When you're selling on the web, and customers can make a purchase, with a credit card… right then… concepts like "call to action" and "conversion" are now commanding and crucial. Converting visitors to customers on a monetized website is about having a development and technical resource (us) and a keen understanding of your products and customers (you)… working together to develop a concise and compelling online environment, irrisistable message, and a trusted digital brand accepting their order and payment.
Our job is to understand the design and technical challenges, and how even some basic performance and UX issues can be costing you valuable sales and reputation. The checkout process or customer account capabilities… enabling the display of payment information in multiple currencies or making sure that people have clear information about shipping costs (and that your integrated system is quoting for them properly based on product catalog information).
UK data analysis firm QuBit released their study on the challenges of conversation after more than 18,000 comments from online customers in various environments. One of their summaries was "the top 10 reasons website visitors don’t convert to paying customers on retail websites". It's a good quick read, and makes you think about your online shopping experiences, and your customers' as well…
Pricing: Pricing was the leading issue for consumers in their online purchase decisions. Transparency and accessibility are key for the online retail world, since comparative shopping is drastically easier on the Internet as compared with shopping in the real world. QuBit recommends crossing out previous prices or focusing on a “deal of the week” to satisfy price-conscious consumers.
Product descriptions: More than 12% of feedback was related to the lack of clear and complete product descriptions. Descriptions must be thorough enough to replace the knowledge of a sales associate. This is especially important for fashion retailers, as “the vast proportion of feedback found on fashion retail sites blames lack of sizing information as a primary reason for exiting the site,” the report reads. Materials used, origin of goods and sizing information are just a few details that retailers should consider listing.
Stock information: It is important that availability of products be communicated to website visitors early on in the purchasing process. If a product is out of stock, timely information about when it will be available is also important. Otherwise, users should be given the option to be notified once the product becomes available, or the site should recommend related goods that are in stock.
Site functionality: Users are frustrated when they enter a site with expectations of how it should function and are utterly disappointed. Key missing functionalities cited in this research included wish lists, in-store pick-up, personalized recommendations, guest checkout and product filters.
Shipping information: Shipping prices and times should be readily available. Lack of this information is likely to cause checkout drop-offs and complete abandonment of the site, the report explained. Offering international shipping and displaying shipping prices in destination currencies are two features likely to improve this problem area.
Images: People like to see what they’re buying before they make a purchase. High quality photography from multiple angles and with zoom capabilities is important for converting shoppers into buyers.
Discounts: Commenters point to not being able to find where to enter discount codes as a big problem when shopping online. Likewise, consumers seemed confused as to whether offline discounts could be applied online, and if so, whether the discounts applied to their demographic or purchase. We’ve all been there — exclusion lists are lengthy and can include details on countries, states, brands and even particular items.
Navigation: Consumers are accustomed to visiting large commerce websites, such as Amazon, that feature clear navigation — and they expect that same level of quality across all retail websites. Broken links within the shopping cart, lack of category pages in the main navigation and broken browser functionalities (such as the back button) were key issues cited by consumers.
Video: Product videos can add flare to a product page, and apparently consumers expect them, as the lack of videos was expressed as a major problem area on retail websites. QuBit pointed to Burberry as being a trendsetter in this area, as the retailer’s website presents a seamless experience of videos and photos.
Website speed: Slow loading times are of huge concern to retailers, as consumers simply hate waiting around for a website to finally show up. Retailers should benchmark their load times against those of their competitors and act accordingly.
We're excited about e-commerce development because of Magento Commerce. An open source platform that allows us to, with very little drama, create an efficient and polished e-commerce environment you can manage, and that delivers features and sensibilities that not only serve your customers like crazy, but are also an invaluable business development tool for you. There are many good questions about how to develop an effective e-commerce website. Let us know if you have some.