E-commerce websites have never been more critical than now. In fact, about 15.5% of all retail sales worldwide comes from e-commerce platforms. This even accounts for areas of the world with less than ideal internet infrastructure, meaning that ecommerce has a tremendous presence in mature markets.
In Singapore, a total revenue of USD2,784m has been attributed to e-commerce, an increase of 9.1% year-on-year. Within this sum, electronics and media made up the largest segment with USD1,996m. Furthermore, user penetration in Singapore stands at 70%, meaning that 7 in 10 Singaporeans have shopped online in the recent period.
Not all E-commerce Websites are Experiencing Success
Like any business, not all e-commerce websites experience the same level of success. While some are thriving, attracting thousands of purchases each day, others struggle to even get consistent traffic. What then separates the haves and the have nots? The answer lies in the degree to which an e-commerce website is optimised for conversions.
What are Conversions?
In web design, conversions refer to the completion of any goal targeted on the website. For e-commerce websites, this would typically mean an online purchase. However, this need not be the case on other websites which may desire for a user to complete viewing a particular video or to submit an enquiry form.
In our experience as web designers and digital marketers, conversions do not happen randomly and are the result of a successfully designed user journey. In this article, we shall be covering the design elements, features or philosophies to follow in order to create a conversion optimised e-commerce web design.
Shortening the User Journey
Numerous studies have shown that the longer or more complex the journey you require users to undertake in order to purchase a product, the higher the odds of them dropping out. As a rule of thumb, we recommend keeping any product within the reach of 3 actions. This means that from the time a user lands on your website, they should be able to reach any product within 3 clicks or scrolls.
By ensuring that any product is within 3 actions, you would have successfully simplified the user journey. It also reduces the chances of a user becoming lost or frustrated along the way and thus giving up.
Another step that you can take is to improve the accuracy of both your internal search and product categories. The smarter your website’s mechanisms are for users to find their products on, the less hassle they will experience in the process. Having said that, you should be weary of having too many categories that overlap one another. This would create unnecessary confusion and thus friction on the user’s journey.
Over time, internet users have become accustomed to having specified website design features, layouts and functions. It would be in your business’s best interests to follow along with these expectations.
Following Expected Placements
If you were to visit several e-commerce websites, you would find that they often contain several common layout features. This is not due to web designers being lazy and copying the standard format. Rather, it is a function of aiding users to avoid getting confused on your e-commerce store.
An example would be the following placements:
- Brand logo on the top left or centre
- Hamburger icon on the top right
- Add to cart button in a contrasting colour placed beside or below the product image
- Multiple product preview options
- Product specifications found in line with add to cart option
When your website follows these practices, you help users get comfortable quicker on your website. This in turn allows them to maneuverer quickly to their intended destination.
Making the Purchase Process Easy
Once you have ferried a user to the product of interest, you now need to ensure their road to a completed purchase is smooth. Again, this would mean reducing the number of pages and form fills that you require a user to go through.
For mobile users, we recommend you to have auto form filling features that allow users to quickly input in details with the aid of their smartphone. Combined with a minimised number of form fields, users should be able to breeze through the actual purchase process.
It is also equally important that you provide different payment options such as credit, debit, Paypal or even bank transfer. This caters to the user and ensures that they would not need to set up an additional payment channel in order to purchase your product.
Making Your E-Commerce Store Visible
Once you are confident of the user journey on your e-commerce store, then it is time to get traffic to it. There are several avenues through which you can get traffic from. For starters, we will be looking at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is the art of making your website visible on search engine’s organic rankings.
The fundamentals of SEO do apply to e-commerce websites as you need to map out your keywords to pages. However, SEO for e-commerce websites brings an extra layer of complexity. Simply put, with so many variations of a single product, search engines struggle to determine which page to attribute a keyword to. As such, it is important that you use canonical tags to correctly point product variations to a single main page.
Other than SEO, you should strongly consider establishing a presence on social media. Given the ever-increasing amount of time that users spend on social media, it makes sense to target them there. Equally important is that while SEO is a pulling force, social media is a marketing push. Rather than waiting for users to search for your products, you can show it to them. This allows you to inform them about a problem they did not know and present them with the solution.
Choose Mediaplus Digital as your Web Design Partner
Mediaplus Digital is a Web design Singapore agency with more than 10 years’ experience.
Our web development team provides mobile responsive websites that are both intuitive and attractive to users. As a premier web design agency, we pride ourselves on providing sound advice to clients and effective project management.