The Bear Necessities: How to deliver excellence through your e-commerce website

Our web development expert’s take on serving up e-commerce excellence for your customers

Avatar for Josh Bonfield Posted by Josh Bonfield on March 26, 2024

Online shopping should be breezy, a digital stroll in the park… but the storm clouds quickly roll in if the user experience trips up at any point, from customers searching your catalogue, to the payment gateway they meet at the final point of sale. 

If your e-commerce site is raining on your customers’ parade at the expense of your bottom line, the Grizzlyware team has your back. 

Online shopping is expected to make up 41% of all retail purchases by 2027, so let’s get your site right. 

Read on for our website development experts’ insights on the ‘bear’ necessities of great e-commerce websites. 

(And keep reading for some cheeky bonus content from our web dev wizards.)

Epic e-commerce Fails: When the e-commerce experience falls flat   

You know the drill – Boxing Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday – key moments in the e-commerce calendar, which should be nail-biting for the team for all the fun reasons (sales!), not fretting if your website can take the strain. 

In 2020, roughly 80.9 million people shopped online during the Black Friday weekend – and Black Friday appears to be the numero uno e-commerce site killer.

It takes no prisoners: even global brands’ websites have buckled under the pressure of the spike in website visitor numbers, disappointing eager shoppers and waving goodbye to millions in lost earnings – not to mention damaging brand cred and online standing. 

In 2018, on Black Friday, the clothing brand J.Crew’s site crumpled: shoppers faced a 5-hour website outage and the company tallied up an estimated $775,000 sales loss.

Even the biggest of players, Amazon, can be caught off guard with record traffic.  Again in 2018, this time on Prime Day, the e-commerce Goliath’s server capacity unpreparedness resulted in a colossal financial hit within the first 15 minutes of their self-created sales bonanza, severely damaging their reputation.

The takeaway? You need confidence that your website platform can cope – that it can absorb increased traffic.  

As well as an appealing shop front, you have to develop a robust backend that offers the functionality that makes it run more efficiently and sustains your business as it ramps up. The only way to ensure this is with the solid foundation of an e-commerce software platform that’s fit for today’s e-commerce landscape. 

While whole-site outages are extreme and even rare, the reality for e-commerce brands is that even the smallest of glitches in the user experience can throw roadblocks in the path to sales.

Let’s look at some of the basics you need to get right to avoid your site becoming a graveyard of abandoned carts. 

Fewer clicks, less Friction 

Are you making life hard for your customers to simply do what they came here to do? 

After a care-free browse of your carefully curated stock and breezy item selection, is the checkout process as simple as you can possibly make it?

For many e-commerce websites, the neglect of the checkout process as the final piece of the funnel you’ve worked so hard to move these eager beavers through is their downfall: complicated checkout processes have been described as the number one reason why consumers abandon their shopping carts before paying.

In fact, an eye-watering 70% of shoppers drop off at the checkout stage in the UK. 

Ensuring that your checkout procedure is as painless and straightforward as possible stops customers from dropping out of the relationship you’ve worked so hard at, at the last minute. 

Here’s some tips: 

  • Trust signals like well-known payment gateways and alternative payment methods – Klarna, PayPal – can reassure new customers, or help build credibility for new brands, and smooth the route to the door, virtual bags in hand. 
  • Leaning into the ease of Apple Pay and Google Pay for those impulse purchases is a winner too. 
  • Check those hand-held experiences are on point: mobile responsiveness has a huge impact on sales. 

Wrapping up – to encourage repeat business, your goal is to give customers a great experience, and let them get on with their day.

(If you’re worried about what your site is delivering for your customers, our run-down of e-commerce website red flags might help you out.) 

Get eyes on the prize with easy-peasy site navigation and beautiful UX

Simplicity is key. Just like the checkout process, you’re not looking to confuse, or complicate what should be a walk in the park, (or stroll through your store). 

One of the reasons cited for the downfall of the e-commerce brand Zuliliy (which finally folded at the end of last year) was that the platform required new visitors to give their email addresses prior to even seeing what the online store had to offer. 

Front-page email requests – especially without first-time buyer discounts – are a big no-no.  

Usher your customers in with no data capture gateways, then keep things clear with critical navigation elements like straightforward labels and helpful visuals. 

Check your UX across platforms and note both the speed and the experience your customers encounter…

If you’re having to use off-the-shelf add-ons or plugins to add functionality, are they jarring with the rest of your site? 

This damages more than the brand cohesion, as clunky plugins can make the pages’ load times sluggish – a huge red flag for customers: pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%. 

One of the benefits of how we build e-commerce sites is that we can create custom fixes to give clients the functions they need, the flexibility to evolve them and sustain fast-loading and ever-maturing e-commerce sites. 

Beautiful. 

More Mobile, Better UX

It’s 2023, people – there’s no excuse for a poor mobile e-commerce experience. 

62% of smartphone users have purchased something on their mobile devices in the last six months. By 2027, mobile e-commerce is forecast to be two-thirds as a share of the total e-commerce market. 

If you’re not mobile-ready, you need to be. 

Thankfully, building on Aero Commerce is a win in this regard: fully optimised mobile experiences come as standard. (More behind the curtain benefits of Aero will be discussed on our upcoming webinar – see below – eek!). 

Let’s Bear All: A deeper dive into e-commerce excellence 

We’ve so much more to talk about, we decided to arrange a get-together with folks who might be interested in more detail about how to pull together a practically perfect e-commerce site – and let you chat with our web dev wizards about your e-commerce site’s challenges and successes. 

The bear Necessities of Successful E-Commerce Websites. With Josh Bonfield and Scarlett Bendelow. April 17th at 12:30 BST

Join us on April 17th at 12:30pm BST. Alongside us will be our expert guest, Scarlett Bendelow, Head of Brand and Marketing at Aero Commerce. 

Expect 45 minutes of tips, tales and web development know-how for your e-commerce biz.

Sign up for the free webinar here.


Categorised in: Uncategorised & tagged with: business, web development, webinar, webperformance

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