As of December 2018, there were 4.1 billion internet users in the world. According to Hosting Facts, 1.92 billion of those internet users will make an online purchase in the year 2019. Since online shopping provides practicality, convenience, and simplicity, online retail and e-commerce sites have been seen a major increase in traffic. As online purchases become the preferred form of shopping, websites must adapt their selling methods to fulfil changing needs and desires. From featuring customer reviews to offering easy navigation, there are plenty of options to improve on.

So, here are some fundamental ways you can enhance the online shopping experience and encourage a purchase!

Enhance Website Navigation

When users first come to your site for a product or service, they generally fall under 3 types of shopper categories. They are either people that know what they are looking for, people who are browsing, or people who need assistance filtering products. All at different stages of the shopping funnel, but all need easy navigation to locate the product they desire.

If your site has a multitude of different products, users could potentially become overwhelmed by the number of options offered. To ensure all types of shoppers on your page has the best and easiest navigation experience possible, there are several ways you can alter your site. To start, make sure the search bar is prominent and easy to find. Secondly, try to incorporate autocomplete features within the search bar to assist those who can’t exactly remember the product name. You can then take additional steps by implementing a variety of sorting options, such as colour, brand, size, or price, to help dwindle down their list of products. Product features can be displayed among sorting options to make filtering even easier.

Increase Website Speed

A crucial part of a customer’s experience, a fast and responsive loading website is the first encounter a customer has with your site. No matter how aesthetically pleasing a website may be, if the load time takes ten or more seconds, customers are unlikely to stick around. A good rule of thumb is to have your load speed between 1-3 seconds, resulting in only a 32% bounce probability. With a faster website comes higher rankings in search results, and improved customer experience. The following are several ways to increase load speed on your site:

  • DNS load balancing – Use DNS load balancing to disperse received traffic to keep a page running at an optimal speed.
  • Enable compression – The smaller the files on a page, the faster the load time.
  • Browser caching – After the first initial visit, as many as 30 components might be downloaded before a page is usable. Once all the different components is stored in a user’s cache, each subsequent visit will have faster load speeds due to less downloading.
  • Optimise images – Make sure you choose the correct file type, dimensions, size, and resolution for the page. Through compression, size reduction, or caching, an image can be optimised to reduce load time.  

Use Databases

If your site doesn’t already utilise databases, then you need to really reconsider using one. As its main purpose is to store information, a database can open up many functions that are beneficial to both you and your customers. For instance, an e-commerce database can do the following:

  • Track transactions – A database can track and manage every order, along with all the details needed to process that transaction. This ensures customers are receiving the correct orders in a timely fashion.
  • Organise products – Databases are capable of organising millions of different products via several sets of standard features. Structuring products in this way allow a product to be found through a variety of sorting options on a website.
  • Structure data – Vast amounts of data can be structured and organised the same way through databases. This helps an e-commerce store and process data faster.

Fundamentally, using a database helps a site to rapidly respond to change. As constant streams of customer and product data are received, your site can update and structure data easily accessible to customers.

Featured Customer Reviews

Featuring real customer reviews of an online product allows first-time purchasers a sense of trust during the buying process. Reviews provide information on your site, such as performance and quality, that makes it easier for customers to decide on a purchase. Whether it be product feedback or an item suggestion, make sure reviews are easily visible for the customer to see. A potential customer can easily become a frequent buyer based on positive customer reviews.

Providing a well-rounded shopping experience for your customers can be a daunting task. As more shoppers transition to online shopping, sites need to create an exceptional experience that will keep users coming back for more. From organised products to increased website speed, sometimes the little changes can make a big impact.