what to do, and this mindset translates over into your online consumers’ behavior. If you don’t provide direction for your customers on your site, they are likely to become confused and leave your site.
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons show users how to add an item to their cart, where to enter in their information, and how to complete their purchase, so make them as visible and noticeable as possible.
Use bright colors or bolded text to draw attention, and include them multiple times on every page so they are easy to find.
Prevent your customers from feeling uneasy about entering their credit card and information by including trust badges on your site. This is the number one way to earn your customers’ peace of mind and is a deciding factor in getting them to purchase.
Trust seals and badges assure your customers that your website is secure and their privacy is protected by recognized security companies. Not only is protecting private information important, ensuring this protection will also increase your sales.
According to a recent study, the best logos for trust seals are McAfee, TRUSTe, or an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.
You can also establish trust on your site by using “proof.” Examples of proof you can use:
- Licenses and certifications
- Customer testimonials
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Press and reviews
- Contact us page
One of the most visited pages on many websites is, surprisingly, the number contact information page. Customers appreciate the reassurance that they can easily contact a business should there be any problems with a purchase, so including a Contact Us page is vital to your business’s success.
Be sure that it is clearly labeled and easy to navigate to. According to UI Pattern’s study, the best position is to include it as a return policy.
According to UPS’s study on consumer behavior, 67 percent of customers check out a business’s return policy before making a purchase, and it is one of the most important aspects of a purchase decision.
It is important that your business includes a return policy that is clear, concise, and understandable at first glance. Consider the way that your inventory system works, shipping costs, and the policies that your competitors offer. Offering free shipping or 30-day money back guarantees are great, but only if you are able to fulfill these promises.
Zappos is one of the best of the best when it comes to returns.
They have proven time and time again that going the extra mile for returns not only increases sales in the long run, it creates undying customer loyalty.
Upselling and cross-selling
Recommend more products for your customers and easily increase your sales by cross-selling and upselling items on your site. Upselling means offering a better (and typically more expensive) option, and cross-selling is suggesting products that are related to an already purchased item.
Amazon is one of the best examples of how to do this correctly. Nearly every product includes recommendations for cross-sells, relabeled as “frequently bought together” items. This strategy has really paid off (literally) for Amazon: it accounts for 35 percent of their sales.
A site’s visual identity goes beyond a logo and extends to all the little pieces that help a new customer figure out who you are and what your expertise is: the typography you choose, the colors, the quality, and size of the photos.
E-commerce CRO optimization
Let’s take a look at some factors that can impact conversions and what you need to consider.
For e-commerce shops that have a lot of products—or a lot of variations on products—product filters are essential. If you have more than 20 products within a category, you should probably consider search filters.
Just be careful not to provide too many options. Research shows that too many choices may actually turn customers away.
First tip: Don’t force people to register in order to complete a purchase. It’s bad form. Always allow guest checkout, even if you promote the benefits of signing up for a full account. Also be sure to include a progress bar so people know where they’re at in the process. Finally, pre-fill forms wherever possible. Remember, it should be easy for people to purchase from you.
Exit intent pop-ups
These can be great tools for conversion optimization when done correctly. If you don’t already have one on your e-commerce site, set one up today.
If you already utilize exit pop-ups, test different versions. This gets back to the basics of CRO: test everything and then test again. Try different text, different images, different calls-to-action and anything else that is variable.
Now that you have your website locked and loaded, with the right set of e-commerce tools, you can speed up the growth of your online store and take your business to the next level.
Online sales tools
Enhanced e-commerce tracking by Google Analytics
If you’ve been running an e-commerce business for a while, chances are you’ve already set up basic Google Analytics tracking on your site.
While basic Google Analytics tracking gives you important visitor details like the geographical location, traffic source, popular content on your site, etc., these data are not enough to optimize your online shop to boost online sales and revenue.
To optimize your store, you need to enable enhanced e-commerce tracking on your website using Google Analytics. Enabling enhanced e-commerce tracking gives you several powerful reports of your online store:
- Shopping behavior: Discover how your users navigate from their first product view all the way through the checkout process
- Checkout behavior: Learn how your visitors interact with the checkout process, and how many are abandoning the process
- Product lists performance: Get detailed statistics on the performance of your products, like sales, revenue, conversions, refund amount, etc
Enabling enhanced e-commerce analytics on your site involves modifying your Google Analytics tracking code manually. But if you’re using WordPress, you can easily enable enhanced e-commerce in a few clicks with a plugin like MonsterInsights — no coding required.
E-commerce CRO involves A/B testing (also referred to as “split testing”) different variables of your website experience to see which performs better. Those variables can be anything from visual elements and website content to copywriting and user experience.
Do you want to conduct experiments on your site but don’t have the budget or team resources for an enterprise-level solution? You might want to consider using Google Optimize for your site. Google Optimize is a powerful A/B testing solution for small and medium-sized businesses.
- It’s free: The cost is the biggest reason why many small- and medium-sized e-commerce site owners don’t conduct A/B tests on their site. As Google Optimize is free and is accessible to everyone, there’s no excuse not to test.
- Familiar UI: If you’re using Google Analytics, you’ll find the user interface of Google Optimize very familiar and intuitive. As a user, that’s an added advantage when you run A/B testing experiments.
- Uses Google Analytics’ data: Your Google Analytics data will be used in Google Optimize and vice versa. That means you get more advanced targeting and reporting.
Running an e-commerce store requires you to have a reliable marketing automation tool that is scalable and robust. If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing automation software for your e-commerce store, Infusionsoft by Keap is the best bet for you.
Here are just a few things you get from using Infusionsoft by Keap on your site:
- CRM: At a glance, you can get everything you need to know about your leads and customers. Every interaction and purchase of your customers are communicated back to your CRM. This way you can easily create promotions you know your customers will love.
- Marketing automation: Capture your leads and send highly personalized emails based on your customer’s previous interactions like email opens, clicks, form submissions, and payment history.
- Storefront: Easily set up online shopping carts and manage your online store, inventory, and billing from a single system. Keep track of customer interactions and make informed decisions to keep the cash flowing.
Did you know that 96 percent of first-time visitors are not ready to purchase from your store right away? That means if you’re enticing your first-time visitors to make a purchase from your store right away, you’re missing the mark with most of your visitors.
OptinMonster is the best lead generation software that allows you to easily capture emails of your visitors. With OptinMonster, you can create high-converting opt-in forms such as lightbox popups, floating bars, slide-ins, etc.
With its exit intent technology, you can easily turn the abandoning visitors into leads by prompting them with highly targeted campaigns at the precise moment they're about to leave.
If you want to offer the best possible experience to your customers, you’ll need to invest in an excellent customer support system such as HelpScout.
HelpScout eliminates the complexity of support tickets management and makes responding to support queries smooth and simple. Best of all, it allows seamless integration with more apps and business systems than most popular help desk tools.
It also gives you a complete customer history at your fingertips wherever you need it so you can respond to your customers in a timely manner by addressing their needs and concerns.
With just a little bit of effort, tweaks to your site and leveraging the right tools can make a big difference when it comes to not just closing a sale, but making your customer happy, too. Everybody loves a happy client.