As an e-commerce company, your website provides the central hub for your business. It’s where your customers find you, and where you generate the bulk of your revenue. Any improvement you make to your site can dramatically boost your bottom line. As such, you should constantly search for ways to upgrade your e-commerce site.
Still, it can be tough to pull the trigger on the investment. Upgrade cycles can be expensive, and you might be reluctant to take on the cost, especially if your data suggest that the site is good enough. That kind of thinking can become a trap. Let’s face it: good enough isn’t, well…good enough. You can always do better.
Even if your e-commerce website receives impressive traffic and your conversion rate hovers at acceptable levels, there are still upgrades you can do. Even small improvements can greatly impact your ability to attract clients and turn them into paying customers. With that in mind, here are eight steps you can take to upgrade your e-commerce website:
Before you can make meaningful changes to your e-commerce site, you need to know where your sales are coming from. You need to identify potential customers and understand how to reach them. The only way to achieve these goals is through data.
By collecting and analyzing information about your user base, you can better target your ideal customer. The more you learn about them, the easier it will be to target your pitch effectively. The additional insight will ultimately lead to improved traffic, as well as a better conversion rate.
Before you start changing the content on your website, make sure your search engine optimization is everything it should be. Think of it this way: old brick and mortar retailers had to figure out how to get people into their locations. They had to draw people into the stores – that was step number one. In the modern economy, SEO plays that function. It’s the e-commerce equivalent of driving foot traffic.
As such, your success will partially depend on your ability to get seen on search engines. You might have the best products, presented with the most engaging content, but without search engine traffic, you won’t have any sales to convert. Maximizing SEO makes sure you have the customer base you need to grow over time.
Improve Your Look
Simply upgrading the aesthetics of your website can do a lot to improve customer reactions to your products. It may seem superficial, but the look of a website has a fundamental impact on potential users. It speaks to the appeal of your brand and communicates the value of your products.
Spend time considering the visual aspects of your site. Think about small details, like color and font. Make sure all the content is easy to read and simple to understand. Use large, engaging photos to entice your customers.
Direct Traffic to Key Areas
Websites grow overtime. The tight, well-designed platform you launched years ago as expanded step-by-step, as you added products, extended your reach, and included new sections. Like a garden that becomes overgrown, the resulting site can become unwieldy for users.
It might be time for some trimming. An overgrown, over-complicated site serves to diminish your conversion rates, as customers get lost in dead-end spots on the platform. Prevent this by rationalizing your website’s structure. Users should be directed to key areas, properly optimized to capture maximum conversion rates. Reorganize the site as needed to install this improved structure.
Include Engaging Content
You may operate an e-commerce website, but that doesn’t mean your content should consist only of product descriptions and calls to action. In order to maximize SEO and engage a long-term user base, you need more interesting content.
Add a blog section to the site and keep it regularly updated. This will give you a platform to inform your customers about new products and recent upgrades. It will also let you stay at the forefront of your industry, allowing you to display your deep understanding of the evolving market. Beyond this, you can further upgrade your content with video, infographics and other multi-media elements.
Simplify Purchase Process
Once you’ve attracted a client to your site and convinced them to purchase your products, you still need to close the sale. In-person, that part of the process would be relatively easy. However, on the Internet, you aren’t there to take the deal over the finish line. The website has to act as your closer.
As such, you want your purchasing process to be as simple and easy as possible. Don’t let sales fall through the cracks due to customer frustration or a lack of clarity. Streamline the procedures, so you can take clients from interest to decision to completion as efficiently as possible.
Meanwhile, upgrade the functionality in your checkout process. Punchout catalogs represent an easy-use option that also provides higher-level features meant to handle more complicated industrial clients. In addition, consider installing real-time chat support, which will your site a human touch.
Deliver First-Rate Customer Service
Don’t just think about e-commerce as making a sale. Think of it as making the next sale. You want to develop long-standing relationships with your clients, taking the pressure off customer acquisition and leading to long-term growth and better margins.
You can accomplish these goals through customer service. Strong customer communication and responsive service don’t only build trust with your current users. It also helps your word-of-mouth, acting as a stealth advertising campaign. By upgrading your post-sale processes, you set yourself up for sustainable expansion.
Upgrade Your Backend
User experience isn’t just about what appears on the screen. Often, it has more to do with what is going on in the background. Things like loading speed and consistency matter when you were trying to court clientele. It’s also important that your site can be accessed and used by all types of devices. By making upgrades to the coding and infrastructure of your site, you open the door for even more growth.
A successful e-commerce site requires many aspects to operate on the highest level. It needs to look good. It has to have high-end functionality. And it needs to have interesting content and killer branding. Improving any one of these features can greatly improve your results. You don’t need to launch a complete overhaul to make upgrades. You just need to constantly look for small tweaks that can make a big difference.
Samantha Wallace is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is the Content Advocate for Greenwingtechnology.com.