And the Title For the Worst Retail Website Goes to Homebase
Which? have run a survey to determine the best (and worst) online retail website of 2018. They asked over 10,000 people to tell them about their online shopping experiences over the course of a six month period. The respondents gave feedback based on how satisfied they were with their experience and whether or not they would recommend it to a friend. Each response was then used to create a score of each site.
At the very bottom of the list was Homebase with one of their competitors, B&Q, following closely behind. Homebase was given the lowest score of 55%, while the store at the top of list, Lizearle.com, had an impressive 94%.
Shoppers expect to receive the highest levels of customer service both in store or online. It was noted that the sites with the highest scores offered a personal service along with high quality items and fast delivery. Stores scoring low scores were found to have confusing and in many cases slow websites.
So, what makes a good e-commerce website?
It sounds crazy but there are still retailers out there (some of them large ones) who create difficult to use and confusing websites. Customers want a website to be fast and easy to use. Site design is of course important but you need to remember that people are there to buy PRODUCTS, not look at pretty colours. Look at eBay and Amazon, two of the worlds largest and most successful e-commerce sites yet neither would win awards for looks. You will need to ensure that every page/product is easily accessible, that every link works and that checkout is slick and easy.
In this day and age, almost every thing is done on mobile devices so lets focus on why it is great for an e-commerce website. The majority of people use their phone to surf the internet. They are going to want a website that is adapted to their smartphones and tablets as it will be easier for them to use. Google expects sites to be mobile friendly or your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) will probably suffer. You need to provide the best user experience possible. Going mobile friendly (Responsive), allows you to do this. To find out more about why going mobile friendly can benefit your business, click here.
Social media is a huge market place almost guaranteed to contain your target demographic. Including your social media links in to your website has many benefits, one of which is that you are able to form a bond with your customers. Social media gives e-commerce brands the opportunity to show authenticity and portray an emotional connection with their products.
Having security features shows that you are a legitimate business. It’s a well know fact that customers trust websites more if they are secure. It provides them with additional piece of mind knowing that any information they give is safe. There are many security related features that your site can have such as an SSL certificate, encrypted usernames and passwords etc.
Clear Delivery Charges
One of the main reasons for abandoned shopping carts is unexpected delivery charges. It is better to be upfront with how much you charge for shipping so that customers are aware of what they are about to pay. On many websites, delivery charges or discount codes are often displayed at the top of the screen, easily noticeable as soon as you visit the site. According to another survey, shoppers spend up to 30% more when free shipping is included.
Easy Return Policy
Shopping online can be difficult as you have no idea what your product is going to look like. This is because all you’ve seen is an image. It’s estimated that almost a third of online purchases are returned. This might sound like a lot but, over 90% will buy from your site again, if it is easy to return items. Not that many online customers actually check the return policy before buying. Therefore, it should be made clear to every customer if possible.
Presentation is vital with e-commerce and first impressions are lasting impressions. Having a visually unpleasing website can put a customer off at first glance. When creating your website, you should think about the customer first. You’ll want to think about how you want them to feel when they look at your site. It is your sites’ presentation and how the overall look that reflects your brand. You will want to consider both aspects from your customers point of view and your business. Remember to link your presentation to your usability as they are both equally important. Consider professional photography – images of bad resolution can be just as off putting as bad website navigation.
Detailed Product Descriptions
As your customers won’t have your product physically in front of them when buying online it’s essential to provide a detailed enough description. Not just good images. For your customers, it gives them an insight in to what they are purchasing. If it’s clothes you’re selling, include a size chart, explanation of material and colour. If it is furniture then measurements should be included. When selling skin care products, people will need to know ingredients included. This is to ensure they aren’t allergic to your product or have any bad reactions. By taking the extra time to add detailed descriptions you could increase your sales. Not to mention save yourself a lot of bad feedback.
Fast & Simple Checkout
Online customers don’t like long and complicated check outs. You don’t like long and difficult ques in-store right? Online is just the same. It is estimated that you could lose up to 70% of purchases because of the check out process. It also helps if you have more than one payment method as customers will sometimes have a preference. If your only payment method is PayPal then you’re limiting your client base as not everyone will have a PayPal account or know how to use it. You should have a clear ‘Check Out’ button, site security displayed, images of product in the cart with sizes shown. In case customers are confused at the check out, it helps to make the ‘support’ button noticeable.
Search Engine Friendly
SEO is vital for any website but probably more so for e-commerce websites. In order for your site to get traffic and ultimately sales, you need to be on the first page of search engine results. It is all about creating the best experience for your users to keep them coming back time after time. To find out more, visit our blog on The Importance of SEO.
For any further information about how we can support your e-commerce website, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.