In recent years, the shopping experience has shifted to the edge. Customers are increasingly finding products on social media — from ads, recommendations, or simply seeing products in use by others — and starting their shopping journey there.
For businesses, this means ensuring these users can get from the edge to your Shopify store without any bumps in the road.
In this post, we're going to briefly look at a handful of pain points that can prevent shoppers from making that journey — and how you can optimize your Shopify website for pain free edge shopping.
Dig Deeper > 3 minute read
What are the pain points?
Let's kick things off by looking at what not to do.
Below are some of the key issues that lead to customers not following the edge-to-store journey to the end.
At the top of the list - broken links. Broken links might not seem like a big deal to a Shopify owner. Atfer all, they're a natural part of running a short for a long period of time , right?
While that may be the case, it's not an acceptable part of the journey for your customers. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised if several potential customers ditch your website after encountering a single broken link. It creates the impression that a product is missing or no longer available, or at the very least is too troublesome to track down.
Another pain point for customers that you can prevent is displaying outdated information.
Outdated information immediately delegitimizes your business. It sends the wrong message (quite literally) and can create a feeling of distrust. Already, 34% of online shoppers do not trust brands with their personal information, and they are hyper-aware of this concern when purchasing from a new retailer.
Fortunately, updating outdated information is getting easier over time, especially with the advent of headless CMS solutions.
Poor technical performance
Lastly, your business can scare off potential edge customers with poor technical performance.
Users expect your website to load instantly, to have what they want, to work the way they expect, and to provide them with what they're looking for in no time at all. How slow is too slow? If your site takes more than 5 seconds to load, 41% of users are gone. This time span is only going to reduce, as customers continue to to experience lightning fast digital commerce elsewhere.
If you can't meet expectations, then you're going to lose customers, and quickly.
Some 28% of abandoned purchases can be attributed to over-complex or lengthy checkout processes. Poor UX, requiring customer to create accounts or muddying the waters with a lack of clarity around shipping can (and will) add friction to the checkout process.
Inventory management problems are an unfortunate part of a successful eCommerce business. Shoppers rightly expect goods to be available, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, it’s often not the case.
When coming via social media, 98% of online shoppers have recently experienced product availability issues. These include the dreaded out of stock, or a lack of size and colour availability.
Nearly half (48%) of online shoppers head straight to an ecommerce marketplace when shopping online — if they’ve come to your website and have not been able to find the product they want, where do you think they’ll go next?
How to optimize your Shopify experience
Now that we've covered what not to do, let's take a look at some ways that you can optimize your Shopify experience, particularly for customers visiting your site from edge cases.
Provide intuitive UX and clear instructions
In many ways, your user experience (UX) is the initial handshake between your shop and incoming customers.
It tells them how up-to-date your Shopify is, how easy it's going to be to find what they're looking for, and whether or not this is a legitimate website.
Your UX should be intuitive and personal to your business. Rather than going for something flashy, stick with familiar functionality with a coat of paint that is all your own. But, created with the end user in mind.
Consider how a visitor approaches your website. Users have been shown to scan web pages in an ‘F’ pattern. Draw their attention with a strong header, and keep important information up top, and to the left. On product pages, ensure your essentials – product name, price, description, color/size options, gallery– are placed above the fold. Use the rest of the page to give more detail, content in the knowledge that this may be overlooked.
Another important step in optimizing your Shopify experience is building trust between you and your customers. According to buySAFE, 81% of online shoppers feel concerned when shopping on a website with which they are not familiar.
With the explosion of digital commerce came several exploitative and illegitimate shops crowding the space.
You want to be sure that your business isn't being lumped in with them, so avoid anything that creates fear, distrust, or confusion.
Otherwise, you risk putting off customers as soon as your site loads.
Monitor the checkout process
In many ways, the checkout process is the most critical in the shopping experience.
It's also the most error-prone, with numerous points of failure and a back-and-forth interaction between your website and your customers. In fact, 18% of people abandon their shopping cart because of long and complicated checkouts.
As such, you should monitor the checkout process to prevent any issues that may arise. This includes inaccurate payment and address information, complicated shipping options, and so on. Monitor and optimize this process as much as possible.
Keep an eye on inventory
Next, you'll want to keep a close eye on your inventory. Product availability issues are frequently caused by promotional activity — but they don’t have to be.
Social commerce can cause sudden surges in popularity for a product, which can lead to overnight demands that you aren't prepared to meet. When clicking through from social media to a brand’s website, a staggering 98% of shoppers have experienced product availability issues.
Avoid posting fast-moving, low inventory items on social, and monitor all promoted inventory stock closely. If (and when) products are not available, you need to have a safety net in place to catch any promotions driving traffic to those very products. This can be done manually, or with an alerting system.
Create rich experiences
A great way to feed into the edge shopping journey is to create rich experiences on your website. This is something that the eCommerce giants have nailed to a tee.
Rich experiences include things like making space for customer reviews and videos, sharing social media posts about your products, and influencer collaborations. And there’s a reason for them.
Remember the issue of trust in brands we touched on earlier? 70% of consumers trust UGC more than branded content. People trust people, and UGC enables brands to establish credibility with consumers.
In 2022, these are must-haves, not nice-to-haves.
Consider a customer advocacy community
As touched on above, including your customers' social media on your Shopify website can make your customers feel more involved in your brand. It can also give new customers insight into who is buying your products.
User-generated content (UGC) is in many ways the bridge between your business and the edge interactions that bring customers to your business. It shows that your brand has a real-world context and, importantly, has created a satisfied community of customers.
Many brands have utilized a loyalty program to encourage customer advocacy — we only have to look to REN Skincare, who significantly increased repeat purchase rates by incentivising customers to engage with and advocate for them on social media. It works, and it’s made simple through Shopify plugins such as Loyalty Lion.
Find ways to reduce abandoned carts
Nearing the end of our list is a tried-and-true aspect of improving the Shopify experience — reducing abandoned carts.
Consider this: 69.5% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That’s (nearly) 7 out of every 10 potential shoppers, lost.
Due to the increase in social commerce, users are more likely than ever before to be making an impulsive purchase — almost two-thirds of social media shoppers make purchases on this channel without having set to do so. Because of this, they are also likely to be less decisive shoppers, and can end up being distracted, or second-guessing their purchase.
Being able to close the loop with these customers is key to being sure that you don't lose these sales.
Consider sending abandoned cart emails to re-engage shoppers who never completed their checkout. According to research, almost a third of clicks on abandoned cart emails lead to a recovered sale.
Ensure you’ve gone through your own checkout process with a fine tooth comb to find any points of friction.
Shopify have cited forcing customers to create an account, complex checkout processes and concerns over security as three of the top reasons for cart abandonment.
The fourth? Shipping.
Offer quick and affordable shipping options
There’s no question about it anymore. Customers want their goods fast.
As a direct result of Amazon and other major retailers, customers expect next-day delivery options from eCommerce websites — research has found that 36% of shoppers abandon purchases due to lengthy shipping times. Even more significant, 63% of shoppers abandon their carts because shipping costs are too high.
The takeaway? Absorb the shipping costs in product pricepoints, and ensure you have the infrastructure in place to allow for goods to get to their doorstep fast.
Optimize shopping at the edge with SimplicityDX
By following the tips and practices in this post, you can vastly improve your chances of securing purchases made by edge shoppers.
Improve your edge shopping experience with SimplicityDX today. Reach out to our team to learn more.
Also check out these articles for improving customer experience:
Which customer analytics matter most for Commerce?
Ecommerce innovation: 5 really smart ideas from Asos’s checkout flow
10 examples of unique eCommerce user experiences (and what you can learn from them)