By Mark Simpson, Maxymiser
The convenience of home shopping, greater choice and preferential pricing available via the web, coupled with growing confidence in secure payments and robust returns policies, have changed buying behaviour so that many shoppers now prefer to complete their purchases online.
Yet, whilst e-commerce has been a booming business for a long time now, many online store experiences remain poor.
The sheer scale of online revenues being generated today by retailers, mean that these companies’ web strategies have now become business-critical.
At the moment too many websites are not user-friendly - from failing to include search facilities, to wiping clean forms if the customer goes back to a previous page, and numerous shambolic omissions in between.
The result is that customers are still being bounced around poorly put-together web sites in such a way that they are left dizzy and frustrated by the time they shut down their PC, with their basket still empty.
If e-commerce businesses are to maximise their online sales this Christmas then they need to be able to monitor customers and track their preferences as they move around their web site.
The use of multivariate technology now allows brands to test out thousands of slightly different variations in a live environment to see which yields the best results. By taking this approach, companies can deliver a better web experience which offers customers web page layouts, sequences and content that have been dynamically put together based on users’ demonstrated preferences.
10 TOP TIPS FOR BOOSTING E-COMMERCE SALES THIS CHRISTMAS
1. Keep it fresh
Static websites don’t perform as well at Christmas, so keep updating content and presentation in order to entice shoppers to spend more.
2. Test as you go
Live testing and iterative tweaking is the key to high conversion rates. Even subtle changes such as font size, colour and language can have a huge impact on revenues so keep testing different variations to see what yields the best results.
3. Get in the Christmas spirit
Customise your website so that it has a festive look and feel and clearly display the items most likely to sell at Christmas on the most popular pages.
4. Personalise your promotional messaging
Make sure that product offers, discounts and promotions are prominently displayed and have been personalised to match your customer’s individual needs. By utilising personalisation techniques, you can effectively offer the equivalent of a bricks and mortar store where everything your customer wants to buy is easily located in one single aisle.
5. Up-sell and cross-sell
Make the right recommendations to consumers at the right stage of the buying process in order to maximise revenues. Consider ‘people who bought this also bought this’ suggestions, favourites and wish-lists.
6. Make it easy to buy!
If the registration, log-in and check-out processes on your website are too cumbersome then shoppers will simply give up and go and buy from one of your competitors instead, so thoroughly test and improve your forms.
7. Monitor customer behaviour
A one-size fits all website won’t deliver a best performing visitor experience. So use information you pick up about visitors to show targeted pages in session for your different audiences, and personalise these pages by adapting the content and items on display according to your visitors’ known preferences.
8. Make navigation easy
If shoppers are bounced around a website in such a way that leaves them dizzy and confused then they will leave with their basket still empty. Get the navigation basics right – for example, include a search facility, make the check-out page prominent, and make it easy for customers to jump between pages without wiping clean forms every time.
9. Get ready for the January sales
Many consumers are now spending just as much money in the New Year as they are in the build-up to Christmas online. Make sure you are able to hit the ground running in January with fresh content and product offers in order to stand out from the crowd. Remember to use live testing to help determine which offers have the most positive impact on your sales.
10. Keep them coming back for more
Incentivise shoppers to keep returning for more with Direct-to-Consumer offers and relevant products based on their buying history.
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