By Lihi Pinto Fryman, Co-founder and CMO at Syte
Online shopping is booming and so far, it shows no signs of slowing down. Global revenues from online retail will reach $4.88 trillion in 2021. On the same year, the number of digital shoppers in the United States alone is projected to grow to 230.5 million. Worldwide, 2.14 billion consumers will make a purchase online.
With thousands of eCommerce sites that consumers can access anytime, anywhere, how do you set yours apart from competition? Here are five best practices to consider.
#1: Improve product search
As the starting point of product discovery, search can make or break your customers’ shopping experience. For Mike Lowndes, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, “Search is a critical part of a commerce funnel […] with a potentially high impact on conversion.”
However, Baymard Institute found that 70% of eCommerce sites require users to search by the exact product type jargon the site uses and 60% don’t support thematic search queries such as “spring jacket” or “office chair.”
Improve the usability of your website or app search engine and deliver accurate search results. With a deep tagging powered textual site search solution that has auto-suggest, spelling correction, and natural language processing capabilities, your shoppers can immediately connect with the products they’re looking for.
#2: Enable customers to search via images
Better yet, remove the barriers of textual search altogether, and add a more intuitive functionality: Visual search. In fact, 62% of shoppers want visual search over any other new technologies to enhance their digital shopping experience.
Marks and Spencer has a visual search option on their mobile website
With visual search, your customers don’t need to find the right or exact words to search for products on your site. Using just an image or a screenshot of an inspiration, the technology automatically detects all shoppable items and show your customers visually similar products you have on stock.
For today’s shoppers who are constantly inspired by content from visual social networks such as Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, visual search is a great addition to your website or app features.
#3: Dynamic pages
Once your customers start exploring individual products on your website or app, it’s time to make sure that your product pages keep them engaged until they make a purchase. You may choose to implement any or all of the following.
- Make your product descriptions appealing. Help your customers know more about your products as much as possible. If it’s fashion, show them how it looks when worn. If it’s home décor, add additional images that show styling tips.
- Add value propositions. Entice customers with benefits that are hard to resist. Who knows, maybe a “free shipping” or “easy returns” note on your product pages might just be the final push for your customers to add to cart and proceed to payment.
- Show related items for better product discovery. Leverage your customers’ interest and show similar options to what they’re already looking at. If they make a visual search, you can also help them complete the look by showing related products to all the shoppable items from the image they uploaded.
Myntra shows ‘Similar Products’ on individual products pages
#4: Remove barriers to checkout
Don’t break the path of instant gratification and spontaneous shopping. If your customers must sign up or else, they can’t continue with the purchase, now is the perfect time to remove that wall.
Put guest options at checkout. If you really want to get their information for future marketing campaigns, pick the right moment. You can ask them after they made a purchase. Or, give them a reason to drop their email such as to track their orders.
#5: Deliver an unforgettable brand experience
On top of these technical features, what brings it all together is the overall experience your customers have on your website or app. KPMG revealed that 78% of young consumers prefer to spend money on experiences and share these experience-related purchases on social media.
Even if eCommerce transactions are obviously done on devices, there are ways to deliver a brand experience that nurtures customers throughout their shopping journey.
- Create an emotional connection. Entertain your customers by telling stories that attract them enough to engage with your website or app. Turn your ‘About Us’ page into a story. Or why not base your next marketing campaign on a personal experience that resonates with your shoppers? Under Carter’s About Us page is their blog called, “Life with Kids” which instantly resonates with parents
- Build social trust. Make your products more relatable by pairing them with user-generated content from social media platforms. Seeing real-world images by real people drives customer trust and your brand’s social proof.
- Add social buttons. For 92% of consumers, recommendations from friends and family matter and are trusted more. Increase brand awareness and reach by allowing your shoppers to share what they find on your website or app.
In the noisy world of eCommerce, focusing on what makes your brand unique and enhancing it with features such as visual search, intelligent product recommendations, and deep product tagging turn your website or app into a customer-focused powerhouse.
By putting customers at the center of your eCommerce space, you’re already one step ahead of the competition, and combining it with the right tools further improves the user experience which then leads to better conversions and sales.