Why having an amazing website is just as important as a great Instagram feed.

When it comes to online shopping, I am completely hooked. I much prefer ordering online and selecting next day delivery than driving, parking, trying things on and queuing. The shops highest on my hit list are ASOS, Amazon and eBay. They all have amazing customer experiences which have been meticulously tweaked to make shopping quick and easy, and to ensure their customers keep coming back.

As well as buying from my trusted trio, I love finding cool, independent brands on Instagram. Sadly, not all of them have a great online presence outside of their channels, and it can leave me feeling frustrated. Even if what they’re selling is a must for my home or wardrobe, I can’t bring myself to battle with a badly-designed website.

Here are five tips to ensure your customers aren’t checking out early.

  1. How do you stack on mobile?

More people are shopping on-the-go because websites like ASOS, Amazon and eBay make it so easy. I bought a pair of jeans this morning from ASOS in less time than it took for the kettle to finish boiling. A speedy and easy experience is what you want from a website!

According to Market Week, smartphones and tablets are expected to conduct £525bn in retail sales by 2022, up from £268bn in 2017.

Get your website performing the best it can on every possible device. Look at your website and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it load fast enough?
  • Can things be found easily?
  • Are your fonts readable?
  • Is the content and photography responsive and displaying correctly?
  • How does the user experience compare to your competitors?

If you’re not sure if your website is up to scratch for smart phone users, get your friends and family to try it out for you. Set them a test on their phone and film them using the website on your device. For example, get them to find a set of pans for under £50 and then checkout. Ask them to talk about what they are doing and what they like or could function better. Compile your findings from each participant and see if there are any common problems and begin to action solutions.

  1. Be upfront with your shipping.

I don’t want to be four pages into entering my details during checkout to find the cost for shipping is going to be ridiculous. I’ll more than likely abandon the sale. Instead I’d like to know upfront. How much does it cost, what are my options, and is there a ‘spend over a certain amount’ offer I can make use of? Will I receive a discount voucher as a first time buyer, or for signing up to your newsletter? Do you offer such incentives and can they easily be found?

Transparent ways of telling the customer this information are:

  • Have a separate page on shipping rates which is easy to find/ linked through on every page
  • Add shipping options to each product page, which could be a simple pop-up or separate information box below the product
  • Include banners running above your hero image with interchanging latest offers and useful information
  1. Check out your checkout

 A lengthy checkout journey which forces me to add my personal details including card details is enough to turn me away. Who has their credit card handy when they’re in bed browsing Instagram?

What brands should do is put themselves in their customers’ shoes by asking questions like; are they likely to be on a crowded train while browsing or could they be holding a sleeping baby? Both of these things would make looking for a card troublesome, so a good solution would be to simplify and take away the need for a card.

Other ways to make your checkout check-out:

  • Have an address lookup tool implemented that searches for a postal address by postcode and ensure it can be duplicated easily if it’s also their billing address
  • If you’re selling lots of products and think it would be great for your customers to have an account with you, make that easy to do so. Have one box that they can tick if they want to create an account with a simple dropdown box to add a password
  • Add 3rd party payment tools like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay to speed up the checkout journey. Trust me, this is the most important bit of advice I’ll give you today!
  1. Speaking of checkout, what if they abandon their cart?

You wouldn’t go chasing after someone if they left a full trolley down an aisle at Tesco, but online, you can easily set up a way of contacting a customer who abandoned their shopping at the last hurdle.

Something every brand should have in action is an abandoned checkout email to remind customers that their shopping has been saved, if they are ready to come back and complete the sale. You never know, their phone could have rang and diverted their attention or the site could have timed out.

According to SaleCycle, nearly half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site, so it’s definitely worth investing a bit of time to get it set up.

Key points for your abandon shopping email:

  • Show them the items they left in the cart
  • Make sure the copy is well written and on brand
  • Have a clear call to action button which takes them straight to their cart
  • If you’re feeling generous, maybe a 10% off or free shipping offer to entice them further
  1. And finally, get with the times!

Web design is constantly updating, so keep your website fresh by making regular updates to stick with the latest trends. Are big hero images in? Why not change yours and see what impact it has on your website. Are other competitors using more video content to display their products? Give it a go. Are you a wedding dress shop and currently rely on customers phoning for appointments? Try updating to an online calendar. Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing so your website doesn’t become so last season.

Are you an independent brand needing a bit of a steer in the right direction? We can conduct a full UX audit and outline what is and isn’t working, to ensure you can see where your website might need a tweak to get it performing it’s best. Get in touch if you want to find out more!



    By Jess Reid