We explored several successful eCommerce sites to learn some of their secrets - what is it that they are doing well to engage and convert customers who visit their sites. Join us in this survey that will throw up ‘Best of the Best’ - some best practices by the best sites. Of course, there is no survey as such of the best sites, but we have explored and picked up a few good ones.
Before we proceed, let us take on overview of the Cutomer’s purchase behavior. The customer goes through the following stages in his purchase journey:
1. Need arousal
When a certain circumstance if the customer’s life raises the need for a particular product or service. The need may be well defined or not, clear or latent. The eCommerce company must sharpen its marketing skills in using email marketing, SEO / SEM, influencers, blogs, comparison and review sites, etc to catch the customer when they experience the need arousal. Better still, they could participate in creating a particular need within the customer.
2. Information search
The Customer now looks for product options that will satisfy the need by searching for relevant Ecommerce sites (in addition to offline sources). The Ecommerce company needs to ensure that their site figures in the top few options of search, and displays such information that will entice the customer to click through on their link.
Once having reached the site, the customer’s information search will include product details, pictures and videos, 360 degree views and demos, customer reviews and awards, pricing and payment options, trial and return policies, other related products, and so on.
3. Evaluation behavior
Based on the information thrown up by the site, the customer will apply an evaluation model, either conjunctive or disjunctive, to arrive at a product selection, or none at all. Or he may postpone the decision.
4. Purchase behavior
Based on the cart and direct-buy options, and other financial parameters, and his own budget, etc., the customer will proceed to make a purchase going through various sub-stages- orderdetails, billing and shipping info, making payment, order review and closure.
5. Post-purchase feelings
The customer will now experience satisfaction or lack of it in delivery phase, packaging, intial usage, extended use, return if so, writing a review and referrals, and so on.
We will now see how some good eCommerce sites have used the above understanding in developing key best practices.
Home and Car insurance- as the home page opens, it establishes the No. 1 status of the company. Home page scroll down offers buttons for quotes, blog, reviews. For a quote, a detailed form needs to be filled.
Dixons Carphone plc is a leading multinational consumer electrical and mobile retailer and service company. Lovely site, very clean, messaging is fairly large, clear and attractive. As you scroll down, the text draws you in.
Now here is one site whose design we will leave you to evaluate. It’s a very busy site. There are too many items vying for your attention. And too many persisitent pop-ups. But some customers are persuaded by such sites. With its colorful, screaming approach, it may well influence many customers.
A unique site featuring Menopause products for women. Nice pastel colour as you reach the home page. It has a page where you enter your symptoms and the site responds with recommended products. Very effective feature, this one- Menopause Symptom Tool.
This site has excellent design. Attractive visuals with large, matching text. Ease of navigation is at the heart of this site.
Being a camera site, quality of featured photographs is top-notch.
A lingerie site, it has attractive visuals. Horizontal scroll followed by boxes to give options to the customer. This combination of horizontal scroll to display main options, backed up by boxes of other key products as you scroll down, is a rather effective design template.
A Russian maker of all kinds of stools. Very neat product range display. Then, if you click on one product, it takes you to spacious product detailing, with multiple views and motion view too.
It has a neat product display, using spacious boxes. Very good use of hover. When you hover, it shows a model wearing that product: see the middle box in the scond picture. That’s the hover effect. This technique is very useful for a site selling any kind of bodywear.
To summarise, we can list the 7 Key Learning from Best Ecommerce sites as follows:
Home page must be built upon the key offering/s of the company- it could be a buy-anything site like large aggregators, or a design-oriented fashion wear company, or a service company like insurance, or a design-plus-functionality company like audio equipment, or an industrial goods company, and so on.
The scroll down on the home page must support the key offerings as in No. 1 above. Pop-ups should be minimized so that they do not irritate and come in the way of the navigation.
An attractive spacious design is a must. The degree of design sophistication going up with the degree of design expectation from the product sold.
Ease of navigation and options to explore or go to product range pages must always be handy. Product range pages must be neat and spacious, giving complete relevant information on click-through to a particular product. 360 view, demo video, online trial, models shown using the product- such features enhance the buying experience and bring it closer to the physical one.
Related product choices must be suggested on the same page as the product detauls page.
Customer reviews- highlighting even the critical ones, testimonials, awards, reference sites, home-trial program, loyalty program, etc must be used effectively to convert the customer into a buyer.
One-click checkout, convenient payment options, order review page, trial and return policies, delivery timelines, etc must not only be included, but refined to the utmost.