How to Update Your E-commerce Site in 6 Easy Steps

Over time, your e-commerce site becomes outdated. New technologies, such as voice search, enter the scene, or your products get a fresh update. Upgrading your website gives you an edge over the competition and shows your customers you pay attention to details.

Even during times of economic upheaval, e-commerce grows. In a forecast of seven different markets, including the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Latin America, experts predict a 20% growth across all online retail segments. Numbers may reach as high as $5 trillion by 2021.

If you want to be a part of the increase in online shopping, you have to pour into your store. Give it just as much attention as you would a brick-and-mortar location. With a physical shop, you swap out window displays, at least seasonally. Your online presence should also have a fresh look heading into each season. Here are six easy steps to take to ensure your digital shop offers the best experience possible.

Source: Pexels

Step 1: Add Live Chat

In a report about consumer behavior, researchers found the No. 1 reason people shop online is the convenience of a 24/7 model. Start by looking at your online store and making sure you fulfill customer needs no matter what time of day they might land on your site. Adding a live chat feature and staffing it with agents is one option to answer any questions users might have at the moment.

New Chapter sells health and wellness products. Note its live chat option in the lower-left corner of the landing page. Click on the button, and you reach live support. 24/7 agents keep the store running around the clock and reach people in any time zone.

Step 2: Watch the Trends

Every year, new design trends emerge. If you don’t stay on top of them, your site can wind up looking outdated. While you shouldn’t implement every new thing that comes along, you can undoubtedly weave in some of the more essential features that drive traffic to your site and keep you competitive.

For example, with more people accessing the internet from their smartphones, a mobile responsive page is a necessity. You’ll also want to tap into voice search, the Internet of Things (IoT) and new tools as they become popular.

Step 3: Show Product in Use

One mistake a lot of e-commerce sites make is taking photos of their products within the packaging. A plain image falls a bit flat and doesn’t show how the customer uses the item. Take plenty of shots of your product performing. Come up with creative ideas for your photo sessions. Hire a professional commercial photographer, as they are used to showing items in the best light possible and can be a valuable part of your marketing team.

San-J does an excellent job of showing the product in use as its hero shot and then superimposing the product inside its packaging on top. The dual image gives the site visitor two views of the items. It also hints at some recipes people can try using its foods.

Step 4: Update Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions make or break your site. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but you can’t always figure out the size and other features from an image. Think through any questions people asked in the past about your products. Answer those questions in your description. The more detailed and concrete you are, the better.

If you have older photos and the product changed, you should also update images to reflect that. Customers should get precisely what they expect, or you may wind up with negative reviews.

Step 5: Highlight the Benefits

There are about 1.8 million online retailers in the United States alone and around 7.1 million around the globe. No matter what type of product you offer, you have some competition out there. One thing you can do today to show why your brand is different is highlight the benefits of doing business with you over your competitors. Share any prizes you’ve won, significant milestones you’ve reached and guarantees you offer.

Rusty Surfboards does a great job of showing why it’s superior to similar companies. Notice the subheader that states it offers a satisfaction guarantee. It then showcases features about its boards, such as how local people manufacture them, it has over 35 years of experience and it creates custom shapes with a quick turnaround.

Step 6: Perfect Your Cart Abandonment Methods

The average shopping cart abandonment rate hovers around 56.8%, but the amount varies depending on unexpected costs and how well designed your site is. If you aren’t sure how many people walk away from your site before completing a purchase, track the stats and figure out at what point they’re leaving. Fix any issues you see, such as high shipping costs, complicated forms or too many steps to complete the sale.

Next, come up with a plan for follow-up. If someone fills out contact information, send a note that they still have items in their cart. You can also provide special offers, such as free shipping, if they complete the order in a set amount of time.

Test Your Site

As you make changes, spend time testing your design thoroughly to confirm everything functions as expected. Pick up a mobile device and double-check your website is smartphone-friendly. Go through each touchpoint in your sales funnel and make sure all links work, and the words are powerful action phrases driving the user through the buyer’s journey. Conduct split testing to see what changes work best with your particular audience.

With a little effort, your e-commerce store will grow steadily and bring in more revenue than you expected.

Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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