The admission of problems is the first step towards solving them. But what if we are not aware of the problems in question, or worse, we underestimate them?
Over the last few years X-Coding IT Studio has implemented over 60 advanced IT solutions for the leaders of the most important industries on Polish and European markets.
Recently, an idea has been born in our company, under which we offer 5 personalized suggestions to owners and managers of online stores, free of charge (without any hooks!), how to make their stores more frequented by customers.
In everyday life, each of us is a customer in one way or another. We buy products, services or even ideas. Luckily, X-Coding is a group of experts in creating and implementing Magento e-Commerce solutions), so we have the opportunity to create shops where we would like to buy ourselves.
We are also willing to share our knowledge, which helps to provide better shopping experience to customers.
In this entry I would like to share our initial observations, which are the result of our initiative "5 Suggestions for your e-Commerce".
"Design is not how it looks, design is how it works" - Steve Jobs
If you know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, you may have seen his video about how friction (problems caused by a badly designed shop) is Public Enemy Number One, Darth Vader of e-Commerce and something that should burn at the stake. It should be eliminated or at least reduced if you run any business where customers are involved - especially online.
We noticed that most of the stores that decided to take part in our initiative had UX/design problems, which deterred potential customers. Often, the layout of the site and the way it works were at the root of the problem, which was contrary to all modern standards. As a result, moving around the store was something irritating and non-intuitive.
Imagine that in your browser, the "Back" and "Next" buttons changed functions in such a way that the "Next" button goes back to the previous page and "Back" moves to the next one. You would probably feel uncomfortable and it would take some time to get used to the new state of affairs, wouldn't it?
If a thought like "big deal, they'll get used to it quickly; no problem at all" has crossed your mind, then consider the following: what would happen if it wasn't just 2 buttons, but a whole page and many shops instead of a single browser? It's the haircut; the friction. These are unnecessary elements your potential customers have to go through in order to get to the end of the purchase. It's like an obstacle course they have to go through every time they want to buy something.
Having a recognisable brand and standing out from the competition is great, but being different just for being different makes your shop an outcast. Even stores designed to look retro, like this one, comply with modern UX and design standards.
You should make sure that customers who visit your store immediately feel at home and can focus on what they came for.
"Simplicity is the essence of versatility," Mahatma Gandhi.
It is beautiful, like 70 years after Gandhi's death, his words still find confirmation in reality and can be applied even in e-Commerce. Do not make things more complicated than they must be.
Free and unoptimized parties
This is a natural development of the above issue. At one point in the past, Amazon found that every 100 ms of delay cost them a 1% drop in sales. This is a 10% drop with a delay of 1 second. Seems exaggerated? I'm going to risk saying that nowadays the losses resulting from a slow charge can be even greater.
When you browse your website to see if it looks good, you probably don't spend too much time on it and only display a few subpages. On the other hand, visitors to your shop display dozens of pages in search of products and/or information. This one-second delay will build up very quickly and will lead them to leave the site.
Unfortunately, nothing is as simple as it seems. You may have the best product in the world, but if customers can't find you, they can't buy from you. This is especially important when you consider your position in search engine rankings. Since 2010, Google has been punishing unoptimized desktop sites, and since 2016 also mobile versions. If your shop does not have RWD, you should consider introducing it, not only because of its higher position in the search engine rankings, but also because, according to the GEA (Global E-Commerce Association) report for 2017, in 2016, 57% of all online purchases were made via smartphone or tablet.
If you are considering creating a new e-Commerce platform, PWA (Progressive Web Application) should also be of interest to you, as it is basically intended to replace RWD. Both of these standards came from Google itself, so we may risk saying that sooner rather than later, stores that do not meet them will be penalized. I'll address the subject of PWA on another occasion.
Promotion? What promotion?
Having an active promotion in an online store can be a great thing, as long as it is well realized. You can present a new offer, promote your brand and products, lower the entry barrier for your first potential customers and convert them into long-term ones.
We observed that most of the stores with which we shared our suggestions did not have active store promotions, did not take full advantage of them or hurt themselves.
If you have an active promotion, make sure your visitors find it easily. It must stand out from the rest. Also make sure that there is a predetermined date when the promotion will end. Let your customers know that the promotion will not last forever, but also give them the opportunity to plan their expenses. If they want to buy your product and realize that the promotion will end within a week, they can take steps to purchase. This is instilling a feeling of urgency.
On the other hand, don't try to have a promotion for all your products 24/7, 365 days a year. Customers who are used to buying during the promotion may not make purchases without it. This also calls into question the quality of your products and/or services, which is something you certainly want to avoid.
Make sure your customers know how much they will save by making a purchase. Each product in the promotion should contain information about:
- The percentage price reduction;
- The old price;
- The new price.
Selecting only one of the elements is not enough. The price reduction should make sense and be justified from the point of view of the consumer. I had the opportunity to visit shops where there were promotions of 0.1%-1% for goods whose price did not exceed PLN 200. This is striking and people who see it may question the quality of service in a shop offering this type of promotions.
The above mentioned elements are only a small part of the problems we have encountered during the implementation of our initiative, but I think that they are too often ignored; especially in small and medium-sized companies. You could devote an entire book to each of them. I hope, however, that I have managed to illustrate their importance and help many e-shop owners to create a thriving business.