4 Simple, Proven Ways to Improve Your Customers' Ecommerce Experience

Do you find yourself competing in a crowded ecommerce niche? Creating a little more wiggle room for yourself is easy.

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By Lucas Miller

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These days, customers can access your business from anywhere in the world. While smart devices and ecommerce have leveled the playing field like never before, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who visit your site aren't going to make a purchase.

In fact, research from Growcode shows ecommerce conversion rates ranging from 3.79% in the arts and crafts niche to a mere 0.99% for baby and child products. While you'll never convert every customer, implementing some proven tactics that improve the ecommerce experience will go a long way in helping you surge ahead of industry benchmarks.

1. Start with your online layout

Ecommerce founders should think of their website as a digital version of a traditional brick and mortar store. There is a big difference between entering a store where everything is clearly laid out and organized in a logical manner, as opposed to a store where it's impossible to find what you're looking for.

The same is true of your website. Intuitive navigation should make it easy for visitors to find your products. A fixed top menu bar with a limited number of navigation options serves as a good starting point. If your website sells several product categories, these should generally be part of a drop-down menu. A robust search system with several categories and filters can also make it easier to find products.

Quality web design will ultimately guide customers to where you want them to go. Pair an intuitive layout with plenty of white space and you'll have a very user-friendly site.

Related: Building an Ecommerce Website: 8 Technical Aspects You Need to Know

2. Up your packaging game

No ecommerce customer wants to receive a damaged shipment. Because of this, ecommerce retailers would be wise to invest in custom packaging features to protect items while in transit. Cardboard, pulp, foam or plastic inserts keep items in place and offer protection from bumps and jolts.

Personalized packaging can even make the act of opening the box a brand experience. From the box itself to cards with special discount codes, you can create excitement from the moment an order shows up on a customer's doorstep. The popularity of unboxing videos can even create new opportunities for social media growth.

Packaging can have a direct impact on your company's sales. In a case study from Packlane, Father Time Bread saw a 20% revenue increase and 25% growth in its subscriber base after introducing a custom-designed box with inserts that protected the bread while in transit. Reducing shipping complaints improved the customer experience and ultimately increased sales as well.

3. Create an in-person experience with product pages

The product page is where customers will make their initial purchasing decision. Since they can't see or touch the product physically, it is important that you create as robust and tangible of an experience as possible through the product page.

High quality pictures are an obvious must-have. In addition to showcasing the item from different angles, it can also be helpful to include at least one picture showing it in use. Good lighting will make the product more visually appealing. Similarly, some websites even include videos or 360 degree visualizations to provide a more robust learning experience.

Your product description can also go a long way by showcasing the brand's personality while highlighting benefits and features. Keep it short and sweet, only focusing on necessary details. Give customers the ability to leave reviews for individual products as well — according to Qualtrics, 93% of customers will read reviews before buying.

4. Streamline checkout

While the product page can convince someone to buy, your checkout process must be easy to use in order to close the sale. According to Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.80%, with top problems being expensive extra costs, a site wanting users to create an account, or a process that was too long or complicated.

The fewer clicks customers need to make to finalize their purchase, the better. While there's nothing inherently wrong with giving customers the option to create an account, guest checkout should always be an option. Limit forms to information that is absolutely necessary to complete the order — such as a shipping address and payment information. Allow for additional payment options besides credit cards (such as digital wallets) so you can better meet the needs of today's customers.

Trying to bombard your customer with more ads and product suggestions when they're trying to go through checkout will only slow them down and make them more likely to click away. Be transparent regarding shipping options and fees early in the process so they don't abandon their cart at the last minute.

Related: 4 Top Tips to Optimize Your Online Checkout

On the surface level, the aforementioned tips seem stunningly easy. Yet ecommerce brands fail to implement many of these practices. Whether a shopper has trouble navigating your website or can't get ahold of customer service, such setbacks create very real roadblocks that keep you from growing your customer base.

By taking a little extra time to fine-tune the ecommerce experience, you can have confidence in your ability to delight your customers — and get them to buy from you again in the future.

Lucas Miller

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Founder of Echelon Copy LLC

Lucas Miller is the founder and CEO of Echelon Copy LLC, a media relations agency based in Provo, Utah that helps brands improve visibility, enhance reputation and generate leads through authentic storytelling.

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