When eCommerce retailers create their websites, it can be difficult for them to determine exactly what features to include in order to bring in the highest traffic, revenue and conversions possible. While it is different for every site - and what works will vary based on factors like buyer personas, industry, and the current scope and needs of the company - there are certain integrations that are helpful for eCommerce retailers across the board. Here, we run through 5 features that online retailers should consider incorporating into their sites in order to have a successful online store.
Abandoned Cart Workflow
Abandoned cart workflows are a quick and hands-off way for retailers to recover conversions that they have lost. On any eCommerce site, there are going to be abandoned carts - which is when, for whatever reason, a prospect decides to leave the site at the checkout stage. By implementing an effective abandoned cart workflow, retailers can get these prospects back to their site and convert them into customers. Think about it: site visitors who abandon their cart are ready to buy. They know about the company and they are interested in the product. All they need is extra information or incentive to go through with a purchase.
What does that extra incentive look like? It could be, for example, a series of automated reminder emails sent shortly after the cart is abandoned. These emails should be helpful and inviting - not pushy - asking prospects if they have any questions, seeing if they need help placing their order, and guiding them back to their cart or to related products. If these efforts don’t work and the cart is lost, the next step could be to enroll that customer into top-of-the-funnel emails and promotions, sending them content that encourages them to move forward and make a purchase in the future. Even if the conversion rates from an abandoned cart workflow aren’t very high, keep in mind that it’s still traffic and conversions that the company wouldn’t have otherwise had.
For an eCommerce retailer to have a successful online store, they need to be on top of their metrics and data, gathering information on factors like conversion rate, average order value, bounce rate, etc. Why? Without this information, retailers have no way of keeping track of their performance, progress or pain points, and they end up making blind changes to their website based on hypothesis and assumption rather than data. Such changes are often inaccurate and ineffective - and as such they simply waste the company’s time, resources and money.
With analytics integration, retailers can avoid these inaccuracies and make changes based on research, seeing exactly how their site visitors are responding to them over time and altering their strategy as necessary. For example, keeping track of blog analytics - what topics are performing well, how many times each post is being opened, etc. - could give eCommerce retailers valuable and surprising information about their buyer personas’ interests and motivations. Say the top-performing blog posts on a retailer’s site are travel-related, providing information on what to pack, where to visit and how to stay safe. This data can guide that company's future strategy - not only for upcoming blog posts, but also for things like CTAs, product pages, and design decisions - helping them create the most engaging and interesting site possible.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A content delivery network, or CDN, is a network of servers that delivers web pages and content based on the geographic location of a user, the origin of a webpage and the content delivery server. This means that when a user requests to see a page that is part of a CDN, the server that is geographically closest to the user responds to the request and sends the requested page. This allows for the content to be delivered to the user more quickly than it would otherwise be. When trying to understand this, it may be helpful to think about cell service as a useful analogy: if there were only, say, one cell tower in a state - and that tower were hundreds of miles away from a woman trying to make a call - it would probably take much longer for her to make that call or find reliable reception than it would be if there were hundreds of towers, with one being right by her house. The same logic applies to the CDN: the more servers are available for use, and the closer they are to the site visitor requesting to see a page, the more quickly that site will be able to deliver the requested page and information. The CDN solution, then, is perfect for sites with high traffic or a global reach. It accelerates eCommerce transactions and mitigates against issues like slow page load speed and server crashes, both of which lead to loss of customers and revenue over time.
Multivariate testing is a great tool for quick website optimization, as it provides data that takes the guesswork out of design and optimization decisions. How? As the name suggests, in a multivariate test, multiple variables are tested to uncover the design combination that is most effective in reaching a larger goal. In the context of eCommerce, then, it’s the combination that leads to the most conversions, click-throughs, traffic and revenue on a page. For example, a multivariate test could be done to figure out which combination of layout, color scheme, images and descriptions leads to the highest average order value on a product page.
The hard part is that a lot of traffic is needed in order to create strong, meaningful data through this kind of testing, and retailers may not be able to accumulate enough data on every page of their site. However, when done properly, multivariate testing is extremely useful because it provides a clear view of exactly what pages perform best and what elements on those pages lead to this high performance. With this kind of information, online retailers can effectively implement changes that have a marked positive impact.
Social Rewards Program
Social rewards programs, like point systems and VIP programs, are an effective means of boosting sales, increasing traffic to an eCommerce site and developing brand loyalty. Why? They essentially work to incentivize site visitors and customers on an eCommerce site by making them feel special or like they are working toward something with their purchases and activity. Two effective social rewards programs for eCommerce retailers are Sweet Tooth and Yotpo. With the Sweet Tooth extension, customers can earn points based on SKU, subtotal, items in their cart, customer group - basically any characteristic of a shopping cart or product. This means that retailers can create multiple reward programs that target each of their buyer personas and accurately incentivize all of their site visitors. Similarly, Yotpo helps retailers generate customer content like verified reviews to increase trust, comfort and brand loyalty.