Navigating the future of ecommerce in 2024
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10 tips to improve the performance of your online store

10 tips to improve the performance of your online store

Take a proactive approach and introduce the right measures to improve your online store’s performance – and your customer’s shopping experience. Our partner EXCONCEPT has compiled a list of best practices that will help you improve the performance of your online store now and going forward. As well as tips on the best design for your user interface, the list includes technical tips to help ensure your site keeps running smoothly, even at peak times.


Table of contents

  1. First, improve the user experience

  2. Adapt the product search to suit different search intentions

  3. Boost your conversion rate and optimize the checkout process in your online store

  4. Offer key order-related services

  5. Make your product presentation and descriptions customer-friendly

  6. Master the art of communicating with your target group

  7. Make your online store secure and trustworthy

  8. Optimize the site for different end devices

  9. Boost the speed of your online store

  10. Make efficient use of server resources and database queries


First, improve the user experience

You can achieve rapid results by optimizing your store’s setup and improving key operations in the online store. Your top priority here should be to simplify navigation. If your customers are able to navigate their way around the store with ease, it will take them less time to find what they are looking for. A precise menu structure helps here, as do meaningful names for your categories and clear, comprehensible labels for menu items and links. For some excellent examples, look no further than our clients MissPompadour and dtv. A minimal number of menu levels, a user-friendly URL structure, and breadcrumbs help the user with in-store orientation. At the same time, try to reduce the number of clicks it takes for your customers to reach their chosen product.

misspompadour-screenshotdtv-screenshot

Figures 1 and 2: Screenshots of the MissPompadour and dtv online stores

Adapt the product search to suit different search intentions

You can achieve this by offering advanced search options, for example, enabling customers to locate their chosen product as quickly and directly as possible. Ensure that the search function is clearly visible and that your customers quickly find what they are looking for via a keyword search or recommendations. Take care that the search is error-tolerant and is able to locate products even if the keywords are misspelled. Also – inputting synonyms (e.g., typical regional terms) should lead your customers to the right product.

user experience

Boost your conversion rate and optimize the checkout process in your online store

The next recommendations are primarily about improving your conversion rate. Factors that help here include clearly formulated calls to action (CTA), compelling content, trusted elements, and social proof (for example, ratings and positive reviews of the products). Including user recommendations can also help you convince future customers.

One essential factor when it comes to optimizing your store’s performance is a smooth checkout process. Ensure that the click path from arrival on the site to completion of the order is very short. Your potential customers also expect transparency when it comes to shipping and payment methods, and returns. They appreciate being shown a clear summary of their shopping cart before completing their order and value having a choice of straightforward (and popular) payment options. You should also offer first-time customers the option of ordering as a guest. You can work with additional benefits during the order process too – think about offering discounts for signing up for your newsletter or for creating a customer account, for example.

Offer key order-related services

Transparency is also crucial when it comes to processing returns. Returns are a fact of life, particularly in the fashion sector, but providing customers with as many details about the products as possible before they make their purchase can help reduce the number of refunds you need to make. If returns are necessary, communicate the relevant rules in clear, easily understandable terms. Offer preprinted returns labels and ensure that the process is straightforward and makes maximum use of automation.

A FAQ section is useful too – if your customers can find quick answers to their questions here, it will reduce the workload for your customer service team. A chatbot can also be used to answer routine customer inquiries. The service department then only needs to step in to deal with specific issues, such as complaints.

Finally, we should also mention A/B testing to analyze the success of the measures you have taken and, for example, test different elements on the product details page. Occasional evaluation of the product page structure can also be helpful to highlight areas where there is room for improvement. Besides testing the different elements, what else should you bear in mind when designing your details pages?

Make your product presentation and descriptions customer-friendly

Next, ensure that your store provides customers with full details of your products, their benefits, and their uses. Make sure your descriptions – perhaps supplemented with explanatory videos or informative images – are appealing, snappy, and highlight the features and advantages of your product without getting too bogged down in technical jargon. Refer to customer-oriented uses, regularly update the information about your products (e.g., stock level and delivery status), and add informative customer reviews. After all, satisfied customers are the best people to recommend your product and convince others of its merits.

Help your customers gain a rounded picture of the product by using high-quality images, a zoom function, and a range of detailed views. Choose images and a layout that harmonizes with the overall design of your online store to ensure a seamless, uniform user experience.

Products and content

Master the art of communicating with your target group

The secret of ecommerce is ensuring that the content of your store speaks directly to your customers – from the home page to the product details page. This is particularly important if your products are aimed at different target groups. Specifically targeting and adapting the content to the target group can help your customers make up their minds to buy – and optimize your conversion rate.

Take the example of an online store that sells massage guns for muscle relaxation. These tend to be used by the elderly and also by professional athletes. Automation can be deployed here to adapt the images and descriptions (with the aid of software) so that these very different target groups can be addressed in different ways. An analysis of their user data can ensure they are shown the content for the right target group, so that elderly customers, for example, see product information that is relevant to their cohort. Recommendation engines can be used to recommend other similar products.

Make your online store secure and trustworthy

Another aspect you can work on to improve performance concerns how trustworthy your online store is perceived to be. Your customers need to feel that they can shop securely in your online store and that their privacy is guaranteed. Alongside the usual tools such as official quality labels, certification, and genuine customer ratings, it is vital that you include clear and transparent terms and conditions and a privacy policy outlining the collection and use of user data. You should also think about how you are going to handle the stored data. Ideally, you should only collect the data you need to operate your store and to carry out the required analyses, and you should delete them again when they are no longer needed. Options such as access controls and multi-factor authentication can be used to secure particularly sensitive areas of the store.

Further technical standards relating to online store security: - The use of HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and monitoring tools - Firewall configuration and IDS (intrusion detection systems) to protect against malware - Regular updates of software and plugins plus regular backups - Incident response plans to deal with data leaks or cyberattacks - Failover solutions to ensure the store remains operational

Security and trustworthiness

Optimize the site for different end devices

Following on from the above, we will continue to focus on the technical aspects of optimizing your online store’s performance. These can bring about noticeable improvements.

The first thing you can do is to make sure that your online store displays correctly on different end devices. Changes in user behavior have led to a strong preference for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). So it is important that you focus primarily on a “mobile first” design for your store. Your second focus should be on responsive design, making sure the various elements are set up to display correctly on any screen. It is vital here to test the store with a range of different browsers and check that it works well with all of them.

Optimization for mobile devices

Boost the speed of your online store

We move on now to tips on how to improve your store’s load speeds. The aim is to reduce the bounce rate resulting from the content or whole pages loading too slowly. The first thing to look at is image compression. Images are a huge part of your online store. You need them to be high-quality with a minimal file size. Ideally, the file size should remain below 250 KB.

Next, we can look at caching techniques and what is known as “lazy loading.” If your customers have already visited the store (using the same browser on the same device), the content does not have to load from scratch. The browser can call on the resources previously stored in the cache. This improves the page load speed too, as additional page content is only loaded when the customer starts scrolling. This is particularly practical when you have long product listings on category pages.

You should also check whether your online store is using unnecessary scripts, plugins, or hyperlinks that can be removed to speed up the store’s performance. Or you can also ensure that your online store content loads faster for your customers by using CDNs (content delivery networks). These reduce the time it takes to load the online store’s data and content by getting the information from servers on the network that are geographically closer to the customer’s location.

Speed

Make efficient use of server resources and database queries

If we delve deeper into the management of data and resources, we can make further improvements. A lot can be achieved just by selecting the right hosting provider. Look for high uptime guarantees, redundancy, and backup and recovery plans to minimize hardware outages. Server resources need to be managed so that the configuration is tailored to the needs of your online store and sufficient CPU, RAM, and HD space are available. Also, bear in mind the likelihood of peak times, coinciding, for example, with seasonal offers, and ensure that additional resources can be made available as required.

It is also helpful in this context to minimize HTTP requests to the server and to use gzip compression to reduce the size of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. This approach particularly benefits customers with a slower internet connection. It also helps if database queries can be compiled in a single query rather than run separately.

Last but not least, we come to the subject of load balancing. Already briefly addressed with CDN on the topic of "real-time display of content", load balancing enables website traffic to be distributed across several servers. If one server is busy with the requests, another one steps in to avoid a failure of the online store while answering the server requests.

Server and database resources

We hope that these tips for optimizing the performance of your online store prove helpful. If you still have any questions or are looking for professional support for your online store, feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation chat.


About the author: EXCONCEPT

Ecommerce agency EXCONCEPT supports medium-sized enterprises and corporations from a range of different industries with their online store, ecommerce, and digitalization projects. The agency believes in adopting a personal, individual approach to find the best results for each particular customer’s needs. The goal is to develop long-term, sustainable solutions that can continue to adapt to growing demands. A strong partner, EXCONCEPT, can advise on, design, and implement the digital project as well as providing long-term support and maintenance for the resultant system landscape. Businesses from the B2B and B2C environment trust EXCONCEPT’s expertise in the fields of ecommerce, UX design, data integration, and product information management.

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