How to Improve User Experience with Your Shopping Cart and Increase Sales

Once you have learned how to improve your website for conversions, your next job is to ensure that all of the people who make it to your shopping cart actually complete their purchase. Your online shopping cart can make or break the deal – here’s how to improve user experience so yours seals the deal as many times as possible.

Set up analytics to find problems early on.

It’s never too early to set up analytics to find user experience problems early on, especially when it comes to shopping carts. Once you have set up Google Analytics, you can create goals using a sales funnel. This will track visitors throughout their shopping cart experience and produce the following report.

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Now you can quickly see where people exit the shopping cart the most. This is a key piece of information when you are looking to find problems with user experience. In the above case, people are exiting after adding a product to the cart which suggests that this screen has some kind of user experience issue.

Avoid common user experience faux pas.

Think about your own experiences with shopping carts – the things that have frustrated you the most when making an online purchase. You will want to make sure your shopping cart does not drive your customers away because it does the following.

  • • Makes people go through a complex registration process or forcing them to login. There’s nothing worse than wanting to make a quick purchase, not remembering whether you have an account, then filling out a new registration just to find that you already do have an account that needs to be completely updated. Allow for guest checkout instead to let first time customers buy without any hassles or repeat customers buy without having to remember details. Include an option to register for faster convenience for those how are interested.
  • • Logs out of sessions too quickly and doesn’t remember where the user was during the process when logging back in. While security is important, if someone gets logged out and has to start all over with their purchase, they may get frustrated and give up.
  • • Does not allow customers to confirm items in the shopping cart or change quantities throughout the purchase.
  • • Signs customers up for a mailing list without their permission. While this may not affect the first purchase, it could affect the customer’s likelihood to return for future purchases.

Test your shopping cart on multiple platforms.

Maybe the issue with your shopping cart only happens on a particular browser or platform such as a mobile device. Be sure to test your shopping cart from start to finish from a variety of platforms including PC desktops plus all associated browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari), Mac desktops plus all associated browsers, a tablet (such as the iPad), and smartphones including the Android and iPhone.

Run usability tests on your shopping cart.

If you can’t find usability issues on your own, try running usability tests on your shopping cart with a test audience. Sometimes it takes someone not as familiar with your shopping cart to find the problems.

Boost the customer’s confidence in your brand throughout the process.

Sometimes it’s not a functionality issue that hurts your shopping cart’s user experience, but rather a confidence issue. Customers need to be reassured throughout the online shopping process that they are going to receive exactly what they want where they want it.

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Help assure your customer by including the following throughout the shopping cart.

  • • Proof that your site is secure and trustworthy. This can include displaying badges to indicate a money back guarantee, an easy return process, a strong rating with the Better Business Burea, and a high customer satisfaction rating with sites like Bizrate.
  • • A phone number or live chat that people can use during the checkout process.
  • • A quick summary of the items ordered so they do not have to back out of the checkout process to confirm their selections.
  • • A reminder that they can review their order once more before their credit card is charged.
  • • An order confirmation screen that includes items to be ordered, shipping and billing addresses chosen, and the last four digts of their credit card or payment method.

What are some other things you would suggest on how to improve user experience with a shopping cart? Please share in the comments!

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Website for Conversions

When it comes to your business website, your goal should go beyond just traffic – your goal should be to take your visitors and turn them into conversions. Once you have defined your conversion goals (which could include signing up for a mailing list, submitting a contact form, downloading a whitepaper, or purchasing a product), your next step is to make sure your website is designed to increase conversions. This allows you to gain the maximum ROI (return on investment) for all of your online marketing campaigns. The following are five tips on how to improve your website for conversions.

Photo Credit: Brian Massey on Flickr

1. Make sure that your conversion goal is prominently displayed throughout your website.

Remember that traffic doesn’t just enter your website through the homepage. If you want to ensure that your website is exposing visitors to your main conversion goals, be sure that those goals are prominently placed throughout your website. For example, if your main conversion goal is to get people to call your 1-800 number, then that number should be posted in your website’s header – not just on your contact page.

2. Create landing pages for specific conversion goals without a lot of other distractions.

This is especially important if you do any online advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.). You don’t want to advertise your latest product and then have visitors click through to your homepage where they may or may not find the link to that product. Instead, you’ll want a landing page on your website devoted to the product you’re advertising. This way, you can convert more of your traffic from ads, social shares, or other links for that specific conversion goal.

3. Try out tools that help boost conversions.

There are lots of great tools out there that can help you boost conversions. One of the latest is Hellobar, a simple script you can install on your site that adds a red bar at the top of each page. This bar draws your visitors attention to anything you want with a simple sentence and button to click. Several top blogs on conversion are starting to use Hellobar to draw attention to their latest products, services, webinars, eBook downloads, or other pages. Try it on yours to see if you get more attention to some of your landing pages.

4. Don’t forget to optimize your blog for conversions.

When we talk about optimizing your website for conversions, this includes your blog as well. There are lots of great ways to add your conversion goals to your blog, from banners and opt-in forms in the sidebar to specific calls to action in the footer of your posts. The reason this is so important is because more people are likely to share your blog content than your sales pages. So instead of getting social traffic direct to your landing pages, you’ll be getting traffic to your blog content. Hence your blog content needs to be as optimized as possible for conversions to get the best results.

5. Test different options to see what works best for conversions.

When it comes to testing, you should expect to do both usability testing as well as split testing to see what conversion elements work the best for your website. Something as simple as changing the wording of your mailing list opt-in page or product sales page could make a huge difference when it comes to converting your visitors into mailing list subscribers or customers.

7 Tips for Mobile Website Usability

When it comes to mobile website usability, there are many more things to consider because of the inhibited screen size. The following are seven things you should think about during the design process and check for after your mobile website is complete to ensure that mobile users are getting the best experience.

1. Look for responsive template designs and test them before purchasing.

If you are in re-design mode for your website, be sure to be on the lookout for templates that have a responsive design or are designated as mobile-friendly. Then test the template you are considering on a mobile device before purchasing it. To do this, simply go to the demo site for the template on your mobile phone to see if the design works with your browser. If it doesn’t, see if the template designer offers mobile customization as well.

2. Download mobile compatibility packages for WordPress.

For those using WordPress as a CMS on their own domain (not WordPress.com), you can look into plugins like WPtouch or WordPress Mobile Pack. These plugins will detect whether a visitors is coming to your website from a mobile device and present them with a mobile-friendly design instead of your main one. Be sure to go through the options for these plugins carefully to make sure they are displaying the pages you want visible to mobile visitors and test your website on a mobile device to make sure everything is configured correctly.

3. Don’t use popups or floating elements on your mobile website.

Outside of running into a website that only uses Flash on an iPhone, the next most irritating thing on a mobile website is a popup or piece of floating content. The challenge with these elements is that they are hard to close because the X is generally somewhere outside of where you can zoom. That or there is no way to close it, and no matter where you scroll, the floating social share button, ad, etc. keeps covering the main content. Sure those are easy to manage on a desktop browser, but make sure they don’t appear on your mobile website.

4. Rethink paginated content.

A popular trend on blogs is to paginate posts, so instead of having 1,000+ words on one page, it will be spread across two or three pages. And while this sounds like a great idea for mobile as it would decrease the load time by having less to load on one page, here is the issue. Someone who is in an area with a choppy 3G signal is going be able to load page, but not the rest. Chances are, they will get so frustrated that they won’t try to get back to that content later either.

5. Offer the option to visit the full website.

Assuming that your main website is not all done with Flash, be sure to offer visitors the opportunity to use the full site instead of the mobile website. This way, if they are looking for something not available on your mobile website, they can still access it via their mobile device. Of course, if you do offer this option, make sure that your site isn’t set to automatically redirect every time someone lands on a page from a mobile device. Otherwise, they’ll almost get to where they want to go and then get shipped back to the mobile website again.

6. Add your phone number throughout your website in the text, not as an image.

Smartphones allow website browsers to click on a phone number anywhere on a website to call it directly, but only if the phone number is in the text of the website. A lot of businesses tend to put their phone number in an image just for design / formatting purposes, but this doesn’t help people contact you when needed. As a side benefit, having a local phone number in the text will also help you with local search rankings.

7. Test, test, and test again.

Web designers know to test their latest projects in a variety of browsers because not all browsers are created equal. The same goes for mobile devices. What works flawlessly on your iPhone may not work so well on an Android. Your best bet is to try your mobile website on a few different mobile platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows. The easiest way to do it if you don’t happen to own one or more of these devices is to slip into your local electronics or mobile sales store and run a few quick tests on the demo devices. Try to test key conversion areas such as submission forms or mobile shopping carts to ensure a good experience for your mobile users from start to finish.

What mobile website usability tips would you like to add to this list? Please do so in the comments!

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