It is not always clear for online e-commerce businesses when it is time to rethink their website. Of course, issues like technical problems or outdated information may be obvious enough, but what about the more subtle signs?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have your online sales dwindled?
- Is your web traffic declining?
- Are bounce rates increasing?
- If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it could be a sign that your e-commerce website needs work.
It’s nearly impossible, though, to come up with a solution if you don’t know what is causing the problem in the first place. Below are four of the most common conversion killers in e-commerce website design (and how to fix them).
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1. Your platform is not SEO-optimized.
An SEO strategy is a pillar to a strong and successful online company. After all, if your customers can’t find your business, then they are obviously not going to buy your product or service. And while most ecommerce sites understand the importance of strong keywords in product descriptions, it does not necessarily mean that their site is truly optimized for strong SEO.
According to Woorank’s recent report, 18 percent of ecommerce sites had broken backlinks that led customers to 404 error pages or poor redirections. Backlinks that come from high domain authority sites can be extremely beneficial for your own website’s ranking, but if these links are not formatted correctly or lead to irrelevant pages (such as a generic homepage), it could lead to higher bounce rates.
According to SEMRush, in addition to backlinks, other SEO factors on your website affect its ranking, including your website’s security and the quality of your keywords throughout the content. This is why using an e-commerce platform optimized for better SEO practices is a smart choice. Look for features that make it easy to include customized navigation links, page titles, URLs, tags, and meta descriptions so your site’s content is highly visible for search engines to pick up on.
2. Your UX is out of date.
The experience your customers have with your website and brand makes all the difference. Study after study has proven that tweaks to the UX can impact your business’s bottom line. It affects how much customers are willing to pay, how loyal they are to your brand and how likely they are to recommend you to other consumers.
A great UX can be a clear advantage in a highly competitive market. In fact, next to price, the usability of a website and other UX factors are the most important considerations for online shoppers. If your website is not offering an up-to-date UX that provides what your visitors want, chances are that they will look elsewhere.
Take a look at design flaws that could be standing in the way of a smooth UX.
Are customers able to navigate through your platform clearly or does your site offer too few (or too many) categories?
How complex is it to make a purchase?
Does your design truly reflect your brand or could it use a modern update?
Keep an eye on your analytical datasets and see where your customers begin to disengage. If customers are frequently abandoning their carts, it could signal an issue with the UX of the purchasing process. Or if users commonly exit after viewing product pages, perhaps the layout or description could use some rework.
3. Your data collection strategy is unclear.
Ecommerce businesses rely more on customer data than ever before to stay relevant to audiences and provide them with better experiences. Brands that are heavily data-driven are more profitable and grow faster than companies that do not extensively use customer data in their strategies.
Due to the high expectations set for personalized brand experiences, e-commerce brands must have a system in place to not only collect necessary datasets but also to apply them for a better customer experience.
Rather than trying to build a large database of information, a better approach is data minimization. The important thing for online brands to do when it comes to figuring out data-collection strategies is to narrow it down to the why, what and how.
Why are you collecting this information?
What is it going to be used for?
How will it be organized and applied?
Define your strategy first and determine the exact ways that your team can apply customer data, whether it be with personalized shopping recommendations, custom offers or better marketing messaging. From there, it will be easier to determine which data points are necessary, and your team can figure out how to collect this through website data analyzation methods.
4. Mobile optimization is limited.
As more shoppers use mobile devices for research and checkout, it is important that e-commerce brands offer the same or similar shopping experiences on the small screen. Twenty-four percent of retail ecommerce sales are now technically m-commerce, so online brands must be prepared to make their sites optimized for customers browsing through their smartphones and tablets.
Though the number of m-commerce sales continues to rise, it seems that brands are still not offering the type of experience that customers expect or deserve. According to a report by Salesforce and Demandware, customers are less likely to purchase from an e-commerce brand if their mobile site seems less secure or has UX barriers, such as difficulty seeing product information or issues with checkout.
Be sure that the mobile version of your website is just as well designed and UX optimized as your desktop version. In order to avoid common customer frustrations, it needs to be adaptive to various screen sizes so customers do not constantly have to zoom in and out manually to browse your site. Adjust text sizes for easy reading and make sure that navigational tabs are simplified for easy searching.
A total overhaul of your website can be expensive and time-consuming, and in some cases, not completely necessary. A few little tweaks and changes can have a strong effect on your customers. Take a look at your own analytical data to see what could be causing visitors to vanish without a trace and without a purchase.
Your website should never truly be complete. There are always adjustments and changes to be made for a better shopping experience. Pay attention to what your customers want and design accordingly.