How Google’s AMP Project is Affecting Your Business Online

Needless to say, most of our online business comes from Google’s organic search results (SEO). With the ubiquity of online browsing on mobile devices, Google now wants to achieve a consistent standard to apply to web pages when delivering content to any mobile device and tablet, ensuring that pages load elegantly and instantaneously.

How did they achieve it?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source framework launched by Google in February 2016. This framework changes how Google evaluates our SEO rankings by placing a higher priority on mobile performance. While there has been a huge focus on adapting websites for the limitations on mobile (high data costs, slow loading times, and poor content rendering), mobile browsers have, until AMP, lacked the benefits of a dedicated framework.

In order to reach this goal, Google has developed a new web page format – which is basically a simplified version of HTML  dedicated for mobile devices. By allowing the most performant design patterns and imposing restrictions on resource-heavy Javascript, AMP pages are dramatically faster than the average HTML page found on the web today.

With their determination to further improve loading speeds, Google uses server-side rendering of AMP elements to cache page contents on Google servers. This will allow the content in pages to reach the browser as quickly as possible. This strategy appears to be coming into fashion, as there are currently over two billion AMP pages online, on over 900,0000 domains internationally.

If you think that AMP only focuses solely on smaller devices, you are wrong. AMP will load in any modern desktop browser as the project’s own website is coded solely in AMP. This is a leap forward for mobile optimisation and theme responsiveness, as there is now a provision for mobile experiences that uses a discrete code, removing content that is redundant on small screens.

AMP and E-Commerce

Since we’ve established that websites that implement AMP have an SEO advantage on Google’s organic SEO, you might be wondering— how else can your eCommerce store benefit from AMP?

The biggest advantage that AMP shares with both media channels and eCommerce is speed, since faster loading sites will simply gain better opportunities to generate sales.

In this context, you could dramatically lower your online store’s loading speed for mobile by adopting a streamlined framework, your competitors could be reaping huge rewards over your clients. Imagine if your online store is making $100,000 per day: a one second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5m in lost sales every year (Kissmetrics).

Moreover, it is also possible to create AMP versions of Shopify pages through the API. Some of the apps in the Shopify App Store have also successfully leveraged this technology to provide a conversion service for clients.

AMPing up for the future

Henceforth, it is likely that AMP will see growth worldwide, given that Google has announced during a recent developer conference (AMP Conf) , that AMP will be applied over the search engines of Baidu, Sogou, and Yahoo Japan.

The open-source framework continues to build its impetus, and more plans for improvements are on the way, including third-party log-in and support for eCommerce analytics.

If you are worried about lacking behind the competition, or would like to know more about this issue, Web Design Market can certainly help with your digital marketing strategies; we have proven results from a large variety of clients. Contact us today for a free quote!

7 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Why are your shopping carts not converting? According to Baymard Institute, 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned.

cart abandonment.jpeg

Needless to say, shopping cart abandonment is a big problem. Why do shoppers leave without paying? There are a few possible reasons:

  • Presented with unexpected costs – 56% of shoppers claim that unexpected costs is the reason they leave without completing their purchase. When they decide to checkout, they were most likely presented with additional fees and charges that weren’t listed on the product page, therefore, the product doesn’t seem as hot to them anymore.
  • Website crashed or was too slow to load- Many online retailers host their websites on poor performing servers, leading to slow website loading and crashes. If this is the case, you would want to switch to a reliable web host to sell your products.
  • Price presented in a foreign currency- It is really important that you display, or provide the ability to show, what the cost will be in the shopper’s local currency. This will help save your customers’ time and hassle of wondering what the exchange rate will be and how much it is actually going to cost them. As most online retailers are now accepting international orders, it is important to keep up with the competition.

Methods to help make your checkout more effective:

cart abandonment 2

1. Show Images

Clear thumbnails of the actual items will provide a clear picture to customers.

2. Display Security Logos

The Statistia study showed that 17% of shoppers don’t purchase because they are concerned about security. In a test published by Get Elastic, an online retailer found that by placing a security badge on their site sales increased 4-6%.

3. Make Editing the Cart Easy

Shoppers don’t want to be locked in to the checkout page. If they made a mistake in their selection or need to edit it for some reason make sure it’s easy for them to do so.

4. Offer Different Payment Methods

Consider offering payment by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal as well as other payment solutions depending on the audience and demographic. FreshGigs reported a 15% increase in their checkout process simply by enabling the option to pay with American Express, which wasn’t offered out of the box with their payment processor.

5. Avoid Registrations

One of the biggest turnoffs in some checkout processes is being forced to register on the website in order to complete the purchase. A study by User Interface Engineering showed a 45% increase in customer purchases when forced registration was removed from the checkout page.

6. Offer occasional Free Shipping

A Deloitte study found 69% of shoppers are more likely to shop with online retailers who offer free shipping.

7. Offer Price Guarantees and Refunds

Offering a price guarantee you give the shopper confidence and peace of mind to the shopper’s experience.

Many online retailers are losing money daily due to cart abandonment. By implementing the techniques mentioned above, you can get more shoppers to complete your checkout process the first time. Also bear in mind that there will always be cart abandonment, hence, your goal should be directed to increase sales instead of converting every lead. Good luck!

Contact us for more information on e-commerce development. As a full-suite digital agency, we can set up your online business or implement improvements that will optimise your customer’s online shopping experience.

References:

Baymard.com. (2017). 37 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – Cart & Checkout Usability – Baymard Institute. [online] Available at: https://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate.

2016, O. (2017). Shopping cart abandonment rate by industry 2016 | Statistic. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/457078/category-cart-abandonment-rate-worldwide/.

How to Demand ROI from a Small Business UX Digital Strategy

A User Experience (UX) strategy is purposeful plan of action that achieves an online business goal. The strategy builds an online experience that is in line with the end users’ needs and expectations.

User Experience, much like Customer Service, is user-centric. It focuses on how your online customers interact with your brand, how it makes them feel, and ultimately how the experience drives them to convert and become long term customers.

Today, and for Small Businesses in particular, investing in your digital asset and optimising its user experience is done to generate e-business value and support its brick and mortar equivalent.

UX digital design is outcome driven, seeks to enhance user flows and create favourable online customer experiences – and thus has an expected ROI.

     “For every 1$ spent on UX research, there is an expected return of 2$ – $100”

However, it during the UX design phrase, it can be difficult to determine what the expected ROI should be. A conversion audit, or website review will identify pressure points and help define what success looks like after the UX design strategies have been implemented. In a business sense, the UX strategies should, at a minimum, be aligned with your overall business objectives.

Typically, investing in UX strategies can have the following business objectives;

Reduce Development Costs

Keeping development costs down is key to staying within your businesses budget. Ongoing redevelopment associated with retrofitting UX solutions can be an ongoing cost and become a massive strain for slim small business budgets.

It is estimated that 50% of programmer work and time is spent fixing errors and rework. Considering the hourly front/backend developer fees – costs associated with re-work can be avoided by forecasting usability pressure points in the agile UX design process.

Other measurable cost cutting UX goals and metrics include;

  • Reducing support costs
  • Reducing user and staff training costs
  • Reducing redesign and documentation costs

Increasing Conversions

Driving conversions is a typical small business objective. The UX strategy that helps meet that objective should have a quantifiable business metric for which ROI can be based.

Conversions are not always revenue and sales based, they can be also defined by other business goals and objectives such as;

  • Increase brand exposure, loyalty and awareness through new and returning visitors
  • Increase subscriptions
  • Increase in online and in-store inquiries

As observed, “Conversions” are wide ranging and can include other traffic driving efforts such as SEO. Good content management and optimisation is key to content search-ability, and usability.

Other business objectives may be enhancing the user experience to maintain market competitiveness. Particularly for businesses whose product and service offerings heavily rely on first-rate customer service and engagement; UX or digital CX (Customer Experience) increasingly become a key differentiator in the digital space.

It’s therefore no surprise that, historically, global companies defined as CX leaders and invest in user centric designs have outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 41%. Now, over 70% of companies that do not conduct user experience are expected to begin doing so in the next 12 months. It’s also expected that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator.

Reducing Errors and Improving Performance

System and user generated errors can significantly impede the usability of an asset, cause abandonment and lower retention.

In a business sense, all costs associated with advertising, marketing and other traffic generating efforts cannot be realised when the digital asset does not function in the way the user expects it to.

Potential usability and functionality pitfalls can be identified early in the UX process through user and system testing. Putting the digital asset through its paces in a test environment will help identify developmental bugs and errors. Fixing errors in a post-launch live environment negatively affects user acceptance, increases the ongoing cost of development and maintenance – further straining the small business online presence budget.

For a small business, the cost of fixing errors and improving performance post launch;

(Number or Errors) x (Average time to Repair) x (Developer/Designer hourly rate) = Total Cost to the Business.

A Small Business Case for UX

Making a business case for UX has gotten easier. The cost of investing in good UX requires some time to deliver ROI and results, however, it’s the cost of lost opportunity due to bad poor user experiences that drives a stronger case. With 88% of online customer less likely to return to a website after a bad experience, business losses and lost conversion opportunities are immediate and very apparent to the Small Business owner.

In today’s burgeoning digital economies, strategically creating great user-centred digital experiences is no longer a debatable project and development add-on – it’s has quickly become a responsible e-business practice.

When catering to Small Businesses on a budget, UX is more about strategically thinking about the purpose of your website from a customer’s point of view and alighting these with your Small Business goals.

In your next website build, redesign or relaunch, incorporate Web Design Market’s ‘UX Strategies for Small Business’ – it’s our ROI driven, user-centric, web design and development approach that considers the following:

  • Market Research – using market analytics, data and demographic information, we help understand your target market and its key economic drivers
  • User and Customer Persona Development – using user research, we unveil your customer, their needs, interests and goals.
  • Competitor Analysis – we audit and review of competing or competitor websites to gain a comprehensive view of the digital landscape and help identify opportunities
  • Targeted Marketing Campaign Development – after identifying the target market your customers, research, identify the most effective marketing channels and campaigns
E-Commerce UX Design: 5 Tips to Increase Conversions

The core objective of an e-commerce website’s user experience design is to drive conversions and generate e-business value for your business. However, you might be finding that while your Small Business SEO Strategies are working, there are significant drop offs past your homepage and your conversion goals are not being met.

The web analytics data confirm that you are driving traffic to your e-commerce website, but overall, you may have observed some of the following:

  • multiple abandoned carts and baskets
  • a significant drop in returning visitors (as opposed to new visitors)
  • increasingly high customer service inquiries relating to online orders

There can be multiple reasons why your customers drop off after a certain point of browsing your home page or in the middle of check out. At this point it would be useful to reconsider your e-commerce user experience design (UX) strategy in order to enhance the shopping experience. This will reduce stumbling blocks throughout the transactional, checkout and payment processes.

Read on for five user experience design strategies to drive conversions on your e-commerce website and achieve measurable results, including:

  • an increase in key metrics such as Session Duration, (Avg) Time-on-Page indicating that site visitors are spending longer looking at products
  • higher task completions to indicate visitors are completing key conversion tasks such as completing the checkout and payment processes
  1. Create Purposeful Homepage Sections

On the homepage, and above the fold, make it immediately clear what your business does and its purpose. Here, promote and describe your business’s unique Key Value Proposition with engaging hooks that match your target market’s language.

  • Key sections such as the header should be designed to feature standard items such as logos and branding, shopping carts, administrative or contact details, search and navigation. For global websites, provide shoppers with automatic geographic/country/currency selectors.
  • The banner section will carry your Key Value Proposition and hooks. Give attention to the copy and ensure it drives value for the shopper. Incorporate clickable promotional material such as banners, sliders or moving carousels to drive shopper attention to offers, sales and other marketing efforts.


user-experience-design-1

  1. Provide Intuitive Navigation and Search Features

The navigation menu gets the most use and should be designed enhance merchandise and product findability.

An intuitive navigation structure eases the online shopping experience by providing consistent and recognizable navigational paths.

  • Prioritise pages appropriately and arrange product categories in a logical and hierarchical structure while offering reference points to orientate the shopper of their relative position in the navigation structure.
  • Categorise products appropriately. Misplaced items or incorrect categorisation of products will frustrate users and cause them to abandon the buying process.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-00-pm-2-copy

  • For simple e-commerce websites with minimal product listings, create tabbed navigation menus for product categories.
  • For large websites with complex or in-depth product categories, provide a search functionality such as autocomplete or autosuggest to hasten the search. Design the search bar so that it allows for category-specific searches.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-00-pm-2

  1. Create Product Pages with a Strong Visual Focus

The product page is where you showcase your merchandise and products to the customer.

Strong imagery and visuals showing real life applications of the product create an immersive user/shopper experience. They also help the online shopper to get a ‘closer look’.

  • Where applicable, consider features such as 360 degree interactive images, which aid in the buying decision.
  • Multiple photos of the same product with appropriate image and product descriptions in the image ALT tags will also help with image SEO rankings. (Link to Blog article on Google Image SEO)
  • Highlight discounted products by prominently displaying the new and reduced price accompanied by strong call-to-actions that create a sense of urgency.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-04-pm-2

  • For products with multiple variations, such as quantities, sizes or colours – design options that minimise customer error. Purchasing wrong sizes is frustrating for the customer and costly for your business.
  • Provide important product details including customer reviews and the ability for customers to share on social media channels, This should be part of your wider Social Media Strategy. (link to social media page)

 

  1. Smoothen the Shopping Journey

The user experience design should aid the customer in making buying decisions.

  • Page-to-page transitions should be smooth and consistent with minimal loading times to keep the shopper engaged.
  • Throughout the shopping experience, help the customer validate selections with recommendations of items other customers viewed or purchased in the same product range. Use these opportunities to promote other related products.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-08-pm-2

  • Ensure critical purchasing information is automatically updated and available to help the customer track their spending.
  • Where the shopper abandons the shopping process, preserve the cart contents and alert then on their next visit with options to ‘Continue Shopping’ or ‘Proceed to Checkout’.
  1. Simplify Your Checkout Process

The checkout process – a transitional task and critical conversion point – should be designed to be quick, secure and efficient.

  • Depending on your business, design a checkout layout that simplifies the input of customer, shipping and payment information while minimising user-generated errors.
  • Reduce Time-on-Task and hasten the checkout process with autosuggest features.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-11-pm-2

  • Secure trust by highlighting confidentiality and security by using secure reputable payment gateways.
  • Build loyalty by rewarding the shopper with redeemable shopping points for account holders.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-11-pm-2-copy

  • Reduce cart abandonment for casual and guest browsers by providing quick checkout and payment.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-02-14-pm-2

  • Remember to capture the departing online shoppers’ consent to receive push-notifications and subscriptions.

The Main Takeaway

An e-commerce website should evolve with your business. To drive conversions, develop user experience design strategies that align your business objectives with a digital shopping experience that matches customer usability expectations and behaviour.