Your eCommerce site isn’t just a collection of disconnected pages to be A/B tested to perfection in isolation. It’s meant to be cohesive. An experience. It should be seamless for your customers as they shop.
“Your store is a product. Treat it like one.”
Focus on creating a cohesive experience for those shopping on your site. If your online retail experience is a disconnected set of pages that just happen to get the shopper to buy your stuff, you’ve failed as an eCommerce professional.
Make your site consistent. There should be a flow through your store, just like you’re walking through a retail location. Even while testing new looks, ensure that you don’t rebrand your catalog page and leave your product page in the dust. If you’re testing a button shape or style, apply that everywhere. Otherwise, you’ll just have learned that a particular button type performs well on a particular page.
Rigorous A/B testing, when not treated as learning that is applied across the site as a whole can lead to new innovative areas of the site and neglected ones. I like to think of this as remodeling a home from the 1970s and leaving a few rooms untouched. You’ll have a modern experience as you step through the house, but once you walk into that office and see the wood paneling and shag carpet, you know somethings off.
When it comes down to it, when you’re working on the design of your eCommerce site, you must create patterns, not features. Build once, apply site-wide.
“Customers have grown to expect an experience, not a shopping cart.”
Think trips to the Apple store vs walking in a 7-11. There’s a marked difference in the two visits to the “store”. Brands need to provide a memorable online experience so shoppers keep coming back. Your shoppers are likely to become repeat purchasers if they enjoy the experience of buying from you and it doesn’t feel like a chore to check out.
When you provide a memorable experience, your customers are likely to talk about their purchase and the site. Social proof is a powerful tool that too few eCommerce brands leverage. Just be sure you’re providing a stellar memorable experience, not a horrifying one.
Lots of times people get hung up on focusing in on their cart and checkout process. Steps higher up the funnel matter too. If the top of your funnel is leaking like crazy, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of it is.
This means aligning emails, display ads, Facebook & Twitter posts as well as your site layout. Let your brand voice speak through your product descriptions. If you are a reseller, don’t settle for stock descriptions. Rewrite all of them and throw your personality into the product descriptions.
Still not convinced that your store shouldn’t be a holistic experience? Email me, Blake at blake(at)enginecomerce(dot)com and let’s talk more about your store.