So, you’ve started selling online and customers are buying right from your website. Great. But are your customers as happy as they could be? Is the shopping experience and checkout process as smooth as possible?
We’re going to look at how you can use analytics to continually improve your customers’ e-commerce experience. We’ll cover optimising for different devices, improving navigation and search, optimising your product pages, and finally, using customer accounts to enhance the checkout process. The first step to optimising the e-commerce experience is ensuring that the purchasing process works smoothly on all the different devices your customers might use. These days, that means more than just laptops and desktop computers.
Say you look at your analytics data and learn that plenty of people visit your site from their mobiles, but they rarely make a purchase. That’s a clue that shoppers on mobiles or tablets may not be able to properly see your product pages, or move smoothly through the payment process. You’ve got some work to do.
One great option is to implement a “responsive design” into your website. This type of design can adapt to different screen sizes. Or, if you want to guarantee a more consistent shopping experience on smartphones, you could even create a dedicated mobile website. OK, that’s got you covered for all types of devices. Here’s another opportunity for improving the shopping experience. Say your analytics show that lots of people visit your home page, but they aren’t taking the next step and actually looking at your products.
You’ll want to make it easy for your visitors to browse and find what they’re looking for. This starts with navigation that your customers can easily understand and use. Typically, you’ll use categories and subcategories to organise your inventory in any number of ways. Let’s use the example of a furniture maker. You could start out with broad categories of, say, different rooms in a home. Then, you could add subcategories of furniture pieces in each, like “bed frames” or “desks” or “dining room tables.” So what’s the best way to go about this? Well, the answer is the one that your customers like best. You can conduct formal testing to see how your visitors react to different arrangements, or you could simply survey your friends, family and some trusted clients to see what they prefer. No matter how you arrange your site navigation, there will always be people who prefer to search for something specific rather than browse through various categories and subcategories. That’s why it’s best to cover both options and include a search function on your website. Your product pages are another great way to optimise the shopping experience. What if you’re seeing that lots of people visit your product pages, but they don’t add any products to the shopping basket?
You might add video of a craftsman in action, or a gallery of photos from various angles to help customers get a closer look at a particular piece of furniture. Make sure those photos are professional quality, and load quickly.
You can also write up great descriptions and provide all kinds of details and measurements—whatever helps customers feel confident that they’re ready to buy. The last thing we’re going to look at is how you can optimise the e-commerce experience by using customer accounts.
You might notice in your analytics data that customers shop on your site, and put products in the cart, but then leave before completing their purchase. Encouraging customers to create an account can streamline the process so this happens less frequently in the future.
As a customer completes an online purchase, you can allow them to store their shipping and billing information and payment preferences in an account on your site. This will also make future purchases that much easier. If you’re ready to get super advanced, you can also use a customer’s past purchases, recent searches, or recently viewed products to recommend specific items that might interest them. If they just purchased a dining room table, for example, you might recommend the best sets of chairs to go with that design and wood finish.
And of course, you can always reward your loyal customers with offers and discounts tailored especially for them—lots of shopping cart solutions offer these features by default. To sum up: Optimising e-commerce is an ongoing process that requires a consistent experience across devices, smart site organisation, and smooth checkout using customer accounts.
Taking this approach will help you on your quest to provide current, and future, customers the very best service possible.
Once you’ve taken your first steps into e-commerce, your next job is to improve the shopping experience. From getting more people to use your online shopping basket to streamlining the checkout process, there are lots of ways to improve your site for shoppers. In this video, you’ll learn how to use analytics to optimise:
- for different devices
- navigation and search
- product pages
- checkout by using customer accounts.