With the holiday season this year estimated to have a record increase in online sales, having an e-commerce website is highly important for all retailers.  Nearly 56% of holiday shoppers plan to make purchases online this year.  Below are 5 important things customers look for on a successful e-commerce website.

1. Quick Load Time. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could lose 40% of your shoppers.  A slow load time can not only hurt sales but also hurt your search engine rankings.  Make sure to check desktop and mobile load times.  Mobile web users tend to be more patience with load times and will typically wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a website.

2. Mobile Friendly. With 55% of people shopping from mobile devices, a mobile friendly website is no longer recommended but required to keep up with competitors.  Responsive designs are easily viewable on any device by resizing the text and photos to fit every screen size.  An easy to navigate menu and search tool are a must on mobile websites.

3. Easy Checkout. Try not to make the customer have to create an account to buy a product.  The ideal process is to give them the option of signing in, creating an account or creating one after purchasing the items in their shopping cart.  Give clear directions throughout the checkout process making them less likely to abandon their carts.  About 59.8% of buyers abandon their carts before checking out.  Be upfront about the shipping costs and what payment methods you accept before the customer gets to put in their payment information.  Fast and smooth transactions are ideal for online shopping customers.

4. User Friendly Search Tool. Allowing users a variety of search options can help them easily narrow down what they are shopping for.  The goal is to increase conversions by naturally limiting the number of clicks to checkout.  Some shoppers may not know exactly what they are looking for, so search options like shop “by category” or “by brand” can be helpful.  Customers like useful results that match their intentions, are clear and easy to read and show product image thumbnails.  Make sure to place the search box in a prominent spot on every page of your site to give customers the ideal shopping experience.

5. Good Product Selection & Reviews. In order to complement the user friendly search tool, make sure you have a broad enough selection to satisfy the need customers are looking for.  However, having too many choices can actually deter buyers so look for a balance that works for your website.  The goal is to keep customers from having “decision paralysis”.  About half of buyers consider reviews before making a purchase.  Keeping reviews on your own site instead of third-party review sites will help keep buyers in one place.  When shopping in brick and mortar stores, people don’t get the benefit of product reviews at their finger tips.  Many people browse the web for the product to see options and reviews before heading to the store to make the purchase.

This year retailers are making it easier for customers to shop with them in-store and online by offering free wifi services and linked inventory.  Free wifi allows customers to compare prices online as they shop in the store.  Linked inventory means online and in-store purchases draw from the same inventory allowing the two operations to work together and not against each other.  This benefits the customer because they have all the options available to make sure they get the product they are looking for.

If your retail business is looking to increase sales by adding e-commerce to your site, the web design experts at Off The Wall Media are here to help! Visit our website or call 503-452-1082 to learn more.