New customers is the goal of an ecommerce site, and this is an admirable goal. However, most sites miss out on the chance to earn from repeat customers—those who are loyal and make repeated purchases on the site. In fact, this is a strategy that’s both more effective and easier than relying on one-off purchases from a one-time visitor.
Don’t leave money on the table—make sure your website encourages existing customers to return again and again. Use design elements that encourage repeat customers. We’ve put together a list of 10 design tips to retain customers and make the entire shopping experience better for everyone.
1). Design a Mobile-Friendly Site
Websites of all types, including ecommerce sites, need to be mobile-friendly. Have you ever tried to visit a site on your smartphone’s screen, only to end up pinching, scrolling and more just to get a proper view of the text or a product? If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your customers will have the same problem, with many leaving never to return. They’d rather buy the same item on another site that makes the shopping experience easier.
Another reason to make your site mobile-friendly is that Google penalises sites that don’t meet their mobile-friendly criteria. In fact, your site will not show up in the top rankings.
To avoid these issues, make sure your site uses mobile-friendly web design. You can checkout Google’s optimisation recommendations here. You can test your site and then review any recommendations from Google on how to make your site more mobile-friendly.
2). Make Sure Customers Know What They’re Buying
What is it that people need when researching a product? They need full, complete details to narrow in on the item they want. The same is true when they finally find the right product. Before making the purchase, most customers will read the product description to make sure this is the item they want.
Help your customers know what they’re buying; make sure product details are clear and accurate. Include all the information about the product, including colors, sizes, specifications, etc. Use accurate and detailed images so people can see what they’re buying. Consider adding a video, too, if the product is complicated. Next, make the add-to-cart button is easy to see and stands out.
3). Be Transparent About Fees & Pricing
Some ecommerce sites try to sneak in an extra fee that wasn’t made clear earlier. You may find it pops up on the final screen when placing your order. That quickly turns customers off. Be sure your pricing and fees, all of them, including taxes, shipping & handling—are clearly stated so buyers won’t find an unpleasant surprise on that final purchasing screen.
4). Create Trust: Keep the Check-out Experience Secure
Data breaches and hacks are on everyone’s minds these days. Online shoppers are more apt to make purchases from a site they trust, which is a site that seems to have their security in mind.
Consider buying an SSL certificate for your online shop. This is the green padlock that shows up in your browser’s address bar on a secure page. With SSL, information is transmitted securely. Customers are educated and now looking for this sign when they shop. Before buying, though, check with your website provider to see if they have included this in your plan.
Another option to make the buying process more secure is to outsource your checkout and payment options. You can choose a third-party ecommerce solution such as Shopify or Foxy.io, which will give your customers a secure checkout process.
5). Keep Your Checkout Page Distraction-Free
Keep your checkout page simple. Remove any distracting visuals or calls to action, as these could potentially keep your customer from completing their order.
Remove these if they’re not relevant to checkout:
- Links to other pages on your site
- Extra information
- Unnecessary form fields
6). Give Your Customers Payment Options
Many people don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal information on websites. This includes sharing their debit and credit card information. By giving your customers payment options, you’ll help them feel more at ease and willing to finish their purchase.
Choose your shopping cart carefully. Look to see what payment methods are offered—look for those options that allow customers to keep their information private. Consider accepting payment options such as PayPal, Amazon Payments or even Bitcoin, so people can make a purchase without sharing their personal information with your site.
7). Your Checkout Process: Keep It Simple
Avoid asking customers to create an account during the checkout process. This is distracting and confusing; it could cause some customers to abandon their basket altogether.
If account creation is a benefit or necessary, then consider including account creation in the beginning of the purchase process. Keep your checkout page simple, easy and fast for customers to use—keep account creation off that page.
8). Be Clear About Expectations
Make sure your customers know and understand what happens next in your checkout process. In fact, you can include a statement that clearly sets out expectations and next steps. Before customers finish their order, explain how products or services will be delivered and when. Then repeat this information again after they’ve finished checking out. You can also include this information a third time when emailing the receipt or invoice to your customer.
Make sure your contact information is obvious so customers can easily and quickly reach out with questions or concerns.
9). Keep Customers Coming Back
While single sales are great, the first sale should set the stage for customers wanting to come back. The goal of having an ecommerce shop is to create a lasting relationship with customers.
Do this by continuing to create value for them. Include opt-ins for newsletters, where you can alert them about new products, promotions, and even send them resources that may be useful for them.
And don’t forget to check in with them to get feedback on their shopping experience and with the product or service they’ve bought.
10). Convert Abandoned Carts
Many ecommerce businesses believe it’s impossible to get customers to come back once they’ve abandoned their shopping cart. That’s simply not the case.
In fact, there are services you can use to help reconnect customers with their shopping carts. These include such services as CartStack, Rejoiner and CartHook. They provide tools you can use to track customers who didn’t complete their purchase. You can also see what was in their card and send emails encouraging these customers to complete their transactions with the use of vouchers or discounts.
These 10 tips are easy to use—you can choose one or more or use them all to make your ecommerce even better. We hope these tips help you to connect with customers, and make loyal customers from buyers who keep coming back.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.