Practical Tips to Improve Your E-Commerce Website - Part 2 of 2

(In case you missed it: Part 1 of 2)

5. Visible contact info establishes credibility.

While this might not be high on everyone's list, you must establish credibility to all of the users that have not bought from you before. You may know you are trustworthy, but that does not mean the user does. List a landline phone number somewhere clear on the homepage and every page if possible. I personally like when sites do this because it provides a reassuring sense that human help is only a phone call away. Below is a perfect example of this.

Great Example Of Clear Contact Information

Also, studies show that 79% of people still prefer phone calls for customer service and problem resolution versus other mediums. This is not surprising, given that a phone call can be much quicker than multiple back-and-forth e-mails or online chat assistance. Many people shy away from websites that have hard-to-find contact details. Don't be one of these sites.

6. The checkout process: Help them push the cart.

The checkout/order process is where the most potential customers will abandon a purchase. There are plenty of things you can do to help prevent this from happening though. One common tactic is to break-up the checkout process into multiple steps to keep from overwhelming the user with everything at once. That being said, many users still prefer it all on one page. In a study performed by The Official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Store, they found that a single-page checkout outperformed a multi-page checkout by 21.8% in having fewer users abandon their carts. Which strategy to follow is going to depend heavily on your target market but you should definitely put a lot of thought and testing into your checkout process.

Secondly, give the user a few recommendations. Don't drown them, but make sure you at least give yourself a few cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities. Data shows that up-selling helps drive sales by as much as 4% and that cross-selling can drive sales by around 3% when shown on the check-out page.

Lastly, when it comes to credit card purchases be sure to use copy that increases credibility and ensures the user that all of their data is encrypted and as safe as possible. In an age of increasing fraud and identify theft this is the last thing you want to fall victim to. A little reassurance is always a good thing. Depending on your business size, I would heavily consider utilizing VeriSign encryption and having your checkout process done through a HTTPS URL to boost trust with potential first-time buyers.

7. Why yes, we do take PayPal.

This last one is my own personal recommendation. PayPal offers several benefits to a buyer but the primary one is the ability to make online transactions without divulging your payment info to a retailer. First, you place a credit card and/or bank account on file. Then, when you go to make a purchase from a retailer you simply complete the final steps of the checkout process through your PayPal account and the money is taken from your account and paid to the retailer on your behalf. It offers safety and convenience since you don't have to continually take out your credit card to key in info on websites where you have never purchased before. Both of these factors make PayPal invaluable to me and with well over 100 million users, clearly I'm not alone. Definitely consider it as a payment option if your business has the means to do so.

Target's Online Checkout System With PayPal Option

Conclusion

The E-commerce landscape is ever-changing and as the old adage says, you have to adapt to survive. My final piece of advice is to never be too content with your website. Many people are resistant to change, but where would Facebook be today if they didn't constantly strive to refine their service and make it easier for users to read and share information? Perfection may be unattainable but that does not mean you shouldn't strive for it. Utilize analytics software and seek out data on how customers interact with your website. Strive to make everyone's visit enjoyable by giving them an appealing site where they can find things quickly and easily. You want them to have a pleasant experience regardless of whether they are just window shopping or actually intent on buying. If you don't give them a sufficient reason to use your site versus competitor sites, then you should not act surprised when that's where they choose to spend their dollars.