No matter where you go, everyone seems to be talking about conversion rates and how you can improve them. Furthermore, everyone is claiming that they have found the panacea for conversion: SEO, Branding, Social Media, etc. While all such tools are effective, they are no panacea–especially for new store owners. Too many store owners rely on them either too early or exclusively, without considering the basic components of a positive customer experience. If your customers can’t easily navigate your site, they won’t stay–and they definitely won’t buy. What’s the point of attracting new customers if you don’t have an experience to sell them on?
Pamela Hazelton of Practical E-commerce discusses this in her article Shopability First, Then Social:
The problem is, garnering more traffic doesn’t necessarily translate into an increase in sales. Just as you shouldn’t pour money into a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign or SEO campaign until your store pages are completely shopable, you shouldn’t spend all your time on social media if the average visitor is spending but a few seconds on your site.
How easy is it to shop in your store? You need to ask yourself that question before you start spending money on SEO, branding, PPC, etc.
Here are some ideas for improving your site’s navigability:
(1) Install a floating shopping cart so customers can view it anywhere on the site
(2) Use Breadcrumbs so customers can easily backtrack without referring to their history
(3) Recently Viewed Items so customers can go back to items they’re considering
(4) Price/Product Comparison
(5) Single page check-out: Multi-Page checkouts have lower conversion rates
(6) Shipping Method Populator on Product Page so the customer has an estimate before they check out
(7) Advanced Search
(8) Product Ratings and Reviews
The key word is Simplicity. Online Shopping is about convenience and availability of information. Satisfy these needs by making sure that all information is not only available, but also highly accessible.