From the moment of reaching your homepage to the final purchase, the consumer has to make a few big steps. If you don’t want them to turn around, you have to be sure to give them the best possible shopping experience at each phase of that journey. Let’s follow your consumer’s steps from the main page till the checkout page and see what you can do at any given time in order to make their online shopping experience unforgettable.
What makes a good Shopping Experience on the Main Page?
Simple Page Navigation
Your homepage is usually the first step of the consumer’s shopping experience journey. A good or bad first impression is, in most cases, the main factor in their decision to stay or leave. Design is important, I admit, however in the case of online shops what really matters is how user friendly the website is. 25 % of online shoppers admit that complicated e-commerce websites discourage them from purchasing.1 Thus, the advice is simple: don’t over-complicate things and keep your site navigation as easy and intuitional as possible. A transparent menu, clear product categories and search button are all crucial. If the consumer feels that they can easily find what they are looking for, you have passed the first test.
Fast Loading (on Desktop and Mobile)
You probably know from your own online shopping experience that there’s nothing more frustrating than websites that load for ages. And since according to Hubspot time saving is one of the reasons why people opt for online shopping, having a website that loads quickly and efficiently is a necessity. So optimize the size of your images, make sure your hosting provider is the right one and avoid sliders or other Flash elements. Also bear in mind that more and more consumers use phones and tablets for shopping. Thus, fast loading has to apply to mobile devices as well, especially that 57% of mobile customers will abandon your site if they have to wait 3 seconds for a page to load.2
Helpful and Polite Customer Service
Though not all customers have to use it, those who do will definitely appreciate good customer service. That factor is more important they you may think: 89% of shoppers have stopped buying from online stores after they’ve experienced poor customer service.4 Thus, if you wonder why some of your customers don’t come back, make sure this is not case. Helpful, well informed and polite consultants are the key to success. They should be easy to reach via both phone and e-mail and available most of the time. There’s nothing more frustrating that permanently busy line or waiting days for a reply to an email .
Positive Shopping Experience on your Product Pages
Detailed Information about the Product
The main drawback of an online shopping experience is the inability to see and touch the product as in a regular store. That’s why the consumers expect you to provide them with enough information to assess whether the product will suit their needs. You can’t expect them to buy a pig in a poke. First of all, make sure every product in your store has a detailed description and at least 3 good quality photos, showing it from different angles. Whenever it’s possible, you should also provide a professional product video. Our data shows that e-commerce videos can increase conversion rates by up to 4 times, which proves that videos make it much easier for consumers to make a final purchase decision.
Isn’t it easier for a consumer to imagine a product after seeing a product video like this?
Another factor positively influencing an online shopping experience is reviews. 71% consumers agree that e-commerce reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product or service.3 Reviews provide consumers with additional and most importantly unbiased information about the product and thus make the final purchase decision much easier. They not only lower the risk that the item bought will be unsatisfying, but also make the shop appear more trustworthy. Thus, if you want your consumers to feel secure and comfortable on your site, introduce e-commerce reviews to your online store.
Competitive Prices and Discounts
What makes a shopping experience truly positive for some customers is the feeling of satisfaction because they bought a good product cheaply. It’s obvious that if your prices are too high, the consumer will go to a competitor. However, even making them comparable to competitors doesn’t ensure success. What does, are discounts. According to VWO eCommerce Survey , 62% female online shoppers and 57% male pay attention to discounts. Thus, if you want to please your consumers, seasonal discounts for particular products are necessary.
Checkout Page Shopping Experience Guidelines
Fair Shipping and Return Policy
No matter how good your prices are, if the shipping costs are unreasonably high, no consumer will be pleased. It’s easy to check how much it costs to send a package and if consumers notice your shipping costs are much higher, they will feel cheated. Bear in mind also that free shipping is becoming more and more common. No wonder, according to Econsultancy 83% of shoppers would shop online more, knowing they don’t have to pay for it. So sparingly, you can earn money by not making your consumers pay. The same also applies to returns. Consumers feel more secure and as a result more willing to buy, if the know they can return the product for free. The last important tip to improve your customers’ shopping experience: inform them how long will it take for the product to be delivered and bear in mind that the faster, the better.
Speed and Ease of Checkout
You definitely did a good job in terms of providing positive shopping experience if your consumer reaches this point. The checkout is a deciding moment and to lose the consumer here would be a real pity. Therefore, make sure that the checkout process is as straightforward and quick as possible. Though it may be tempting to do otherwise, ask only for those information which you really need. Consumers don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal details and don’t want to waste time for filling long forms. 23% of them will be discouraged by having to create a new user account.5 Think about the possibility of allowing them to login through their Facebook or Google account. Speed, ease and safety are even more important when it comes to payment. Various payment options and safety certificates are absolutely necessary.
Definite Cheat Sheet for Positive Shopping Experience
To sum up, take a look at our cheat sheet. Your homepage, product page and checkout page are the main steps in your consumer’s online shopping journey. If you can tick off all of the points referring to a particular phase, then you don’t need to worry. Your consumers will get the shopping experience they expect and leave your e-commerce store not only satisfied but also willing to come back.
1. Chart: Shopify, UPS