Life as a successful eCommerce business owner is fairly hectic. Profit and loss is at the forefront of all decisions made within a business. We have written a number of Shopify blogs sharing our advice and experience around the tips and tricks to Shopify and creating a successful eCommerce store.
We have condensed our previous advice and Shopify’s own recommendations to provide a number of 15-minute actionable tasks to improve your eCommerce store and grow your business profits. It just requires a little motivation.
1. Focus more on mobile
This will not be the first time you have heard this, but it’s becoming more important than ever before. Have you dedicated time towards using and testing your website on mobile devices? To highlight the importance of mobiles to an eCommerce store, let’s provide some hard-hitting facts.
- Mobile users dominate the traffic on Shopify stores with 62%
- 57% of users would not recommend any business with a poorly designed mobile website
- A report from Google outlines that 61% of users would be unlikely to visit a mobile site they previously had trouble accessing and instead 40% would visit one of your competitors
* Reported by Moz.com
Without a useable fully functioning mobile store you are providing both a poor first impression to users and without question, losing potential customers for which your competitors are ever thankful.
Consider whether your content and layout is mobile friendly, whether any links and navigation buttons are easily accessible, whether easy payment options are available e.g. Apple Pay for mobile customers. We would recommend testing the mobile-friendliness of your eCommerce store through Think with Google. This will provide actionable solutions and advice on how to improve the experience of your store on a mobile device.
2. Usability testing with users
No matter how impressive your products are, users will not bat an eyelid if your website is not user-friendly or if the connection is slow. When users set out to buy products online, their tolerance levels are significantly lower, because generally there are plenty of other sites online selling similar products. Testing your store is crucial, but almost more important is ensuring that the right people from different age groups and varying technical knowledge are using the site. This allows businesses to acknowledge user journeys and any difficulties attached. Does your store provide appropriate product descriptions, are checkout buttons difficult to locate, do you highlight sales and offers effectively. The analysis and feedback from user testing, especially from non-friends and family, can be invaluable to your eCommerce business.
Find a number of users, preferably people you do not know, and watch them visit pages throughout your store. Analyse their movements and note where they expect navigation buttons to be and if the current menu structure is sufficient. This should prove instrumental in understanding why you may be losing sales from potential customers.
3. Security optimisation
Shopping online carries significant risks for users and as a new retailer the online shopping environment becomes a trust exercise between consumer and supplier. Trust is one of the main motives behind users abandoning purchases. Customers want to be reassured that a business is trustworthy, which may include:
- A transparent and accessible returns policy
- Social media integration – such as an active Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feed
- Standard trusted payment icons from Visa, MasterCard, PayPal etc.
- Professional checkout process, showing applicable charges clearly, such as VAT, before purchasing
- Product reviews and testimonials from previous customers
- Easily accessible contact details and FAQ section
In order to remove any customer concerns over the security and reliability of your store, ensure you have incorporated all six of the recommendations above. Double check your contact details are correct and any policy information is clearly visible.
4. High quality images, sell high numbers of stock
Product imagery has a big impact on sales and customer interest. High quality images are essential and can be the difference between the success or downfall of your online brand. On the high street in brick-and-mortar stores, customers can examine, hold and feel each product first hand helping their decision-making before purchasing. eCommerce stores must find a way of competing with the brick-and-mortar simplicity. Images should be high resolution and taken from a modern mobile phone or good camera. For even better quality, a business could consider purchasing a photography light tent to improve their image photography. The main thing is not to mislead customers on colour, size or scale.
Assess your product images and photography in an impartial way. Are the images clear enough with good lighting and taken from multiple angles? More importantly, decide whether you would buy products from your store based on the images. Alternatively spend this time looking at your competitors’ websites, and see how differently they present their products. Is their photography better?
5. Improving the user experience
Cart abandonment by users should be one of the biggest frustrations for an eCommerce business. There are many ways these can be addressed, namely by reducing the multiple screens between entering the shopping cart and payment confirmation. Talking of frustrations, this is a big irritation for users, especially on mobile devices where entering details can be awkward.
Another method of improving the customer experience is by letting customers become members of your store, allowing delivery and card details to be saved for future transactions to save time. However, in eCommerce the average retention rate is only 30%, meaning the large majority of your customers are one-time-only buyers. Offering guest checkouts would help speed this process up if members have forgotten their registered details, if users want to avoid spam and marketing emails and if this is a one-off gift purchase which they will unlikely buy again.
This is another trial and error task, encouraging you to test the efficiency and experience of your website. Select four items from your store and purchase these products. Does it take you longer than 4 minutes to receive purchase confirmation? With Shopify you can easily add guest checkouts and reduce checkout screens to one page.
New Shopify features to take advantage of
Motivation shouldn’t only come from improving the current features and experiences of your store, it should also be driven by new functionality and incentives introduced by Shopify. If you use Shopify you will appreciate its ease of use, extensive functionality in addition to the available responsive and free templates.
For 2017, Shopify have introduced a number of new features to improve their eCommerce system. So without further ado, let us share a few of their exciting updates:
1. Conversations via Messenger
With the level of retention rates for eCommerce stores mentioned previously being alarmingly low, the importance of a personal connection with potential customers is invaluable for boosting sales and conversion rates. Shopify, have added an amazing Messenger Channel offering Shopify businesses, at no extra cost, which enables businesses to link to their Facebook page where stores can sell products via Messenger.
2. Shopify App updates for iOS and Android devices
Shopify released an update for its eCommerce mobile app at the end of 2016. It resulted in design and speed improvements across iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It provides real-time updates showing performance levels and live feeds to boost your business growth in addition to push notifications ensuring messages are not overlooked.
3. Apple Pay
Improving conversion rates based on the level of traffic visiting your store is difficult. However, Shopify has recently made this somewhat easier with an extra way for users to pay online. Shopify have introduced Apple Pay to customers when they shop using their iPhone and iPad. Apple Pay allows customers to experience a simplified checkout process, which improves the user experience.
Finally, some quotes of motivation from some eCommerce giants
If what we have written hasn’t pulled the right strings, and you are not yet motivated to jump up and change things on your eCommerce store, let us leave it to the experts. Here are some of the biggest names in some of the world’s largest companies, sharing some of their motivation with just you:
“Making a profitable e-commerce store is hard work. I love the fact that Shopify clients help each other in our forums. I love the fact that everyone feels like we are in this together and that we all will succeed together” – Scott Lake, co-founder of Shopify
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
“When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customers say it, it’s social proof.” – Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder & Strategic Director of Orbit Media Studios
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple
“Whatever you do, be different—that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” – Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop
“The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.” – Seth Godin, Founder of Squidoo.com, former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon