The years 2020 and 2021 proved how indispensable an online presence is, and to an extent, an e-commerce website if you are an online business. Those merchants who think ahead and prioritize e-commerce development reap the benefits of people staying at home and lurking online, doing their grocery shopping and other transactions online.
Now, if you are one of these merchants, you would probably want to optimize your e-commerce store to maximize visibility, reach, traffic, and conversion. You are in for a treat because below are some of the most helpful e-commerce store optimization hacks.
Hacks to improve your e-commerce store’s performance
Did you know that by 2025 there will be almost 5 million active e-commerce users? That’s how big the e-commerce market will be, and capturing a portion of this vast market will be financially beneficial for online business owners like you.
Moving forward, these hacks will definitely do the trick.
Hack #1 – Improve the loading speed to 3 seconds or faster
In search engine optimization for SEO generally, speed is considered a ranking factor. It simply means that if two e-commerce stores are offering the same products and targeting the same market, Google’s decision to rank which website higher than the other will depend on speed—all things being equal, that is. So you cannot deliberately ignore page loading speed.
As a rule of thumb, an e-commerce website must load in 3 seconds or less. Otherwise, the visitor will look for another website to buy products from. Indeed, almost 50% of visitors would bounce if your store is slow. And any sale you will lose because of a slow loading website will be your competitor’s gain.
A fashion retail website increased its mobile responsiveness and speed and witnessed a 56% surge in sales and profits. What they did was reduce the wait time by 4 seconds. True enough, users don’t have the patience to wait for your website to load. Why wait when there are too many online stores to shop from.
Hack #2 – Follow the three-click rule, especially for product pages
An e-commerce store’s navigation can get quite complex, with hundreds to thousands of product pages. Not to mention integrating a shopping cart, payment gateway, inventory, etc. All these make an easy-to-navigate store structure all the more critical.
Your goal is to integrate easy navigation that helps visitors find the desired product in as few as three clicks. After finding the products they want to buy, it should also be easier to compare products, read reviews, and make payments. It would help to utilize simple product categories as one of the focal points of the e-commerce stores hierarchy.
Hack #3 – Maximize user experience (UX) through mobile responsiveness
About 50% of online shoppers prefer using a mobile device when online shopping, but what about the other 50%? We call them multi-device and multi-browser shoppers—they don’t use a single device when buying products online.
As an e-merchant, you’d want to capture this market share as well because they will impact the bottom line. So what do you do? The answer is as simple as having a responsive e-commerce store design. It would be difficult for any e-commerce to sell faster if the website didn’t have a responsive design.
So even when a buyer starts his product search using a laptop, compares the prices using a tablet, and finally adds the product to the shopping cart using a smartphone, the content is technically the same. It means that the content, precisely the product page, scales to what the buyer sees regardless of what device he is using when viewing this page.
Hack #4 – Build dynamic category and product pages
Online shopping platforms usually have their page builders. Some platforms use content blocks to build a product page, blog post, or category page. These content blocks can be mixed and matched to create a dynamic page.
There is value to building dynamic category and product pages primarily because of the great visual experience that forms part of the UX. Each content element you add, such as a voice clip, podcast, or video, can take UX to a higher level.
More importantly, dynamic pages render differently, depending on the browser and device the buyers use when viewing a particular product page. This is important because the dynamicity lies in displaying content elements with which the target users will engage. The more the user engages with a page, the higher the chance of purchasing. It’s because of constant exposure to the product, for example. And yes, there is a science behind all these claims.
Hack #5 – Place high-res photos
This should be basic, but for emphasis, you cannot skip the use of high-quality original and compelling images. Search images render credit credibility and build trust among online shoppers.
This is crucial because the customers cannot check the products physically. Buying online is a leap of faith because you can not see what you are buying. So they have to trust your e-commerce store first before doing business with it, and the images you place on your online store can help build that consumer confidence.
A significant part of deciding whether to buy from you or not will be based on the images. As such, a compelling visual emulates the actual products. Couple this with reviews and, you can build trust while also guiding them to complete the buyer’s journey. If not of the product image, perhaps video demonstrations will do explaining how to use the products and their features.
Hack #6 – Streamline the checkout process
Checkout processes need not be lengthy, and this is one of the pitfalls of doing online business. It doesn’t matter even when a visitor has already added the item to the shopping cart. If the payment processor gets delayed, the buyer will abandon the cart.
So make the payment process hassle-free and straightforward with no unnecessary ads and forms to fill in before the actual payment. If it pays to have a live chat to guide the users through the checkout process, do so. The agent may offer instant answers if buyers have questions while also providing more detailed product info if the buyer desires to know more first before purchasing.
While at it, avoid using lengthy checkout forms. Suppose you can reduce the form to three fields at most, the better. Remember that you want the visitors to convert and not necessarily fill out forms, abandon the cart and leave your store without checking out.
Hack #7 – Provide real-time customer support
A critical part of the e-commerce business is real-time, 24/7 customer support. There are many ways the customer support representative can help—from customers inquiring about a product or how to complete a payment or the available payment options to complaining about a defective product they recently received and how to return them for a refund.
Back in the day, a customer support page prompting the users to email or call the company to resolve any grievance would suffice. If not an actual support page, an FAQ page will do, detailing how to proceed when something goes wrong. But unfortunately, such a process is time-consuming. And the consumers and the merchants themselves do not have all the time in the world to attend to these mundane things.
Nowadays, e-commerce stores offer chat features using AI-powered chatbots. The customers may ask them directly, although the virtual assistants can only provide canned responses when resolving queries. Some merchants choose to integrate Messenger so a human specialist may immediately attend to the customers’ needs, whether in terms of delayed delivery, uncredited refund, defective product, or anything else for that matter.
Hack #8 – Update the entire e-store diligently
There are many things to consider when it comes to e-commerce store updates. First, you have to consider updating the website’s content, especially the product pages. These should be updated regularly regarding product descriptions, stocks availability, sold-out items, discounts, and other promos such as voucher codes, etc.
Second, other than the product-related content, online store owners must consistently update the website content. For example, if there are any new payment modes, this information should be communicated to your target consumers. In addition, anything that can make the online shopping experience conducive to the buyer must be communicated diligently to them.
The third one is more technical because new and more sophisticated technologies come up almost every day. As merchants, you need to keep abreast of these technologies more so that your competitors update their feature arsenal and adopt new technologies. You don’t want to lag in terms of these aspects.
Some new technologies that you may add to your online store are:
- Recent sale notifications like a small pop up on one corner to let the visitors know that another user purchased the same product recently
- Sales countdown timer to display limited-time offers, especially for flash sales
- Product reviews and ratings that double as social proof and improve conversion rates by almost 300%
- Exclusive discount codes as a form of incentive to new and returning visitors who engage with the store and its products
- Gamified pop up offering free shipping voucher codes and other deals in exchange for an email address, for example
- Customer showcase where pictures of buyers using the products are featured
Optimind offers e-commerce development services. What we offer is actually an opportunity is to scale your online business. Let us know how we can help.