In today’s online shopping world, consumers look for the most simple and efficient sites to purchase from. No one likes to waste time on a site that makes products difficult to find or checkout too tedious a task.
With that in mind, Larry Kavanagh, CEO and founder of Covington, Ky.-based e-commerce solutions provider DMinSite, says the most important question to ask is, “What really helps the shopper?” Simply put, the most helpful thing for a shopper is being able to find the products he wants as quickly as possible, stresses Kavanagh.
Here, Kavanagh and John Deneen, president of Chicago-based e-commerce solutions company SiteForm, offer tools to optimize the online shopping experience for both consumers and your company.
Personalized navigation. Put products in front of shoppers that they are interested in, Kavanagh suggests, to increase the likelihood of purchases. Kavanagh provides two ways to do this:
• Provide a recommendation engine. Sometimes online shoppers need to be pushed in the right direction. A good way to do that is with a recommendation engine. Kavanagh stresses it’s important to go beyond simply saying, “People who bought this also bought that.” Look at what you know about each individual shopper (where he has been on the site, what he’s purchased, etc.) to present relevant products. Display several blocks of products based on recommendations on a page, particularly the product page and in the cart, Kavanagh suggests. He recommends exploring this option, citing Rich Relevance and Certano as two companies that offer personalized recommendation engine services. It’s a win-win for marketers and buyers, giving companies the opportunity to cross-sell and shoppers more targeted offers.
Trigger-based e-mails. The online shopping experience doesn’t only take place on your site; e-mails are just as vital. Give shoppers unique messages based on what they’ve done on the site or what you know about them, such as a three e-mail abandoned cart series; a welcome series for first-time buyers; or a series based on products they’ve purchased before (replenishables or a reminder of gifts they sent last year).
Ratings and reviews/testimonials. Shoppers trust ratings provided by other shoppers, so make this part of your online shopping experience. Kavanagh has found that top-rated products convert about 40 percent more than average products. Consumers want the best quality. Put your ratings and reviews to use by:
• allowing shoppers to sort category and search results by ratings;
• featuring top-rated products in e-mails, with the ratings and reviews; and
• featuring top-rated products in other channels, such as a traditional catalog, so shoppers can easily find them online.