According to Internet Retailer, global e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $1.25 trillion per year by the end of 2013. If your business isn't enjoying a piece of that massive pie, it's missing out on some major revenue. If you have an e-commerce site in place, are you making the most of it? Are sales on the rise, or have they stagnated? Use the following tips to fine-tune your e-commerce site for optimal results.
Unless you're a prominent company like Amazon, you have to work hard to earn people's trust. With so many online scams out there, people are understandably wary. Prominently display contact information on the main page of your site. Include a badge that displays information about your site's security features, and post information about your Better Business Bureau rating.
Use Detailed, Informative Product Descriptions
People need to be confident about what they're buying before proceeding to checkout. Make it as easy for them as possible by providing clear, concise product descriptions. It's smart to write engaging descriptions that catch people's interest, but you should also use bulleted lists to provide at-a-glance information.
Make it clear that any questions they may have can be answered quickly too. Adam Rowles, a Senior SEO Consultant at White Chalk Road, says: "It's important to add relevant and unique product information, which will help you rank for product related keywords in Google."
Include High-Quality Images
You're not going to get very far if you're just using thumbnail-size images on your e-commerce site. In addition to using large images, try to use ones that can be enlarged for closer inspection.
Whenever possible, provide multiple images of the same item. If different colours and other variations are available, try to include examples of them as well.
Display Related Products
A great way to keep people coming back for more is by including related products on product description pages; ideally, they should appear on the lower half of the screen. But, make sure that they are actually related to the product in question.
Offer Useful Site Search Functionality
Nothing is more frustrating than searching an e-commerce site for a specific product and getting the run around. Don't just assume that your site search feature works. Test it out to make sure that it actually does. The results it returns should be relevant and useful. If possible, set up a search function that offers suggested search functionality. Typos shouldn't come between people and the products they want to buy.
Make Your E-Commerce Site Easy to Navigate
If your e-commerce site isn't easy to navigate, you're giving people excuses to look elsewhere for what they need. Products should be sorted into logical categories to encourage browsing.
Use a Simple Checkout Process
When it comes to creating a checkout for your e-commerce site, simplicity is key. Here are a few ways to make the checkout as simple as possible:
- The checkout process should involve the fewest number of steps possible.
- People shouldn't have to create new accounts to proceed to checkout. It can be offered as an option, but shouldn't be mandatory.
- Don't ask people for the same information multiple times. This kind of redundancy makes checking out a hassle and irritates shoppers.
- If you choose to use a shipping address validation step, make sure people can proceed without using validated addresses. Glitches are common, and newer addresses may not appear.
- Offer a variety of payment methods. In addition to accepting all of the major credit cards, you should consider accepting PayPal and electronic checks too.
Put Yourself in Online Shoppers' Shoes
Before making any changes to your e-commerce site, consider how they will affect your customers. The easiest way to do that is by putting yourself in their shoes.
E-commerce has become so huge that the U.S. Census Bureau now issues an official report about it. When you look over that report, you'll quickly see there's a lot of money to be made in e-commerce. The question is: Is your site up to the challenge?
Photo credit: hongkiat.com
Guest post by Adam Rowles, Senior SEO Consultant for White Chalk Road.