Retail is a trillion-dollar industry in the United States alone. As a force to be reckoned with, online retail has grown exceptionally over the years with the evolution of eCommerce. That said, we all know what it’s like to step into a store to view and handle the products we are interested in purchasing. That’s why it’s essential to replicate that experience as much as possible when it comes to your retail business but in a digital format.

Why? The experience a customer has stepping into your store is only matched by the convenience of purchasing the same product online. Whether you’re a small business startup wanting to virtualize your store or an established retailer wanting to increase traffic to your website, it’s important to consider the following six ways to make the online shopping experience easier for potential customers.

Website Appearance & Functionality

As we all know, first impressions are everything. No one wants to shop at a terrible-looking website. Most importantly, with millions of competitors across different industries, no one has the time to navigate an unattractive, hard-to-use website. As an online business, your website is the first thing people will see. Whether shoppers find you through a Google search or a social media platform like Facebook, it’s your website’s job to convince them to stay and browse your products once they arrive. If you have an outdated website that’s difficult to navigate, you’re probably missing out or more business than you know.

In order to make a great first impression, it’s important to invest in an aesthetically pleasing, high-quality website that incorporates the look and feel of your brand as a whole. This includes your color scheme, logo, and the voice of your content. Emphasize your homepage with the proper balance of visuals and information based on your target audience. While a person who lands on your homepage may not be in the purchasing stage of their online journey, they will still consider how your website looks and feels before navigating to your product pages.

Mobile Responsiveness

With 90% of people using a smartphone or other handheld device to do their online shopping, optimizing your website for mobile is essential. In fact, mobile sales for Black Friday alone topped $9 billion dollars just last year! This means that mobile is here to stay, and online retailers need a responsive website that automatically scales its content, images, and buttons to match the size of the screen it’s viewed on. This also makes it easier for visitors to navigate the inner pages of your online store without having to do any extra work.

Browsing a website that’s not mobile-friendly can be incredibly frustrating for potential customers, leading to cart abandonment. Not everyone is willing to switch from their smart device to a desktop to view a website. That’s why it’s essential to ensure your website is functional across all devices today and consider how the content layout will be viewed on smaller screens.

Website Speed

An aesthetically pleasing website that takes seconds to load is a website that customers will stick around to appreciate. Why? Time is valuable in the online world. People don’t want to wait around for your website to load. Instead, they will grow impatient and move on to another website that loads faster. That’s why it’s essential to keep your website updated with the latest version of WordPress, the latest plugins, and the latest version of your theme files.

Speed optimization means all images should be compressed, and a caching plugin should be enabled. Furthermore, JavaScript files should be deferred, and CSS files minified to help save time that a browser has to load all of these resources.

High-Quality Product Photos

One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping is the inability to see or hold a product in person before making a purchase. Furthermore, if a customer doesn’t feel confident about the products you offer, they will abandon their shopping cart and visit another online retailer. But you can improve the online shopping experience by using high-quality images. The quality of your images speaks volumes when it comes to the quality of the products you are selling.

In the eyes of consumers, low-quality images equal low-quality products, whereas high-quality images equate to higher quality products. Potential customers only want to buy from online sellers that they think they can trust, and they will want to interact with you if you provide high-quality images.

Live Chat

The need for customer service is just as real online as it is when shopping in person. Why? People expect real-time support when looking for the products they are searching for. Live chat assures potential customers that they will receive answers to their questions or concerns before making a purchase. Aside from a contact form or phone number, a live chat feature on your website gives consumers an outlet that provides them with the answers they need. However, it’s important to make sure that the person answering provides them with the most accurate information for that given time. Good customer service not only convinces people to purchase your products but also boosts your reputation as a trusted online seller as well.

Simplified Checkout

Even if you have an aesthetically pleasing, mobile-friendly website that loads fast, the shopping experience you provide isn’t over. If you don’t have an easy-to-navigate checkout process, you run the risk of customers getting frustrated and abandoning their online carts. Below are a few ways to help reduce any checkout problems.

  • Offer multiple payment options. Aside from a normal credit card purchase, you may want to consider offering popular options like Apple Pay or PayPal.
  • Give customers the option of checking out as a guest instead of creating an account. While some people like to make future purchases easier by creating an account, others prefer the ease of a fast guest checkout.
  • Eliminate excessive data fields. Some customers hate having to fill out multiple forms just to check out. Instead, you can use simple checkboxes that customers can click to answer important questions.

Thrive Web Designs

If you’re interested in making your store’s online shopping experience better, consider partnering with Thrive Web Designs. Our expert team of professionals can help increase conversions, reduce cart abandonment, and improve customer service by providing you with the features you need to create a safe, secure shopping experience that will keep customers coming back. Contact us today by filling out our online form or give us a call at (208) 391-2504 for a free quote to get started on your next project.