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An ecommerce site doesn’t have a lot of time to make an impression on its shoppers. A visitor going through your site is a potential shopper who needs to be converted into a paying customer without wasting much time. It is also of paramount importance that the site captures the attention of the visitor and keeps him engaged for a sufficient amount of time. If visitors spend more time on the site, there is a better chance of their buying something from your site. This is the reason why the engagement quotient of your site must be right up there with the best.

How will you go about making your site more engaging for your customers? The key to creating more engaging sites is getting the fundamental design elements right and also adding various features that improve the interest quotient of the site.

So let’s check out the five golden rules that ensure your ecommerce site will meet the highest standards of shopper engagement:

1.       User friendly Navigation

Most sites have numerous products placed in multiple categories and sub categories. If your navigation is not up to the mark, as visitors go deeper into the category of their choice and go through the various product options, they will lose their way through your site. If they want to go back to the page they started from, they might not be able to go back quickly, because of some needless complexity in the navigation menu. This is something that takes down the engagement value of an ecommerce site. So, your focus as a designer must be to offer the kind of navigation that makes browsing through the site easy and very satisfying.  One of the ways that you do this is by using ‘Breadcrumb Navigation’, that let’s website visitors know where they are on the site, and how they got there. This means they can always go back to the previous pages effortlessly.

2.      Use Clear and High Resolution Product Images

No ecommerce site will be successful without the use of product images. But, you shouldn’t use any product image. The image relevant to a particular product must be a high resolution image that clearly displays the product and all its features. It is the product image quality that has a huge role to play in making the website more engaging. The fact that the product is clearly displayed means visitors will go through the image more closely. Something else you can do is offer different images of the same product to help potential shoppers see the product from different angles. You can also use zoom in and zoom out feature that will help shoppers see the minutest details of the product.

3.       Product Videos

A professionally made product video is a sure fire way to generate interest amongst shoppers. One benefit of offering product videos is that they allow potential shoppers to make up their minds about a particular product. Online shoppers cannot touch a product or test its functionalities. Therefore a video that takes them through the various functionalities of the product and/or its benefits is greatly appreciated by them. Most of the successful ecommerce sites make use of product videos to improve their engagement quotient and conversion rates. You must do the same!

4.       Reviews on Product Pages

Why should a shopper buy a product from your site and not from your competitor’s site? The answer lies in the quality of your products. But how does he know that the product that he wants to buy from your site is actually a quality product or not? Yes, he will see the product images and video and get an idea of what the product is all about, but that still won’t generate the trust and credibility that will make him want to buy the product. This can only be achieved through product reviews and ratings that he will find on the product page. So, make sure your ecommerce site allows users to post product reviews on the product page. A prospective shopper will go through the reviews (here is where the engagement bit comes into play) and when he reads the positive reviews about the product (reviews will definitely be positive if the product is good), will decide to buy the product.

5.       The Zero Distraction Rule

You must ensure the attention of your website visitors is fully focused on the products on your site and the purchase that they want to make. You need to boost the engagement quotient by not using distractive web design elements that will get them irritated, frustrated or have them thinking about something other than buying products from your site. So don’t use unnecessary pop-ups that will only serve to distract the viewer or don’t put up irrelevant banner ads that are in no way connected to the products and/or services you are selling on your site. Make sure there are zero distractions on your site. The purpose of your design must be on making sure that shoppers get their hands on their chosen products quickly and conveniently. That’s it. That in essence is the mark of a successful site.

Your site will face tremendous competition in the world of ecommerce. You can’t take chances with its design; and you can’t take your shoppers for granted. You need to do everything possible to ensure if and when a shopper lands up on your site, he has only good things to say about your site. Your site must be able to give them what they want, and ensure that they get it quickly. This is only possible if your design is usable and offers a highly satisfying user experience. This in turn can be accomplished by making the site as engaging as possible. By following the five golden rules given above, you will not only see the engagement levels of your site rise up to acceptable levels, but what you will also notice is that your site generates more revenue and better profits. So, make sure that you follow them and enjoy the returns. All the best!

August 26, 2013

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