9 questions you need to ask about your ecommerce website

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When it comes to designing an eCommerce website, there are a number of factors to consider to increase those all-important conversion and retention rates. Good eCommerce website design is key for turning your website visitors into your customers.

Ideally, the development of your retail site should make the purchase process as simple, easy and as stress-free as possible. Your website should be optimized to increase the likelihood of sales and repeat purchasing.

How can you achieve this?

Start thinking beyond the overall design aesthetic and make sure that you have these nine questions front of mind before making your eCommerce website live: 

Is navigation simple and clear?
Is your checkout page easy to use?
Are your product descriptions clear and concise?
Have you included testimonials or reviews?
Is your website design clean, modern and error-free?
Do you have a wide selection of photographs?
Is your site loading time sufficient?
How easy is it for your customers to find delivery information?
Is your website fully responsive?

The first thing you want to make sure is whether or not your navigation is helpful and easy to use. Customers should be able to view your products in a matter of clicks and it should be simple to find and do so.

Generally speaking, most retail websites follow a trend when it comes to navigation. Most businesses have menu bars to the top left and top middle of the web page, so adhering to this can be a good move.

Another element to check when it comes to navigation is how well your products have been categorized in your menus. The last thing you want is a missed sale due to a small human error when creating your website.

You could also think about new menu additions to make searching on your site more fun for your customers. For example, if you own a fashion website you could have a trends section on your navigation or filtering through color.

2. Is your checkout page easy to use?

Checkout pages are frequently overlooked by online retailers, but they can be a great way to increase revenue. How many of us have got bored with a checkout process only to get frustrated and look for an alternative?

When it comes to making a sale, an online store’s checkout process is one of the most important aspects to get right. Trust in this process is essential as it is one of the only times that there is a margin of risk for the buyer.

The first step should require an email address and to choose whether or not they would like to check out as a guest or create an account for later use. This tactic allows you to execute shopping cart abandonment campaigns should in case the customer does not follow through with the purchase.

Make sure that the overall aesthetic of the page is clean and easy on the eyes. You don’t want any risk of distraction to the buyer purchasing your product.

Another good rule of thumb is to make sure your customers check out on one page and with a maximum of three clicks. The simpler checkout process you can create, the greater likelihood you have of completed purchases and happy customers.

3. Are your product descriptions concise and clear?

One of the last steps in securing a sale is convincing the customer to click the “add to shopping basket” button. How is this achieved? Through an effective product description.

The product description is important not just for SEO purposes, but also for exciting the buyer into wanting to buy the product. You should have a good grasp of your target customer and tailor each description accordingly.

Keep these questions in mind:

> How did this person arrive to your page?
> What are their general interests?
> What features or benefits would interest this person the most?

Keep in mind that product descriptions tend to be clear and concise in nature, concentrating on the key benefits to the customer rather than detailing an entire list. You should aim to pique customer interest, rather than list out every product feature possible.

Remember to include important product attributes like weight, height, width, size and color in the product description or in close proximity.

If you sell a large number of products across multiple selling channels, then you’ll need an inventory management tool to help you quickly revise and optimize your product listings, saving you countless hours of work.

We’d recommend exploring your opportunities with listing management software so that you can ensure that each of your descriptions meet channel-specific requirements, greatly reducing the risk of account suspension. 

4. Have you included testimonials or reviews?

A simple way to increase sales on your website is to include customer testimonials and product reviews. These elements can help to build trust into your business, especially when it comes to attracting new customers.

If your eCommerce website hasn’t been designed to include product reviews, consider adding a link to your TrustPilot score or integrating Google Reviews on your retail site.

Don’t have that many reviews? Don’t panic.

You could think about creating an email marketing campaign to build more reviews onto your website. To encourage customer participation, consider offering a discount on their next purchase with you.

5. Is your website design clean, modern and error free?

The overall design and aesthetic of your website is an important factor in every stage of your customer’s buying journey. Simplicity is key. Too much going on in the background is distracting and crazy fonts can sometimes be unrecognizable.

Choosing a clean layout with a white background is often a good bet. Most online retail websites follow this rule of thumb, with the focus on the products.

Make sure that there aren’t any errors or bad links on your website as these can sometimes distract the buyer from getting where they need to be or completing a purchase. An error-free website can also build trust with your customers.

If you want to improve on certain design elements on your website, consider sending out a survey to your current customer base asking for feedback. This can be a great way to redesign parts of your website in keeping with your customers’ needs.

6. Do you have a wide selection of photographs?

Good photography is essential when it comes to attracting potential customers and making those all-important sales. They represent a key part of their decision-making process and ultimately help determine conversion and retention rates.

Product photos represent and reflect your brand image and help to create a first impression by customers. Make sure that your photos are of high quality and every angle of each product is clearly visible on the product pages of your website.

Consider adding in lifestyle photographs of your products in action to attract buyers on your homepage and to encourage further action on your website. These types of images can help create emotional bonds with your customer base.

7. Is your site loading time sufficient?

How quickly are your webpages loading?

Page speed refers to the total amount of time it takes a URL page to load.

If longer than a couple of seconds, you may want to consider changing the design, cleaning up the code or upgrading your web hosting. The last thing you want is a website people leave because it takes too long to load.

In fact, one study in 2017 found that 79% of customers who are “dissatisfied” with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from that site again.

Keep in mind that site loading speed is paramount when it comes to keeping buyers on your website, securing sales and for search engine optimization purposes. A fast-loading website creates a better user experience, and this can lead to higher conversion rates for your online retail business.

You can analyze your site’s speed with free tools such as Pingdom or GTmetrix.

8. How easy is it for customers to find delivery information?

A key aspect that you’ll want to get right is how easy it is for your potential customers to find delivery information, especially when it comes to first-time buyers.

The majority of eCommerce websites keep a link to this information in the footer of their website across all pages. This makes it easy to access when a customer is viewing a product and deciding whether or not to go through with the purchase.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to make your delivery strategy as simple as possible, shaped by what your customers require from you. There’s no use in offering delivery options your customers aren’t seeking.

If you offer free shipping you might want to consider displaying this in the header on every page of your website to encourage sales and increase your conversion rates.

You could also include an FAQ section for common questions that you get asked a lot to save both you and your customers time when it comes to getting this information.

9. Is your website fully responsive?

One final check you’ll want to complete with your website is whether or not it’s fully-responsive. This means that your website is compatible with all devices, from desktops to mobiles and tablets.

It’s also important from an SEO perspective, as Google ranks fully-responsive websites higher than those which are not. Mobile commerce is on the rise – grab every opportunity you can to increase your sales.

If not, then consider switching to a fully-responsive layout or hire a freelance web developer to turn your retail site into one that is responsive across all devices.

Shoot for the stars

Above all else, your retail website should remain an ongoing process of updates, tweaks and testing to fully optimize it to increase conversion and retention rates and better fit the requirements of your customers.

These questions are here to help you get started with your eCommerce website design, but you should keep a watchful eye over what seems to be working and cut out the elements that may be hindering or slowing down your customers’ path to purchase. 

If you have any other concerns over your retail website, don’t hesitate to comment below and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

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