The New Year is a perfect time to give your e-commerce site the refresh that it needs. With the holiday season behind us, it’s time to prep for the year ahead, and an important part of that is getting your website up-to-date. Not only do you likely need to update products or service offerings, but making seemingly small changes can have a significant impact.
For example, Peppers, an eyeware company, updated its checkout process and saw a 30 percent increase in conversions. Kick off 2019 with the website updates below. When you take customer satisfaction to a new level and boost your overall return on investment, you’ll be sure to have a year to remember.
1. Refresh the Displays and Features
The graphic elements of a website are crucial for one simple reason: 65 percent of the general population are visual learners and more likely to retain the information they absorb from sight.
Keep this in mind when modifying product and landing pages, and consider all forms of imagery, from video to photos. For example, test videos on product pages. Eyeview Digital Marketing finds that when consumers watch product videos, their outlook on the brand increases by 100 percent. Not to mention, their chances of making a referral increases by 73 percent and their likelihood of revisiting the online store increases by 37 percent.
This is just one example of the influence multimedia has on consumer behavior. This means your website needs to be both functional and rich with media.
2. Optimize the Checkout Process
Nearly 27 percent of consumers abandon their orders during the checkout phase due to a lengthy, complex or inefficient process, according to the Baymard Institute. This means your checkout page needs to be streamlined, expedited and user friendly to get people to finalize their transactions.
As you update and accelerate checkout functions, consider these suggestions from the e-commerce guide, 7 Steps to Creating an Ecommerce Website:
- Verify checkout works on both desktop and mobile devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones. In addition, make sure it’s compatible with Apple, Windows and Android operating systems.
- Allow customers the ease of purchasing multiple items in the same transaction.
- Make free shipping available when you can, and when it’s not possible, communicate the total shipping costs before customers reach the final checkout page.
- Send automated cart abandonment emails, so if consumers leave without finalizing their purchase, you can entice them to revisit the order.
3. Boost Your Site Speed
Aesthetics draw consumers in, but efficiency is what holds their engagement. Nearly 47 percent of internet users expect a website to load in two seconds or less, and 40 percent will terminate their browsing session if the load time exceeds three seconds.
This then affects profit by hurting your SEO. If users are bouncing from your site, or spending minimal time browsing, Google begins to see your site as less valuable. This in turn affects rankings, traffic and, of course, sales.
Start by testing your website speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights. This will give a detailed account of how your website performed and what changes need to be made. Work with a developer to fix the issues.
4. Test New Discount Tactics
Now is a great time to start testing new discounts and promotions as we kick off a new year. Start by putting discounts, coupons and offers on the most visible areas of your homepage. Think banners, opt-in offers and pop-up ads. The goal is to convert the traffic on your e-commerce site instead of letting them find your competitor with better deals. If you’re already doing this, it’s time to start testing.
As you begin testing, consider the many ways you can use discounts to drive sales. Yaro Stark shares three discounts, all of which you can start preparing for and testing now:
- Event-based discounting: Think President’s Day weekend, Super Bowl weekend, etc. The time to start brainstorming for these is now.
- Make your customers feel special: Offer special discounts to a specific segment of your customers, like first-time buyers or repeat visitors. You can simply cookie your website to deliver these via pop-ups.
- Create JV relationships: Find other businesses to cross-promote discounts only for their list of customers. You can provide mutual benefit to them by doing the same with your list.
5. Try Chat Bots for Customer Support
Positive, attentive and responsive customer interaction is a crucial factor for driving customer loyalty. So much so that 24 percent of consumers will continue to shop with retailers that offer helpful customer service, while 36 percent will avoid retailers whose customer service is lacking.
If your website is your main point of contact with customers, digitize customer support with chat bots. These allow you to be efficient with your staff and available to customers right when they need you. Shopify explains, “Realistically, these bots pair a level of intimacy with automation, allowing merchants to deliver controlled, high-quality customer service.”
Some e-commerce platforms now offer chat bots as part of their service, making it easy for you to install and get started with. Do your research and tests now so you’re ready to make the most of this new technology come holiday season.
Update in the New Year
Use the energy of the new year to update your website. People want a quick and streamlined experience when shopping your site, plus great customer service and deals that wow them. Now’s the time to make these changes and updates; if you can get it right, this year just might be your most successful one yet.
Jessica Thiefels is an organic content marketing consultant. She has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing.
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Jessica Thiefels is an organic content marketing consultant. She has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing. She stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. When she's not working, she's enjoying sunny San Diego with her husband and friends or traveling somewhere new. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.