One of the biggest weekends for online retailers and eCommerce companies in the U.S, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a few days away.
Last year, Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales reached unprecedented scales with more than $1.5 billion in a single day.
This year, however, Cyber Monday, in particular, promises to be even bigger and better. But did you create your eCommerce website design with buyer conversions in mind?
The design structure of your eCommerce site has a huge impact on the conversion rates. Build a design that gives you the best possible chance of converting visitors into buyers.
To take advantage from the customer surge this Black Friday, here are a few things you should do immediately.
1. Switch to a Responsive Website Design
The number of mobile and smartphone users across the globe is increasing exponentially. More than 50 percent of all Google searches are now generated from mobile devices, and mobile now accounts for almost 35 percent of all web traffic.
The share of mobile commerce on Black Friday is also increasing consistently over the last few years. In 2014, nearly 28 percent of all Black Friday sales were originated from mobile devices.
If your website is not optimized for mobile visitors, and your design does not adjust for mobile traffic, you’re going to lose a lot of potential buyers.
That is why you need to switch to a responsive website design as soon as possible. A responsive website design adjusts according to the dimensions of the user’s device, making it easy for him to browse and purchase products.
For example, here’s how a responsive eCommerce store would appear to mobile users.
You can check if your site is responsive or not by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, and you don’t have much time before Black Friday, you can create a fully responsive eCommerce store using Selz (as seen in this snapshot).
With Selz, you can create a responsive store and product widgets, and collect payments from Master Card, Visa, PayPal and several other payment processors.
The reason why I recommend Selz is because not only is its checkout and payment phase secure and fully responsive, but it also does not include any redirections. This means the buyers can complete the purchase in the same window.
This can significantly boost your conversion rates since more than 21 percent of buyers abandon shopping because of a long and complex checkout phase.
Depending on your requirements, there several other tools you can use to create an eCommerce site as well. But in short, you need to prepare your online store for mobile visitors if you don’t want to lose customers this Black Friday.
2. Optimize the Your Website Performance to Keep Buyers on Your Site
Research shows that you have hardly 3 seconds to engage a user after he lands on your site. If your site loads slowly or if its performance isn’t optimized, you will not be able to keep visitors on your site, and lose customers as a result.
This infographic by KissMetrics shows the impact of slow load speeds on shopping behavior of your buyers.
So you need to make sure that your website performance is optimized. But how exactly can you do that?
Here are a few recommendations
- Use a high quality and dependable web hosting service, because if your site is hosted on slow and insecure servers that frequently crash, no other performance optimization technique would work. If your site is based on WordPress, I strongly recommend going for a specialized WordPress hosting service (here’s a good comparison between different hosting services).
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to cache static files and speed up your site’s load time.
- Remove any unnecessary WordPress plugins that might be slowing your site down.
- Optimize images on your site and reduce their sizes.
You can get a fair idea of your site speed by using Google’s Page Speed Test.
3. Allow Buyers to Switch Devices During Purchase
According to Nielson, 95 percent of tablet owners and 72 percent of smartphone owners who make an online purchase do it from their homes.
This is a staggering statistic because it not only highlights the importance of using responsive web design but also shows that you need to provide buyers the ability to switch devices during purchase.
While making online purchases from home, many users prefer to browse products on their desktop computers but make the purchase from mobile using their preferred payment apps.
This also works the other way around when shoppers come across a product on their mobile device that they wish to buy, but choose to complete the purchase from a desktop device.
So to cover all the bases, you can simply provide an option to your buyers to continue purchasing from another device. This can be done by simply mailing a unique URL to the buyers or by allowing them to mark products for later purchase.
Either way, it’s a very useful option to have on your eCommerce store.
4. Use Storytelling to Stand Out From Your Competitors
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to engage potential buyers and convert them into lifetime customers.
Most eCommerce retailers simply describe their product features and benefits on their websites. But they fail to build any emotional connection with their prospects.
If you make storytelling a part of your design and descriptions, you can create that connection and immediately stand out from the crowd.
A great example is Markhor, a startup that sells handcrafted leather shoes. They’ve used storytelling to highlight the centuries-old craftsmanship of their workers, and how it enables them to create high-quality shoes for modern day consumers.
In short, if you want your eCommerce website to stick to your buyers mind and capture their imagination, you need to go beyond simple product descriptions and make storytelling a key part of your content and design theme.
5. Use Multiple High Definition Images on Product Pages
Your product page is your online salesman. It needs to convince buyers that your product is not only worthy of their money but also makes their lives easier and better.
For this, you need to facilitate the decision-making process of your buyers by providing them as much information about your product as possible.
Research shows that product pages with multiple high definition images do a much better job at convincing buyers than plain text. Online buyers prefer seeing the product from different angles to feel it and to ensure that it has everything they’re looking for.
Your product page needs to have high-quality images from as many angles as possible. The product page of GhostBed is a great example.
It not only has multiple high definition images of the product but also includes design elements to give the buyers an idea of how the product actually feels.
The quality of your product images has a major impact on your buyer’s psychology. The more angles you show the better your chances of convincing the customer.
Black Friday 2015 is going to be a big day for eCommerce retailers and online stores. Thousands of customers will flock online stores and take advantage from the available discounts and promotions. To benefit from this shopping frenzy, you need to optimize your website performance and create a design that encourages conversions.
If you haven’t made these changes yet, this post should serve as a timely reminder.