This is the third post in a series about building and running an e-commerce website.
 

Increase your ecommerce sales

Making your online store as easy as possible to use, is vital. The user experience of your website, must be a well oiled machine. If your shop is easy to use, it'll be easy to make money. Don't force users to read pages of information or wait for slow pages. Your website design should be clean and concise, ensuring max sales.
 

What is friction?

Friction is the difficulty involved with using a website. Friction will slow down users and make them work far harder than they should to buy your products online. Customers behave like electrical current, they will follow the path of least resistance. If your website is hard to use, the path of least resistance for this customer, will be a competitor. I'll give you an example, John Doe walks into a physical bricks and mortar store to buy a phone, but the shop is a mess. John finds the phone he wants to buy under a pile of other products. Now that John has the product, he needs to pay for it, but the register is in the middle of a maze. After spending ages finding the register, John finds no one working there to take his money. Frustrated, John leaves the phone at the checkout, and walks away. While that is an extreme example, it depicts many online shops.
 

How to identify issues with your website?

Now we know the dangers of friction, how do we go about identifying them, fixing them and making money?
 

Design

Design is a key creator of friction. If your design has lots of colours, or a confusing layout, it will stop converting a visitor into a purchaser. Understanding your audience will help you design your website. Younger audiences will prefer brighter colours. But more expensive products will need more white space and fewer colours. Look at the marketing of Mercedes Benz vs your local day care centre. An older audience may not familiar with common website features. Younger people who grew up with the internet will though.
 

Mobile

If most of your visits come from a mobile device, you need to adopt a mobile first approach to your web design. Making sure your items are easy to access from a mobile device are essential. Mobile devices have limited screen real estate. Don't waste what you have with needless graphics. Because of this, mobile website design requires a lot more effort to refine. With mobile shopping growing more and more every year, it's well worth your effort.
 

Speed

A slow website is a dead website. A wait 10 seconds for each page will be too much friction for 99% of your users, so they will go else where. Optimise your website performance on all devices. Seconds of extra load time could equate to tens of thousands of lost income. If you have to use lots of images, ensure that at initial page load, there is something for your viewer to see. Use lazy loading to load elements that the user must to scroll down to see. Load all the elements above the fold first, that way a user can read while the rest of the website loads.
 

Content

Don't drown your users in too much information. Our eyes can only process so much information before it becomes exhausting. Don't force site visitors to work overtime to process the information on your website. Distill the content to its core message, avoid over complicating things. If you need to have lots of information, consider linking off to information on other pages. Give the user the option to choose what information they'd like to read. Everything on your website should serve a purpose. If your content isn't trying to convert a visitor to a sale, you might not need it.
 

Bugs

If you spend hours to get all that right, but fail to ensure your website is bug free, it was all a waste of time. Test your checkout process. You may have customers who want to buy from you, but your website doesn't work
 
Stay tuned for more posts on running your e-commerce business. If you need help growing your online business in 2019, please give us a call. We'd love to hear from you and share our expertise.