Look and feel
The design and look of a site affects whether or not a visitor clicks away or stays to look around. The decision whether or not to shop there is made straight away, so making the site easy on the eye, clear and simple to use, is paramount.
Make sure that the design of your site is relevant to what you are selling; make it look both professional and secure. For example, if you are selling baby clothes or wedding gowns, your colour scheme is unlikely to be black and red; it’s more appropriate to use white and silver, and/or pastel shades.
People still feel a degree of insecurity about giving card details to an unknown retailer, but by advertising the fact that you use secure payment solutions, you can greatly increase your chances of closing the deal.
If browsers cannot find the items they are after, they will leave and find them elsewhere. So how can you streamline your navigation?
To do this you need to understand people’s motivations and why they are likely to be visiting your site in the first place. Use a combination of common sense, market analysis and data analysis to get this information.
Once you have identified your customers’ motivations, design your site around the most common ones with persona-based navigation. Personna-based navigation is where the product category describes what is likely to be in the section. This will help your customers to find the items they are after, and make the online shopping process into a more comfortable and friendly experience.
An example of persona-based navigation is if you sell baby clothes, accessories and gifts, you might offer products under headings like ‘Baby’s Wardrobe’, ‘Baby’s First Christmas’, or ‘Baby’s Bath Time’. Each of these groups is a customer persona designed to help people shop more efficiently.
To make the customer feel that you are trying to help them find the right products, you can use a variety of marketing features to cross-sell on your online store.
Some of the most popular cross-selling features are ‘Related Products’ and ‘Also Bought’. These will take into account what your customers already have in their baskets, or what they’ve browsed, and can show other items to complement these.
For instance, perhaps a customer has been looking for a baby’s first tooth brush. With this you could suggest other items, such as toothpaste or a wash-bag to keep all those cleansing essentials together.
Understanding why it is that your customers have come to your site will help you cross-sell other items to them.
My company has recently done a survey on whether these marketing features really do influence customers’ purchases online. We found that even the least popular cross-selling feature (‘Also Bought’) influenced more than 40% of consumers to buy more while the most popular (‘Free Delivery Nudge’) lead over 80% to spend extra. For a white paper with the full results of the survey email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing a good search tool will greatly increase your chance of turning your browsers into buyers.
Make sure your search brings back relevant results and is easy to find on the page. If it comes back with no results at all, or too many irrelevant results, this will push browsers away.
Programme the tool with keywords your customers may search for and all the variations. For example, if a visitor is looking for a ”baby buggy”, he/she may also call it “pushchair” or even “stroller”, so account for these alternatives too.
Last but not least, keep your site up-to-date. The last thing you want to do is to get your visitor to the checkout, only to find that the item is not available. If you have products that go out of stock, either make this clear via a message such as ”This product is currently out of stock”, or take it off the site temporarily.
Similarly, if you have special offers on any of your merchandise, take these down once they have expired. Leaving an old offer visible will only annoy people.
Implementing these things will improve the visitor’s experience, and, done well, should turn more browsers into buyers. The key is to make the shopping experience not only easier, but more helpful too. Browsers need to feel you have taken the time and effort to offer them what they want so they feel cherished. This way, once converted they are more likely to return.
Jenny Bray looks after marketing for SellerDeck, the ecommerce software supplier for small retail websites.
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