During the holidays, having your web store in order is more important than ever. According to Fast Company Cyber Monday sales improved 30% over last year. With the malls and department stores entering their permanently slammed phase of the year it is likely that shoppers will continue to elect the convenience of shopping online over hours in line behind angry shoppers arguing about coupons. What does this mean for you? If you have an online store, that means that you have an opportunity to get shoppers who may never even see your physical store and give your sales a huge boost. To help you take advantage of this boom, I would like to offer you 5 easy ways to make your online store more user friendly.
- Make Your Online Store Mobile Friendly: Paypal reported an increase of 190% in mobile payments on Cyber Monday. This tells us that more people are using their mobile devices to shop and make payments. If your store isn’t easy to access on a mobile device, you are missing out on customers. A few tips you can use right now to optimize you site for mobile is to compress image size so that they will load faster. Also, you can move any hit tracking and advertising code to the bottom of html file, this allows your content to load first so that customers don’t have to wait. Third, take a look at your text alignment. If you are having to scroll right to left to read text on a mobile device, you should look at increasing margins to make it all fit on a smaller screen. These are all short term solutions to help you get through the holiday season. However, mobile is here to stay, so as a long term strategy you need to get serious about mobile optimization. Contact a professional web designer about redesigning your site using html 5 and other mobile web techniques that will make your site look fantastic regardless of what device you are using to access it.
- Simplify: The KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) method is time tested way of helping people make purchases. Now that more and more people are moving to use the web for shopping this is especially important. Imagine Grandma shopping for the first time online, would she be overwhelmed by all the buttons, tiny texts, and products. If your answer is yes then it is time to take a look at how you can stream line the purchasing process so that even a total novice can check out easily and efficiently. There are a lot of ways to do this, including minimizing the number of shopping categories, listing products in multiple categories, making buttons and links bigger and making it obvious what pushing each button does.
- Provide Visual Feedback: This is actually an extension of simplifying, but important enough to warrant its own point. As more people start to shop online for the first time, or shift from desktop shopping to mobile shopping, there is a lot of uncertainty. To ease their uncertainty and reduce cart abandonment give them visual prompts to assure them that they have done something right. For instance, a pop up that says you have successfully added this item to the cart is very effective. In addition, on pages where you fill in your shipping information, an error message that tells them exactly what they missed so that they can go back and fill it in will reduce the frustration felt, when the customer doesn’t get it right the first time. Remember people shop online because it is supposed to be easier than shopping in a brick and mortar store, as long as it stays that way you are making money.
- Reduce Check Out Steps: Nothing is quite so aggravating as feeling like a company wants my whole life story before they will send me the $3 dollar trinket I just purchased on their website. The fewer steps it takes for someone to complete a purchase the less likely they are to ditch midstream for a more interesting activity. Keep it simple, get their address and contact information, their payment information, and give them their order confirmation in 2 screens or less.
- Make Help Easy to Get: No matter how hard you work to make your website user friendly, there is going to be someone who just doesn’t get it. For those people they need to be able to easily find assistance with their questions. Here are a couple of ideas to make help accessible. Make a “Have Questions?” button a part of the template for every page on your website. Then users who are having difficulty can click it and send you an email or connect to your live help specialist. Right next to that button you should have an FAQ button, because inevitably you are going to get asked the same question 800 times. Populate the FAQ page with your most frequently asked questions. Be sure to keep this up to date and take into consideration if that many people are asking a question, you might want to take a few minutes and address it on your site, so that it is no longer difficult to figure out. In addition, be sure to give hints on fillable fields, like showing a diagram of the back of a credit card to help shoppers find the CVV code. Finally, some people just want to talk to a real person, so make it easy to find the phone number.
As mentioned earlier, these are just some of the ways you can improve e-commerce sales. These easy tips can be executed right away. However, if your online store is under performing on a consistent basis, it is important to consult with a professional web designer. They can help you optimize your site for mobile and make it easy to use regardless of what device you are using.