5 Small But Meaningful Ways to Improve Your eCommerce Business
Perfect is the enemy of good, but it’s also the enemy of a successful eCommerce business. Even when an online retailer starts off strong, there are always ways to improve.
I made plenty of mistakes when I started my eCommerce business, but I found small yet significant ways to improve it over time. To put it in perspective, Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the business, continues to develop and test new ways to improve the customer experience. If Amazon isn’t perfect yet, then chances are your business isn’t either.
Here are 5 changes you can make to improve your business and start trending in the right direction:
1. Personalize the Customer Experience
Personalizing the shopping experience for your customers may not be high on your priority list when you first launch, but it can make a huge impact on your business’s success. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
Personalization optimizes the user experience based on that user’s specific behavior. For instance, if a user added a certain pair of shoes to her cart but never checked out, that pair of shoes would show up on the home page the next time she visits your website.
You can also customize your home page so first-time users see a registration window with a coupon for signing up, while returning users see the normal page.
2. Make All Pages Responsive
Responsive websites change dynamically based on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it in order to provide the best viewing experience. In other words, a responsive website will change based on whether someone is viewing it from a mobile phone, a tablet, or a computer.
Within 30 days of launching our site, we found that 68 percent of traffic was coming from mobile devices. We then spent the next three months redesigning the mobile experience to better serve these customers.
All the pages on your website should be responsive from day one. This will give users the ability to access your site at full functionality on any of their devices.
Test every page of your website on multiple devices and browsers to ensure a high-quality user experience. Once your site is responsive, you can consider making an app to connect with customers more directly.
3. Optimize the User Experience
On the first rollout of our site, I didn’t focus enough on the user experience. But for an eCommerce business, time is money.
Amazon found that a pageload slowdown of just one second could cost the company $1.6 billion in sales per year. Check your site’s speed using tools like YSlow and Google’s PageSpeed tools to ensure your users get the fastest load speed possible. This can also improve your site’s ranking because Google tends to reward faster loading sites.
Then look for other ways to improve the user experience. Tweak your site to move customers through the checkout process more quickly. As soon as we changed our 5-page checkout process to a 1-page checkout, our shopping cart abandonment rate fell 8 percent within a week.
4. Know Your Market
Knowledge is power. The more data you can gather from your customers the more you will understand the characteristics of your average customer. Then you can use that data to target your advertising more effectively. Use a tool like SurveyMonkey to collect demographic information about customers, and reward them with small gifts or sweepstakes entries in exchange for completing the survey.
5. Test, Test, Test
While following your gut is important for making big life decisions, you need to be cautious about using your gut to make decisions that affect the user experience. Sometimes what you think will work isn’t the most effective option for converting prospects to customers.
Before committing to completely redesign your site, test all changes using an A/B testing tool such as Optimizely. This can help you see which design is most effective before you implement a more permanent wholesale change.
It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes when you launch your eCommerce business, but the key is to keep trying new ways to optimize the user experience just like Amazon and other large retailers do.
Running a successful eCommerce site is all about having a series of small wins. Each tweak you make can increase your overall conversion rate, and these incremental improvements become highly profitable over time.
Try the suggestions above and see how your conversion rate improves. You may not achieve perfection, but over time, small adjustments like these will help your eCommerce business thrive.
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