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4 Ways to Boost Shopper Interaction with Your Online Store

July 31st, 2013 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily distractible (and I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one). It’s a result of the technology environment we’re living in – being able to access nearly unlimited content from the Internet means that we also have nearly unlimited ways to occupy ourselves.

And with smartphones connecting us at any time, in any place, we’re pretty much able to fill up all the free minutes of our day with whatever we find interesting, cool, insightful, etc. And with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to hop around.

The key way to get visitors to stick around is to differentiate your website with features that make browsing an action, not just a passive activity. By enabling visitors to engage with your site, you set the groundwork for people to more strongly connect with your brand – which means more site visits, more purchases, and thus more revenues. 

Check out the different features below that help you get web browsers to participate with your website.

1. Offer Shoppers Product Configurability

Just as shoppers at brick-and-mortar store locations like to pick up and check out the merchandise before they buy it, e-commerce shoppers should be able to get a feel for a product before they purchase it as well.

Offering customers the ability to change up a product according to their preferences is an important way to get shoppers to involve themselves with your online store. Being able to change the color of a product on the page, or to get a 360-degree view of it, or to use a zoom in feature to get an up-close look at the material, etc., provide useful ways for customers to interact with your merchandise.

Offer Shoppers Product Configurability

The ability to zoom in to products or to configure them according to personal preferences allows shoppers to get a good look-and-feel of the product – which positively influences their decision to purchase.

The more creative ways you can get your customers to configure or engage with your products, the higher the likelihood that those customers will return – and also spread the word. For example, a clothing store I like to shop at has a really cool feature on their website where you can select the items of clothing, accessories, and shoes on the website to show up on the image of a real-life model. There is no limit on how many items you select to put on the model, and there is even the option to pick which color you want the clothing or shoes to appear as on the model.

This is really helpful because it allows me to see how an item on the website actually looks like on a person – which can be hard to figure out if you’re making that judgment based solely on a photo. Seeing how the product actually looks on a person makes me feel more familiar with the product, and it’s a persuasive factor in getting me to buy.

There’s also another bonus outcome of this type of product configuration – it’s a persuasive cross-selling tool. For example, if I see that the shirt, pants, shoes, and accessories I put on the model make a really cute outfit overall, it’s extremely tempting to get the whole enchilada. And again, it boils down to tailoring: by enabling shoppers to create what they really want with their products, and with the ease of purchasing that online shopping provides (it’s just a click of a button to purchase!), the merchant practically compels shoppers toward the checkout.

2. Add a Price Slider to Your Product Category Page

Allowing your customers to see great products within their price range gives them a good push toward buying them. And when they see great products that are even below their price range, it creates an even bigger push toward purchasing. (Because it’s always nice to see cool things that you can afford; seeing cool things that you can’t afford, however, can sometimes be a little depressing.)

Price sliders are helpful in filtering customers’ searches so that they see only the products within their set price parameters. With price sliders, shoppers can move the ends of the slider to the price range they feel comfortable with, and then the product page they are viewing will dynamically display only the products within that set price range.

Price sliders offer shoppers more control over their online shopping experience, allowing them to see the products they want to see. By empowering customers with more control over the products they have visibility and access to, merchants benefit from the customer tailoring the shopping to their own individual preferences – and more tailored means a greater chance of purchasing.

Add a Price Slider to Your Product Category Page

Price sliders allow customers to filter merchandise according to the price range they set. Price sliders allow shoppers to tailor their shopping experience, and thus with the more targeted selection of products from which shoppers can choose from, they more motivated they are to purchase.

3. Allow Customers to Add Reviews

Before buying something online, I like to check out reviews on the product first. Since buying online can sometimes be a bit of a leap of faith, it’s reassuring to see that real people have bought that product, and have shared their experience with it (good and bad).

Allowing your customers the ability to post and read reviews is a valuable feature for both you and the shopper. Providing an outlet on your site for people to share their opinions is an important way to get that customer engagement because the stronger the experience someone has had with a product, the more obliged they are to share that experience. Posting reviews is also a good way to boost search engine optimization, allowing you to improve your product rankings with unique content.

And don’t shy away from negative reviews either. It may seem counterintuitive, but those can also actually drive a customer to purchase as well. By allowing critical feedback to be posted, you signal that you’re not afraid of it – that your company stands by your products, and that you welcome honest, even if unfavorable, comments. Also, if there’s only 5-out-of-5 star, this is the best product ever!!! type of feedback posted, it just doesn’t come across as very credible.

Allow Customers to Add Reviews

Adding customer reviews (both positive and negative) builds trust and credibility between your online store and your customers. 

4. Connect Shoppers with Social Media

With social media playing such a significant role in connecting people, it is important to offer customers the ability to evangelize your brand on social media. Everyone likes to be the frontrunner in sharing new and exciting stuff (we all like to be trendsetters!), so give visitors to your site the chance to display your merchandise to their social media circles.

Enabling site visitors to share links to your products is an important first step in spreading awareness of your company brand and your merchandise. By allowing site visitors to post products that they purchased (and want to show off), or whether they want to share an item that’s on their wish list, social media sharing offers the potential to publicize your company and your products to new people – leading to new pools of potential customers.

Connect Shoppers with Social Media

Allowing customers to share your products on their social media sites expands your brand awareness, with the potential for driving more traffic to your website.

Purchasing: The Ultimate Form of Customer Participation

By providing fun, interactive, and useful features for visitors to use on your e-commerce store, you create a sales channel that actively engages your customers. With this engagement, you benefit from the valuable contributions your customers provide, both intangible (company publicity) and tangible (increased revenues).

For more information on how to drive traffic to your e-commerce channel, email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, POS, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to mid-market and enterprise businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify offers Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics AX for Retail POS and Dynamics CRM solutions for organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 6 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011 and 2010.