When you bring a visitor to your online shop, your main goal is to convert them into customers.
Their goal is to browse and find good, valuable deals, but they can easily get distracted with other websites they might be browsing at the same time, by their phone notifications, or simply by life happening around them.
This is why your website should give them a smooth and easy experience, but it’s also the reason there are so many things that can go wrong through their purchase process.
All of the tips listed below could also be broken down into many further details, but we wanted to keep it as simple and actionable as possible, while making it applicable to basically any type of online store.
1. Define yourself and what you have to offer
Everyone knows who Amazon or Asos are, and they don’t really need to prove what they do.
But you should, according to ConversionX.
Chances are you’re selling a particular range of products, like tech equipment, web design services, bespoke jewellery, wedding dresses, custom-made furniture, or pretty much anything that distincts you from your competitors – make that known to everyone.
Your logo and/or your site tagline are perfect spots to define what you do.
2. Perfect your search and filtering
It is completely up to yourself how many products you want to sell.
However, it should be your top priority to make every product easily discoverable from a customer perspective.
To make this happen, make sure every product you list belongs to the appropriate category and is accompanied by relevant tags and keywords.
Also, you should regularly check that your search is bug-free and brings up suggestions and results based on the search term(s) entered.
3. Showcase great images and descriptions
Properly determined tags and keywords bring us to the actual inside of each product.
The step you should under no circumstances skip is having a great quality photo with each product.
The more sides of a product you can show, the better – but let the visitors choose a photo they want to see, in case you list more than one.
This means you shouldn’t clutter the screen with 10 full-size photos – one larger photo with a viewable gallery is enough.
A good description should have a short version and a longer one.
The short one should give your visitors a brief idea of what the product is, and some main characteristics.
On the other hand, long description should leave a visitor without any further questions, bringing all the details such as specifications, dimensions and other details in an easily-digestible language.
4. Display a clear call-to-action
This one is very straightforward: make it clear for your visitor how to add a product to their cart, how to proceed with shopping and continue to checkout.
These are things that your visitors don’t want to spend their time searching for, so make them obvious and clear.
5. Make your help contact information very visible
When we are shopping from behind the safety of our keyboard, we don’t have salespeople and customer care staff within arm’s reach to ask them for help like we do in an actual store.
So instead, let your visitors know your support team is always available.
You can do that in more than one way, so choose the one that suits you best.
If you are offering phone support, make sure your phone number is very visible on any page so your visitors don’t have to search for it.
You can also offer email support, live chat or any other way and combination you prefer – just keep it visible and functional!
For example, Apple does this with offering live chat in the bottom left side of the screen.
6. Ease the process with progress indicators
One thing everyone needs to know during online shopping is the time and steps it will take them to complete the purchase.
One of the best ways to provide this information is to clearly show a number of steps left until the process is completed.
Is it a one-step checkout?
Make it clear and simple and your visitor will turn into a customer in no time.
Is there more than one step?
It’s not a problem – just make them easy, visible and hassle-free. Moz also advises to make the progress indicator clickable, so that the customer can always go back and verify information.
7. Address any uncertainties and objections
When we are returning customers to a shop, we know the whole drill already.
But what happens when we’re buying from someone for the first time?
What about shipping policy, delivery timeframe and returns?
Make them visible and easy to review at any point so your visitor doesn’t spend more than a second looking for all the information to securely proceed to that magical ‘Confirm’ button.
A great example is Groupon checkout page, with expandable frequently asked questions on the right hand side.
8. And finally – provide simple checkout
Checkout topic can be a whole range of articles on its own, going into much more detail.
However, there are a few musts to be listed as basics that every checkout process should aim towards.
Never ask the same information twice and don’t ask for information you absolutely don’t need to.
You should pre-fill information whenever you can (e.g. automatically select the cheapest shipping option, but list and make available other options if you have them).
Leave out anything that could complicate the process, allow your visitors to checkout as guests, and limit navigations and exit points in order to reduce the possibility of distractions.
Flipkart does this, offering a very clean and focused checkout:
There can be many buttons and options available for a customer, such as ‘Save for later’, ‘Redeem’ or ‘Apply’, so make sure your ‘Buy’, ‘Place order’ or ‘Confirm’ button is extremely clear so your visitor doesn’t spare a second on thinking where to click to complete the process.