This is a question that’s most probably on the minds of most owners and specialists dealing with online shopping. Conversions are predominantly one of the most important business aims which should be informed by making your site’s User Experience as smooth as it can be. This month we’re launching our mini-series of articles devoted to improving UX in order to maximize conversions achieved through online stores.
Reasons for conversion issues
As UX and UI specialists, we’re conscious of basic problems plaguing most online stores. Despite that, most sites don’t exhibit sufficient care for UX and UI. Below we’re presenting what we believe to be the most important reasons for a lack of, or a small number of conversions.
Underdeveloped mobile version of the store
Nowadays, a mobile version of your store is a must have not only for UX reasons. Google being the biggest search engine in the world is also fiercely promoting a “Mobile First” approach, because they are cognizant of the current market developments and how big mobile has actually become. Therefore, online store creators themselves and UX specialists have to adapt to the current situation and take care of the best possible design of the mobile versions of their sites.
Mobile versions of online stores need to be:
- Responsive - in accordance with the tenets of RWD, or Responsive Web Design
- Fast loading - this is key in the context of UX and SEO
- Designed adequately - e.g. having the most important information in the upper part of the site, and have an overall thought-out structure of the site
- Safe - SSL certificate and online payment methods need to be present on the site as well
These elements, when properly implemented on a high-level, guarantee a much better start for a newly established store than a half-baked mobile version, which may turn off potential customers from converting. Online shopping specifically built for mobile used to be the future, now they are an expected and increasingly basic standard.
Low or lack of customer trust
The e-commerce market is full of online stores that fight for potential customers using various approaches. Some of them are building their brand for years, and thanks to that, users recognize them, and are more likely to trust them as a consequence. For this reason, it is crucial to convey to your potential customers the positive and distinguishing features of your store, as compared to your competitors.
This can be achieved through more passive means (the time of operation of the store is often crucial here) however, the recommendation is to undertake active steps to make your new and returning customers realize that the advertised store is a sure and safe way to buy specific products.
Active means to increase your customers’ trust in the brand include:
- Friendly and honest messaging
- Constant tweaks of the store’s visual design
- Expanding the breadth of the store’s functionalities
- Fixing existing technical issues of the store
- Maintaining all the necessary contact information
- Organic sourcing of positive opinions (e.g. in Google My Business)
- A guarantee that customers can return your product in case they are not satisfied with it (in connection with an easy and transparent process of such return)
- Your company’s description, so that your customers may get to know it
A lack of concrete messaging describing the offered products
The customers are also impatient, partially because they realize just how many potential options to obtain specific products are present on the market. This is why the store should show what product categories are on offer from the users’ first interactions with the site. This can be achieved by communicating it by CTA banners, an annotation specifying the type of business next to logos or easy to understand headlines visible at first glance.
Depending on the industry, the aim may be to reach a specific target audience, therefore the messaging should be crafted bearing that in mind. Without it, you may be sure that the bounce rate (which shows what percentage of users left the site after visiting only the main page) will be really high, which is a clear indication of a problem.
Too steep pricing
This sounds almost trite, as this issue is known also outside of the world of e-commerce, however, it is still a very important reason for a lack of conversions. If a given store has higher prices than its competitors, it is almost certain that customers will choose the cheaper offer. This is further exacerbated by the existence of online price comparison services.
A makeshift solution may be to lower the prices or rely on discounts. This may be a temporary and narrow solution, in the long run however, this will have an impact on the financial state of your business, which may lead to dire consequences, including bankruptcy.
For this reason, the best way to compete for customers and with your competition’s lower prices is to raise the perceived value of your products. Of course, how to precisely achieve this depends on the type of product. This is especially easy for example for unique workshop offers which pretty much don’t need such treatment. In the case of more everyday products, we need to put in more effort.
The basic action that most stores forget about is including “obvious” advantages and features of your product. Omitting them is a mistake, because your customers are only seemingly well-informed enough to be conscious of and remember these traits. This is why it’s a good idea to list or visualize everything that may be perceived as value coming from purchase of a given product. The more, the better, although you should pay attention to appropriate messaging. In this way, without much effort, you can increase the perceived value of a product.
Underestimating the value of User Experience
In Poland, User Experience is still not treated with the attention it deserves, even though online store owners’ awareness increases with each year. This results in the better condition of e-commerce UX, which in turn produces stores that are better suited to generating conversions. CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, also gains popularity. It is worth noting which components of UX have the highest impact on sales and how to nurture them.
The most egregious omissions resulting in lower sales include:
- Lack of simplified navigation - the customer gets lost in the store’s structure, which results in them resigning from purchase. Reaching your products, especially the most popular ones, should be as straightforward as possible.
- Tedious and complicated purchase process - it is crucial that the customer can finalize their order as quickly as possible, with a number of payment options available to boot. The users also should not be made to create an account in order to buy.
- Lack of attention grabbing elements on the site - we shouldn’t forget about including visuals about the most important offers straight away on the main page. CTAs on banners or in other graphical forms still efficiently boost conversions.
- Avoiding minimalistic forms - stores with minimalist design allow for speeding up customers’ actions on the site. Besides that, you can share key information about the products or services easier. You also gain a modern aesthetic of your site.
- Mindset not focused on return customers - one-time purchases are not enough, currently we need to influence users in such a way that they will want to come back for more. Loyalty programs, new discounts in newsletters, or simply a well-maintained brand work remarkably well in this respect.
- Too little focus on customer service - nothing discourages your potential customers more than bad customer service in terms of orders or returns. Taking care of the level of service in these areas builds your store’s professional image and efficiently convinces users to use your store.
Often these shortcomings stem from a lack of awareness of the importance of UX. For this reason, it is crucial to realize just how important UX is for sales in online stores and start acting to improve it. Flow Digital offers such services, based on reliable data, thorough analyses and a comprehensive approach to digital marketing. We encourage you to check out our offer!