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Optimizing E-commerce Digital Experiences

Optimizing E-commerce Digital Experiences

Posted by | 02-08-2018

When consumers visit your website, you want them to work their way towards an end goal: Purchasing an item. This means their digital experience must be a good one. Everything from your web content to the navigation features must be easy to use, engaging, and aesthetically appealing. Otherwise, that potential consumer could be turned off and start clicking elsewhere.

When the Internet was still in its primitive stages, there wasn’t as great a need for businesses to cut through all the digital noise. But with e-commerce sites overtaking brick-and-mortar retail, the competition is fierce and consumers’ attention spans are becoming increasingly shorter. The purchasing journey for the customer is no longer linear. Consumer interests, intentions, and motivations are changing every second. And they’re dictated by the circumstances that particular consumer happens to be in during that moment. That’s why your digital experience must capture what the industry calls ‘micro-moments’. These are short bursts of influence all in rapid succession, creating a sudden realization that they need your product right now.

But with all the digital platforms available to us, how can businesses optimize the e-commerce experience? We’ve laid out a few key points to consider when strategically creating these ‘micro-moments’ for your consumers.

Where to Begin Optimizing

When e-commerce websites want to improve the customer experience, many of them start out by looking at the check-out process. Although it is crucial that purchasing is seamless and easy, it’s not the first step in triggering consumer desire. Here are some points to consider:

  • When a consumer lands on your webpage, the first three seconds will determine whether they will continue the journey
  • Our brains process images 60,000 times quicker than text
  • Different colors trigger different emotions

Knowing this, it makes sense that optimization must begin on your homepage and product category pages before addressing the check-out experience.

A strong optimization initiative involves changing your ‘Call to Action’ button. This button should entice visitors to click, launching a series of steps that will eventually lead to a purchase. A call to action should be consistent in colour and size, and make sure you have only one button and not a few. The message of your call to action does not necessarily have to be just ‘Add to Cart’. Experiment to see what kind of call to actions resonate with your customers.

By focusing on the journey that happens before the check-out process, you’ll be creating an ‘experience’ as opposed to just a series of actions that must be completed before purchase.

Focus on Improving the Smartphone Experience

Does your website look fabulous on a laptop but not on the iPhone? It’s time to change that. Research shows consumers reflexively turn to their smartphones to do everything, including online shopping. Smartphones are portable, simple to use, and always around when we get bored or fidgety. This means your e-commerce site must be easy to navigate. So whether your customer is standing on a crowded bus or sitting on a comfy sofa at home, the smartphone is most likely their go-to device for all kinds of shopping and product research.

When someone is ‘mobile’, they’re expecting a totally different experience from the one they’ll get on your standard website. The consumer is most likely looking for a few key pieces of information, even when online shopping:

  • Large, bold product photos with items clearly categorized and easy to scan
  • A call to action button that is prominently displayed on all web pages
  • A menu that is easy to navigate with clear links to FAQs, shipping info and return policy
  • A check-out process with a mobile-friendly interface that makes inputting credit card and shipping information very easy

Even though your mobile site will be much more streamlined than your desktop version, it’s still important to maintain the same consistency when it comes to branding. Make sure your branding elements stand out for new customers, while making repeat customers feel like they’re visiting an old friend.

Keep up With Social Media Platforms

Although e-commerce purchases take place on your company website, social media platforms can drive potential customers to your place of business. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are powerful tools that will help you interact with consumers and influence them to buy your product. This is all part of the purchasing experience, despite its seemingly fragmented nature.

Focus on keeping up with new social media channels as they arise, instead of scrambling to create a presence after the platform has become popular. If a dog can gain a following on social media, then so can you. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Try Pinterest if your audience is predominantly female
  • Instagram is all about visuals, so make sure your photos are beautiful and engaging if you want to stand out
  • LinkedIn is primarily for B2B initiatives
  • Facebook users mainly access the site on mobile

To create the best digital experience for buyers, e-commerce websites must maximize their use of all platforms. The path to optimizing the digital experience is no longer clean and clear-cut. That’s why creating those ‘micro-moments’ is extremely crucial. Your business must be able to trigger emotions on a multitude of channels, no matter how short and fleeting those feelings may be.

For more ideas on growing your e-commerce business and other marketing solutions, contact Big Digital at 416-645-5186 or visit our website here.

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