An effective e-commerce ecosystem is vital to business success in today’s mobile-first economy. E-commerce sales increased 23.2 percent in 2017, making up over one-tenth of total U.S. sales, eMarketer estimates. Online sales are growing five times faster than offline sales, and will account for 17 percent of total sales in the United States by 2022, Forrester projects.
To succeed at capturing your company’s share of this growing online market, it’s essential for your website to include some key features. Here are three critical steps to building a successful e-commerce ecosystem.
Use a Mobile-First Web Design
With 57 percent of mobile traffic now coming from smartphones and tablets, according to BrightEdge, a mobile-first web design has become a fundamental principle for a successful e-commerce strategy. A key to an effective mobile-first strategy is a responsive web design sized to smartphone screens but adjustable for viewing on PCs. Mobile-friendly sites should have large images and text that are easy to see on small screens, along with navigational features that are easy to use on smartphones.
A mobile-first site should also be designed to load quickly on smartphones. This can be achieved by keeping image files small through best practices such as minified coding, compression and file caching.
Google provides online tools your web team can use to test and optimize your site’s mobile performance. Your team can also borrow design strategies from successful mobile-oriented sites. For instance, security camera systems provider Lorex Technology uses a responsive, mobile-oriented design that illustrates how to make navigation easy for smartphone users.
Help Visitors Find the Products They Want
Another crucial step toward building a successful e-commerce site is making it easy for your visitors to find relevant products that meet their needs. The key to doing this is providing a user-friendly search bar, shopping cart and login box.
A search bar should be treated as a call to action feature, says Ecommerce Illustrated. While current minimalist trends favor a nearly invisible search bar accessed through a magnifying glass icon, eye-tracking studies show that users are conditioned to look in the top-right corner of a site for a high-contrast search field clearly labeled as such. Tests by Alinc Technologies found that using a bolder border around a search bar increased search use by 13.2 percent. Experiments by Dell showed that using a search button instead of an icon increases revenue per visitor by 6.3 percent.
You can also boost sales by allowing visitors to choose between saving their login details for future purchases or remaining logged in. This helps you capture sales that would otherwise be lost when users navigate away from your site.
Provide Support to Assist Shoppers
Once you get users to add items to their shopping cart, you still need to get them to complete a purchase. Nearly eight in 10 shopping carts were abandoned in the second quarter of 2017, according to SaleCycle data. This implies that only two in 10 customers follow through on the shopping cart process and complete their purchase. The more you can increase your shopping cart conversion rate, the more successful your e-commerce site will be.
A key to boosting your shopping cart conversion rate is offering easy-to-find customer support tools to help customers during the purchase process. There should be clear, highly visible instructions for how shoppers can ask for information or assistance in order to complete their purchase.
Providing live chat tools and toll-free numbers can help encourage these customers to become buyers. Using chatbots or outsourced support can help your team manage more service inquiries and to assist customers outside of regular business hours.
Implementing mobile-first design, user-friendly navigation and strong customer support are three fundamental steps toward building a successful e-commerce site. Putting these steps into practice will help you attract more mobile visitors, get more customers to click on your products and convert more sales.