Would You Want To Shop At Your Own Online Store?

Admit it: you’re attached to your online store. And, you should be. It’s only natural to take pride in your accomplishments and stand behind your choices. In most cases, this is a great quality. But left unchecked, your preferences can occasionally get in the way of the user’s experience. Sometimes it’s best to admit that full-page, autoplay video spread you love to watch is more overwhelming than branding genius and look at your site through a customer’s eyes.

It all boils down to one simple question: If it weren’t yours, would you want to shop at your online store?

If there’s any doubt in your mind, it’s time to examine your site through a customer’s eyes so you can streamline the shopping experience. Even better, if you’re just getting ready to build your store, it’s the perfect time to consider this question.

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Decrease Page Load Time Of Your Online Store

[pullquote]Does your site load in three seconds or less? If not, you’re sacrificing conversions day in and day out.[/pullquote] According to Kissmetrics, nearly half of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Worse, 40 percent will abandon a website if loading time exceeds three seconds.

One way to shave loading time is to compress images and files across your website, freeing up bandwidth to enhance performance without sacrificing appearances. If your online store is chronically slow, it may also be time to consider a server upgrade or a jump to cloud-based hosting.

Simplify Navigation

Sure, a customer may click on an ad to land directly on a product listing from time to time. But usually, shoppers enter your homepage first. Where they go from there (and whether or not they find what they’re seeking) is up to the navigation you provide. Your site should convey a high-level overview, plus simple paths to get to more specific pages. The name of the game is information architecture (IA).

Smart navigation begins in the planning stages of creating an ecommerce site. After all, it will be time consuming (and costly) to gut your store and start over once it’s already been established. You want to come out of the gates strong, with easy-to-use navigation controls. Your website builder choice affects your options in this regard, so choose wisely.

Cut Distracting Extras

Last year, eBay made enhancement to their search results pages in an effort to simplify the shopping experience. As the company’s Shopping Experience product manager wrote on their blog, “When looking at shopping behaviors, we’ve found providing too many options can be overwhelming for some people.”

Product listings chock full of numbers, descriptors, subtitles, font sizes and images tend to confuse customers. When it comes to the art of ecommerce, less is more. Prioritize product information on a need-to-know basis: title, price and key specifications. Some of the best product pages incorporate tasteful white space for visual relief, plus optional “see more” dropdowns to allow customers to control their intake of information, while getting all the data they need to feel they’ve made an informed purchase.

Emphasize Customer Service

Customer service is often the difference between a customer getting frustrated and exiting, or finding the answers they need to continue along their shopping journey. Even the most modest ecommerce operations need some form of customer service, whether it comes in the form of a live chat feature, live phone support, social media replies or a designated email address. The faster customers receive help, the more likely they are to continue shopping or return to their unfinished transaction later. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to balance the realistic costs of providing hands-on customer service with the costs of forgoing it.

Performing an honest site audit will tell you whether or not you’d want to shop at your online store. Putting in the time to make your site more user-friendly will result in more conversions.

If you are interested in more ecommerce-related stories and information then we have a lot to offer here at Bit Rebels.

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