By Tara Commerford
For small business, deciding to sell products and services online is fast becoming the new normal.
According to a recent survey by GoDaddy, more than half of Australian micro-businesses planning to build an online presence say their website will have an online store/e-commerce functionality. This coupled with the fact that Australia has been ranked the 10th best e-commerce market in the world by global management consulting firm AT Kearney, it’s no wonder small businesses are looking at robust ways to convert customers and sell online.
But unlike traditional, in-person sales, selling online can seem impersonal and forging a connection with a customer can be rather difficult. Selling online can be scary because there’s untapped competition. Knowing how to optimise your e-commerce website for success, however, can convert casual web visitors into happy customers. From having an intuitive, clean site design to a secure and simple checkout flow, there are many steps you can take to get your store up and running today
Here are a few tips on how to convert visitors to your e-commerce website into happy, paying customers:
1. Content is king
It’s important to have easy-to-read, relevant content on your website. Without being able to see and touch your products in person, online customers rely solely on the images and text on your website. If your product descriptions are not clear and concise, that customer will most likely take their money elsewhere.
2. Think about SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is another big reason why great content is the key to e-commerce success. Most people have heard of SEO and know it as the way Google (and other search engines) display results when someone searches for a specific keyword or phrase. These search engines are taking real, relevant content into account when determining where a website — including an e-commerce site — should rank now more than ever, so it’s incredibly important your site has great content.
3. Showcase products with media
Like having great written content, a good e-commerce website also needs to have photos or videos of the products and services you’re selling. Again, online customers usually do not get to see or use your product before buying online, so providing them with a clear image of what they are purchasing is important. The idiom, “a picture’s worth a thousand words” is very true here — quality photos are one of the biggest factors in a customer’s purchasing decision.
4. Website ease-of-use and navigation
Always think about your customer. When you are creating or building your e-commerce site, consider how easy it is for your customers to use your site. Imagine someone who is not very tech-savvy— would they get lost on your site? If a customer finds your site too hard to use or too cluttered, they will take their business elsewhere.
Make sure your customers can search your products and offerings and easily get from one page to the next on your site. If you offer a wide range of unique products, group them into different categories so it’s easier for your visitors to the site to consume the information. If a customer can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll drop off your site.
5. Optimise the checkout experience
You’ve got a potential customer on your website but it is essential to make sure they move to the next step by through visible, easy to understand “call-to-action” (CTA) buttons on your site. Now that someone is interested in your product or service, you don’t want to lose them because of a poor user experience in the checkout flow.
Again, aim for simplicity — the fewer the steps until someone clicks “buy”, the better. Some examples of CTA buttons include “Buy Now”, “Add to Cart”, and “Continue to Secure Checkout”. Whatever you decide on, make sure it both matches the design of your website and stands out, and the language is relevant to your target market.
Tara Commerford is the managing director of GoDaddy Australia.