eCommerce is an increasingly competitive field. There are now between 12 and 24 million eCommerce businesses online, with more being created all the time. If you’re the owner of an eCommerce business, you need to ensure you have the best possible experience for your customers, otherwise, you’re liable to get lost in the mix.
To do this, you’ll want to make sure you have a few crucial elements. These elements will help ensure you are providing a strong customer experience, from the moment someone visits your website to after they complete a purchase. Below, we outline these crucial factors to help you improve your eCommerce site and stay ahead of your competition.
Fast and Responsive Website
The first thing you’ll want to focus on is a fast and responsive website. Studies have shown that if your website takes too long to load – meaning more than just a few seconds – visitors are likely to leave and look elsewhere. You need a website that not only loads quickly upon the initial visit but has a fast response time while the customer is interacting with your website.
There are several ways to help you achieve this. Start by looking at your hosting provider. Some hosting providers put multiple websites on the same server, which can slow down your website if the other sites receive a lot of traffic. Consider switching to a private server for better speed. After that, look to simplify your website. Try to avoid having too many videos or high-resolution images, as these take longer to load. Finally, the easier you can make it for customers to find what they are looking for, the fewer pages they’ll have to go through, which means less time spent waiting for pages to load.
If you want to analyze the speed of your website, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This will tell you if you need to make changes to your website for a faster load time.
A Mobile App
A good way to provide customers with a better shopping experience is through a dedicated mobile app. Almost half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices, meaning you’ll want to optimize the experience for these users. Through a dedicated mobile app, you can create an experience that is optimized for smaller screens, while also making it easier to send your customers notifications.
To make a mobile app for your eCommerce business, you have a few options. First, you can learn how to make an app yourself. Building an app is likely easier than you think, especially if you do not need a lot of advanced features.
The other option is to hire someone else to build the app for you. There are many independent contractors and third-party companies that specialize in building apps for eCommerce businesses. Contact one of them, discuss your needs and see if it makes sense to work with them.
Strong Customer Service
Strong customer service is an important element for any business, not just eCommerce businesses. However, it’s often a little harder to provide good customer service through just a website. One way to do this is through a live chat feature.
With a live chat feature, customers have access to your customer support team at all times. This is important because, according to live chat stats, 51% of customers wish businesses were available all the time.
When you add a live chat feature to your website, look to add one with a chatbot feature. A chatbot can respond to basic inquiries with pre-written responses. This helps to lessen the load on your customer support staff and can assist customers during the hours when your customer support team is not available.
Faster Checkout Process
Finally, look to provide the best possible checkout experience. Too many eCommerce businesses lose out on customers because their checkout process is too complicated and customers decide to leave before completing the transaction. You should start by making the checkout process as quick as possible. This means limiting the number of steps, such as allowing customers to checkout as a guest rather than creating an account.
The other thing to explore is your payment options. The more payment options you can provide, the more likely it is that you’ll have the preferred option of a customer. For example, you can allow your customers to pay via a credit card or with an online payment service such as PayPal.
Often, the payment options are available depending on the checkout software you’re using. If you don’t currently have many options available, consider switching to different software.
Focus on the Core of Your eCommerce Website
It’s hard to grow an eCommerce business if the foundation isn’t strong. This starts with ensuring that your website has all the crucial factors needed for success. Go through the list above, and if there are any factors you’re missing, develop a plan to add them as soon as you can. Only after that should you focus on tweaking the little details that might give you an edge over your competition.