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5 Tips to Reduce Friction on Your E-Commerce Website

ByChris Christoff,
business.com writer
|
Oct 31, 2019
Poike / Getty Images
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Use these five tips to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase your online sales.

If you want to increase conversions on your e-commerce site, you need to consider the user experience it provides to your visitors. It can be difficult enough to drive customers to the checkout page, and once they're there, there's a whole other set of complications to consider that could prevent them from purchasing your products. 

Without a smooth UX, customers will encounter points of friction that prevent them from finalizing their purchases. On average, there's a 68% shopping cart abandonment rate for e-commerce stores. Therefore, it's essential to reduce friction to ensure your customers make it through the checkout process so they keep coming back to your online store. 

Reducing friction makes it easier for visitors on your website to get from point A to point B. Anything that slows down browsing your website or makes it difficult to navigate causes friction. Eliminating these issues on your site is essential to reduce shopping cart abandonment, generate sales, grow your email list and improve conversions.

In this post, we're going to look at five ways you can reduce friction on your e-commerce website so you attract visitors and keep them there:

  1. Increasing site speed
  2. Offering several payment methods
  3. Improving website design
  4. Simplifying the sales process
  5. Optimizing for mobile

Let's get started.

1. Increase site speed.

Visitors can't browse your products, learn about your brand or finalize a purchase if your website lags. Everyone has had the unfortunate experience of feeling eager to check out a website only to exit because it takes too long to load. This is one of the most common occurrences of friction, which does nothing to help your business.

Did you know that users will abandon a webpage that takes longer than three seconds to load? Positive first impressions impact how users interact with your site and determine whether they will spend time with your content. If your website lags, few will stick around to wait for it.

Regularly test your site speed so you're the first to know when lagging occurs. You may have to update specific webpages, optimize images or get rid of content that takes up too much space. Product pages, landing pages and sales pages may have high-resolution content that you need to compress to get faster loading results.

 

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2. Offer multiple payment options.

If you only offer a few payment options for your visitors, you automatically reduce sales and lose customers. People aren't going to go out of their way to buy from you if you don't first consider what they need. You create an extra pain point for consumers when you make it difficult for them to purchase your products. For this reason, your website should provide multiple payment options.

Consumers feel more comfortable when they see the payment option they're most used to. If they choose their items and head to checkout only to see they can't use their preferred payment method, they won't feel comfortable completing their purchase. It's crucial to lead customers where you want them to go and to make the process as simple as possible.

Consider the payment options you currently have for your customers. Could you add more to the mix? Have people complained in the past about your e-commerce store not accepting their preferred payment method? If so, it might be time to add more options to the checkout process and win those customers back. 

3. Improve website design.

Your website's design should be so seamless that it feels natural for users to browse your website, find the content they're looking for and complete their purchases. If visitors have a difficult time finding answers to their questions or don't know how to navigate your webpages, you'll see an increase in your bounce rate and a decrease in your conversions.

For e-commerce websites especially, it's imperative to provide a smooth UX for visitors so they turn into paying customers who keep coming back. Your website should be clean, simple and minimalistic. Avoid squishing text together and implement whitespace so it's easy on the eyes. Use visual content to break up the monotony of text and prolong user engagement.

If you don't know where to start with your website's design, remember that simplicity is key. The easier it is for users to navigate your content, the higher your conversions will be.

Get rid of content that doesn't serve a greater purpose on your website. Are there links in your navigation bar that don't need to be there? Is your content so cluttered and distracting that users don't notice your CTAs? Are there too many images that distract from the purpose of the webpage? Imagine that you're browsing your website for the first time to identify what doesn't work for the average user.

4. Simplify the sales process.

When consumers shop around on your website, they face several different decision-making opportunities. The more decisions they have to make, the closer they are to experiencing decision fatigue. If they feel overwhelmed, it's more challenging for them to complete their purchase and they may leave your site without taking action because they don't know what they want. This causes a higher abandoned cart rate.

Eliminate decision fatigue by reducing the options provided on your website. If you sell similar products on your website, do you need every single one? If one product fulfills the requirement of another, consider getting rid of one.

Group similar product items together so they're easier for customers to find. It also helps them browse other items they might want to add to their cart. Update your product descriptions and images so they're crystal clear, informative, and bring consumers closer to a buying decision.  

Review your contact forms to make sure they're user-friendly. A staggering 67% of visitors will abandon your form if they encounter any complications, so it's crucial to improve contact form conversions where you can. Avoid asking for unnecessary information during checkout. If you don't need it, don't ask for it, as this only prolongs the checkout process. 

5. Optimize for mobile.

As more consumers use their smartphones to shop and make purchases, it becomes increasingly important to cater to mobile users. More than half of all online traffic comes from mobile devices, yet only 12% of consumers find shopping on mobile convenient. Improving the UX for mobile users is crucial to grow your brand and attract more customers.

Use a mobile site speed tool to test your website's performance on mobile devices regularly. That way, you can work to improve it before it loses your business conversions and revenue.

Avoid popups and sidebar navigation on mobile. They're both difficult to deal with on a smaller, condensed screen and hinder users from exploring every section of your site. Keep the most important components above the fold, or in the top quadrant of the webpage. Your CTA should be easy to locate and send a direct message that users can't ignore. 

Make it easier for mobile shoppers to purchase your products by keeping their shopping carts visible at all times. Provide one-step checkout buttons so they don't have to enter their information repeatedly. You can also offer a guest checkout option so new customers don't have to create an account if they don't want to.

Over to you

To achieve your e-commerce business goals, it's crucial to cater to your customers and improve their experience on your site. Without an optimized website, it's frustrating for consumers to browse, learn and purchase. You can increase sales and generate leads by reducing friction and creating a pleasant experience for online shoppers.

Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff
See Chris Christoff's Profile
Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.
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