By WP Engine Country Manager ANZ Mark Randall.
From Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, End of Financial Year, to Christmas and Boxing Day sales, shoppers are increasingly expecting a seamless omni-channel retail experience during major sales periods, and many can be turned off by a complicated shopping process, leading to abandoned carts online. As back to school sales wind down and Valentine’s Day sales creep closer, the time is now for retailers to clear away any pesky website missteps or oversights holding back their customer shopping experiences.
Here are a few tips to get started.
Ensure scalability and speedy
Google reports that the best practice is to keep loading times at three seconds or less. Findings show that when loading times go from one to three seconds, the probability of a bounce (a user leaving right away) increases by 32%.
When e-commerce stores encounter a large amount of site visitors during a peak sales period, this can make a website time out or slow down. Not only does this lead to incredible frustration and a decrease in customer satisfaction, but a slow website could lead to shopping cart abandonment should the customer be in the checkout process during a website timeout.
To resolve this, there are several things you can do. First run a site speed diagnosis using a tool like the WP Engine Speed Tool, which will run a custom analysis on how fast your site loads and specific recommendations to speed it up. Invest in a content delivery network, compress images, and minify your code, and you can also partner with a digital experience platform which can improve an e-commerce store’s site performance by giving it the necessary scalability and speed it needs.
Streamline checkout process
Even when an e-commerce store is driving phenomenal growth, retailers are still be losing potential sales due to shopping cart abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment occurs at the startling global average of more than 70% of all shopping instances. That’s around $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise and services left unpurchased every year.
Some research estimates that more than 60% of shopping cart abandonments should be recoverable through a better checkout process. Other research shows users tend to abandon their cart because shipping costs are too high. Telling the customer up-front or at the beginning of the checkout process what the shipping price will be is important. Even better, offer free shipping to initiate more incentive to complete the purchase or motivate the customer to earn free shipping by spending a certain amount (eg, ‘spend $50, get free shipping’). In today’s world of overwhelmed logistics by letting customers know all the details up front, you build trust and loyalty in the long run.
To minimise basket abandonment, provide a guest checkout option for those who do not wish to create an account (avoid forcing customers to sign-in or create an account), add a ‘save for later’ or ‘add to wish list’ functionality for when customers want to save their wants for future purchases, and offer multiple payment options including alternative methods such as buy now, pay later.
Implement superior site security
Data security and privacy is one of the top priorities for retailers this year. Having strong security measures not only enables website protection but allows retailers to run their website at peak performance during sales periods. Firstly, install a security plugin. A plugin is a third-party functionality that customises a site to better serve the needs of visitors. For WordPress users, install a plugin like Sucuri that minimises security vulnerabilities.
Adding a security badge to the checkout page can also instill trust in a shopper who might be fearful of data theft and the security of the site. Aside from this, it’s important retailers clearly communicate the security measures they’re taking to ensure a secure checkout process. Mentioning that you do not store credit information, that your site is SSL certified, and that there’s a ‘100% money-back guarantee’, gives consumers confidence in the e-commerce store’s security, and ultimately, drives a final purchase.
About Mark Randall
Mark Randall is a true tech veteran, with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry under his belt. Prior to WP Engine, Mark held senior leadership roles in web hosting organisations including Bulletproof and Rackspace. Mark even helped create a hosting platform in his early 20s soon after graduating high school. Mark is an experienced general manager, country manager and sales leader with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry, skilled in leadership, sales, cloud computing, web/digital technologies, software as a service (SaaS) and business planning.
About WP Engine
WP Engine, the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company, powers the freedom to create on WordPress. We provide the most relied upon and trusted brands and developer-centric WordPress products for companies and agencies of all sizes, including Atlas, Flywheel, Local and Genesis. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, WP Engine has offices in Brisbane, Australia; Kraków, Poland; Limerick, Ireland; London, England; Omaha, Nebraska and San Antonio, Texas. Read more at www.wpengine.com.