How To Make Your E-Commerce Store Sticky

E-commerce stores have an average abandonment rate of 67.89%, and that’s one scary statistic. Not only that, it’s a frustratingly difficult thing e-commerce store owners have to deal with.

The truth is that abandonment isn’t new. It’s just a new term for rejection. Most reasons for abandonment stem from retailers’ oversights, such as lack of payment options, inadequate security, and incomplete product information.

It’s one thing that no e-commerce store will ever achieve 100% cart completion rate. Every online shop will lose traffic and fail to appease everyone. As things stand, however, not failing to retain visitors or customers at the store level or shopping cart level can be expensive. Another scary figure from the Econsultancy blog: Abandoned purchases cost UK’s online retailers over 1 billion GBP.

Various factors contribute to the abandonment rate. A survey by Econsultancy using the TolunaQuick tool concluded that a majority 74% of shoppers will abandon carts due to high shopping charges and another 54% will leave when they experience technical problems.

So what can you do as a retailer to stem this rot, so as to keep the attention and the money of your customers?

1. Deploy Gamification

While there is enough cart abandonment happening in e-commerce to scare businesses away, there’s the video game industry, which will cross the $100 billion mark this year. There must be something interesting enough in a game to give it that kind of a market. It’s no wonder then that businesses are trying to employ gamification for business.

By adding gaming elements to the e-commerce store, you can increase levels of engagement while not letting customers drift. How exactly does that look like in reality? David Moth found out how some e-commerce stores are successfully using gamification.

Teleflora uses social loyalty schemes while offering points for user activity such as reviews, comments, and answers to other customers’ queries. Dropbox gives you an additional 250 MB storage just by referring friends to take a tour of Dropbox. LinkedIn uses all sorts of points, and a “star” system for profile reviews and completion. Many online training sites, forums, review and Q-A sites, such as Jillian Michaels, Team Treehouse and Code Academy hand out badges for attaining various levels.

2. Get the UX/UI Right

User Experience (UX) matters a lot for e-commerce. Defined as how a user interacts with a product and how they use it, UX/UI is critical for an e-commerce store to achieve goals. UX should make the e-commerce store intuitive, convenient, and enjoyable. The folks at Something Digital have a few tips ready to make a walk through your e-commerce aisles enjoyable with a better UX/UI:

  • Allow shoppers to browse their way by using an intuitive navigational structure. Include ways to flirt with a sorting order. Use breadcrumbs.
  • Put the spotlight on products – use images and videos for all products. Make sure you bring in upsells, cross-sells, and related product suggestions.
  • Allow customers to create wish lists. Include social sharing.
  • As always, high calls to action. Use active language (it doesn’t have to be cool or fancy).

2.1 Use On-Demand Demos & Data

Here’s what makes site visitors run for their life when they visit your store: asking them for a truckload of personal information to allow them to see demos, videos, or any content that should have been accessible and without too much of friction.

It’s a great strategy to ask for data such as emails in exchange for access to useful content. Yet, overdoing it causes more damage than benefit. Asking for an email address isn’t the problem. Placing multiple fields of input into the lead generation form certainly is.

The experience should be easy. Demos of your product or videos should be a tap or a click away. See how Shopify provides a demo for its POS application – an iPad simulation of a demo store is just a tap away. It’s also interactive and simulates exactly how a POS terminal solution would work.

2.2 Personalize

Gagan Mehra wrote a post on Practical E-commerce that uncovers the personalization strategies used by online retail bigwigs such as Nordstrom, NetFlix, and Staples.

These companies use predictive models to adapt site usage to customers’ personal choices and profiles. Algorithms that allow e-commerce sites to track customer behavior and respond proactively are becoming increasingly common.

Amazon is already a great example for customization on the fly. Nir Eyal noted on TechCrunch that users want it all, a lot, and they want it now. This means that retailers will have to keep collecting data all the time and make sense of it instantaneously.

2.3 Revitalize Customer Support

If you had to pick up just one point from this post, get this and you’ll still succeed. Every business in existence does “support” customers – good, bad, or ugly. The kind of support you should be delivering is more of the preemptive kinds – responding to customers before they ask you for help. Stay vigilant on your customer support processes, track user behavior and product/service usage, and make sure you “listen” to conversations on social media.

Armando Roggio calls it the Zappos Effect: Make sure your response times beat lightning, never argue about returns or refunds, treat customers well, and genuinely like individuals.

Sticky stores are profitable stores. Shift your focus from trying to get as many people as you can to your store to keeping those who are already there. The days of mass spray and pray techniques are long gone. Instead, you can seek to delight one customer at a time, boost your conversions, and make shopping on your site a delightful and refreshing experience.

How does your e-commerce store fare when it comes to the stickiness factor? What do you do to make your site work harder for you? Tell us all about it!

(Lead image source: Oleg Kovalenko)