Running an online business to consumer (B2C) website requires a lot of understanding of customer experience (CX) and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing technologies. The layout and details that worked for your site in the past may need adjustments in 2021 and beyond.
In eMarketer’s Global E-commerce Update for 2021, researchers cite a potential downshift in online retail growth. However, e-commerce will still grow 14.3% this year and overall global retail about 5.1% overall. If you want to tap into the ongoing consumer demand for digital orders, now is the time to get your business website into shape.
Marketing gurus make growing your online business seem like an easy task, but you have to use the right methods and approach if you want to scale up. You also need a stopping point for potential customers. For e-tailers, the website is their storefront. Giving it a little extra attention is a wise move.
When it comes to improving your bottom line, some improvements work better than others. Here are our top picks to make your B2C business website the absolute best it can be.
1. Replace Images
If you don’t frequently add new products, you might want to go ahead and swap out your product images anyway. Show off your items with a new look, add a 360-degree view video or show the product in action.
People who visit your site frequently may grow bored if they see the same images each time. Alternate what you feature on your home page. Tap into seasonal offers and new arrivals.
You’ve likely heard a picture is worth 1,000 words. Make each image on your site count. What is the purpose of adding the photo? Can you use something that says the same thing better or in a more interesting way? Will your users respond best to a photo or a video?
2. Choose the Right Domain Name
Your business name might be catchy and memorable, but what if someone else already has the dot com registered? You may have gone with something else, but your users might have a hard time remembering it.
While you don’t want to get rid of the domain you’re currently using as some may have it bookmarked, coming up with something easier may be well worth the investment simply so it is easier to recall. You can always point the other address to your website to avoid loss of momentum.
Your domain name should either be your business name or what you do. The shorter, the better. Try to avoid special characters or weird spellings that people might mistype. Make sure the name isn’t close to a competitor’s name either. You don’t want them landing on a page other than yours or confusing the two businesses.
StubHub is both the name of the online ticket purchasing store and a simple phrase to remember. It explains what they do and has short, rhyming words that are easy to remember no matter where you access the site.
The name is also a bit different from similar sites such as TicketMaster, making it stand out from the competition.
3. Speed Up Your Website
Thanks to 5G and fiber optic cable, people have faster connectivity than ever before. They expect your site to load in milliseconds. If your pages load slowly, you risk high bounce rates. The last thing you want is spending time and energy driving traffic to your website only to have those people leave and never return.
There are numerous things you can do to improve your B2C site’s loading speed. Start with your web hosting provider. Do they offer the speeds you need? Can you access a content delivery network (CDN) to move images and assets faster once initially loaded? Use a CDN and caching to speed up load times.
Optimize all images and get rid of any scripts that might bog your site down. Once you’ve done everything you can think of to speed up your site, run it through Pingdom or another speed test and see what suggestions third-party services offer for further improvement.
4. Break Products Into Categories
If you offer more than one or two items, you’ll want to separate your inventory into categories. Users may land on one page but need a different product. Can they easily navigate to what they need?
Limit your main categories so as not to overwhelm buyers and then break out subcategories to allow your users to dig down into what they want most. You might also have separate landing pages for different types of buyers. The categories you use could vary, depending upon the needs of each audience.
Top Flight Automotive lists their top product categories just under the hero slider on their main page. Users choose from “Parts,” “Brakes,” “Wheels & Tires,” “Interior” or “Exterior” parts. Other sections of the site focus more on the model of car someone has and filter by manufacturer and then make and model.
By breaking down their products, it makes the process of potential customers finding what they need much easier. The site also offers a search feature at the top of every page on the site. If you can’t find the right category or want to do a broader search across areas, you can type in keywords and hit enter. Filters help further narrow the results to exactly what the person needs.
5. Aim for Consistency
When designing your site, consider more than just the CX of the moment. You should strive for a consistent look and tone. Use your pages to help solidify your brand image in the minds of users. Use the same design template throughout your site.
All the photos you use should have a similar size and look to them. Go with a particular set of fonts for headlines and body text. Where do you place your logo? It should be in the same spot on each page to offer continuity and make it easy for users to find and navigate back to home. Your style guide needs to lay out what to use, what size, what color and where.
Even little things, such as where your contact button is or the language you use for your calls to action (CTAs) make an impression on site visitors. Make sure you create pages that build on one another rather than standing alone. Even your landing pages should be identifiable as your brand.
6. Lose Hassles
Spend time looking at the process customers must go through to order on your site. Is it too complicated? The fewer steps you have, the more likely the user will follow through and palace an order. Does the site work well on both mobile and desktop devices?
Go through each touchpoint. If the user does A, what happens? When they move on to B, is the transition clear and simple? Clean up any issues you find along the way.
Everything about the Fancy Flours website pulls the user through the buyer’s journey. When you land on the home page, you’ll see what’s on sale as well as themed ideas for the season. They use a red box to grab user attention and showcase their current sale items.
They use a single field form to gather information for their newsletter, making signup as simple as possible. Upon adding an item to the cart, the user sees a popup that invites them to either checkout or continue shopping. The system moves the user through each step as quickly and efficiently as possible
7. Tap Into Emotions
Spend time getting to know your buyers and creating personas for them. What colors might they respond best to? How can you use different shades to enhance an emotional response?
The images you choose can also highlight pain points your typical customers might feel. Offer a solution for a common problem both through images and words to really engage the user.
Even the smallest changes, such as swapping out a photo on your home page, can impact your users. Conduct split testing and see which things your audience responds best to.
8. Add Directional Cues
Is it clear which direction users should take when going through the buyer’s journey? Use directional cues, such as arrows or images of people pointing or looking toward the CTA button. Anything you can do to move the user through the sales funnel and toward conversion helps improve your bottom line.
9. Go for Scannability
The average person is extremely busy. They may have a few short minutes while riding on the train to work or waiting in a doctor’s office. When someone lands on their page, do you get right to the point or do they have to read lengthy blocks of text to find what they need?
Work on creating more scannability with your website. Use headings, subheadings and bullet points to break up detailed information. Make every single word count. If something doesn’t add to the user experience, cut it ruthlessly.
Each time you add or take away from your site, conduct some split tests to see how site visitors respond. Do your conversions increase? Are you hitting the finer points of user intent? The more you test and gather feedback, the better you can use your B2C business website to serve your customers’ needs.