With 67% of millennials saying they prefer to shop online, and online buying increasing by 65% during the coronavirus lockdown, ecommerce continues to expand into peoples’ lives.
So providing a clear, smooth and joined-up ecommerce experience for your customers has never been more important.
Below, we take a look at how you can marry yours and your customers’ needs to take your online store to the next level, and deliver an excellent ecommerce experience while working toward driving more sales.
If you’ve been operating for some time but you’re struggling with driving more sales, search rankings and site reliability, chances are, you’re using the wrong ecommerce platform.
With so many to choose from, many are starter platforms, which offer functionality through plugins. While this may have worked at the beginning, as you grow, these can become costly and restrictive whilst making the store slow and sluggish.
Shopify, for example, can be great at first, but can restrict your growth in the long-term, especially as the needs of your business evolve. This can prevent you from becoming competitive in organic search rankings.
This is why you should take a look at your ecommerce platform and consider making the switch to a modern one. This will give you greater control over the management of your website, allowing you to improve everything from SEO and the user experience (UX), which can help with site speed and how people find and use your online store.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term you’ll have heard of while working in ecommerce. Therefore, you’ll know just how important it is and why you need as much control over it as possible.
Helping you to rank for your targeted keywords, 93% of web traffic comes through search engines, and, with less than five percent of people making it to page two, getting your SEO right is key.
While keyword-rich meta tags, meta descriptions and SEO utilized URLs will help to get people to your store, with visitors spending 15 seconds or less on your page, the product descriptions can make or break a sale. This is why you need to ensure your content sells your products while simultaneously providing sufficient SEO.
By using a platform that gives you control over the structure of your website and your SEO, you’ll be able to assess what’s working and what’s not. This will enable you to refresh and improve your content to make each page as attractive to search engines as possible to boost your rankings.
While getting the layout and descriptions in your store is important, this will all have been for nothing if the store is slow with users having to experience the frustration of waiting for pages to load up.
When it comes to conversions, your site speed is critical. Research has found that if your website takes more than three seconds to load you could be losing as much as 50% of your visitors. Further research found that the highest rates of conversion occur when your site speed is between zero and two seconds, with around an 8.11% conversion rate when the load speed is less than one second, falling to 2.2% for five seconds or more.
That’s quite a big difference, and your site speed could have a huge effect on your rankings as we move into the future. Google recently announced that their Core Web Vitals metrics would be included within its search ranking algorithm at some stage in 2021.
Therefore, you need to make sure your site speed is performing at its absolute best. You can do this by using a platform that gives you more access and freedom to change elements in the back end. In turn this allows you to work on key UX elements to increase the functionality of your ecommerce store.
You can do this by using a platform developed with speed at its core, offering lightning fast page load times and a seamless customer experience. Some platforms can be made faster, others, like Aero Commerce, are fast out of the box.
Ben Sheppard, Lead Developer at Cardiff-based ecommerce agency Big Eye Deers, explains the benefits the agency has enjoyed from using Aero:
“With the structure of Aero Commerce already being so trim it means building websites are naturally faster than on some other ecommerce platforms that we use. Out of the box Aero Commerce shows off instant page loads with a fast admin experience. This is a huge benefit compared to some other ecommerce platforms where we end up spending months and months trying to speed up core code.
We’re able to create quick demos locally, move changes onto a small development site and show off within a matter of minutes. At Big Eye Deers we collaborate as a team on everything we make so being able to bring in another dev and get them up to speed ready to add their own flair is very important.”
Great user experience comes in two forms — appearance and usability.
More than 75% of shoppers have said the initial appearance of a website influences whether they’ll spend or not. Meanwhile, Adobe found that 38% of shoppers will leave a website if they don’t like the design.
Opting for a minimalist design, which can help you to spotlight products and key elements of text will provide a simple, effective and enjoyable experience. However, it’s not just the aesthetics that count.
Regardless of how organized your store is, a customer will want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
So, ensuring your customers can navigate their way through your website quickly and easily is hugely important, and this can be achieved in the following ways:
Having an ever-present search box
Having well-organized tabs and categories that lead to product pages
Simplifying the navigation menu: the fewer items the better
Creating descriptive menu labels: this can help with SEO too
Making it easy to move from one page to another: pages should be no more than four clicks away from the homepage
Providing numerous payment methods
Just as a product description can make a customer ‘add to basket’, a streamlined checkout experience can help complete a sale.
You may or may not be surprised that 68% of online shopping baskets are abandoned before checkout. While half are due to the shopper just browsing, 27% will be abandoned due to a complicated checkout process.
23% abandon their basket if they have to create a new user account.
28% abandon their basket if presented with unexpected shipping costs.
However, there are simple fixes you can implement to help prevent this.
More ways to pay: PayPal, Apple Pay and new ‘buy now and pay later’ services like Klarna, and local payment providers for overseas customers, will help to provide variety.
Guest checkout: this means customers won’t need to create an account and can complete their purchase without signing up.
Shipping clarity: make sure shipping costs are present on each product page and have a dedicated section to ensure customers are aware of what they’re spending.
Another element you need to think of at the checkout is shipping. Ensuring you can integrate your shipping with your platform will streamline the process further. However, if the platform doesn’t support integration or relies on its own fulfilment network, the additional costs could be huge as your business grows.
Samantha McCarthy, Marketing Manager for Klarna, has some advice for retailers:
“Shoppers require convenience, flexibility, and security from their shopping experiences, whether this is flexible payment options so they're able to “try before you buy” or better manage cash flow like Klarna, or a choice of delivery options.
Klarna data shows that Gen X was the age segment that grew at the fastest rate during the lockdown period, at twice that of Gen Z (18-23). Gen X now accounts for the second largest segment of Klarna’s UK consumer spend, just behind tech-native Millennials (24-39), who have long-embraced digital payment solutions.
However, no matter their age they are looking at how they can optimise their shopping and purchasing experience.
Retailers need to prioritise shoppers’ needs for the sake of their bottom line and make sure they embrace the latest technology trends to deliver the best experience.”
By working with a modern ecommerce platform like Aero, you’ll be able to integrate new payment gateways and shipping partners as you see fit. Then, as your business grows, you’ll be able to ensure you’re providing the best user experience at the final point of sale.
Benefits for your business
Finally, by opting to work with a more modern platform, you’ll not only be able to create a better destination for your customer as you have more control and room for integration, but the back end will be better for you too.
As modern ecommerce platforms tend to be easier to navigate, your team will be able to:
Create better listings
Work more efficiently
Quickly upload new products
Take offline orders with more efficiency
Deal with returns and other issues more effectively
At Aero, we want to help you take your store to the next level to make it better for you and your customers, and the way to do this is through a joined-up experience.