Tips for an Interactive E-commerce Website
You want the right tools for the job, and you need to know how best to apply them while trying to secure not only their purchases, but also their membership and brand loyalty. This helps ensure that your buyers will keep coming back for more repeat sales, allowing your business to grow and expand.
If your e-Commerce website is attractive, user friendly, and easy to navigate that’s great, but if you neglect any of the following, you will likely experience
1. Faster Load Time
It is always a good idea to check your site with Page Speed (or any of these other speed tools) before you open for business. If your pages take more than 3 seconds on average to load, you will not only lose potential customers but also your rankings in search engine results.
2. Have an FAQ Section
FAQ pages are great time-saving tools and can help you address your customers’ concerns and questions without having to deal with them individually. FAQ pages can address product features, product return options, payment methods, or more. They are one way to provide great customer support.
3. Get Mobile-Optimized
If your website is not mobile-optimized (mobilegeddon, anyone?), you could risk losing a large segment of your potential customers: the “mobile shopping” crowd. Ensure that the theme you use is a responsive theme.
4. Showcase Customers’ Reviews
Make sure your e-Commerce website includes a customer review page. Make it easy for shoppers to add their comments and opinions and see what others have to say. Customer reviews can provide useful information to the store owner as well but do note that many would only opt to write a review when something is wrong.
- Make Checkout
Easy Don’t let a cumbersome checkout process ruin what might otherwise be a pleasant shopping experience for your customers. If it is complicated at all, it could result in an abandoned cart, and one less repeat customer. Keep it simple, straightforward, and secure.
Trying to give your customers an excellent e-Commerce experience can be a lot of work, which is why if your budget permits, it is worth investing in a WordPress theme that can do most of the hard work for you.
The more interactive your website, the more users will keep returning to your site because it makes their experience with your company much more enjoyable. Most ideas and tips are good for any website, others may be better fit for eCommerce sites, and sometimes you have to slightly revise tactics to make them work for you. In other words, if you are an eCommerce website then that doesn’t mean that interactive websites won’t work for you.
It’s all about being creative and knowing where to start.
Interactive Website Tips
Below are 10 different ways to make your site more interactive and then what you can do to make it work for an eCommerce website:
One way to reach out to your audience and make their experience more interactive is by including a poll on your website. There are several free poll applications available, so this is an improvement that won’t cost you anything but will allow you to gain instant feedback from your user base.
A How To for eCommerce: There are so many ways you can use polls for an eCommerce site. One popular way is to use them as a short customer satisfaction survey. People like being asked for their feedback, and this is a good way to check-in to see how you are doing as an online merchant.
Polls can be used for gaining quick insight and information, as we just discussed, however if you want to get more information from your website users and clients, surveys can be one way to take that on. The nature of getting this much feedback in one session is interactive in-it-of itself. You don’t have to make a survey extremely long, and they can vary quite a bit in size and form.
A How To for eCommerce: eCommerce sites frequently use surveys to collect information. Think about using a survey via email to have users report back on their purchasing experience, or their overall experience on your website.
Personalization is a fairly new concept in website development. There is an article by OHO Explained in 60 Seconds: Real-Time Website Personalization where they do a great job of capturing the most important features of why personalizing your website experience to each individual user can be so beneficial, and some tools with helping you add this feature to your site.
A How To for eCommerce: Not all shoppers are alike in what they are after. By personalizing features (again, read the article I mentioned above for the full scoop) there are so many possibilities for how you can target specific clients. For example, you can personalize shopping experience by explicit data, such as age, gender, interests, or other information about a specific user that they have entered into their online profile.
Animated Gifs are often enjoyable for users, light-hearted, and interactive. Here’s a list of the top 10 sites where you can get animated Gifs for your website.
A How To for eCommerce: So how can you use a Gif? To be totally honest, using Gifs on your eCommerce site is really going to depend on what type of site you have. You can use them in a lighthearted humorous way, or simply as an animated image to help you tell more about your products or services. My tip here is to make sure that it is relevant and doesn’t look totally out of the blue. They can be used in really creative awesome ways, so long as you do not take them overboard.
One thing is for sure, you should have a blog, and you should be using it to your advantage. There is a lot of information available for how to make your blog the best it can be, so post frequently, and post content that your users will enjoy and relate to. This will help urge people to comment; thus adding an interactive element.
A How To for eCommerce: For eCommerce sites, a blog can definitely be a key component to making your site’s experience more interactive. Here are three ideas you can use to make your blog posts more interactive for users:
- Add social media buttons for Twitter or Facebook so that users can share your post immediately.
- Make sure you add a “see also” section for other content you have produced that may be valuable to them based on their interests.
- Add video and photo media to make your content more interesting. This also makes users want to interact with the content and share more frequently.
Live Chat & Customer Service
Users like when they can get help and answers instantly. Depending on the size of your company, and what you are capable of handling in terms of website customer service, this may actually end up varying greatly. If it is at all possible, add a live chat/customer service feature to your website (at least during normal business hours).
A How To for eCommerce: On an eCommerce site, having this feature is definitely a bonus. If people are struggling with the checkout process or have a question about a product, this may be the defining aspect that makes the sale! If possible, make this component for interaction available, and add a call-to-action button for easy utilization.
Newsletters are a great way to increase interaction with your site. By sending out a monthly message with new features, you are going to increase visits and overall interest with your company.
A How To for eCommerce: Write a monthly newsletter that is subscribed to via-email, for you to update clients about new products or services, sales, and any new information that you think can be valuable to them.
Podcasts are definitely an interactive idea that not enough people are taking advantage of. They are fairly easy to set-up on your website, and people do generally enjoy getting information that way. This site has a ton of great information about podcasts including how to set up and create your own.
A How To for eCommerce: This is of course going to depend on the type of eCommerce site you are, but consider offering additional information on your products or services or discussing certain aspects related to what you offer as a business. For example, let’s say that you are a high-fashion clothing retailer. You could offer a podcast on how to recreate certain looks from a recent fashion exhibit using the products available on your site, or a discussion of the event itself.
Offering an e-book for download on your site is definitely one way to win people over. It instantly makes people feel like they are getting something out of visiting your site and like they are benefiting from interacting with your site.
A How To for eCommerce: One way to compile an e-book is to look over the content you have already created for your eCommerce site and blog. What have people benefited from the most? How can you build on some of the gaps in your material? If people take interest in your products or services, it is almost guaranteed that they would benefit from additional, downloadable content.
User Generated Content
This is definitely not the last way that you can make your site more interactive, but it is the way we will wrap up this particular post. Allowing users to generate content on your site, such as discussion forums, can be a great way to increase interaction.
A How To for eCommerce: There are several examples of ways to allow user generated content on an eCommerce site. Disscussion forums were already mentioned, so let’s take another example: Hosting webinar forums is a great way to provide information to your users, and also allow them to produce content and share ideas with your staff and other members of the community.
There are so many ways to make your site more interactive. Take it as an opportunity to benefit the experience of your community and increase visits to your site. This post covered 10 ways that you can make your site more interactive, and included specific examples for eCommerce. It is in no way an exhaustive list, but should be enough to get you started.