17 Best Ecommerce Practices of 2020
A boatload of eCommerce statistics for 2019 have been collected. The results are both startling and eye-opening, at the same time. On the positive side of things, the number of digital buyers will surpass 2.1 billion mark by 2021. That means there is a lot to look forward to.
As many buyers learn to make purchases online, eCommerce businesses will ultimately thrive. But not everyone will enjoy amazing success rates. Why? because their shops are not fully optimized for profits. If you take a good look at your store(even better, do A/B testing), you’ll realize there are things you haven’t done right.
This article is going to take a look at some of the best eCommerce practices that drive conversions and engagement. These practices will help you optimize your online shop for massive or at the least, satisfactory returns.
Most of the concepts in this guide do not require you to have deep pockets. Some can be adopted through the use of free tools and software programs. If you possess a few design skills, you might spend nothing at all. Let’s get rolling, then.
The Best Ecommerce Practices To Adopt in 2020
Here’s what you can do to your online store to ramp up ROI:
Add Security Seals to your store
Trust is one of the key elements of a successful online business. No one wants to buy from a store that is not verified by security software companies. The presence of a security seal assures your buyers of safe transactions. Bigger companies like McAfee, Verisign, Norton, and Accredited Business carry a lot of weight.
Some customers don’t know what trust seals stand for. That’s why established brands include physical addresses, contact numbers, reviews, and testimonials. These are some of the things most people relate trust with.
Have multiple payment channels
Not everyone has access to PayPal, VISA or MasterCard. Additionally, each method has different transaction charges. So if you have limited payment gateways, you are going to have so many abandoned carts. That means lost sales that could have boosted your overall profits.
Top payment choices include VISA, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, Stripe, Discover Card, Authorize.net, SecurePay, 2Checkout, and Skrill. Besides providing multiple payment platforms, you can also simplify checkouts, provide guest checkouts and allow for mobile payments like Apple Pay. This is one of the best eCommerce practices that prevent shopping cart abandonment.
There are checkout best practices to observe as well. The checkout page needs to have a visual indicator that tells the customers at what purchase stage they are in. This prepares them psychologically so nothing (including impatience) dissuades them from checking out.
At the end, show them a summary of their purchase. This includes the product name, color, price, etc. This clears any doubts they might have on whether they selected the right product or not. With the summary nearby, they can now proceed to complete the transaction. Check the screenshot below for inspiration.
Leverage best eCommerce SEO practices
In the world of online business, the one at the top of the search engine pages gains the most. You could have the most wanted products or something that is yet to be a big deal. However, without appearing in the front pages of the search engines, no one will know your site exists.
There are so many eCommerce SEO tips. The first and foremost is optimizing your homepage for faster speeds. A report by Kissmetrics found that website visitors expect a site to load in a second, two or three. A delay by a microsecond can result in dwindling conversions averaging to unbelievable figures annually.
It’s not Tom Cruise’s mission impossible-scale to optimize an eCommerce homepage for better speeds. Some of the factors you might need to work on include:
- Reducing image size
- Reducing HTTP requests
- Using a few primary plugins and doing away with bad ones
- Enable compression
- Remove render-blocking resources
- Optimizing CSS delivery
- Cut down redirects
- Enable browser caching
But how do I know where the problem exists? It’s simple. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insight. It will highlight all the areas that need fixing. There are many other things to consider from keyword research, content marketing, site architecture to link building. Check out Backlinko’s eCommerce SEO guide to learn how you get your business to the top pages.
Write product descriptions
If a picture is worth a thousand words, why bother adding descriptions? If this thought ever comes into your mind, rebuke it to the farthest periphery of hell. You can’t sell a product based on images only. There needs to be descriptive text that tells buyers what it is, what it does, what it consists of and much more.
But since your buyers are probably short on time, you need to be brief. Just list a few key pointers that reveal what the product does, how it’s used and key benefits. Do not cover history or layout too much than is necessary. That won’t drive sales. So keep it short and sweet-always.
Try to offer free shipping
Free shipping is one of the strongest marketing tools ever invented. When a customer sees the word free, they get spellbound. They can’t leave the site. Free shipping, to begin with, solves one of your biggest worries-shopping cart abandonment.
But let’s get real for a minute. There is nothing free shipping. With carriers raising their rates each year, you will run into losses if you offer sitewide free shipping. Which brings us to the most important question; how do you offer free shipping without going broke?
you can increase the price of your commodities to include shipping fees and then offer free shipping. This would allow you to deduct all expenses incurred and still retain some profit. The best part about this is that your customer believes he/she got the best offer.
Do not offer free shipping for low-value products. That would put off customers. Instead, you can set a reasonable sales target that qualifies to earn zero shipping charges. Higher thresholds would be unattainable for most clients sending bounce rates to the roof.
Secondly, rather than offering freebies to everyone, you can make custom coupons for first-time buyers only. This provides you with an opportunity to convert a newcomer into a repeat customer.
you can also offer free shipping during important holidays like Christmas, New year and others. There are also those one-time promotional offers that run for like 48 hours. This works better when you send out emails to trigger massive sales. These are a few ways you can offer free shipping without creating a dent in your bank account.
For transparency’s sake, list the rates or discounts on every page (maybe in the header, footer, etc.). This helps the customer to keep in mind the deductions ahead.
Use clear navigation
If your store is pretty big, then you must have product categories and subcategories. Rather than bundle everything poorly and hope that buyers would benefit from the search bar, segment your products into categories. Most experts’ advice that the last category should be three clicks away from the homepage.
Here is a sample display of a good product category;
You can draw a sitemap of how your products should appear. If not, then use online programs like GlooMaps. You can get motivation from other established brands like Amazon and the rest.
Adopt the scarcity principle
Eliminating friction is one of the best eCommerce conversion tactics that have to be employed all the time. Customers have a habit of postponing decisions and when they bookmark your site, there is no assurance they will be back to complete a transaction.
So when a buyer lands on your site, you must gently force them to make a purchase. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a sense of urgency or scarcity. You can do this by adding a timer to a product banner so they can know when the offer will end.
Some of the phrases used to create a sense of urgency or scarcity include:
- Limited stocks
- Offer ends soon
- Only a few hours left
- The sale ends tonight
- Don’t miss out-only (x) hours to go
- Only three items remaining
Once you have your banners up, leave the rest to FOMO-fear of missing out.
Include a search bar
Have you ever seen an eCommerce site without a search bar? You haven’t, right? Then why should yours lack one? Many customers who are tech-savvy know that the way to arriving at the product they need is through the search bar. Such visitors usually want to buy right away.
So by having the search feature, you’ll be increasing your site’s conversion rates. Worth mentioning, put the search tool in a place where it can be seen clearly.
Integrate a live chat support
Customers at times have questions. These questions have to be answered before they can click the buy button. In offline shops, there would always be a shop attendant to reply to queries and put the customer’s worries to rest. You can do the same by having a live chat button.
Besides a live chat, you can also leave an email or phone number so others can reach you. These are among the best ways to reduce eCommerce bounce rates.
Use Plenty of Attractive images
Do you know why offline shops are still the best way for people to shop? Because you get to see, feel and try on the actual product. Online shoppers don’t have this privilege. That is why many internet businesses are looking into eCommerce product photography.
Product photography can give you insights on how to shoot your own beautiful photos on a budget. You can also resort to tools like Canva and Stencil. Use clear photos and provide images that show all the angles. There are also tools that allow you to use 360 degrees photos.
Have a FAQ section
Every website that sells products or services must have an FAQ section. This section provides information to customers who want feedback there and then. A phone number, live chat, and email address have one thing in common-delays. But a frequently asked question section provides instant answers.
This section should be comprehensive and cover everything from return policies, shipping rates, transaction fees, shipping times to everything that is worth pointing out.
How many items on your site are competing for attention? Do you think the visitors will figure out which direction they need to go?
Your website should have a clean, clutter-free outlook. The moment buyers land, they should be able to see the search tool, CTA, product pages and any offers you have available. If you bundle everything up or throw them around without planning, you’ll drive some people away.
This principle also applies to your product pages. Rather than have different sections for vests, sweaters, and t-shirts, you can have them under “Tops”. Do not expand your website unnecessarily and harm your conversion rates.
Sending shopping cart abandonment alerts
Marketing is like dating; you never give up trying. When a buyer stashes some goods in their cart, it means they wanted to buy them. Perhaps they got on a call and forgot to complete the process. Or maybe a visitor got in and in the process of chatting everything else went to the backburner.
Sending them an email alert could be all they needed to come back and make the purchase. If they don’t, then you need to throw in a discount or find out what conversion barrier they encountered and remove it.
Write blog posts
Many eCommerce stores run blogs as a tactic to keep their customers stick around. This is the ultimate way to keep and have a large following.
The absence of a blog will mean one time buyers will have no reason to stick around. But when you post regularly, someone will find a reason to make another. The coolest thing about blogging is that you don’t get to spend a lot.
Quick question; do you know what to blog about? No? Alright. Here are key topic ideas an eCommerce store should cover:
- Post staff picks and favorites-recommendations and staff pick is a great way to show customers other nice stuff to spend on. Additionally, it shows the real humans behind your business.
- Industry trends- Fashion keeps changing every now and then. This makes for a very good topic to cover. In fact, there are many fashion lovers and gurus always tuned in to know what’s coming next. So don’t stop updating them via your blog.
- Write how-to’s- You got some expertise? Good. Show people how to use or go about something. Your invaluable advice will keep them around for a long time.
- Interview an influencer-Everyone wants to know what the influencer knows. With such a massive following, influencers can spread your name to a whole new level. Besides that, their knowledge could be both entertaining and useful to your customers.
Other topics you can cover include gift ideas, roundups, news, teasers, and fan-made customer content.
Integrate mobile solutions
Virtually all adults possess a phone and over half of them have smartphones. Since most of the customers you are targeting move around with their phones, its ideal to offer mobile solutions. This begins with making your site mobile responsive.
Secondly, you should allow for mobile payments like Apple Pay. PayPal OneTouch, Google Pay, Square Cash, Venmo and many more. This way, your shop will always move around with your customers. You can also find out if your store is ready for a mobile app solution or not.
Avoid the Sliding Carousels
Gone are the days when sliding carousels used to be a fad. Currently, they are considered distracting. They take attention away from calls-to-action buttons and discount banners-and that’s bad for business.
Secondly, sliding carousels interfere with design usability. Sometimes they are too fast to even allow someone to admire the product. If you have to use sliders, then use the rotating ones, but make them manual. Otherwise, it’s good to use a static image.
Ecommerce profits are higher for individuals who are always involved. For instance, when you make a sale, the battle should not end there. Maybe the individual who bought the tennis ball is not aware you have Headbands, Tennis shoes, and rackets. You need to suggest to them these accompanying accessories. if you don’t, they might take that money to someone else.
Here is a good example of what Amazon does-and it works:
Wrapping it up
There are millions of eCommerce businesses. Even in your niche, you are not alone. There are others who are likely at the top or on the way to beating you. The only way to stay on top is by sticking to the best eCommerce practices.
The best practices not only give your customers an easy time but make them feel special. Everything from your interface, product pages to bottom page content must help in making you a top choice in your niche.
As at this moment, it’s possible you don’t know where to start. But we do. Start with AB testing. This is the best way to know what is crooked and what is working. Also, optimizing your website is not an easy task. It’s not something you can rush through. Take your time, okay? All the best. Ooh, and don’t forget to share this article. Someone else needs to benefit too (winks).