Running an online store is a lot like running a brick and mortar shop in the real world, in that the customers want their shopping experience to be as convenient as possible, and you, the merchant, want the transaction to go well and facilitate repeat business.
In the real world, we do all kinds of things to optimise our storefronts and go to great lengths to hire the right employees in order to make customers feel comfortable. Online, the same kind of catering is done in the digital environment, with the site serving as the storefront, and the site’s pages and navigation features acting as employees along each stage of the browsing and purchasing process.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at four key areas most e-commerce sites could improve upon to give their customers a more satisfactory online shopping experience.
1. Customer Contact and Service Quality
The main mistake e-commerce shops make is neglecting potential customers. Leads need to be nurtured and conditioned into buyers, and the best way to ensure your prospects continue to feel comfortable on your site, is to offer easily accessible live chat in the form of a floating chat window that follows the user as they scroll through each page. In addition to live chat and phone support, a robust e-commerce site should feature a mandatory email response time of less than 24 hours on all customer inquiries, with 8 hours or less being the preferable policy.
2. Use of Modules, Extensions, and Add-ons
If you’re not already using an e-commerce platform to design and maintain your online store, it is strongly suggested that you begin taking these interfaces to your advantage. In addition to giving you huge libraries of easily changeable design themes to choose from (thereby eliminating the need to know coding or anything else about web design), e-commerce platform also include add-ons and modules that extend the functionality of your site’ administrative interface. If you’re already using an e-commerce CMS, store builder, or other similar platform, by all means look into the plugins, extensions, add-ons, and modules that are available for your platform.
3. Shopping Cart Functionality and Checkout Process
The shopping cart and the resulting checkout process will directly influence how convenient and enjoyable their interaction with your site will be. Most shopping carts have a test mode that will let you hypothetically add and purchase items on your site without actually making purchases. Give your shopping cart a test drive and try out a few of the top competitors to find the one you feel is the most responsive and easiest to use based on your personal experience and preferences.
4. The Main Attribute to Improve
Finally, in conjunction with all of the tips we gave above, the most important characteristics for your site to develop are: a great design, solid business model, and an accompanying marketing campaign that will all work together to create a higher conversion rate for the online store. In other words, in the end, all that matters is the percentage of site visitors that are making purchases, and improving that one statistics should be the primary goal for any profit-driven e-commerce store.