To prevent Covid-19 transmission, people are discouraged from frequenting public areas, such as malls, restaurants, groceries and supermarkets. With social distancing measures and stay-at-home notices in place, consumers are forced to adapt. Shopping behaviors have shifted from offline to online. Consumer buying patterns have changed. As a result, eCommerce sales have skyrocketed.
In Singapore, consumers are increasing their eCommerce consumption as well. Channel News Asia reported increased volume of orders placed on Amazon Prime, FairPrice and Redmart. Stores such as Lazada and Qoo10 also reported overall sales increase.
Research shows that consumer preferences for online shopping might last, even post-pandemic. Nielsen’s study found that 2 out of 5 Singaporean consumers increased their online shopping, with 3 out of 4 respondents stating that they would still maintain such behavior even after the pandemic. Further, 69% of respondents who purchased online for the first time during the pandemic said they would purchase online again in the next 12 months.
The eCommerce industry has hit a stride over the past few months. Now is the perfect time to attract shoppers and capitalise on opportunities. But boosting eCommerce sales can be difficult, if you don’t focus on creating a seamless shopping experience for your shoppers.
Features of a Great eCommerce Website
According to a Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) report, 68% of online shoppers leave e-Commerce sites without completing their purchase. The common reasons for abandoned carts include faulty website navigation or loading issues, payment security concerns, or length and difficulty of the checkout process. For increased consumer retention and conversion rates, follow these useful tips on how to make a great eCommerce website:
Quick loading time/website speed
A page’s slow loading time is one of the major factors of page abandonment. In fact, a business loses about 25% of its online visitors if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. Page speed correlates to bounce rates. Slower page loading time means higher probability that consumers leave your page and move on to other websites.
According to Akamai’s research in 2017, conversion rates decrease by 70% for every full second of loading. The statistics tell us that time is money. Slow page speeds results in potential revenue losses.
Walmart’s story is a good example. Initially, the retail giant found that it failed to convert with slow page speed. When its site underwent speed optimisation, conversions increased dramatically. Walmart reported 2% increase conversion per second of site speed improvement and revenue growth by 1% for every 100 millisecond of improvement.
As a rule, keep website loading time, whether on mobile or desktop, to three seconds or less so consumers don’t get impatient and click on the back button. Faster page speeds may be achieved through the following:
- Weigh the benefits of third party app installation and review if these apps are dragging page speed.
- Compress image sizes as well as thumb nail sizes
- Choose fast web hosting service.
- Test and optimise mobile site performance, if you have not started. Since most consumers shop using their smartphones, the mobile shopping experience should be fast and user-friendly.
As Google aptly puts it, faster sites make happy users.
Engaging web design
A Kissmetrics study showed that 93% of consumers consider visual appearance as the most important factor when making a purchase. In short, a great eCommerce website has to look visually appealing.
Effective website design is simple yet sophisticated. Beyond that, use of colours, typography and imagery must be consistent with branding. A home page which features crisp full-width images paired with minimal texts is a good place to start. It directs visitors’ attention to the important site features, without overwhelming them.
Here are some good examples:
Easy check out options and payment
It’s not just the front-end of a website (design) that matters. An online store’s checkout page deserves attention as well. Just imagine how disappointing it feels for a consumer to add items to a shopping cart, only to be confronted with complex checkout procedures after.
Give customers the option to register using their email or check out as guest. Don’t force registration as it can be annoying to first-time customers. Ideally, the checkout process must be straightforward and limited to two simple steps: input of shipping and contact information and payment. Allow customers to customise orders, or change product quantity on the checkout page. Once the purchase is complete, direct customers to a confirmation page so they know their order is confirmed.
Internet Retailer magazine’s research showed more than 52% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart when their desired items are not in stock. Product inventory must be updated real-time to avoid stock outs. Customers are impatient – they abandon their cart and switch to a competitor site in case of stock shortages. An up-to-date inventory thus ensures accurate order fulfillment and prompt delivery to customers, which results in increased loyalty, and better brand reputation.
According to HigherLogic’s Hunter Montgomery, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than any marketing material. A People Claim study revealed that 70% customers consult customer reviews or ratings before completing the purchase.
Product reviews stimulates a consumer’s decision to buy. Consumers are likely to purchase when a product or business receives positive or satisfactory ratings. Statista’s survey showed that 72% of respondents stated that they trusted businesses with positive customer reviews. In essence, product reviews help build loyalty for existing customers and gain confidence in potential ones.
Online chat support
Michael Kansky, Live Help Now’s CEO, revealed that eCommerce stores with live chat features saw increases in order size between 100% and 300%. Forrester’s recent study also showed that real-time chat support boost satisfaction levels of online shoppers. Another survey by Roosit found that 63% of consumers are likely to return to an eCommerce store which offers live chat, while 57% reported that they are likely to abandon a purchase if queries weren’t answered promptly.
This proves that consumers appreciate immediate responses to their queries in the middle of, or after a purchase. Consumers need assurance that they’ll have support, whenever needed. Excellent chat support can convert potential buyers into loyal patrons. Amongst other customer service channels, live chat has the highest customer satisfaction level at 73%, compared to phone (44%) or email (61%).
Simple navigation structure for product categories
Product pages should be easy to navigate. Consumers must be able to locate products effortlessly and filter them through different categories like color, size, product type or brand. Good site navigation structure shows a brand’s commitment to creating pleasurable shopping experiences for its customers. When product pages are easier to navigate, customers associate your website with convenience.
A great online shopping experience begins with a seamless, user-friendly eCommerce platform. Get in touch with us so we can help you build a great eCommerce website designed for better conversions and pleasurable online shopping experience.