Does your e-commerce site encourage browsing?
More importantly does it convert browsers to buyers?
We all like to see the statistics demonstrating X number of new visitors to your site. However, if those potential new leads aren't (virtually) hanging around to browse and ultimately buying something, they remain just stats!
Make it easy for your web visitors to browse. Make it hard for them to resist a purchase.
After 13 years working in the e-commerce sector, here are my three top tips for improved browsing and better conversion rates:
1. The navigation
This is the principal way in which customers browse the website. It is therefore essential that it is logical, clear and fast. Is it in a logical location? Most people expect to find it at the top of the screen on a desktop and as a 'hamburger menu' on a mobile or tablet. Creative designs are all well and good but if the customer can't orientate themselves on the site, they're not going to get very far.
Is the filtering system clear? If you've spent a lot of time working on the design and content of the site, it becomes easy to get bogged down in the details and fail to see things from the customer's point of view. How easy is it to drill down to the product you want? It can be helpful to include a 'mega menu', allowing customers to quickly search for the relevant item. Jewellery resellers, Jewel Hut do this well. Hover over a top level navigation item, such as Pandora, to see this in action. Simple additions, such as colour and font, can help a visitor identify where they are on the site and on the filtering menu. If some of the text is a link, then make sure there is colour on the roll over. This will indicate to the visitor that there is a link to another page.
We live in a very fast paced world and if a site fails to load quickly, visitors are more and more likely to abandon the page.
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
You only have a few seconds to capture someones attention, so don't lose out because of slow loading speeds.
2. How scannable is the site?
Reading online is 25% slower than reading from print. Why is this? Mostly because it is harder to do. Your eye is distracted by colours, fonts, pop-ups, advertising and images. When you read printed text, your eye moves naturally from left to right. This isn't the case for online text. Therefore, you need to make website copy much more scannable. Text should be visually broken up with white space. Sentences need to be short and, if possible, only include one concept, idea or product per paragraph. Filtering menus need to be very easy to scan over, enabling potential customers to easily see what they are looking for.
Physical shops - bricks and mortar stores - understand the power of their display window. They are always trying to catch the eye of a potential shopper. They keep their displays fresh. Mega stores such as Selfridges have been spending serious money for nearly a century to attract people into their stores. This concept can be translated into your virtual shop front, your home page and subsequent landing pages. If you sell women's clothes, make sure the category pages show clear, large images of the products. Visitors should be able to rotate the image. Size information should be very easily available and clear. You want your potential customer to be able to visualise themselves wearing the dress. The more they emotionally connect with the item and start to imagine owning it, the more likely they are to make the purchase. If your images are not up to scratch, visitors are very likely to abandon the page before purchasing anything.
There you have it, three ways to encourage browsers to buy. If you have other ideas on how to improve conversion rates, we'd love to hear from you.