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How to Update Your Ecommerce Platform in 2022

Anything that causes frustration can cost you customers, sales, and revenue, and it’s too easy for shoppers to move on to another site with a better interface.

10 min read

Customers’ preferences are constantly changing and, to keep their business, you must adjust aspects of your service delivery accordingly. That could include introducing new products, changing your marketing methods, improving your customer care offerings, finding different social platforms to explore, and making sure your e-commerce site is meeting customer needs. 

The last one is especially important if your company only exists online. Your goal should be to create a frictionless experience for customers — that is, one that doesn’t cause annoyance. However, doing so is much easier said than done, as there are so many aspects of an e-commerce site that can present problems. 

For example, if the quality of your photos is low, visitors might not be able to see products well enough to make an informed decision. Awkward navigation might make it difficult to know how to add items to a cart or how to check out. Lack of social proof might leave shoppers with unanswered questions about how to use your products or how well they work. And that’s just the beginning. 

Anything that causes frustration can cost you customers, sales, and revenue, and it’s too easy for shoppers to move on to another site with a better interface. So, make sure the areas listed in the following sections are updated to give visitors the best possible shopping experience. 

Checkout

It may seem strange to start this list with the very last thing customers will do on your e-commerce site. But this is the place where many sales come to an abrupt end if you don’t get the process right. Make sure your checkout process includes the following functions:

  • Easy-to-find checkout buttons 
  • Numerous payment options
  • An obvious step-by-step process for collecting contact and payment information
  • An indicator to show which step in the process the customer is in and how many more remain
  • A success page that announces the order has been completed

Shipping and Return Information

Before pulling the trigger, many shoppers want to know 3 things: (1) How much does shipping cost? (2) When will my purchase arrive? and (2) How easy is it to return items I don’t like? Put all of this information together on its own page and make sure the navigation is seamless. 

Consider adding a message for when a customer abandons their cart, especially during the checkout process. The message should say something like, “Looking for shipping and return information?” along with a link to the page you’ve created. 

Social Proof

Ratings and reviews truly help customers find what they’re looking for and make smart decisions about their purchases. Statements from previous buyers like, “Wore this jacket for a fall hike with shorts and a short-sleeve shirt” may seem simplistic but could be just the thing to help a customer know how or if an item will work well for them. You can also use the ratings and comments to help determine which products to continue selling and which to discontinue.

Site Speed

Online shoppers have a low tolerance for slow response times, so make sure your site is as fast as it can be. Results from slow speeds can include customers abandoning your site for another, which in turn can translate into low SEO rankings due to a high bounce rate. To check your site’s speed, try Google’s Page Speed Insights

Navigation 

Nothing is more frustrating than clunky navigation that leaves site visitors wondering how to find what they’re looking for. Easy navigation starts with a well-organized menu of main topics, divided into subtopics that fit neatly into each section. 

For example, a home improvement site might use home areas such as kitchen, bath, and bedroom as its high-level menu items. Inside the kitchen category, visitors might find things like sinks, counters, and appliances. Be sure to offer granular sorting options such as color, size, and manufacturer so shoppers can quickly find exactly what they need.

Product Photos and Videos

High-quality photos and videos are very important for helping customers decide what to buy. In photos, include as many views of the product as possible, as well as different ways it can be used. If it comes in different colors, make it possible to view them all. Add one or more videos to help visitors understand the product even more. For example, if you’re selling a grill, you could create a video of someone cooking on it. 

The following video emphasizes the importance of high-quality images:

Mobile-friendly Design

Many people use their phones to shop, which is why it’s essential to use responsive web design. This is a design that adjusts itself depending on what kind of device is used to access it. Better yet, have an app that shoppers can download and that syncs with the website so they can, for example, start an order on their phone and finish it on their laptop. 

While you’re making your design mobile-friendly, also make it easy for visitors on any device. Use simple design elements with obvious buttons and menu items. 

Help Features

Customers want to know you’re there to help if something goes wrong. Chatbots are a great place to start, and you can make a button to start one on every page of your site. But don’t let this automated solution be your only care offering. Provide options for email, text, phone, and social media contact as well. 

The Full Package

In addition to the frontend features listed above, you’ll also want to take advantage of helpful backend tools to ensure you’re getting as much from your e-commerce site as you can:

  • A content management system allows you to easily create and manage product pages. 
  • An email marketing feature helps you personalize customers’ experience with messages about the order status. 
  • Payment gateway integrations enable you to integrate with diverse payment gateways. 
  • Security features help you protect valuable customer data, such as credit card information. 
  • Scalable infrastructure ensures your e-commerce site can grow along with your business. 

Reports and analytics give you critical insights into customer buying patterns that can help you recommend products and get more sales.

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