More people are heading online to shop, so perhaps you’re considering tapping into this market. If you have set up your own online store, there are a few things you can do to convert your online ‘window shoppers’ into paying customers...is that the sound of a cash register I hear?

Window dressing

First things first, how does your website look? Make sure it looks clean, branded and easy to use. Provide links straight to your products from the home page. A nicely designed website helps people trust you - Important, if they are going to make an online payment.

Another big factor is the speed of your website - if your online shop takes ages to load, people will abandon their carts and leave - simple as that. So test your website and make sure it’s spiffy.

Show off your products

‘Bricks and mortar’ stores merchandise their products so they look attractive. The same applies to your online store. Have good product images, even if this means getting a professional photographer to help. Customers should be able to zoom in on product details and view products from multiple angles. If you present and describe products accurately, you’ll dramatically diminish the number of returns.

Make it easy for customers to browse products, by categorising and tagging them in a logical way. Display related products e.g. “you might also like...”. Be helpful!

Selecting product variations like size and colour should also be logical and easy. Use drop-down menus, so that customers can select their size with a quick click. Provide sizing charts too - Accurate sizing info = less returns.

Consider displaying customer reviews of products - they’re like a personal recommendation. Having social media share buttons on each product can also provide this.

Shopping carts that rock

A straight-forward shopping cart process is fundamental. If you make people jump through too many hoops, they’ll abandon their shopping cart quick-smart. Cumbersome online shopping carts are one of my own bugbears, so here’s how to make them awesome:

Keep the cart and checkout design clear and simple. Generally, ecommerce checkouts should have less than 5 steps (ideally just 1!) and make the next step in the process clear with a ‘next’ button.

Make it easy: Provide obvious, clear and concise information about delivery options/costs, customer service contacts and returns policy. Offer people a check box to say that the billing/shipping addresses are the same, so they don’t have to input this information twice.

Stress-free Checkout

This one is a biggie: Provide people with more than one payment option. Not everyone uses credit cards. Also consider displaying the logos of trusted payment gateways that you are offering e.g. PayPal. Importantly, make sure that your website is using a secure connection when people pay (you’ll see a padlock in the URL bar).

Don’t make people register before buying; have a guest checkout option - Sure, you want people’s data, but make their lives easier and they'll come back.

Don’t hit customers with hidden charges at the checkout - provide shipping options upfront within the shopping cart, so the total to pay is obvious throughout. Keep shipping costs low, or offer free shipping - It’s a no brainer. Give customers discount codes and coupons - we all love a bargain!

Easy order management

Keep good records of orders/dispatches/returns and keep customers informed about their purchase - email them to say “order received” (it’s easy to automate this), tell them their order has been dispatched and give them an idea when they can expect to receive their goods.

Hope this helps and thanks for reading. Airsquare strives to adhere to E-commerce best practice. If you have any questions pertaining to this article (or the web in general), we’d love to hear from you.