And we're back! After a period of too much good food, company, drink and cheese it's time to hit the grind again.
We begin the year with one of everyone's favourite topics: eCommerce sites. And, specifically, how yours can standout from your competitors! The online shopping sector is becoming bigger all the time; with 92% of the U.K. now using the internet regularly and 80%+ of them making an online purchase in 2016!!! This market overall accounts for 17% of all trade sales within the U.K. and this only expected to grow by another 14-16% this year!
The time to have an explosive, well-optimised online shop is now! So, with all this traffic out there buying products and services online, how do you get your online shop to stand out from the 110,000 others generating meaningful revenue worldwide?!
The best way is to provide a great user experience so that scanning your products is a joyous experience and as straightforward as picking up a t-shirt and paying in cash. To improve your site's UX we have laid down our top 5 ways to add FIRE to the performance of your eCommerce site!
1. Webchat - Olark, Zendesk
Webchat are an awesome little feature that can completely open up and reinvigorate your customer service experience. With these two great platforms the data you are able to gather can give you instant insight into your customers problem.
Whether implemented on the basis that customers will contact you or that you can offer help, you can help get your users over the line at the crucial moment. They have also been shown to reduce the need for call-centres and can reduce costs that way.
2. Product search - Algolia
Most sites come with built in search functionalities. Although these are normally fine and will perform the basic search with relative efficiency, most will not take into account spelling and may just take you directly to a product bypassing your glorious site!
However for that eCommerce kick and the ability to show what else your site has to offer, predictive search is a must.
Algolia have an excellent and fully customisable solution that will allow multiple products to be shown quickly to a user whilst they are searching for something they are unable to immediately locate. This extra ability to upsell allows your users to see a wider range of products whilst accurately finding what they came to your site to view. (check out www.bagnboxman.co.uk for an example for fast, predictive searching).
3. Upselling - various!
Upselling in a traditional store is down to staff's ability to interact and understand a customers needs. Online this is not only more difficult but not always how sales can be achieved. Why not show them what other people have brought and what they may also like?!
Many eCommerce platforms (Woo, XCart etc.) have built-in upselling features which can give great flexibility to webmasters to control exactly which products are recommended to users and where. 'Customers also brought' or, 'You may also like' are ideas pioneered by the greatest eCommerce business out there: Amazon.
4. Customer reviews - various
Nothing sings like a ringing endorsement from someone who has already purchased and used your product. These - unlike testimonials that always sound a little forced anyway - are real, run-of-the-mill users who have first hand experience of using this product.
Again, most CMS' will have their own built-in and customisable features that will allow you to build up an impression to your customers that they are buying into a well-tested and used product.
NB - its actually not advisable to remove the bad reviews as these give greater validation to the good ones! If all reviews are good then the old phrase 'If something sounds good to be true...' might just crop up in your users mind.
5. Counterdown timers - so many!!!
Secondary to perhaps customer reviews, nothing quite screams 'BUY ME!" than a limited time offer alongside its own doomsday timer.
TopMan and TopShop recently used this feature in the run up to Christmas with limited time offers that reset themselves every 24hrs. This meant users had to get what they wanted before the time ran out.
Sure there would be another deal the next day, but would that deal include the item you wanted? Who wants to take that gamble (I certainly didn't... hello new jeans!)?
There are plenty of plugins available for WordPress websites and similarly for other CMS'. We have even been known to build custom solution for clients!
To be frank: if you're not using at least 3-4 of these features on your eCommerce site, you will quite simply be losing business. All these link fiercely into improving the customer and user experience of your site. Happy customers normally equally a happy bottom line.