Ready to showcase your product or service to the world? Shopify, one of the largest and most preferred e-commerce platforms in the world makes it a shockingly easy and hassle-free activity. With the enormous variety of tools and options to choose from, the platform is an all-in-one solution for your online shop.
Let's take a look at how we can leverage Shopify's offerings to make the best website experience for your customer:
Shopify has a large collection of themes or templates that help set up a base for those starting their new online store. The collection of 80+ themes has a bunch of paid and free options. The free templates are easier to set up and cover most basic requirements on the website and are helpful for those testing waters or learning the business as they set up the store. The paid templates created and offered on the Shopify theme market by professionals range from $150 to $350. Depending on your budget and preferences, browse through the options available.
These themes are particularly helpful if you have an idea about your consumer's behavior, navigation preferences, and branding aesthetics. Each of these customizable themes help showcase your own unique brand story and create a highly customized customer experience on your website. We suggest you imagine your ideal website and take help from the available themes to customize and build one that helps you achieve those expectations. Since your website is what the customer interacts with while shopping online, building and offering a unique customer experience that they connect with your brand is necessary.
Analyze and select templates with layouts based on the website elements that you wish to highlight - whether you want to showcase large or small product images, multiple pages or an infinite scroll, static banners or carousels, etc. The website layout that you choose must depend on how you wish to highlight your preferred element. If you find it difficult to visualize, take a look at what others are opting for. Most major e-commerce sites would have dedicated teams that analyze data and optimize the site based on this. The best you can do is replicate the features that you believe would work for you.
Once you have the website template and layouts for the pages set up, next up is the navigation. Whether it's a first-time visitor or a returning visitor, the website needs to be easy to navigate. If the customer does not find what they're looking for, your website bounce rates would be abnormally high leading to sales taking a hit. Some navigation tips you might want to explore:
- Search bar
- Exhaustive menu in the header
- Sticky menu
- Standard layouts for generic elements
- Floating CTAs
- Chat assistance
- Filters and sorting
- Scroll to top buttons
- Highlighted hyperlinks and CTAs
Shopify has a ton of tools to choose from to help you boost your website's navigation that you can find here.
The customer on your website has a huge number of options to browse from, not only in terms of available merchants selling their required product or service, but also types of products offered by each of these merchants. So how do you enhance the user's experience on the website such that you are preferred over the others?
- Reduce options: While it's important the customers have choices and options when visiting your website, too many options lead to confusion which often leads to either a delayed or lost sale. Steve Kruger's Don't make me think, a book that highlights this very difficulty also helps you understand the consumer behavior when shopping online. Prioritize and list a select few options where choices are concerned, guide consumers in making choices by sharing more information such as customer profiles that preferred the option and bestseller tags.
- De-clutter: Too much information on your webpage translates to no information communicated to the customer. The average time spent by a visitor on an ecommerce website is about 3.49 minutes. This means you have about 4 minutes to communicate, convince, and seal the deal. Prioritize and communicate value propositions to help guide customers make faster decisions.
- Faster loading times: Ensure web pages do not have heavy files or content that requires higher bandwidth to load/buffer. The more the wait times, the higher the chances that your customer moves on from the website. Compress images, break videos into short step-by-step gifs, and keep the content on each page to a minimum to help improve load times. Check-out image optimizing tools on the Shopify app store for the same.
- Add-on applications: Shopify's app store boasts of more than 6000 applications to choose from. Each of these applications adds a unique value to your ecommerce business. Research and evaluate applications that hold the potential to add value to your business. Let's take an example of an online astrology centre that sells astrological paraphernalia and also offers readings at a physical location. Their website needs to equip itself with the option for the customers to not only buy the products online but also book their services. While Shopify helps merchants build a product catalog on the website, you can add on an application such as Appointo, the appointment scheduling solution, that integrates with Shopify and helps you manage your appointment schedules.
Coming across errors, glitches, wrong content, or even inconsistencies in the website is often off-putting when browsing or shopping. Customers browsing through the website or looking for something specific would easily jump sites if they face a roadblock - whether it's a long loading time, coding error or payment mode issues.
Analyze visitor activity through Shopify's analytics platform or through any 3rd party analytics tool if you face data blind spots. Keep an eye on metrics such as website load times, bounce rates, session times, etc. Once you have the data in hand, investigate the issue - suddenly high bounce rate on a particular page? Check through which browser, in which region as it is highly likely due to technical errors.
Last but not the least, your website is as good as your product or service. Customer satisfaction is your ultimate motto. This being said, the website, product, service, and customer experience created by you must be improved time and time again. As customers experience and expect more and more from businesses, the same holds true for their website experiences. All e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, innovate, build, and update their platform on a regular basis, As a merchant, it is your duty towards your business and your customers to stay on top of the online shopping experience. What better way than to get the truth from the horse's mouth? A simple feedback rating form with a suggestions field helps capture the negative and the positive feedback that can help you improve. Be warned, customers are more likely to complain than to compliment. These criticisms come in handy when fire-fighting daily issues and prioritizing them.
As you embark on your journey to make the best ecommerce website there is (or even win a Shopify Commerce Award - we would love to see you there!) make sure to build an experience for your customer that they can find comfort and satisfaction in. Build and create content for humans, and even the crawlers will appreciate your store!