Our eCommerce website essentials guide 2

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Last year, online retail in Australia reached $33 billion in sales, which is almost double the $16.9 billion recorded back in 2009. The average individual eCommerce spend for online consumers in Australia in 2012 was over $2,100, where almost 75% of users aged between 35 – 44 shopped online.

While, with figures like these, it seems the news for online businesses can only be positive, there is still a lot of work to do if we are to fully capitalise on the online opportunity. Interestingly, of every 100 Australian consumers who visited a website, only five became actual customers, and three of every 10 online shopping carts were abandoned. So why are we losing so many potential sales?

From our experience, built over years of work on eCommerce projects, sites lose sales for various reasons — it may be design, their product, or something as simple as their ‘buy button’. To combat this, we have developed a consistent formula of rules we follow to ensure our eCommerce web design produces high conversion rates.

Part 2 of this guide is below…

Essential rule no. 5:
Be upfront from the first click

There is nothing more frustrating than trawling through search results, reading through product pages, selecting your product and then finding a nasty surprise when trying to head to the online checkout. For online consumers, uncertainty about exactly what will happen when they click on ‘proceed’ can be a very strong deterrent to completing a purchase. We have found that customers generally have three main concerns:

  • Surprise charges
    One of the biggest benefits of shopping online is that we can shop around for the best deal without leaving our lounge room. In fact, many people actually choose to shop online so they can get the best price. Being upfront about shipping and handling policies is essential, as excessive costs at the close of the sale can make the difference between customers clicking ‘confirm’ or bouncing out of your site to find a competitor who will mail their purchase at a lower cost.
  • Returns and refunds
    Everyone wants to be able to change their mind. We’ve all purchased something online that looked great on screen but in person, we just don’t seem to be able to do it justice. The easier your return and refunds policy, the more likely consumers will use your site to find the products they want.
  • Ensure customer security
    One of the biggest fears online consumers have is what happens to their personal details once they’ve typed them into your page and clicked ‘go’. Ensure you have a stringent and transparent privacy policy. When planning your eCommerce web design, ensure your policy is visible and available in a place where customers can easily find it. Similarly, ensure a secure connection when customers are entering financial details to complete the purchase.

Essential rule no. 6:
Be accessible!

Google recently reported that almost half of Australians own a smart phone and over 90% of them use their phone to access the internet at least once a week. If your eCommerce strategy is built around a site that is not easily accessible from mobile devices, you are missing out on a very valuable opportunity.

In the time it takes you to read and process this article, 46% of Australian consumers will have used a mobile device to access the internet and look into a product.

Mobile eCommerce or ‘mCommerce’ has grown exponentially in recent years. As more users go mobile, they will expect the same experience they had on your website when they use other devices. It is important to note that if mobile optimisation is built into the site at the beginning it will cost considerably less than trying to add it in later.

Providing your customers with a great online experience by creating a seamless online presence will lead to more customer satisfaction and therefore more sales. At Platform Digital we help you create this seamless online presence. We are a company that operates in the Australian Online Retail sector developing and implementing digital marketing integration strategies.

For more information about using eCommerce effectively in your business, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.

Better Online Experiences™