The best ways to increase your ecommerce sales is to improve the factors that play in converting visitors into customers.

Your website depends on 2 key aspects to convert visitors into customers.

  1. Technical Performance
  2. User Experience

What is technical performance?

Technical performance is how well different factors perform for visitors and search engines on different devices and internet connections; which includes:

  • Speed
  • Security
  • Bug fixes
  • Mobile compatibility
  • On-site SEO

#1 Speed

If I ask you to think of a number of seconds your visitors are willing to wait for your website to load, what would you guess? think about it.

Maybe around 6 seconds is not bad? 6 seconds is practically nothing, right? wrong.

40% of people will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds and 47% of them expect it to load within 2 seconds or less — you can read the full research by KISSMetrics here.

Website speed expectations by KISSMetrics

How does that affect your sales?

According to the same research by KISSMetrics, each one second delay causes up to 17% less conversion.

To give you an example: If your website makes $100,000 per day, 1 second delay costs you $2,500,000 in lost sales per year.

That’s $2.5 million dollars gone because your website is taking 1-2 extra seconds to load.

If your website makes $100,000 per day, 1 second delay costs you $2,500,000 in lost sales per year.

How do you optimize your website for speed?

Your website speed can be improved by taking care of the following:

  • Use a fast server with better resources, you want to go with a VPS or specialised hosting instead of shared hosting.
  • Use the latest version of the software running your website.
  • Setup caching for the browser and server.
  • Host your static files such as images and scripts on a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Only use premium plugins, themes and code for optimal performance.
  • Minimize the number of files the website needs to load by combining them together where possible.
  • Compress your website images using tools such as CompressPNG and CompressJPEG.

#2 Security

There are over 30,000 websites hacked per day according to research done by Sophos Labs.

You might be thinking that only big targets are hacked, why would anyone go after your small business? the truth is most of the targets are small businesses.

There are over 30,000 websites hacked per day — if you are online, you are a target

What you need to know is that they are not really looking for your company personally to hack it, most of these attacks are automated and random — if your website is vulnerable on the internet, there is a high probability it is or will be hacked.

Well if they are automated and random, what do the attackers want? there are many reasons but mainly it is to spread to more websites and infect website visitors with malware.

This brings us to the next point which is in most cases your website won’t show any signs of being hacked, the malware is getting smarter in hiding itself from the website owner while infecting it’s visitors.

How does that affect your sales?

According to research done by Ponemon Institute, suffering a cyber attack can cost you to $3.4 million in lost business every hour and $5.4 million per hour in case of a data breach.

Even if you don’t get hacked, not having the proper security measures scares your customers away — 84% of website visitors said they will abandon a website if the data was going to be sent over an insecure connection.

Approx. 16% of companies who have assessed the financial impact of a cyber-attack valued the loss at more than £5m — MMC

How do you improve your website security?

  • Keep your software up to date with the latest upgrades and patches.
  • Ensure you have a working off-site backup in place.
  • Use of a unique strong passwords across all your accounts.
  • Download themes and plugins from reputable sources only.
  • Remove old and unmaintained software from your servers.
  • Work with reputable hosting providers only.
  • Setup intrusion detection software.

#3 Bug Fixes

How would your store visitors react if they can’t go in the door properly? or some the lights in your shop don’t work making it difficult to walk around or see your products?

Similar to your flagship store or showroom in the real world, your website is the centrepiece of your online presence.

They would leave.

Website visitors will do exactly the same but much more easily with a click and the bigger problem is that they might never come back.

The thing about website bugs is that they are not always obvious, your website could seem to function well while suffering from usability problems that frustrate your customers.

How does that affect your sales?

Other than the fact that your website visitors will not be able to contact or buy from you due to a website bug, let’s look at some examples.

75% of consumers admit that they judge a business credibility from their website design, got bugs? bad design. bad business.

Consumers say that a confusing website navigation leads to them leaving because confused, frustrated customers don’t buy.

How do you maintain your website bugs?

You want to be regularly checking the website for issues, below is a list of common problems and suggestions:

  • Use an uptime monitor to see when website is down unexpectedly 
  • Mobile incompatibility (we will go into more detail below)
  • Browser incompatibility
  • Bad navigation
  • Broken links
  • Broken forms

#4 Mobile Compatibility

The internet has changed a lot over the past 10 or even 5 years, consumers now have more different devices they can use to reach your website online.

There’s gaming devices, tablets, laptops, watches and mobile devices which are becoming more popular than desktop computers.

Back in 2013 mobile traffic online was about 15% while in 2016 mobile traffic skyrocketed to over 53%

Now it’s not just people that are visiting your website, search engines send their bots to crawl your website daily to get new content and update your ranking for search results.

Google for example has been ranking mobile friendly search results higher than others since 2015.

What’s interesting is back in 2013 only around 15% of all traffic were estimated mobile devices while in 2016 we are seeing over 53% of all traffic to come from mobile devices.

Mobile devices are being used more and more to access the web. The chart above demonstrates the growth in terms of web usage of mobile devices compared to desktops (numbers are in millions). — web2feel

How does that affect your sales?

Simply put, if over half of the internet is browsing on their mobile device then your business better be optimized to work properly on mobile.

How do you maintain mobile compatibility?

  • Website layout and design must fit smaller screens.
  • Navigation evenly spaced out so users can click on the right link easily.
  • Easy to find Call to Action buttons (ex: Buy Now, Contact Us, Add to Cart)
  • Minimal number of steps to complete a transaction or a procedure.
  • Compress images and static files to load faster on mobile connections.
  • Website design should have the swiping, sliding and touching in mind.
  • Test your website using mobile compatibility tests such as Responsinator.

#5 On-site SEO

Before we go into on-site SEO, let’s do a quick one on SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the act of getting traffic or website visitors from free or organic search results.

Over 6,500,000,000 billion searches are done per day on search engines

To give you an idea on how important SEO is let’s look at some statistics:

  • There are over 6.5 billion searches a day worldwide.
  • Google results in over 75% of these searches, ever heard the phrase Google is king? this is why.
  • Companies can opt to advertise their products in search results but searchers still prefer not to click on advertisements
  • Organic (unpaid) results get over 94% clicks on desktop vs 5% for paid results.

On-site SEO is the act of improving website pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. The improvements is done both on the content and the code of the page.

How does that affect your sales?

On-site SEO results in higher ranking in search results, higher ranking in search results brings in more relevant visitors which in return brings in more sales.

How can you improve your on-site SEO?

  • Use SEO friendly URLs
    • Example of not friendly URL: yourwebsite.com/index.php?product=9998&category=51
    • Example of SEO friendly URL: yourwebsite.com/tshirts/dark-grey
  • Start page titles with keywords
  • Use H1 headers for blog post titles
  • Use keywords you want to target in the first 100 words of a post or a page
  • Use internal links from your pages to other pages
  • Use external links to authoritative websites

Now we can talk about the User Experience aspect of improving your e-commerce sales.

Your website visitors are visiting you from all kinds of different backgrounds, tech savviness, devices, internet speeds and locations.

Do you know how your website visitors are experiencing your website? do you want to find out how to know?

We need to be measuring and monitoring data such as user behaviour, retention, referrals, devices and locations.

This will allow us to answer questions like:

  • How many visitors do we get per month?
  • Where do our visitors come from?
    • Are they directly visiting our website? we have a strong brand
    • Are they coming from organic search? which keywords?
    • Are they coming from other websites? which ones?
    • Are they coming from social media? which ones?
  • How long do our visitors stay on the website? how does this data differ per source?
  • How many visitors end up buying from the total monthly visitors? this is called conversion rate
  • Which pages do our visitors land on the most? which pages do they exit on the most?
  • Which products are being viewed the most? and which categories?

After we have our data we can start working on improving the visitor experience but before we get into that, I want to add some key points to consider:

  • Your website visitors are lazy.
  • Your website visitors have little attention span.
  • Your website visitors have objections and most won’t tell you about them.
  • Your website visitors may not know what they want.
  • Your website visitors want to see your face.
  • Your website visitors maybe scared of buying online.

Okay if this is all clear, let’s get into it with an example.

Sara wants to buy a new dress, she happens to have found your online store from your Instagram posts.

She goes on your website using her mobile phone and wants to browse around.

How easy is it to find the navigation on your mobile website? will Sara get lost finding the dresses section? if yes, Sara will be gone to your competitor and we don’t want that.

Now Sara has found the dress she wants but she has a bunch of questions running in her head.

  • Does the dress fit me?
  • Do they have it in red?
  • What happens if I need to return it?
  • How long will it take to arrive?
  • Do they even deliver to my location?
  • Do I have to pay for shipping? how much?

How easy will Sara find answers to all her questions? remember she is on her mobile device without much screen landscape and even less patience.

83 percent of online shoppers surveyed said they needed some form of support during their online journey — econsultancy.com

Will Sara need to look around for a “Contact Us” page, fill in a form and hear back from you in 1-2 business days? Sara ain’t got time for that.

You want to make it super easy, smooth and cater to all your website visitor needs to give them the best experience possible so in return more and more of them will buy from you.

In summary this is what we need to do to increase e-commerce sales:

  1. Have a strong foundation with your website
  2. Measure and analyse your data
  3. Give your customers the best experience possible
  4. Experiment!

Got questions? feedback? leave a comment below or email me at [email protected] — I reply within an hour 🙂

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