December 7, 2014
The biggest danger we all face is the act of doing nothing. Whether you are talking about the US National Security, as Erskine Bowles points out, and the risk of consuming every dollar of the federal budget, or your ecommerce website – the threat just may be the same. Your website can squeeze every dime out of your pocket, and you won’t even know — unless you do something about it.
Kyle Wong of Forbes.com writes that “delighting” customers ought to be a priority for startups. He believes – along with Paul Graham of Y-Combinator – that customer service is one thing every business should hang on to and swear by. For web-based businesses, SaaS companies, freelancers, service providers, and ecommerce stores, customer service is of the highest priority, but what about user experience? Your presence on the web has nothing much to beat drums about if it can’t provide easy and possibly “delightful” experience.
To get there, here are a few points that beg iteration:
- Planning, design, and launch are not one-off events.
- Digital marketing is a never-ending fight-fest.
- There’s more to online business management than we assume.
I won’t even mention accepted best practices such as mobile first design and responsive design. I pray that you know about that already and that you are taking steps to implement those.
I aim to dig deeper. Or maybe I’ll dwell on what should be obvious.
For ecommerce stores that hope for minting money off every button on the site, here are a few things you should be doing to boost conversions:
Pay your respects to Typography
Oliver Reichenstein once wrote that web design is 95% Typography. That was the year 2006. Fast-forward 8 years and this is still the truth.
But Paul Scrivens of Smashing Magazine insists that Typography isn’t just about selecting fonts; it’s about balancing the design so well that a website can survive thanks to Typography alone, if you strip away the images and anything else from it.
You don’t have to get a double diploma in Typography. You don’t even have to be a web designer. You just have to know that Typography matters to your ecommerce site.
Start with choosing minimalistic and easy-to-read fonts, optimize fonts with white space, and increase your font size.
Value your virtual real estate
Your ecommerce store has virtual shelf space but minimal attention ratio. You have to get your incoming visitors to take action (hopefully, a sale). On the other hand, web users are notoriously picky about their time spent on any website.
How do you get their attention? How do you maximize their visit? How do you boost conversions in that little window of opportunity?
You do this:
1] Figure out a path of least resistance for your potential customer to “your” goal: Often, a “sale” is an important goal for you. For a customer, it might not be. Also, she might not buy on her first visit. That’s why you need a way to get back to her on social media or using smart email marketing.
2] Above the fold is precious: Dedicate this space to the most important thing your visitor ought to do (as mentioned above, it’s not what you think is important. It’s what’s easy enough for visitors and is just as important for you). In short, ask for an email address. Preferably, give something away in exchange.
3] Don’t leave the door half-open: CartridgeInk is one of the largest online retailers for toner cartridges, printer and ink supplies in the UK. They have a great rating on Google for their products and services. If you look at their ecommerce store (above the fold, on the home page), they implore visitors to do a search for “Ink and toner”.
If you enter your choice of ink and toner, you’ll be sent to a page where you can push the product into the basket.
This is how most ecommerce websites work, and there’s nothing wrong here. Except that you assume that visitors will buy right away. What if they don’t buy? What if “life comes in between”?
That’s why you either choose to have an “”automated trigger” email campaign setup to reach those customers later. For that, you’d have to collect email addresses first.
The Page – Purpose Match
Every page should have a purpose. If a page on your ecommerce website doesn’t have a goal, it shouldn’t even exist.
To track whether your pages are doing what they should, set up Google Analytics for pages with goals. Meeting those goals and tracking your metrics for these goals isn’t an extra task; it’s a part of your marketing workflow.
What’s missing on your ecommerce store? What did you leave unattended that’s probably costing you dollars in lost opportunities?
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