To some, eCommerce equates with easy money. The shop never closes, everything you offer is at the customer’s fingertips; what could be easier? But the truth is that most businesses struggle to achieve that success. In fact, research shows that a large portion of e-commerce businesses fail each year.
While WooCommerce offers everything you need to sell your products and engage visitors, you need something more to help your visitors convert. That ‘something more’ is your web design and content, which need to hold the visitor’s attention and support the sale.
Correcting the mistakes below and making some design tweaks can make a big difference in your conversion rates and long-term growth.
1. Relying on Default WooCommerce Page Layouts
A nice advantage of WooCommerce is that the application is free and open source, allowing for an easy integration into WordPress websites. To keep costs down, a lot of site owners also select the free WooCommerce Storefront theme or another popular WooCommerce theme.
While these can be good places to start, a common mistake is to settle for the default product page layouts and not further customize the design of the site. Since WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms worldwide, you’ll often find thousands, if not a million, other sites utilizing the same theme as yours.
It will be very difficult to differentiate your online store, especially in extremely competitive markets. A template-based web design also can create the wrong impression, conveying that your business is neither well-established nor professional. One approach is to invest in a custom web design where a designer creates mockups for numerous pages. This path often produces the highest quality designs, but you may need to budget for this, along with other WooCommerce costs.
An alternative is to create a custom design layout for the product category and product details pages of your online store. These are the most important pages and typically receive the most traffic, so any design improvements here would go a long way to seeing better results. It’s best to work with a web designer who can integrate your branding and understands the functionality requirements of WooCommerce. Luckily, WooCommerce is extremely customizable, so you have a lot more flexibility and creative options when designing your product pages.
2. Using Low Quality Product & Stock Images
For a WooCommerce site, your product images are extremely important. When upgrading your product category and detail page designs, evaluate the product images and consider having a photographer take new photos, if needed. With a product image, authenticity is very important for online sales and customers may feel misled if the product image doesn’t match what they receive.
If you are selling technical products or any type of product that doesn’t lend itself to imagery, consider switching to a product table layout instead of the traditional product grid of photos for your online store. There are various WooCommerce plugins that offer a product table layout and features for these types of products.
In addition to low-quality product images, another common mistake is to incorporate free or low-cost stock images into the site design. The free stock images available online have been utilized on so many spam websites that these images can undercut any credibility.
Most websites do need to utilize some stock images for the design. If this is the case, it’s worth investing in a few high-quality stock images from sites like Getty Images or Shutterstock and then having a web designer further customize the imagery with filters and adjustments.
3. A Long, Complex Check Out Process
Shopping cart abandonment is a concern for every eCommerce business. In March 2020, it was estimated that 88% of online shopping orders were abandoned by customers.
There are numerous factors that can prompt a visitor to abandon the checkout process. One simple best practice is to enable visitors to check out as a guest. In WooCommerce, you can offer both options. Since the process of setting up an account takes a lot more steps, the guest check out allows visitors to get through the process more quickly.
Try to avoid sending visitors off-site to process their payment. It’s best to allow visitors to stay on your site for the full check out process. The most common WooCommerce payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.Net all offer this option. Offering numerous payment options is another way to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
You can also reduce the effort for visitors to go through the checkout steps by automatically formatting the input in form fields. One example is to set up auto complete for address fields, utilizing the WooCommerce Google Address Autocomplete plugin. With this feature, the address fields will make a suggestion from the Google Places database after the visitor types in part of their address. This can cut down on a lot of time to fill out the address section for billing and shipping information.
4. Confusing Navigation & Product Categories
Creating a positive user experience will increase the likelihood that visitors will stay on the site and make a purchase. The worst mistake from a UX design standpoint is to create a confusing navigation and product organization.
Avoid crowding the navigation with numerous pages and drop down menus. If a visitor can’t quickly find what they are looking for, there is a higher likelihood that they’ll leave the site. If you need to have numerous pages in the navigation, consider utilizing a mega menu design, which creates a nice two-column layout for drop down options on desktop.
For an eCommerce website, your product organization also needs to be intuitive and to match how your visitors will be searching for a specific product. If you are selling numerous products with lots of attributes, you can also add filtering options on the product category page, so visitors can filter to a specific price range, brand name, etc.
Lastly, most websites have different types of visitors and you’ll want to consider their different needs when working on the navigation and product organization. If you are offering any wholesale pricing or bulk purchase options on the site, you’ll want to consider those customers and the most important paths on the site for them.
5. Not Establishing Product Benefits on Home Page
The majority of visitors will enter your website on the home page, and the design and messaging of the home page will determine if they bounce or stay. For an eCommerce site, home page should clearly communicate the benefits of the products for your customers.
One way to highlight the benefits of the products is to create a strong web-based value proposition for the hero image. A web-based value proposition succinctly states who you are, what products you are offering, and what differentiates your business from competitors. Placing this value proposition on the home page and integrating the messaging into the design will help you convey it quickly to visitors.
Establishing trust is also a pivotal step in converting a visitor and there are different ways to convey this visually in the website design. For an eCommerce site, security is a basic foundation of trust, especially since visitors are submitting their payment information. Having an SSL certificate and security measures in place can help visitors feel assured.
Other ways to establish trust is to showcase product reviews, awards for your business, number of years in business, and any affiliations. All of these items can build credibility on the home page and help the visitor feel comfortable staying on the site and navigating to your products.