Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Every effective website is designed with an objective in mind. For a site that sells products, the objective is clear: selling as many products as possible. However, realizing that objective is not so simple.

For online storefronts, every minor optimization directly increases your ability to earn more money. The following are five proven website optimizations to increase sales on your e-commerce website.

1. Scarcity and Time Limits

Probably the easiest optimization you can start making to your site today is adding an element of scarcity to your products. This can be in the form of a sale, a limited amount of inventory, coupon codes that will only be valid for a certain amount of time, etc.

Simply put, it pays to always have a “sale” occurring somewhere on your site. Ideally, the sale will extend to include some of your most popular items. There are “cold”, “warm”, and “hot” customers in the world of e-commerce. Often, an existing sale can be enough to convert a warm customer into a buyer. You want to create the perception that NOW is the best opportunity to purchase that item.

The key here is to pull this off with tact. For example, it’s a great idea to use a banner on your site to display the exact amount of time left on a sale. If you go down this route, however, then you must be careful not to “double dip” on sales. This occurs when you put a product on sale, the sale expires, and you immediately put it on sale again. Repeat customers may notice this, and it will diminish the trust you’ve built with them.

Instead, it’s a good idea to rotate some of the items you put on sale, or have named sales that correspond with a season or holiday. That extra bit of effort will go a long way in the customer trust department.

2. Reviews, and Mainly Good Ones

If you’re using Shopify, and especially if you’ve started with one of the default themes, there is an unfortunate lack of built-in functionality for displaying product reviews on your website. However, it’s something that developers can add to your site without much hassle.

When people land on an unfamiliar website and find a product they’re interested in, a lack of testimonials from previous customers can stand as a massive obstacle in front of the checkout process. Legitimate reviews are one of the greatest tools for increasing trust with your customers.

From a technical standpoint, there are a number of ways to allow reviews on your product pages. If you’re using Shopify, there is one free app that we recommend, but it is of course possible to develop a custom solution if you have a unique idea.

If implemented properly, product reviews on your site will also be visible from the Google search results page. This is a huge advantage and becomes even more so if your site regularly shows up near the top for its targeted keywords.

One final recommendation here is to embrace reviews that are lower than 5-star. Of course, the more 5-star reviews the better; but potential customers do want to see a mix of lower reviews to have confidence that your review system is legitimate.

3. Website Load Speed

It’s true across all of the web that load speeds are one of the most important factors for success. This becomes more of a reality every day as businesses transition to internet sales, and competition becomes fiercer.

When you’re taking a look at your site’s analytics, one of the most important stats is bounce rate. This figure represents the number of visitors who leave your site after viewing just a single page. In terms of desired load times, the target is one to two seconds. Anything over that can have devastating results on your bounce rate. Load times of greater than just three seconds, for example, are said to drive away nearly 40% of visitors before they interact with your site at all.

Unfortunately, improving your site’s loading speed is one of the most technical optimizations on this list. There are hundreds of factors that could be impacting the speed of your site such as the size of your images, your hosting plan, and the quality of the code that makes up your site. We can perform a full audit to determine ways to improve your site’s loading times.

4. Reduce the Number of Required Clicks

Your website’s customer journey can either be one of its greatest strengths or weaknesses. To make it the former, most evidence suggests that limiting the number of customer clicks from landing on your site to checkout is imperative.

One of the fastest ways to start optimizing your customer journey is to enhance the navigation of your site. Without getting unwieldy in scope, your menus should bring customers as close as possible to the products they’re searching for. This begins with organizing your products into collections that are intuitive and easy to understand. The moment that any sort of confusion is introduced into the customer journey, the likelihood of a sale begins to evaporate.

It is also beneficial to include a “featured products” section on the front page of your site, and to keep the section populated with your most popular items. Another strategy is to use this section to showcase products that are currently on sale, and if you go back to the first point on this list, those items might closely tie together with the best performers on your site.

On the other hand, it’s important not to get carried away with minimizing user clicks. In most cases, doing something for the customer that might result in them spending more money is considered a trust killer. For example, some sites try to find clever ways to skip the cart process and implement a version of the “1-click-purchase” feature from Amazon. This is occasionally a nice feature to use on Amazon, but independent sellers should probably think twice before implementing it on their own sites. There is an obvious trust that comes along with being the world’s largest e-commerce platform.

5. Focus on your Product Pages

Finally, success with e-commerce often starts on your product pages. In a regular situation, potential customers will be landing directly on the page of a product they were already interested in. They may have found this product through search results on Google, an ad on Facebook, or a post on social media. As a result, the design and layout of your product page is arguably more important than that of your homepage.

If you’re operating in a situation in which you have a limited budget for hiring a developer to make improvements to your site, it’s never a bad idea to direct them to focus on optimizing your product pages. There is a lot to be said for what makes an awesome product page, but at its core, this page should fully describe the product, make it incredibly easy for the customer to add that product to their cart, and showcase reviews from previous customers.

One of the most common mistakes that we see in e-commerce are websites with heavily optimized landing pages and sub-par product pages. We’re not saying that landing pages can necessarily afford to be sub-par, but product pages definitely cannot.

When you decide to take the plunge into optimizing your online store, it can be intimidating when you realize just how deep the ocean of e-commerce strategy really is. But, with just these five optimizations, you will be well on your way to noticing significant improvements in your sales and analytics.

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