Four ways to improve your ecommerce site (think simple and speedy)

Ask anyone’s dad for advice on virtually anything and at some point in the ensuing spiel you’re guaranteed to hear the old adage: keep it simple, stupid. The KISS acronym used to be cited so often not only because it’s nice and concise, but because most of the time, it was actually pretty good advice. The key word in that last sentence, however, is was. We’re living in the digital age now so the acronym needs to be updated to ‘keep it simple and speedy’, especially when it comes to improving your ecommerce site.

Here are four tips to help you make your customers happy and yourself even happier when you see how it affects your bottom line.

Tip #1: reduce page load time to increase customer satisfaction

Customers just don’t understand. If you have an ecommerce site, you need to provide secure connections. In order to provide secure connections, you need to use SSL encryption. SSL encryption adds three round trips to the TSL handshake that connects a browser to the site, so in order to provide those secure connections, you essentially have to triple the time it takes for the site to load. All to protect your customers! The same ones (40% of them, anyway) who will apparently abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load.

Luckily there’s an easy way to slice away at page load time with content caching and content optimization, and by redirecting users to the closest data center to cut down on the physical distance requested content has to travel. This method of speeding up a site also improves site availability through load balancing, provides network optimization, reduces bandwidth usage and provides important security including the more than essential DDoS protection, a web application firewall, custom rules and two-factor authentication. It’s a CDN, and it’s one of the best investments an e-commerce site can make.

Tip #2: make checking out as easy as possible

Imagine you ran a brick and mortar store, and shoppers routinely walked up to the cash register, handed you the item they want to buy, allowed you to ring it up, took out their wallets and then shrugged their shoulders and walked out without completing the purchase. Would this not be incredibly frustrating? The answer is yes, and it’s just as frustrating when online shoppers abandon their carts because the checkout process is just too onerous.

A few things you can do to simplify your site’s checkout process are: put everything on one page instead of requiring multiple clicks to check out, make credit card and/or PayPal logos readily visible so customers know what forms of payment are accepted, make it easy for customers to keep shopping from the cart or checkout page so they can add items they forgot or make cart edits, and ask customers to make an account AFTER they have checked out instead of requiring them to put in loads of information before the checkout process has even begun.

Tip #3: a picture is worth 1000 words so get better pictures and cut down on your actual words

Take a cue from social media: text is over, pictures and videos are where it’s at. To streamline your site design and grab the attention of customers, invest in excellent product images. Engaging images showing the product from a variety of angles accompanied by a concise product description and details in short bullet points will do more to lure in buyers than the most beautifully written paragraph about stainless steel cookware ever could.

Tip #4: make it easy to get help at any time

With so many competing ecommerce sites on the internet and so many options for consumers, if you ask your customers to play the waiting game when it comes to getting customer service or support, you will lose. According to Forrester Research, when it comes to customer service 73% of customers say valuing their time is the most essential thing a company can do. Further, 53% will abandon purchases if they can’t find answers to their questions in a timely manner. Yikes.

To appease that 73% and cash in on the 53%, you’ll want to consider investing in self-service customer service options for your website like a dynamic FAQ or a chat bot, both of which are available 24/7 and offer excellent customer service capabilities. Failing that, simply placing a bigger emphasis on quick responses to customer service inquiries should pay dividends.

Reaping the benefits

The great thing about focusing on improving your ecommerce site by keeping it simple and speedy – other than increased customer satisfaction and resultant revenue – is that following any or all of the above advice isn’t going to be super complicated or super expensive. Basically, you get to keep your site improvements simple and speedy while making your site simple and speedy.