Knowledge space

ecommerce / 14.02.17

6 strategic ways to improve your ecommerce store’s performance

As experienced developers of Magento stores, we know that having a great brand and quality products does not automatically equate to a successful ecommerce business. Merchants must work hard to meet the high expectations of today’s savvy consumers.

Like it or not, Amazon have set the bar high for customer expectations. They are the giants and standard bearers, guaranteeing efficiency and speed of delivery, quality assurance and clear categorisation – amongst other consumer priorities. So how can other retailers compete and ensure their ecommerce stores meet the high customer expectations and achieve impressive conversation rates?

We discuss the key ways to improve your ecommerce store’s performance and deliver great customer experience that will translate into conversions:

Data and categorisation

It is crucial for all ecommerce stores to make sure that their data is accurate. This is the foundation of a successful online store and inaccurate data will damage customer trust and compromise your store’s operations.

Data must be accurate and categorisation should be easily navigable. Product categorisation needs be clear, easy to understand and lead consumers to their desired destination and products as smoothly as possible.

You should have well-structured filtering options (brand, size, price range, product type, etc), so consumers can customise and narrow down their search criteria to view the products they really want to see. There should be continuity through the browsing journey to ensure your best chance of conversions.

Prioritise mobile

Successful ecommerce stores now need to be more than just mobile friendly and compatible, and instead should be built and developed mobile upwards (mobile first). By this we mean that the user experience of your online stores should be designed with mobile users in mind, before then making sure tablet and desktop versions are fully responsive and enable suitable UX.

In the UK, over half of online retail sales occur on mobile devices and tablets – 51% during the period between November 2015 and January 2016. (Source: The Drum)

Effective ecommerce stores are customer led and should follow the growing trends of consumers. Also, Google ranks fully mobile-enabled sites higher than non-mobile counterparts.

The user experience should be streamlined for mobile and navigation and finger-scrolling should be quick and easy. Consumers are becoming used to controlling their lives with their mobiles and they want to make purchases on their phone without a compromise on customer experience. The mobile payment gateway should also be seamless to increase the conversion rate.

Visual impact

Beyond product categorisation and user experience, consumers should be tantalised by the products they are browsing, so it is important to deliver strong visual impact. Merchants need to grab the attention of their consumers from the moment they hit their homepage and landing pages, and maintain it through the customer journey.

Take a look at the huge visual appeal of the Charlotte Tilbury homepage below:

It carries, big, bold and colourful visuals and carousel images deliver a vibrant visual experience. The level of visual impact required is dependent on the business and the type of products on offer, but for Charlotte Tilbury it is suitable for the store’s target audience to have an image-heavy homepage, with carefully managed load.

Product pages should also have aesthetic appeal, as your virtual window-shopping consumers need to be convinced about the quality of your products. Clear and appealing photos of your products are crucial, but adding the capability to zoom in on products and customise them – according to colour, size or format – is a conversion rate optimisation technique, which gives customers reassurance and helps decision making.

Be innovative and consider using video content and visual categorisation – especially in broader product categories.

Below shows how Charlotte Tilbury utilises shoppable videos on product pages.

Checkout process and user experience (UX)

A key element of the customer journey on ecommerce sites is the checkout stage. Cart abandonment is a common problem. Stores need to cut down on abandoned carts in order to increase conversions. Here are some tips for optimising your checkout process:

  • Reduce the amount of variables and distractions
  • Take away headers and footers during checkout to avoid customers clicking away
  • Reiterate at each stage of the checkout, clearly informing customers about their selected products, delivery costs and payment options
  • Seamless checkout reduces friction for customers, leading to more conversions
  • Enable guest checkout
  • Implement functionality to calculate pricing quickly and clearly

Magento 2 has been heralded for its new checkout process. The checkout experience is far quicker and smoother for customers.

Customer checkout speed on Magento 2 has been improved by 38% from Magento 1.

Magento 2 checkout process, step 1:

Magento 2 checkout process, step 2:

Magento 2 stores boast a streamlined, two-step checkout process. Guest checkout acts as default, with no prompt for existing customer login or new customer account registration. Registered customer account recognition is enabled via the email field, whilst new customers can create an account post-purchase – so not to impede the checkout process.

Personalisation

Keep pace with the personalisation innovative brands are using for connecting with consumers and tailoring products to customer history and preferences. Merchants should be making sure returning customers receive personalised recommendations throughout visits, so it becomes a tailored user journey, full of nudges, upsells and incentives. Targeting is so key in modern ecommerce, we have moved towards hyper-personalisation.

A customer of ours recently implemented personalisation software, Nosto, in various areas of their site and have since seen very impressive results. Over a 10-week period, after it went live, they achieved the following results, when comparing to the same date range last year:

21% increase in site conversion rate
38% increase in transactions
36% increase in revenue
This was achieved despite there being less relative growth in site visits (only up by 14%).

Omnichannel commerce platforms allow merchants to apply personalisation across channels and devices, meeting the needs of consumers who are used to making purchases from an array of destinations, situations and devices.

Hyper-personalisation can be achieved by ambitious brands, using rich data and intricate targeting technology. The deeper the data, the more nuances become available and merchants can leverage this to deliver more tailored experiences. Hyper-personalisation techniques can enable or incentivise customers to add recommended products to carts at category level, as well as product level.

Customer experience

This might be a broad term when discussing ecommerce strategy, but your store won’t reach its full potential unless consumers can receive the best possible customer experience and customer service. A customer-centric strategy is one which is continually trying to solve problems and serve the needs of your target audience.

Here are some of the key ways to help improve customer experience:

  • Market research, customer feedback, focus groups and FAQs
  • Clear communication and correspondence
  • Product reviews, tutorials and videos
  • Customer loyalty schemes, incentives, offers – dependent on product type and frequency of purchase
  • Online and offline (in-store) synchronicity – single customer view
  • Ability to buy products online and pick up in-store

Great customer experience equates to improved brand reputation and increased customer acquisitions, conversions and advocates.

Summary

Our tips for improving your ecommerce store’s performance should help you see the untapped potential of your store. By implementing these proven ecommerce strategies, you can streamline your processes, be more targeted and achieve an efficient and user-friendly online store experience.

Was this useful? Why not take a look some of our related blogs:

The golden rules of ecommerce replatforming
5 essential ecommerce key performance indicators (KPIs) for ecommerce

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THE AUTHOR

Oliver Lees

Oliver Lees

Head of Insight

Happy Husband, Father, and proud Space48er. I offer results driven digital marketing consultancy, specifically to retailers looking for fast growth.

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Oliver Lees

Oliver Lees

Happy Husband, Father, and proud Space48er. I offer results driven digital marketing consultancy, specifically to retailers looking for fast growth.

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