Article

Graeme Caldwell
Graeme Caldwell 7 January 2019
Categories Ecommerce

What Do Shoppers Want From An eCommerce Store?

A customer-centered approach to eCommerce cuts bounce rates and cart abandonment. We discuss four changes to your store that will make your customers happier and increase revenue.

Without products there is no eCommerce, but products don’t sell themselves. An enjoyable shopping experience is essential to the sales process. There is a limit to the frustration and doubt a shopper will endure to buy even the most desirable products. Customer-centric eCommerce is all about reducing those frustrations and doubts.

High bounce and cart abandonment rates are symptoms of stores without a customer-centered ethos. But giving shoppers a positive experience isn’t rocket science. The components of that experience are well understood. eCommerce applications like Magento and WooCommerce make it straightforward to implement them.

So, what do online shoppers really want from an eCommerce store?

Performance

Performance is a major contributor to a favorable shopping experience. The best designed eCommerce stores are let down by slow load times and latency. The effect is amplified on mobile. 57% of mobile users abandon sites if pages take longer than three seconds to load. 52% are less likely to engage with a brand after a bad mobile experience.

Many factors impact performance:

  • Page weight.

  • JavaScript execution, especially if it involves network calls to third-party servers.

  • Server software. Many eCommerce hosting providers use older versions of PHP that introduce unnecessary latency.

  • Network latency.

  • Server hardware.

Hosting has an outsized impact on eCommerce performance. A store that lacks resources and platform-specific optimizations will never be as fast as it could be.

Zero-Hassle Product Discovery and Checkout

How easy is it for shoppers to find what they want? Does the store make any attempt to suggest relevant and related products? Is it easy to search for products and filter search results? It is inexpensive and straightforward to add these features to a modern store, but so many stores make it hard to find the products they exist to sell.

If you want to decrease the number of abandoned carts on your store, make it easier to check out. Until recently, retailers were constrained by Amazon’s one-click checkout patent. That patent expired last year, and now both Magento and WooCommerce have one-click checkout solutions.

Free returns

Returns are even more important online than in brick-and-mortar stores. Because shoppers can’t try on or try out products before buying online, they are less likely to complete their purchase. 67% of shoppers check the returns page before buying.

Free returns reduce the risk and and the likelihood of a transaction being abandoned.

Communication

I recently decided to buy new shirts from an eCommerce store recommend by a friend. I put a couple of shirts in my cart before I realized that the on-page copy didn’t say anything about the type of cuffs the shirts had. I’m a little fussy about that sort of thing, so I asked a question in the store’s instant chat widget.

I waited for a couple of minutes, then a couple more, and then I gave up and bought my shirts from a store I have used for years.

Communication is the key to reducing doubt. Provide a live chat widget, and make sure someone is there to respond when a customer asks a question.

Nothing that I have discussed in this article is challenging to implement. There are simple drop-in solutions in most cases and the benefit to your customers and your bottom line is likely to be considerable.

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