Optimising Your Webstore for Customer Experience

7 Tips for Optimising Your Webstore Customer for Customer Experience
Mike Morgan
Selling products or services online has never been more competitive. If you fail to offer your customer a flawless and pleasant shopping and buying experience, the risk of cart abandonment - abandoning their purchase part way through or worse, never return again are high. So your marketplace presence and webstore have to be optimised for customer experience. Your store not only has to look great and function very well, but the shopping and buying process has to be as friction-free as possible.
Here are 7 tips that will help you build a webstore that’s optimised to deliver an excellent customer experience, one that will have minimal cart abandonment and one that will create higher conversion rates and more sales:

Ensure website security to boost customer confidence

1. Make Your Customers Feel Safe
With online fraud and identity theft so prevalent, shoppers need to feel they can shop with confidence on your e-commerce site. You must reassure them that your site is reputable and offers features to protect their privacy. Make sure you have a trust certificate like Hacker Safe or VeriSign and an updated SSL certificate to help ensure that you have customer trust and that you can offer the most secure shopping experience. There’s more useful advice on webstore security here.

A search function makes your website easier to use

2. Make Your Goods Easy to Find
Search has become the universal form of site navigation. Customers don’t want to navigate through level upon level of menus to find what they’re after. And they don’t want to go from one page to another, reading the descriptions of every product in your store before locating the item they actually want to buy. Incorporating sophisticated and easy to use search functionality helps customers to find what they are looking for, makes their shopping experience more satisfying and less frustrating. Adding category and sub-category refinement helps narrow the search and makes the process even quicker, allowing buyers to find what they are looking for first time every time.
Needless to say, if your customers find it easier to find what they’re after, they’re more likely to buy and more likely to return. More tips on ecommerce search best practices can be found here.

Breadcrumb navigation makes your website more user friendly

3. Help Your Customers Navigate Back and Forth
When completing any task, it’s handy to know how far you’ve gone towards completing it and reassuring there’s an easy way back if you make a mistake. The same applies to placing online orders. You must ensure that your customer knows where they are in their purchase process. They need to know how many steps are yet to be completed and how many they’ve already accomplished. Breadcrumb navigation helps customers to do just that.
It stops them from getting bored and helps helps to minimise order abandonment. If they make a mistake, breadcrumb navigation will also help them to go back a previous step and edit any mistakes they have made rather than quitting the purchase and starting again from scratch. If they’re forced to do that, its more than likely that they will simply give up on the whole process altogether. There’s an interesting article here making great call to action buttons for ecommerce that explains how breadcrumbs aid site usability.

Effective use of call to action buttons is essential

4. Encourage Interaction with Call To Action & Sign-up Buttons
Call-to-action buttons help customers to know what you want them to do next and encourage them through the sign up and purchase process. They’re a proven way of building higher conversion rates and improving site usability. Make your call-to-action buttons stand out. They should be very clear with a button size, color, font, wording and positioning that will help them stand out from your website background.
If you sell internationally, then the customer’s language should be taken into consideration. Using IP delivery to serve localised versions of your call-to-action button based on the customer’s location is essential. Theres some great insights into creating effective CTA buttons for webstores here and for websites in general here.

Related items improve customer retention and revenue

5. Suggest Related Items
Suggesting related items or items frequently purchased together prior to taking payment not only helps save your customer’s time but also helps increase revenue and customer retention. Learn about Amazon’s infamous recommendation engine here.

Hidden costs lead to cart abandonment

6. Don’t Hide Charges or Extras
Honesty is the policy. No one likes to feel they’ve agreed to buy a product at a given price only to find there are hidden extras like credit card fees or shipping charges at checkout or payment. Display or notify customers of surcharges, taxes, shipping charges and discounts early in the buying process so that they know exactly how much they’ll be paying. If you present your customers with unexplained costs right at the end of the process, they will be far more likely to abandon their purchase and possibly, having lost their trust in your site, they may never return. Here’s some great research on the reasons behind cart abandonment.

Do not request extensive customer information

7. Don’t Insist on Registration Before Making the Sale
As an e-commerce site, you don’t need to know a customer’s full address, phone number and detailed profile information. A simple email address and password are all that’s required. Don’t impose lengthy registration forms over several pages as they’re likely to be abandoned part-way through and the chances are high you’ll lose their order. Allow the customer to proceed as a “guest” and save your requests for further information or registration until after the transaction has been completed and sell this step to them as a means of making their next purchase on your site easier. This is another means of improving customer retention, repeat business and reducing cart abandonment.
Conclusion
To minimise cart abandonment and maximise good customer experience it's critical to ensure that you optimise your webstore to deliver a flawless and pleasant shopping and buying experience each and every time. Hopefully these tips will help you to avoid costly mistakes.
And don't forget, ChannelGrabber's multi-channel ecommerce software helps you to automate the management of listings, stock, orders, billing, shipping and messaging so frees up your time to focus on ensuring that your webstore delivers a faultless customer experience.