An ecommerce site needs to be exciting, yet sleek. Engaging, yet simple. Efficient, yet browsable. After all, shoppers assess your site’s visual appeal within 0.05 seconds of landing on a page. You have an incredibly short window of time to entice them to stay and shop.
Thankfully, most standard web design best practices also apply to ecommerce stores. Use lots of white space, enlist fonts that speak to the brand, apply contrast to ensure CTAs stand out, and so on.
But when it comes to ecommerce specifically, you must go beyond traditional design elements. Creating a site that optimizes the shopper journey is a more complex endeavor.
Which Features Are Retailers Prioritizing?
As you embark on your own optimization journey, contextualize your strategy. In a recent webinar, we polled attendees to see how they were investing in technology.
When asked which of the following is on their ecommerce site features wishlist this year:
- 48% said personalizing their site
- 56% said enhancing site search capabilities
- 59% said speeding up or simplifying site experience
- 55% said adding personalized recommendations
Ultimately, retailers are pretty evenly focused on these four key features. With that in mind, let’s explore some ways you can invest in these areas.
Personalize Your Ecommerce Site
Executing an awesome personalization strategy is a long game. Your ultimate goal is to know your customer better and better over time, and to use this knowledge to provide unique customer experiences by segment. But with the ability to personalize almost every feature of your site, you must identify ways you can start small with the most impactful low-hanging fruit, so to speak, and then grow over time.
We would recommend you begin by providing personalized product recommendations. Use a shopper’s order history or recently viewed items to inspire recommendations. Display complementary products alternatives to items they show interest in.
Not only will these tactics get customers excited, but they will also make them more likely to purchase. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, personalization in retail increases conversion rates by 10-15%.
Keep Your Search Bar Visible
Creating a great site search experience is a quick and easy way to see a revenue lift. Display your search bar prominently, making it easy for visitors to use it throughout their journey.
Don’t fall into the design trap of hiding or collapsing the search box in an effort to declutter the page. Shoppers who use site search convert at significantly higher rates than those who browse. Encourage search behavior. Don’t get in the way by concealing this revenue-generating asset.
Even better, ensure that when shoppers do search, that they do not receive a “no results” page. Consider adding product recommendations to your search results. Or even boost the highest margin products.
Ensure Your Website is Responsive
When it comes to simplifying the site experience, you must ensure your ecommerce website is responsive.
In 2021, 73% of all ecommerce sales worldwide were forecast to be generated via mobile. Shoppers expect a seamless experience, and will quickly bounce from a site that doesn’t perform on their chosen device.
Be sure to test your site on all screen sizes to ensure the shopping experience is consistent. Pay special attention to conversion-generating features like site search, product recommendations and navigation.
Enhance Your Merchandising Strategy
Merchandising extends across so much of your ecommerce website. Shoppers are influenced by everything from product photography to product layout on category pages.
With that in mind, consider these quick wins when it comes to merchandising:
- Create reusable templates for special offers, which may be featured in banners or badges, to ensure cohesiveness with your overall strategy.
- Show in-stock items first, and then best-sellers to increase conversions.
- Group products by style, color or themes to create an aesthetically pleasing experience.
- Review top search queries with low conversions and reorder the products so they are more likely to convert.
Ultimately, it’s all about presenting a merchandising experience that aligns with how your shoppers behave.
Short-Term Feature Updates = Long-Term Success
Optimizing your ecommerce site doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. We recommend you take a dual-track approach to revenue. Implement quick wins to increase shopper conversion. And identify long-term, strategic activities to improve your ROI over time.
By personalizing your site, improving your search, enhancing merchandising and updating your site to be responsive, you can improve your shopper experience. When executed well, these updates have the power to gently steer shoppers along a frictionless path to purchase.
Peter Messana is CEO of Searchspring