With the holidays approaching and the pandemic looming, online shopping has become ever more popular for consumers – who will spend $21.7 billion during the first 10 days of the holiday season this year.
If there were ever a time to give your website a facelift, now is the time. While some brands put testing on hold during the holiday season there are still some eCommerce specific best practices to consider implementing to make the most of this time of the year.
Consider all the imagery on your website, everything from your homepage hero image to the product images in your checkout funnel. They should all be good representations of your brand and products.
- Try to avoid stock photos where possible, as personalization through imagery adds credibility to the brand and allows visitors to connect more with the brand and products.
- Make sure your images are not blurry as this can take away from credibility or leave a poor first impression of your brand and website.
- When it comes to product pages, high-quality images can make or break you. Visitors need to know they are purchasing a good product and having pictures, preferably from multiple angles, in use and that are zoomable, will help them decide this is the case.
- Bonus – product videos can be great additions to images and really help motivate visitors to purchase. Going beyond the product and hero images, it is also important to think about product images in the shopping cart. Here, the images will likely be smaller but should still be present to remind visitors about the awesome products they are considering purchasing.
There are many aspects to consider when thinking about your content. Remember to use your content to answer potential visitor questions and show them why they should purchase from you. Your visitors are likely not just your visitors but can be searching for many products across many websites. They’re looking for the best deals, the best services, the best experience and more. Show visitors why they should choose you over the competition with values & benefits, trust & security and social proof.
- Values & benefits can be bulleted lists, imagery, or in banners. Use these to tell your visitors why you are different or unique.
- Trust & security is shown with trust markers, guarantees and policies. For example, if you offer free returns, remind users of this throughout the funnel.
- Social proof is often seen as testimonials or reviews and can be displayed throughout the website. When displaying reviews for product pages, don’t be afraid to include negative reviews as well. Visitors tend to expect to find a mix of both and if they don’t find both, they may seek these outside of your website and forget about their purchase or find a competitor.
If you can remove a step from the user journey, do it. This is especially true for mobile. A visitor can become less motivated the more actions required and the longer the process takes. Action requires conscious processing and decision making. Consistency of action and design throughout the website will also help visitors easily navigate their journey and reduce the cognitive load required to complete a purchase. This will also reduce potential friction and prevent users from needing to relearn how to use your website from section to section and page to page. For example, if you use an underlined word to indicate hyperlinked text, do this consistently throughout the whole website so visitors know underlined words mean linked content.
Product filters should make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they are looking for. It is important to note that filtering and sorting are not the same thing and while having sorting options is great, it is not a substitute for filtering. The ideal product filtering will vary depending on what your products are and how people search for them but here are a couple of general recommendations.
- Allow for multiple filterers to be applied at once so visitors can get specific with their searches but never let visitors reach a “no options” page. Visitors who are not able to find what they are looking for easily will abandon their search and try to find another option
- Visually, make your filters easy to find, and even easier to use. Modifying and updating options should not add friction to the process. Visitors using filter options can be highly motivated to purchase, don’t drive them away with poor product filtering.
Sale Page & Upselling
Consider creating a designated sales page or section, somewhere for users to browse through all sale items in one place. Especially around the holidays, visitors will be searching for deals and discounts. A sales page may encourage visitors to purchase more than they were intending or even entice visitors who weren’t planning on purchasing at all. Another way to help average order value is with upsells. These should be done carefully so they don’t distract visitors from completing their original purchase. If you are going to offer upsells, make sure they are related products and ideally cost less than the product originally added to the cart. Sale pages and upselling may not be right for every brand, but are definitely worth testing.
A persistent cart doesn’t let the cart contents expire. This makes it easy for visitors to return to their previously abandoned purchases. Visitors may also try to save products to purchase at a later date and a persistent cart makes this easy. If this isn’t a possibility for your website, try offering a “save cart” option where visitors can submit their email to have the cart contents sent to them to revisit at a later date.
Never force visitors to create an account to make a purchase. This creates a huge amount of unnecessary friction at the final step before purchasing. Many visitors will be unwilling to create an account and trying to force it will cause them to abandon their purchase and can create a negative impression of the website or the brand in general.
Remove the navigation from the checkout page(s). This can distract visitors from completing their purchase. Once visitors reach this stage of the funnel we don’t want to give them reasons to leave. Instead of navigation, consider having progress indicators if your checkout has multiple steps. Breadcrumb menus will show visitors where they are and how far they have to go. If you can’t create these menus, clear call-to-action copy such as “continue to shipping” or “proceed to payment” will let visitors know what to expect next.