With so much choice in front of today’s online shoppers, the experience they have when they visit your eCommerce website plays a large part in their purchasing decisions. Get it wrong and you can kiss goodbye to a lot of good business.
It’s for this reason that savvy eCommerce website owners are always ready to invest a little money in the elements that can make or break the user-experience. Here are four such elements which are more than worthy of investment.
1. Reliable eCommerce Site Hosting:
Online shoppers are active 24/7, so if your website is down for even a few minutes, whatever the time of day or night, you’re losing sales. Moreover, visitors who come to your site, only to find it offline or even just slow, may never bother to check in again.
Make no mistake; if you run an eCommerce business, you need to ensure your website is on a server belonging to the most reliable hosting provider you can find.If you need a little more convincing, a recent article on the Inc. Magazine website, written by Ranky co-founder Yoav Vilner, should do the trick. In Store Downtime: The eCommerce Kiss of Death, Vilner points out that the average cost of eCommerce site-downtime (in lost sales alone) is more than $8,000 per minute.
That should convince anyone that it’s worth paying to have an online store hosted by the best provider available. You’ll spend more than the annual cost of a good hosting service if Cheap Charlie’s Almost-always-on Hosting lets you down just a handful of times.
2. The Right Content Management System:
The software you use to run your eCommerce website is another area worth investing in. Don’t make the mistake of choosing a big-name CMS like Bigcommerce or Shopify just because it has a big name. There are many, many CMS products from which you can choose and it’s worth taking the time and if necessary, spending the money for one which best fits your business needs.
ECommerce consulting professional James Gurd offers a list of points you should consider when choosing your eCommerce CMS. In his e-consultancy post James recommends you pay attention to the following considerations:
- The types of content you will be managing on your eCommerce website
- Choosing a CMS that will play nicely with dynamic content
- The tools you need for personalizing the shopping experience
- Your testing and analytics requirements
- What, if any, other systems will your CMS need to integrate with?
3. Website Design and user Interface:
To continue on the theme of uniqueness, it’s surprising how many eCommerce website owners go for a fairly standard, flat and minimalistic site design. While such a design might be right for your website, you really need to find out what works for the customers you are targeting. That’s where the concept of the “buyer persona” comes in.
Entire blogs exist on the subject of buyer personas, so to try and guide you on the topic in this short post would do it an injustice. However, HubSpot Blog Manager, Pamela Vaughan, does a great job of introducing website design based on personas in her self-penned post called How to Design a Persona-Centric Website Experience.
4. Providing First Rate Communication:
The last (but by no means least important) item on this list of eCommerce investment “musts” is a live chat application, with someone at your end to communicate personally when your online customers want some support.
In case you’re thinking that live chat support is a “nice to have”, considering these few reasons why you should have a live chat (especially voice chat) software within your website.
According to one survey that revealed 63% of participants would make a repeat purchase from an eCommerce site offering live chat feature.
When it’s a known fact that live customer support is instrumental in increasing eCommerce conversion rates, it would be simple folly to consider chat capabilities as a “nice to have”. If you want to increase your sales, give your digital business the power of the personal touch—it’s a must, period.
5. Adding the Personal Touch:
Google’s algorithms are becoming extremely advanced. The strength of your brand now even impacts your websites rankings in search results! There are various things you can do to help this along without a huge cost. I had a brainstorm meeting with a client who sells books which aim at helping those suffering with stress and we thought it would be a great idea to send out Halloween style branded stress relief balls to everyone who orders a book in November. Its unique, it’s cost effective, it’s unexpected and it’s a nice statement. The project hasn’t even started yet so it’s too early to tell whether this would have an impact but this is one example of many ideas which could impact your website performance.
Invest in Your eCommerce Success:
If you’re in eCommerce, the competition you face is only going to get hotter. You can still get to the front of the pack and stay there, but to do so you need to invest some time, cash, and energy in the four elements of online store management outlined above. Focus on getting the user-experience right and you can say hello to a lot of new and repeat business from a vast global population of online shoppers.