The retail model is changing; people prefer to make purchases by simply clicking a button instead of going to malls. E-commerce is blooming! It's growing to an extent that many big brands plan to shut down their physical stores and invest more in virtual ones.
Although e-commerce is booming with record-breaking sales, there are still a few online brands that are having difficulties generating enough sales despite adhering to every part of this checklist for creating the perfect e-commerce website.
As a digital marketing proponent, I spend a lot of my time researching different reasons why a digital brand’s website might not be functioning as intended. Obviously, every case is different, but there are a few things that almost every e-commerce website does incorrectly. Here are a few.
Principles of Influence
Robert B. Cialdini defines six different principles of influence that can dramatically optimize an e-commerce website in terms of conversions.
- The Rule of Reciprocity
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours - This is the shortest definition of reciprocity. In order to increase conversions, businesses need to take care of their audience. As a result, they create new fans and increase their brand’s reach organically, which leads to better conversions.
- The Rule of Commitment and Consistency
When people make commitments, they tend to stick to them. All you need to do is to add such spots on your website through which your website’s visitors commit to something. For instance, offering free online courses or issuing them a whitepaper.
Once they committed to any of your resource from your website then they are more likely to convert to a customer. Now marketers can again follow-up them with an offer to try their product or services.
This is a stage where that where visitor has a clear idea of your brand, hence have a more chances of being converted. What you need to do is plan a way to take a pledge from your audience and then plan your product promotions accordingly.
- The Rule of Social Proof
The idea is to display people (from your social circle) who are buying your product or recommending it. Once visitors or potential buyers see recommendations from familiar people, they will convert to leads a lot faster.
- The Likability Principle
Visual appeal and likability play an important role when comes to a matter of choice. And this is where most digital brands fail while building their e-commerce website and eventually lose out on sales.
- The Scarcity Principle
When people see offers like “four pieces available at X dollars” or “limited-time offer,” have you ever noticed how they react? They rush! This is exactly what you have to incorporate into your website.
- The Principle of Authority
Get your business recommended by any influencer with a huge fan following and people will go crazy for your product simply because it has been recommended by a person they consider an authority.
E-commerce and Customer Psychology
Designing the perfect e-commerce website is great, but most of them I came across have a different definition of “perfection” than I have. I believe perfection should not be limited to design or functionality; it should extend to performance and optimization as well. In this regard, you need to focus more on e-commerce development - make sure that your design should be converted in an SEO-friendly way.
Below are a few pointers that most e-commerce websites (including some Fortune 500 ones) worry about too little or completely ignore. I believe considering these few factors when developing your e-commerce website can help you drastically increase your conversion.
- Site Speed
Ideally, you have three seconds to convince a visitor to continue his or her journey on your website. According to various studies, it is suggested that 57 percent of online customers will abandon the website within the first three seconds, and 80 percent of them never come back again.
Solution: Shift your images to SEO-friendly CDN and keep redirections to a minimum. No 404 pages!
- Include Videos on Product Pages
If pictures speak louder than words, imagine the power of videos on your website. Customer-oriented studies have shown that 31 percent of online shoppers will watch videos about a product before purchasing it.
- Checkout Page Problems
The average checkout bounce rate is around 67.4 percent and this can be because of:
- Hidden charges at the checkout page
- No phone number available on the website
- Having to register before buying
- Long or lengthy checkout processes
- Unclear delivery details
Solution: The only solution to this problem is to be honest and transparent with your customers, or else they will not only leave your website but will hurt your brand’s reputation in the long run.
- Shipping Problems
No matter how awesome you are, I am one of those 59 percent who will bounce from your website if there are no shipping details provided or if your shipping prices are ridiculously high!
Solution: Transparency (as I pointed out above).
Lack of E-commerce Optimization Ideas
Search engines are a happening area in digital marketing, and in the last few years they have evolved drastically. Investing too much time to gain only rankings may not be a smart move; but if you get the rankings for money-making keywords, this will still give you a big increase in your revenue.
When it comes to SEO for an e-commerce website, most people (including me) run short of ideas. So I reached out to industry influencers, and this is what they have to say:
Do you have more tips for e-commerce success? Please share them in the comments!