5 Essential Features of a Successful Website
eCommerce has absolutely boomed globally, and more and more entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon. If you are one of these people who have already started their own online store or are in the process of kicking off their digital journey, the first thing that you will need to get right is your website.
Your website needs to not only reach out to specific audiences but also convert visitors based on images and messaging on the site alone. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, you don’t have the ability to appeal to the customer’s other senses like touch and smell, so creating a customer journey on your site is imperative.
So, just how do you do this? What elements will increase your conversion rates by hooking your customers in? We thought we would unpack what some of the most successful eCommerce sites are doing, and give you guidance in creating an unforgettable user experience on your site.
It Should Be Searchable
Navigability is one of the most important aspects of creating an optimized site. It is a vital part of making sure your customers can easily find the products and services that they are looking for. Instant gratification is a key part of customer psychology and if you cannot provide them what they want now, they will go somewhere else. Key navigation tabs and menus are very important, but so is adding a search feature to your site.
This addition of a site search plugin will reduce the time a customer spends searching for their product. It will, in turn, increase conversion rates and reduce bounce. Remember, if a customer is willing to exit a site after three seconds of it not loading, they will bounce after not finding their product within a few seconds, too.
It Should Load Quickly
Let’s expand a bit more on the load time that we just mentioned. Research shows that a customer will move on from your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. This is not a long time, but for them, they can easily go and find another product somewhere else.
So, go through a few exercises to improve your load speed. One of the biggest reasons for a slow site are weighty images that take a while to load. Not only does this put your customers off, but it also hurts your SEO rankings.
Take some time and compress those images before uploading them. It is incredibly important to have high-quality images on your site to see your products, but a compression tool will assist in reducing the size and improving site speed.
Your CTAs Should Appeal To Your Customer
CTAs are a key element in persuading your visitor to convert to a customer. Not only do they have to be easy to find, but they have to be the right color, size and even font to optimize conversions. It is true that everyone has their own recipe, but you can also test and monitor what works for your site.
Tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar assist with these metrics. You will be able to track how far down a customer scrolled on a site, which buttons were clicked on more, and where they were attracted to most. This will give you a good idea of where to place them and how to position them for maximum impact.
The same can be said for A/B testing your CTAs. In order to fully optimize them, try different colors, different copy and different shapes, and monitor which converts more. It might be a lengthy process, but the results will be a high converting site.
The Forms Should Be Simple To Fill Out
Here again, we need to mention how much customers dislike lengthy processes. Unfortunately, you will need a customer to fill out forms if they are buying from you for the first time. You will need enough information from them to fulfill and ship the order to the right place, but keep it to as little as possible.
Statistics show that 22% of cart abandonment takes place because they need to create a new account, while a further 15% of them state that it was due to lengthy and confusing checkout processes.
Take the journey yourself and pinpoint exactly where you can eliminate fields. What is absolutely necessary and what can be auto-filled. Even with new customers, there are a number of features that will allow you to auto-generate information that they can simply correct if it is incorrect.
The Pop-Ups Should Be Non-Intrusive But Appealing
There is a lot of debate around pop-ups and just how successful or annoying they are. The general consensus seems to be that even though they can provide a certain frustration for customers, they do have a function in digital marketing.
Here again, you just need to test repeatedly to get the recipe right for your site. Take the following into consideration:
- Size of the pop-up: Don’t let it cover the whole screen, but make sure it is noticeable;
- Length of time it stays up: Make sure it does disappear automatically after a number of seconds of no action taken;
- Make the exit button noticeable.
Saying all of this, these pop-ups are a vital component in gaining subscribers or conversions. So make sure you have a persuasive copy and make the pop-up impactful. If you can, incentivize the visitor to complete the pop-up form, or simply click through. A/B testing is also highly recommended for pop-ups, so put a few examples together and see what generates the most interest.
Designing the customer journey is one of the most basic functions when you are creating your site. The layout and sales funnel of your site will need to be carefully planned, implemented and tested to ensure it is fully optimized for conversions. Luckily, there are a number of tools at your disposal that are either free or very affordable which can help you with the full process. Keep up to date with trends and digital marketing tricks, there are always smart new ways of attracting and converting your customers that people are talking about.
Lastly, keep tabs on your competitors. They are selling to a similar target audience as you and will be doing their own research. You might pick up one or two interesting tricks and tools that you can use to hook the customer.
Dave is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Shortlist in 2018, a marketing un-agency that serves as an outsourced dedicated marketing team. He has also co-founded Less.churn, a churn reduction app, prior to selling it in 2018. In 2012, he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries.