The number of people who rely on the Web to purchase goods and services seems to grow by the day. The speed and convenience of using a credit or debit card to complete these transactions have become popular with consumers. As such, online purchases have become an indelible part of the way people shop.
Brands looking to capitalize on an industry that already has more than $1 trillion in revenue flowing through it must remember the most important rule of ecommerce: strong Web design.
A website that is less than intuitive and cumbersome to navigate can quickly lead to a negative shopping experience online. One common thread among those who enjoy ecommerce is that they have short attention spans and low patience. Any frustration related to Internet purchases can lead to shopping cart abandonment and a negative reputation in the marketplace for brands.
Therefore, it's important for Web retailers not to neglect site optimization that allows for seamless product selection and completion of purchases. Here are a few helpful tips that can help ecommerce brands ensure their sites provide value to consumers:
- Ensure pages load quickly and in their entirety: A surefire source of frustration for online shoppers is a website that doesn't load pages fast enough, or only displays partial information. For example, item descriptions can be missing or product images. The National Retail Federation wrote this could be caused by issues with third-party scripts, style sheets or high-resolution image files that are large. NRF suggested ecommerce companies scale down pages in a way that allows them to display content faster, while still providing users with all of the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
- Keep inventory levels updated: There is nothing more frustrating than a consumer adding an item to his or her shopping cart, only to find out it isn't in stock upon checkout. Yahoo Small Business wrote it is critical for online retailers to ensure the availability of products is prominently displayed at all times. It may even be helpful to add a field where users can input their contact information to be notified once an item is available again.
- Steer clear of extra large pop-up ads: Most people who spend a considerable amount of time online are all too familiar with pop-ups. While at times this can be an annoyance, it's not uncommon for people to act on the information contained in these messages. However, when it comes to e-commerce, a pop-up ad that takes up all of the real estate on a screen, preventing consumers from moving to the next stage in the purchasing process, can be a turnoff. According to NRF, it's important not to sully the overall ecommerce shopping experience with ads of this kind. If this content is to be used, it should only be displayed for a short amount of time, be easy to navigate away from, or be small enough to where it doesn't interfere with the consumer selection process.
- Implement a mega-menu: Much like shopping in a traditional retail setting, many consumers will spend time searching for the items they intend to purchase. Yahoo Small Business wrote a mega-menu that displays main categories and sub-categories, makes for a more streamlined navigation experience. This strategy can lead consumers directly to the products they're looking for, saving them time and enhancing the overall ecommerce shopping experience.
There are other ways ecommerce brands can optimize their websites that will encourage people to shop online. However, the suggestions listed here are quick and easy fixes that can be implemented to yield positive results, immediately.
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