“Remember, every ‘mistake’ your customer makes, it’s not because they’re stupid. It’s because your website sucks”
-Peep Laja, Founder of ConversionXL
Ecommerce has been on the rise since the pandemic. In fact, in the United States, online sales stood at $870 billion in 2021, marking a 50.5% increase over 2019, and a 14.2% increase over 2020. During the same year, e-shopping represented 13.2% of total US retail sales, and we expect that this number would grow to be 95% of all purchases by 2040 globally. That’s huge, isn’t it?
At this point it is crucial to note the diversity of online shopping. Here’s some data that might help you out.
- The fastest growth in online sales over the past two years was in furniture, building materials, and electronics. These categories cumulatively grew more than 200% since 2019.
- According to eMarketer, the food and beverage segment jumped 170% in 2021.
- The growth in apparel and several other categories was around the industry average at 39%.
These numbers show that the e-commerce is here to stay, and that’s exactly why people don’t want to delay having on online presence and expanding at a faster pace than ever. However, with this jump in stores, the competition is becoming cut-throught too. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?
Why people shop online?
The biggest benefit of online shopping is the seamless services and extended reach it provides. The digital trends are constantly evolving in combination with the customers’ demands and needs. So, if you think that your e-store can survive without keeping pace with these trends, you’re highly mistaken.
So, what should you do to rise above the competition?
To be honest, only constructing an ecommerce website and listing your products is of no good use. You need to keep your website updated with the latest features and make sure there are no bugs. After all, it’s all about providing a seamless shopping experience, isn’t it?
If you’re still reading this article, that means you are either finding a solution to your website not being able to rock in the market, or you’re extremely interested in making everything better for your customers! Whatever the reason is, we’re glad you’re here.
We understand that building a website is not easy. It requires an investment of several hours and labor for multiple activities. You would definitely want to make everything as perfect as possible – user interface, layouts, content, etc. But after some time, many shop owners realize that things aren’t turning out the way they expected. Their conversion rate is minimal or a competitive edge is missing. This doesn’t mean they need to right away start redesigning the website. The first step is to identify what’s going wrong and what are the problems stopping visitors from getting converted. Understanding why a customer is leaving your website and not buying the product is extremely important. At the end of the day, the main purpose of building an online website is to make money and anything that is a hindrance, needs to be fixed!
When working on your website, you need to answer the following questions:
Is it user-friendly? Does it offer a quality experience? Is it up-to-date with the latest features and trends? Is it generating the conversions you desire? Is it loading fast enough? Are the bounce rates low?
Well, if the answer to any of the above questions is no, then you need to seriously consider getting a website upgrade.
While making any bold decisions about your online business, you should know that 55% of online shoppers speak openly about a bad experience with a product or company. And we’re sure you wouldn’t want your site to be a part of such conversations.
Now, if you’re wondering about the exact warning signs you need to look out for, here are 7 indicators which will help you out. (They’ll literally scream at you demanding an upgrade, all you need to do is hear!)
1. Poor User Interface
A website should provide a smooth and simplified shopping experience. No user should face problems in finding their desired product. The competition is growing, and the price margin leverage is becoming less important in comparison to user experience. In fact, a study shows that 71% of shoppers prefer to purchase from websites that are more convenient when the price of the products they offer is equal. Navigation will affect every aspect of your website’s performance, from bounce rates to conversions.
There is no doubt to the fact that interface and design is the first thing that any user sees when they visit your online store. Hence, a website with poor aesthetics and unappealing graphics will discourage users from interacting leading to high bounce rates. Users will give up your website altogether if at any point they feel difficulty in shifting pages.This will lead to increase in bounce rates, which will harm your business and give a negative impression of the website. Google says that 73% of users will leave a poorly designed mobile site and prefer the one that makes their purchasing process easier.
You should make sure the users are able to find out whatever they’re looking for within a few clicks. Your contact details should be available on the website so that customers can easily reach you in case of problems. Other things you can include are live chat, terms and conditions, latest listings, notifications, FAQ page and multiple payment options. So, if you feel this is the problem, you should tweak the most important pages of your website or go for a complete overhaul. Customers’ shopping experience should be a priority.
2. Longer Load Time And Unresponsive Design
One thing users hate for sure is waiting. If your site makes people wait, they will lose patience and leave. A study states that the ideal loading time for 47% visitors is less than 2 seconds. Similarly, 40% users claim that they will leave the online website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. If your site takes longer than that, you should consider updating it immediately. It is an important concern because load time directly impacts your conversion rates. So, you should make sure you optimize the website to provide a fast browsing experience to the visitors.
Now, consider the following statistics:
- As many as 80% people use a smartphone to search the internet.
- Around 40% of the overall online transactions are carried out on mobile phones.
Hence, a lot of users access your online store through their smartphones or tablets, making it crucial for your website to work seamlessly on these devices. An owner needs to make sure that the website design is responsive on multiple devices, enabling customers to get whatever information they need quickly. Responsive designs help achieve a flexible and dynamic layout for your website. They use proportional measurement units instead of fixed numbers, which helps the design to adapt to the dimensions of any device.
3. Old Content and Outdated Website
It might be shocking to know that online businesses have lost around $756 billion in the last year just because of poor eCommerce personalization.
The internet world is evolving continuously and new features are being introduced every other day. There are new trends, new tech, new programming languages and much more. Thus, your website design also needs upgrading. You have to try your level best to capture the newness in your store, in terms of both design and facilities. Your website visitors are aware of these updates and would not like to settle for anything less than the best. Any outdated product, service or content, might drive them away. No business owner wants this to happen. So, make it a habit to update your website regularly with new content or products. Make sure to keep updating buttons and features in case they look unappealing or old-fashioned. You can also consider introducing modern color schemes and visual cues to attract new audiences. You can’t have a 2010 made website running in 2022. This is sure to put off visitors. A website which has dull, old or pale content will not attract many users. In fact, a study shows that creating 16 new pages of content monthly would attract three times more visitors. This is because uploading fresh content on a regular basis gives your website a better exposure on search results, provides more value to visitors and improves the overall quality of your service.
4. Improper Search Engine Optimization
The popularity and trustworthiness of a website is commonly judged by how high it ranks on Google, Bing, and other search engines. As an owner, you should give prime focus to carrying out on-page search engine optimization properly. The keywords you use should be relevant to your business and help you rank higher.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Multiple pages should be linked internally
- Content should be fresh and relevant
- Titles should be concise but powerful
- Pages can have unique and interesting descriptions
- High-quality graphics should be used to support the written content
- The URL of the page should include keywords
Moreover, a call-to-action or CTA is used to motivate the visitor to take the next step towards conversion. This makes monitoring the impact of your CTAs imperative. The Click Through Rate of your website would highlight whether your CTA needs any kind of adjustment or not. Thus, if the CTR is in single digits, you should immediately consider updating it.
5. Unsafe or Unprotected Environment
Security is one of the most important things to be considered while building or maintaining a website. With the increasing level of internet penetration, security breaches have become more common than ever. People are more cautious of anything that might hamper their data’s safety. This is why making visitors feel secure and protected is essential otherwise they might leave as soon as anything feels suspicious. No matter what benefits you provide, nobody would sacrifice or take a risk with their personal information.
Privacy or data branches adversely impact the business’ reputation, financials, market shares, and customer preferences. Therefore, implementing strict security measures is crucial for the long-term existence of an ecommerce platform, especially if you don’t want your business to close down due to cybercriminals.
If you want to make your users feel protected, you must take appropriate safety protocols. HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure will help make your website more secure. This would also add a safe padlock icon near the URL indicating that everything’s good with your website. Just the presence of this icon would make visitors feel safe and build trust. Therefore having a safe website environment is imperative if you want to grow your business. As the owner of the website, you are responsible to protect your users’ data and implement optimum safety protocols.
6. Dead Links And CTAs
No business owner wants to leave a bad impression on their potential customer. And that’s exactly why you should avoid having any broken or dead links on your website. They repel the user from your website and discourage him/her from navigating further. This results in higher bounce rates and poor user experience. Broken or dead links redirect the user to the 404 error page rather than the intended page. This failed connection intrigues the user to leave the website altogether. So, in case you have any of these links on your website, prefer removing or changing them as soon as possible.
As a business owner, you obviously would not want to have lower conversion rates. Nobody runs a site just to make people visit it. Rather, you would want them to stay for some time, and perform the desired steps. These steps or functions could be as simple as signing up for a newsletter to as complicated as making a purchase. The point being, you want them to accept whatever value you’re offering. Getting a random visitor to do what you desire or respond to a CTA is called conversion. In fact, having CTA buttons can give a 45% boost in clicks. Now, if your visitors are not getting converted, there is some fundamental problem in your website that is discouraging the traffic from performing the necessary actions.
7. Weak and Irrelevant Branding
Ecommerce industry does not expect your website to be something extremely unique. However, the similarity of all stores brings up the problem of brand identity. You need to make your website look interesting and attractive because websites that look like hundreds of other platforms end up being forgotten. You need to find something that makes your website memorable. It could be a service, a feature, a logo, a slogan, or anything else that makes your shop stand out from the crowd. So, ask yourself- “Does my website look similar to thousands of other shops?” If the answer is yes, then you need to upgrade your ecommerce/service website as soon as possible!
Your website should represent a strong brand. Visitors appreciate uniformity in images, headers, formatting, logos, and fonts. Basically, every element of your website should highlight your brand otherwise users would easily forget about your business and its offerings. However, a store owner also needs to make sure that the branding is done in the right direction and no color, design, or image depicts something that’s not relevant to what they do. If you feel this is the problem with your website, upgrade it with a new brand-focussed strategy and design. Always make sure your content creates a unique identity for your business. Customers should remember you and your brand even after closing the website.
The interesting combination of aware buyers and ferocious competition has made the ecommerce world more challenging than ever. Customers expect your website’s features, content, design and all other things to be seamless and updated. Your visitors want you to make them stay, and you can do that only when you have the best tactics up your sleeve. So, make sure you do everything possible to grab their eye, retain their attention, and provide them the best possible user experience. The greatest win would be to adapt to the incessantly growing needs of your audience with a customer-centric approach. All your efforts should be towards making shopping on your app safer, faster and easier.
Websites serve as a powerful tool in converting random traffic into potential leads. And if this is true, how can you overlook the importance of diligently maintaining it? Carrying out this timely maintenance is as necessary as listing your products since it directly influences the expansion of the consumer base, which, in turn, affects your online business’ growth potential. We, at CMS Minds, also provide a few WordPress and Shopify plugins which might help you make your website standout!
The key to e-success lies in optimization of everything, from color palettes to security protocols. All pages of your e-store should be optimized to enhance utility and experience. There should be easy navigation, prominent display of features, attractive graphics, safe and sound payment options, aesthetic color palette, proper placement of CTAs, new and relevant content, and fast webpage shifts among several others. All these should be efficiently aligned with the latest trends and marketing stunts that are ruling the industry. Therefore, upgrading your service or ecommerce website is a big decision that needs to be taken timely otherwise it could potentially hamper your business.