How can your website beat e-commerce competition this winter?

We won’t use the C-word just yet, but for your website to beat the e-commerce competition this winter, you should be giving it a web audit now. This will mean that you’re fully optimised for early shoppers and late rushers alike. So what are the key features your website should have to beat the e-commerce competition this
winter?
Mobile Shopping
Being mobile friendly – even better, mobile optimised – is now an absolute must for an e-commerce
site to remain competitive. The numbers of shoppers who browse and complete sales on their
mobile devices increases every year. The slightest obstruction or delay to the purchase journey
can mean a debilitating loss of potential sales. So, what’s the difference between being mobile
friendly and mobile optimised?
Mobile Friendly
This means that your site is clearly visible on a mobile device. So, no missing text or
jumbled images. It’s really the bare minimum of what users expect these days. Anything
less and they’re gone within 3 seconds.
Mobile Optimised
If mobile friendly is a desktop site that fits onto a mobile screen, mobile optimised is a site
that lays out specifically for ease of use on a mobile device. It’s a reformatted version of
your desktop site, making navigation and reading content far easier for the mobile user.
These sites will engage and promote a full purchase journey on a mobile device.
UX
Not any less important than being mobile friendly is to have a positive, and succinct, UX. Indeed, in
a Venn diagram, UX and mobile would be pretty far overlapping. The user experience of your
website is affected by visual design elements, navigation, content, hero images, loading speed and
the number of clicks a user’s purchase journey takes.
Visual
Your aesthetic web design should put users at ease in purchasing from you. It should
support your shop branding whilst being clear and simple enough to navigate on desktop or
mobile. Visual UX places call to action buttons in intuitive places, and draws the user’s
attention to specific areas in order to direct them through the site.
Functional
This is about your customer having what they need to decide to buy from you. Is your
content informative? Are your images clear? Are feedback and reviews clearly positioned
on a product page? Make sure that you don’t have any dead ends or broken links. Your
product pages should display relevant information but not confuse or overwhelm with
excessive content.
Checkout
An absolutely crucial stage of your user’s purchase journey is, of course, the checkout. Online
shopping culture means that people put items in baskets a lot. They may have little intention of
buying those items, using the shopping cart instead as a list or a reminder to compare prices later
on. So for your website to beat the competition and convert as many baskets into sales, your
checkout process should be optimised for speed and clarity.
Clarity
Your e-commerce platform provides the framework on which your customer’s shopping
journey takes place. From integrating dynamic pricing and discounting to streamlined
purchasing, a good experience is built from the ground up. A ‘buy more save more’
incentive is a great concept, but clarity is key here. Keep additional purchase suggestions
limited but highly targeted, and avoid multiple popups on the way to checkout. It’ll just
cause frustration.
Speed

This is different to page loading speed. Of course, each page of a checkout process needs
to load fast. However, you should also have as few stages to the checkout process as
possible. Don’t require users to create an account. A guest checkout option will mean far
more converted sales, plus users are more likely to create an account after the event as
they want to shop with you again. Integrate commonly used purchase platforms like Paypal
and Google pay. These are attractive buttons for a user who doesn’t have easy access to
their wallet right now!
Search Rankings
You need your website, or increasingly specific products within your shop, to be prominent on
search pages. Online shopper habits show a growing tendency to search for a product on Google
and discover storefronts that way. So the way that you catalogue your products and the content
included on product pages is more and more important.
Products
Because a user is searching for a specific product, it’s vital that your product page
keywords are targeted and focussed. Detail specific brands and model numbers, and keep
all descriptions unique. Detail helps to optimise title tags and meta descriptions. Videos and
clear images are a must, but make sure your product pages remain fast to load.
Browsing
Of course, your website should also hook in those browsing shoppers. So you want your
site to be prominent for more generic searches too. This means that your whole site SEO
shouldn’t be neglected because you’re focussing on your product pages! Once a shopper is
on your site, it should be intuitive to browse, with clear categories and focussed product
suggestions.
Branding
For even the smallest online storefronts, branding is key. When a shopper may have never heard
of your brand, your site is able to put them at ease and shop with confidence. Make contact and
delivery details clear and visible. This gives your storefront a feeling of transparency and inspires
more trust.
Independence
Lots of shoppers now strive to shop local – so be vocal about where you are based. You
may find an upsurge in customers who are geographically not too far away. Being an
independent is just as important. More and more conscientious shoppers want to support
independent suppliers over global behemoths. So tap into this and shout about it on blog
posts and landing pages.
Inclusivity
Your corporate values form a core part of your brand. Consumers make decisions about
who they want to shop with based on those values. From sustainability to disability
awareness, don’t be afraid to talk about social issues on your site. Real customer reviews
on your product pages convert to sales by over 50% more than pages without. So enter into
dialogue with your customers on social channels and product reviews, including them in
your online presence.

Whether you want to build a whole new e-commerce site or your site needs to be SEO optimised in
time for Chris… (sorry, we promised not to say that word!) just get in touch for some expert
guidance.