What makes for a good ecommerce website experience? For many brands, this is a tough question. There is a seemingly endless number of elements that make up a commerce site, and determining what to focus on can be a challenge. How can you sort through all of the features and tactics to figure out what really matters to visitors?
One simple way is see what consumers say. Companies have been asking people about their ecommerce site experience likes and dislikes for a long time, and year after the year the same set of preferences tend to come up.
So what are the core things that consumers say they want from ecommerce sites? Here are five that appear in the results of survey after survey:
A Fast, Stable Experience
When it comes to ecommerce websites, it can be tempting to focus on the next new thing such as a cutting-edge content type or fresh social integration.
Those can certainly help your business, but they only matter if you are adding them to a strong foundation. Put simply: if your site doesn’t load quickly and remain stable consumers won’t stick around to engage with anything else you offer.
A survey of ecommerce shoppers found that 47 percent expect ecommerce sites to load in two seconds or less and 40 percent will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
And poor performance isn’t looked at as a one-time issue; it has a long-term impact on how people view companies: 79 percent of consumers who are dissatisfied with a site’s fundamentals (speed and reliability) say they are less likely to return and 52 percent say website performance affects on their loyalty to brands.
Visible Product Pricing
Many brands make it difficult for consumers to see the pricing of products by hiding the numbers behind registrations, sign-ups, content paths, mandatory cart adds, and other barriers.
There are often good reasons for doing this, but it’s still usually a mistake.
Fundamentally, most consumers care deeply about the price of a product and they want to be able to see it as soon as possible.
An analysis of ecommerce behavior found that 65 percent of people look at prices on multiple sites when shopping online, and 86 percent think the ability to compare prices is extremely important or somewhat important.
Given this deep desire, it’s worth it to make it as simple as possible for your site visitors to quickly and clearly your pricing.
In-Depth Product Content
Nearly half (49 percent) of consumers say that they haven’t made a purchase online because they couldn’t get a good enough sense of what a product would look like/feel like when it was delivered.
Moreover, 84 percent of consumers say it is important to be able to have their questions about products answered on ecommerce sites before buying.
In other words, people want to know exactly what they’re buying before completing an order online.
That’s why in-depth product content is so essential. The more you’re able to answer questions about a product — exactly what it does, the specifics of what it looks like, etc. — the more comfortable consumers will feel in buying from you.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
In addition to the information that you provide, shoppers also very much want to know what fellow consumers have to say about your products.
Some 40 percent of US adults say they always check online product reviews when purchasing something for the first time on the Web, and 42 percent say they sometimes do. These numbers are even higher with younger shoppers: 53 percent say they always check online reviews and 43 percent say they sometimes do.
This hunger for peer feedback means that incorporating reviews and ratings isn’t just nice to have; it’s essential.
Clear Shipping Options
Finally, it is hard to overstate the importance of shipping information for any ecommerce site that deals with physical goods.
Consumers say the number one thing that stops them from making online purchases is shipping costs/issues (58 percent cite as a problem). Encountering unexpected shipping issues/costs are also the number two reason consumers say they abandon online shopping carts at the last minute (the top reason is because they were just browsing).
As with pricing, many brands often try to hide true shipping costs and options. That approach just frustrates shoppers and hurts brand perception.
By being clear with your shipping up front — and by ideally providing some sort of free option — you’ll reduce site exists in the short run and build customer loyalty in the long run.