How to create a killer e-commerce experience without breaking the bank

What you need to know to convert passing traffic into paying customers

It’s very simple: If your site doesn’t offer a streamlined online experience, your business risks missing out on sales.

A well-designed mobile experience or website with smooth functionality propping up the front-end will deliver better results. Search, sign-up, purchase selection, and payment processing have to work seamlessly, which means selecting your back-end partners carefully is absolutely essential.

Here’s what you need to know to create the perfect experience:

Turn your site homepage or mobile app into a clear sales funnel

A homepage or mobile app are your shopfronts and should entice users to transact. For a positive user experience, it should share your proposition in as concise and clear a way as possible.

Benjamin Michel, lead front-end developer at JustPark says, “You just want to implant three thoughts into the head of your customer: this is solving my problem, this is the best product for me, I understand the next step to acquire the product,” and adds that, “in most cases, you only have 10 to 20 seconds” to do this.

Ryan Perera, CEO of concierge app Henchman, simply says users should be met with a “clear call-to-action” and a “clean design”.

Key features of an app include:

  • Simple and clear search and selection functionality
  • Auto-loading of geo-located data specific to you
  • Option of social media sign-in
  • An obvious route to checkout

Get your mobile-first or mobile-too strategy going now

Make sure your website is “optimised for mobile phones” urges Perera. Many consumers now favour a handheld device for their online shopping.

40% of all online retail sales are now made via mobile, IMRG and Capgemini’s Quarterly Benchmark found last year and the Centre for Retail Research alongside VoucherCodes.co.uk estimated that the UK retail industry sacrifices £6.6bn a year due to not investing in mobile offerings.

Resizing or formatting issues when trying to view a website on a phone can render it all but unusable. Mobile cart abandonment is frustratingly high for retailers – even higher than the estimated one in four dropout rate for the web. Around 90% of users jump ship before completing a transaction, so do all you can to minimise the risk.

To avoid people having to squint and punch in their card digits each time they purchase, opt for a system that stores returning customers’ details and makes the checkout process as swift as possible. Braintree – a mobile and online payment company – specialises in making mobile transactions such as this easy to navigate for both the merchant, and more importantly the shopper.

Many website builders now automatically optimise your site for mobile but take a hands-on approach, as developing an app or mobile-first experience is becoming increasingly crucial.

Write razor sharp copy customers want to read

 Powerful and engaging copy is what sells your product to the consumer, describing what it does, how it does it and what makes it better than its competitors.

Jeyda Hesleton, project manager at JustPark, says good copy can get you “up to speed quickly” with what’s being sold, but warns that you should be careful not to use “long walls of text which no user is ever going to read”.

Include clear and frequent entry points, with titles, costs, descriptions, and customer reviews as well as star ratings and messages, leading the user naturally towards taking the next step.

Deliver a hassle-free payment experience

Payments should be quick, easy and able to support a multitude of options to encourage the maximum number of conversions.

JustPark wants “to be able to reactivate users easily”, Michel explains, which requires a payment process that “enables users to come back and easily make new purchases with even less hassle”.

Perera argues that “keeping the user on the site in the same checkout with a short as possible checkout is the key”.

He advises using “a method such as Braintree, which makes payment details easy to enter. The ‘old school’ methods take you away from the site to a different site to complete purchases, and these are not great for user experience”.

Hesleton agrees: “We stick to bigger brands such as Braintree / PayPal, as payment is not something we’re willing to offer a second-rate service on.”

This article was produced in partnership with Braintree, a payments platform that allows merchants to accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, and Apple Pay with a snippet of code. Uber, Airbnb, and GitHub as well as thousands of other merchants use Braintree in 46 countries. To learn more, visit Braintreepayments.com or @braintree.

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