In an emerging eCommerce market, developing an online store to sell a product is not enough when you are surrounded by thousands of competitor doing the same business.
Developing a website is just one single aspect of eCommerce; what matters is having successful sale through it. The present Case study depicts how Mr.Ronak Meghani, an eCommerce consultant and Co-founder of Magneto IT Solutions helped a small furniture business to evolve in giant eCommerce retail in the UK.
My phone rang in the midnight; name blinking on my screen was Steve. I was too surprised because he was the same person who called off my business proposal which I sent him 18 months back. I immediately picked up the phone, “Hey Steve, How are you”? The first word which I heard left me stunned. He said “Ronak, Please help me!!! Despite spending so much on my store, I am struggling to pay the debts that I took for store implementation. My warehouse is jammed with the furniture as I didn’t get an order as expected.”
One year ago, Steve approached me with a proposal for developing an eCommerce website for his furniture business. We had a healthy discussion about it, and after all, requirements were precise, I gave him the quotation. Somehow Steve felt quotation was too high; hence I decided not to pick up the project. After then he handed over the project to a Pune based web development company who has quoted 40% less than me. That is how we ended the contract.
Steve was back with the same problem but this time more serious and tensed. The company which he hired not only be-fooled him but also took total the money and given him a readymade solution. Steve ended the conversation saying” Ronak, do whatever you want, but I want a visitor to get converted on my store.” I understood that Steve was in serious trouble and he wants me to be his savior. I thanked him for showing trust on me and asked for the Website URL to start the investigation.
I shared the URL with my engineering team and asked them to check if the website is worthy enough. The site was too slow to test anybody patience. The Cart was getting stuck for an indefinite amount. Even the UI was bombastic. UI was not even responsive. When we tested it on the Ipad & mobile phone, the design seemed distorted. It appeared as if the website was just getting checked on the Desktop. Initial findings were hideous & thus I suggest my team follow a unified approach towards the problem resolution.
Phase: 1 Was the code precise?
We asked Steve to provide the FTP implementation & database details so that we can download the code to start the audit.
The code was twisted and mangled one. No coding standard seems in place. It’s like a nightmare to optimize such a system. Another alternative to it was to leave the project or ask Steve to start it from scratch, but I accepted neither.
After strenuous efforts of 18-20 days, we were able to clean the code which is much modular and easy to understand. Even it solved some of the problems like website responsiveness, browser compatibility, etc. But this is not all; the website still seemed to go for further investigation.
Phase: 2 Is speed a real obstacle for the website?
Even after code clean up the speed issue of the website was persist. Steve’s website was still reluctant. Hence we started with some basic optimization techniques like optimizing image size, bundling js/CSS, pulling Jquery from CDN, etc.
Improvement was seen in the speed, but that was not yet desirable. As a next step, we checked the server configuration which seems pretty good.
So as a result of it we started with some advance website optimization techniques.
The entire website was using the https protocol, which leads us to the activation of the http2 protocol.
These efforts of tuning website speed gave fantastic results and started scoring “A” on webspeed.org. We continued our journey feeling boost up after optimizing code & speed of the website.
Phase: 3 Is your store lacking trust factor?
Trust is one of the most critical factors for the success of any eCommerce website. The biggest threat to customer trust in an online store is to give them fake and counterfeit products.
Sometimes customers trust more on online reviews or the product recommendation than the products as it has enormous power to influence the purchase decision of a customer. These send strong signals to the customers who are interested in buying the products from the store.
Steve’s website was using SSL, but we suggested him to use EV SSL which adds a green bar with company name with its URL that creates more trust.
Phase 4: Is your website equipped with inventory?
Exquisite pictures by showcasing the product
The website seems meaningless if you don’t utilize beautiful pictures that get noticed by the visitors. Steve had only 20 to 30 products in the inventory and a single image per product. Steve’s website did not have enough stock in the warehouse to comply with online orders.
Steve’s website inventory was disorganized with inaccurate purchase orders, and returned items weren’t updated to the database which shows the uncertainty of inventory management.
To captivate customers and make them stick into the website you need to add at least 3 to 4 images per product from different angles. The main motto is to keep the fanciest inventory by adding new and fresh product on the regular intervals to keep the inventory up-to-date.
Phase 5: Are you posting blogs frequently with simplified content?
The word blog itself is played on the words. Blogs reflect the dignity of the company which you represent by posting it regularly. But Steve’s website scenario was different as the last published the blog four months ago. The readers were not getting a clear picture of what Steve’s blogs were trying to explain, which led the readers to confusion and mistrustfulness.
Steve was unable to showcase their identity by writing new articles or blogs to make them easy to read for the customers. For Ex: If you are running an eCommerce store you must always post some prerequisites for the buyers to buy a product or to give them some necessary information for the store regularly.
Steve wanted us to post the blogs, so our team of experts firmly took an interest in his website and nurtured their experience in words with prolonged research and efforts.
Phase 6: Is your website sluggish?
Commonly shoppers are in search of the websites whose loading time is even less than a second and they would love to switch from visitor to customer in that kind of e-store. Steve was facing this issue with a great extent as his website was filled with some unoptimized images which usually is the most common reason for website slowness.
Due to this slow loading page, his website is not increasing its customers and conversion rates as well. Steve’s website server performance was deficient and took longer time to respond which faces interruptions in the website. 40% of customers abandon the store if the page doesn’t load in 3 seconds.
In today’s scenario the world is rushing, so how can customers bare with this sluggishness and delay of a website which may lead them to lose their interest and look out for other options.
Phase 7: Is your design fresh and clean?
One of the most critical factors of a website is to keep the design clean and in an appealing manner. A quality design can make the website interactive and easy to read with spontaneous navigation. Steve’s website design was a complete mess with a monotonous design interface that leads customers to quit the site in no time. Steve was urging us to recreate his website with a fresh design with an attractive look and feel that can deliver positive user experience and help encourage the customers to keep a hold on the site.
The most common issue that hurts the design process is the high bounce rates. By viewing the design of the website, shoppers are not finding what they need that defines the high bounce rates on the site. The next thing that hurts the most is the poor quality images of the products that take too long to load; their description seems vague and fuzzy, lacks a call to action and inaccurate arrangement of products.
Phase 8: Is your checkout process optimized?
The e-commerce website has now come with free delivery, returns, and one-click payment methods. Nowadays customers expect the fast, reliable and straightforward checkout. That can boost customers to make plenty of purchase online. As per our conversation with Steve, when we tested the entire process, his website was lacking this functionality and checkout process was sufficiently cluttered which lead him to fewer sales on the e-commerce store. His website’s checkout process seems lengthy which pours burden to the users and makes the process full of turmoil.
We carefully analyzed this issue and added a new feature of progress indicator which helps to know how far they’re done with the process and how long to go further. Besides, the checkout process must be mobile friendly.
Phase 9: Is your website providing numerous options to pay?
Steve’s website offers only a single payment option. Even their single payment seems moderate that leads the customer to wait for so long to get their payment finished. However, a customer expects multiple options for payment which can help enhance user convenience and legitimacy of the website. The alternate payment option allows shoppers to provide a smooth and straightforward process to shop online in the web store.
Almost 8% of the customers abandon their shopping cart if they don’t find their preferred payment method. Having multiple payment gateways offers tons of advantages to make the business profitable.
Phase 10: Is your social media integration lessening your brand awareness?
If your website doesn’t have a strong social media presence, then it becomes quite challenging to cope up with the sales and drive traffic to the site. Steve’s website was missing with these integrations and have not updated them for months. Their social media plugins were not forming the relationship with the target market or not building trust to customer’s mind. By keeping it up-to-date and maintain regularity in social media helps drive traffic to the website, maintaining relationships with customers and increasing social engagements.
It is never wrong to say that when end-user experiences positive interaction with social media integration they are more likely to recommend the brand and they are going to make those recommendations in the social media itself.
Conclusion: So how their tables turned?
Steve, who was expecting to raise his furniture business with the new heights, has now become a pioneer for the furniture industry in the UK market. My strategy helped Steve to finally drive buyers to the site with current marketing trends and techniques for online business.
Their customer reach has now expanded in a variety of ways by increasing conversion rates, responsive web design, personalized product designs, and simple checkout process. With various points taken into consideration, Steve’s was able to build cost efficiency, better customer support, healthy relationship with customers, high-quality social media posts for expanding brand awareness and so on.
Currently, Steve’s website has emerged to a large furniture store in some parts of the UK which helps them to compete with the new trends in the market.