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In the next few weeks we will be looking at 12 ways in which we can improve your ecommerce site. We will drill down into these topics in more detail to give you a high level understanding, we will be looking at the following areas:

1 – Always offer a guest checkout

The single best way of improving the volume of orders you receive is by offering a guest checkout. Unless you are a big market leading brand like Amazon who have regular repeat orders then the lack of a guest checkout often puts off buyers from completing their orders. A famous case study (allegedly Best Buy) did not have a guest checkout option but in the first year of adding the feature they captured an additional $300,000,000 of revenue over the first year.

2 – Google Adwords & Google product listings

Advertising your products on the primary internet search channel is an absolute must to drive revenue and traffic for your business. Product specific advertising has a much higher conversion rate than general site advertising as you acquire buyers who are further down the buyer process as they know what product they are wanting to purchase (Research, identify, buy). Many retailers who have previously tried Google paid advertising and have not seen the benefit should revisit this as the service has improved massively over the last 18 months and if implemented correctly can give a fantastic ROI.

3 – Offer free shipping

If you don’t offer free shipping and your competitors do then you could be loosing out on a lot of sales. Stats from comScore in 2015 show that shoppers are extremely incentivised to sites with free shipping: “Free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions as 58% of online shoppers reported adding items to their shopping cart in order to qualify for the incentive. Further, 83% are willing to wait an additional 2 days for delivery if shipping is free, and 68% said free returns shipping is needed to complete a sale.” Based on this piece of information there are various different ways you can offer free shipping to lower the cost for your business, for example minimum spend incentives which can also be used to increase your basket size.

4 – Tell you customer when they will receive their order

For customers that are placing time sensitive orders it’s an absolute must to tell them when they will receive their product. A lot of sites give estimated delivery dates based on the carrier time but fail to take into account their own order processing time. More and more emphasis is being giving to delivery times and making sure you advise and then deliver on time is a must.

5 – Customer re-orders

A lot of emphasis is given to acquiring new customers but we generally see far less effort being spent on getting customers to buy for a second or third time. Building a mailing list and sending regular promotions to opted-in customers is a far easier way of acquiring new orders. Putting in a strategy and monitoring for repeat customers is essential to growing your ecommerce business.

6 - Site search

Making sure your site search is prominent, accurate and returns relevant products is essential to making sure you get customers into your shopping basket. Looking at newer sites and in particular responsive sites, the new layout trends have led to the search becoming hidden behind search buttons. Make sure you search box is easily accessible by your visitors!

7 – Mobile optimised site

There are still a lot of sites that are not mobile friendly or the mobile is site is not correctly optimised. Latest stats show that mobile visitors make up 39% percent of visitors to ecommerce sites so giving them a good user experience is essential. We would also suggest investing in mobile responsive should take a far higher priority than investing in mobile apps as unless you are a massive brand, app investment is likely to be wasted money!

8 - Ratings and reviews

Conversions optimisation looks at various stages a visitor takes from landing on the site to checkout. A key step to getting a visitor to place a product in the basket is increasing confidence in the product they are buying. Having good reviews for your products is a key way of tipping visitors into the basket.

9 – Poor product photography

Imagery is the most important detail on a product page and should be given an enormous amount attention to make sure you convert. This is your showcase so clear vibrant pictures of your products will give you a far better chance of making a sale. 3D or rotating imagery can help you go a step further too!

10 – Checkout optimisation

Avoiding shopping basket abandonment is another pivotal way of increasing your sites conversion rate. Increasing confidence with security badges and safe shopping accreditations helps but also reducing distractions and surprises is beneficial. For example, you could look at removing the following from your checkout process:

• Eliminate any fields that aren’t necessary.
• Take out links that direct your customer to another part of the site (E.g. header, footer, side menu links).
• Newsletter Sign up fields (Prompt after taking the money)
• Hide promo codes box when no promos are live (i.e. stop hinting that someone else is getting the same product(s) cheaper than you via a code)
• Remove any fee surprises such as payment charges and shipping costs

11 – Slow loading pages

Slow loading pages have a negative impact on a sites performance for a number of reasons. Google penalises slow sites in their organic search listings as they prefer faster sites. User experience of a slow loading site can lead to people giving up on the site before they get anywhere near purchasing. Mobile experience in particular should be focussed on as mobile networks tend to be more unreliable and intermittent. Make sure you continually review your sites performance, remove or optimise large images, limit the number of requests a site needs to load and remove old and unneeded website plug-ins that increase load time.

12 – Lack of continuous ecommerce improvements

The biggest reason we see Ecommerce sites sales plateau or stagnate is that the ecommerce sites are built/updated then left to run. Site improvements and optimisation should be continuous and an iterative process. Monitoring the key indicators for success such as order volumes, average order size, unique visitors, conversion rate, new customers, repeat customers will help give you a clear indicator on where the next improvement should be made. If you would like to speak to someone about our Continuous Ecommerce improvement program, then please get in touch.