Customers expect a certain standard of website design and usability, especially when shopping on eCommerce websites. If you make too many design and functionality mistakes, you will not only lose customers, you will harm your long-term reputation.
Fortunately, most mistakes are relatively easy to fix. If you want to improve your current eCommerce site, or you’re thinking of creating a new site, here are some of the most common design mistakes to avoid.
Although it’s tempting to cram each page – especially the homepage – with your red-hot products and promotions, you don’t want to visually overload your visitors. Make a good first impression. Avoid pop-ups, animated graphics, and background music. A clean, self-explanatory structure is more likely to convert visitors into customers.
Poor Product Descriptions
Too many eCommerce stores feature generic and uninspiring product descriptions. Make sure you answer all the questions a shopper may ask about a product. Use emotive language that stirs emotions in the reader. And highlight the product benefits – don’t just give a list of technical features.
Vague Contact Information
Before customers make a purchase, they need to know they can trust you. By making your contact details clearly visible on every page, they’ll be reassured that they can contact you if they have a problem. Consider adding a separate help request form, or at least include an FAQ section.
An Ineffective Site Search Engine
Many eCommerce sites have inadequate site search facilities. Make sure customers can filter their search results. For example, can customers refine their searches by price, category, and popularity? Help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for by including a highly visible search box in the top right hand corner of every page.
A Lengthy Checkout Process
The quicker a customer can complete their purchase, the better. Don’t give customers too much time to reconsider with long forms and a confusing checkout process. If you can, combine checkout pages by using two-column layouts. And offer the option of registration after the order is complete.
Visitors to your site probably won’t read every word of your copy. But they will notice inconsistent fonts or too much text. As most people scan each page for key information, headlines should highlight your main marketing message and product benefits. Only use one or two fonts, and leave enough space between lines for increased readability.
Limited Payment Options
Can you expand your customer base by using a payment service that will accept every major credit card? What about the customers who only want to pay by PayPal? Limiting the ways customers can pay will only restrict the number of total sales.
If customers can’t find the product they’re looking for in a few clicks, you may have lost a sale. Carefully plan your links and product categories to maximise site usability. And have a clearly visible “checkout” button on every product page.
Sites with powerful SEO strategies behind them will inevitably attract more potential customers. Don’t get left behind. Help your ideal customers find you by following the golden rules of optimisation. Regularly add original, relevant content with keyword-rich headings, have clear navigation, gradually build links, and so on.
Not Enough Trust Indicators
Trust seals and security badges will help strengthen your credibility and should improve conversions. Testimonials, customer reviews, and displaying a client portfolio will also boost the confidence of visitors.
Avoiding these mistakes will not only improve the usability of your online shop, it should ensure you attract more potential customers by featuring higher in the search engine results pages. Consumers will have a much better shopping experience in a more user friendly store, and this will keep them coming back for more.
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