The effort required by shoppers to locate and purchase goods on an ecommerce site directly affects conversions. The longer it takes to find and evaluate products, the lower the chance of closing sales.
Knowing shoppers’ needs is essential. Meeting those needs requires the collaboration of designers, developers, and content creators.
I’ve consulted over the years on dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ecommerce launches. Here are three frequent mistakes in the building of online stores.
Mistake 1: Design over Function
Beauty that disrupts shopping is disastrous to revenue, especially on mobile devices. Site design should never rank higher than usability, for even the greenest of visitors.
Mad Hippie, a direct-to-consumer seller of skincare products, successfully integrates its vibrant design with ease of use. Visitors can quickly navigate to various types of products and make a purchase.
Ecommerce sites selling scores or more products must focus on both search and browse functionality. Some shoppers know what they’re looking for. Others need guidance. So be careful about design elements that hinder either one.
The inability to find products and irrelevant site-search results are frustrating. But the need for quick and effective navigation will only increase with more competitors and mobile shoppers.
What happens at the product level matters, too. Once an item is added to the cart, Mad Hippie incorporates actionable links (“View cart or continue shopping”) directly beneath the “Add to cart” button.
Mistake 2: Slow Load Times
It doesn’t matter how beautiful or usable an online store is if it doesn’t load quickly. You have mere seconds — three or less for a full-page load — to engage visitors.
There’s plenty of data that confirms site speed can make or break an online business. No company has more performance metrics than Google. It has stated for years that speed directly impacts conversions. In a 2016 study, the BBC found that it lost 10% of visitors for each additional second it took a page to load.
Focusing on lightning-fast page load times will give you a leg up on the competition.
Mistake 3: Poor Checkout
The checkout process needs continual tweaking to keep up with evolving consumer demands. The leading cause of cart abandonment 10 years ago was unexpected shipping and handling costs. Today, many more factors will prompt a shopper to leave, including:
- Collecting unnecessary information. Ask only for what’s required to fill the order.
- Disabling autofill and autocomplete. Mobile shoppers especially don’t want to type addresses and payment information. Instead, put the power in their hands — and speed up the process — by not overriding their device’s settings.
- Not accepting preferred payment methods. Not everyone wants to use a credit card. Introduce new ways to pay, such as mobile wallets and buy-now-pay-later installment plans. Also, consider streamlined processes, such as PayPal Checkout, which requires a simple login.
- Limiting shipping options. Consumers have preferred carriers and carrier methods. By offering at least two carrier options with variable delivery speeds, you can please more people.
- Making last-minute pleas to buy more. Reminding shoppers about necessary or popular accessories can increase order totals. However, do this at the shopping cart or pre-checkout level. Interrupting the checkout process with deals can halt ordering altogether.