E-commerce brands are continually finding new ways to encourage people to interact with their website. Having a well-designed, quick, and functional website is a must, but it’s still not enough.
At the end of the day, e-commerce websites are about conversions and sales, and the success of an online shop is ultimately evaluated based on these numbers.
One of the best ways to
increase conversions is to intrigue and entertain visitors with interactive
website features that will keep them hooked. When used properly, interactive
elements like live chat, surveys, personalized product suggestions (and more) will
grab your visitors’ attention. And when people are more engaged with your
website, it eventually leads to greater interest in your products.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common interactive features for improving the customer experience and, ultimately, sales.
Including quizzes and surveys on web pages can be a beneficial part of an online retailer’s digital marketing plan. Depending on the questions you ask, you can find out a lot about your site visitors, as well as their attitude towards your website, your brand, or your products.
You can use this knowledge to better segment your audience and even provide personalized experiences for every single visitor. This is hugely important since as much as 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer personalized experiences.
However, getting your visitors to fill these forms in may not be that easy. So keep these quizzes short and user-friendly. And make sure you explain to the users what’s in it for them.
You can motivate your visitors by offering a discount, a personalized offer, or even just the chance to have fun—but you’ll need to offer them something.
Take Two Chimps Coffee, for example. They created a quick, amusing quiz on their homepage asking potential customers about their coffee-drinking habits and preferences. At the end of it, they’ll recommend the best type of coffee for you based on your answers, and you can buy it right away or check more info about it if you’re still not sure. A great and useful feature for all true coffee-lovers!
In the old days of the internet, there was much less visual content, simply because the smaller bandwidths and slower connections couldn’t support it properly. Now that connection speeds have improved, we can take advantage of powerful visual and interactive content.
Videos are a great way of grabbing your users’ attention. In fact, 96% of people choose to turn to videos to learn more about a product or a service. It’s a convenient way to promote what you’re selling or to simply present how it works.
If you’re still not convinced that video format is truly taking over the internet, just keep in mind that the average user spends almost 7 hours a week watching videos, which is a 59% increase since 2016. In general, people prefer watching videos and viewing images, rather than spending time reading written content. You can use this fact to your advantage.
Ultimate Meal Plans lies somewhere at the intersection of the food, health, and fitness industries, and they utilize images of different meal plans and recipes. Moreover, there’s a 1-minute animated video presentation in which they briefly explain how their paleo meal plan works—and that’s a fantastic way to intrigue and engage their new users.
When it comes to developing brand trust, there’s nothing more effective than word-of-mouth. Consumers have an opportunity to share their opinion not only with their friends but with anyone who comes across your website, product page, or social accounts.
Testimonials and review scrolls on your website can be highly valuable. Reviews address your product from a customer perspective, giving you outside credibility. And they can answer questions commonly asked by consumers. It’s no wonder that 89% of users trust an online review as much as they would trust a personal recommendation.
A big portion of websites today encourage these reviews and use different review scroll features. So it’s not a bad idea to get creative and try something unique. If you’re using a WordPress site, the Testimonial Rotator plugin is a great option.
Reviews and testimonials are all about people’s experiences with your brand, so you don’t have to use a typical written review and a 5-star rating system. Take Glossier, for instance, where reviews are simply images of customers who used their products and decided to upload their photos after using them.
This is a very useful type of review, as it’s completely unbiased. The visitors ultimately decide whether they like the look of the product on other people. They can effortlessly continue scrolling until they find something they like and think “that would look good on me.”
E-commerce businesses today are expected to be available at all times. More than 80% of consumers consider an immediate response from a brand important or very important.
Of course, consumers can always contact you via social media, but if you’re selling stuff on your website, you don’t want to risk your visitors leaving it for just a second—and then getting completely distracted as soon as they tap the Facebook icon!
Having a live chat feature is a good way to keep your customers on your website. For example, automotive parts retailer Lift Kits 4 Less uses live chats to answer customer questions as quickly as possible. This is especially important for advanced and complex products, such as automotive parts.
You should also think about implementing a chatbot that can answer the most basic questions while your customer service reps are busy. You can set this tool to automatically start conversations with visitors, utilizing suitable questions and offers. For consumers, this can be very helpful, while for businesses, it can open a world of upselling and cross-selling opportunities. A tool like Drift offers a free live chat feature. Their paid plans offer a chatbot that can automatically start conversations with prospects.
We cannot overstate the importance of personalized experiences in e-commerce business. There’s a number of different interactive website features that can contribute to your personalization efforts, but none can do it as efficiently as personalized product recommendations.
Investing in a powerful product recommendation engine can increase your conversions by 150%, and giants like Amazon or Netflix generate a large portion of their revenue this way.
Algorithms that lie at the heart of these engines will only become more powerful, and they already seem to occasionally know what we need better than ourselves. Plus, the amount of customer behavior information that is obtained in the process is immense.
A great example of a creative approach to personalized suggestions is showcased by Banana Republic. As soon as you click on a product, the algorithm will suggest another clothing item that goes well with it. It’s basically like getting fashion advice from software. We all know someone who needs this!
Attention spans are getting shorter. We want to know the answer straight away. Don’t let your customers endlessly browse around your website looking for a simple piece of information. Instead, try adding an FAQ feature.
You may use it on multiple pages, since your users could have various questions regarding different products, product lines, services, or plans. Try including an FAQ section on every page where customers might need quick and concise information. A free tool like BirdSeed’s FAQ generator can help with this.
There are two additional benefits from an FAQ feature. Firstly, it will make your customer support reps’ lives easier. Secondly, it will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When someone asks Google a question that your FAQ section has covered, your answer might just squeeze into Google’s featured snippets.
Take a look at how Zoma, a mattress manufacturer, implemented this feature. A number of different pages contain related FAQ sections since customers who are buying pillows and customers who are buying bed frames may have very different questions. If you ever notice that your clients are asking questions that aren’t included in the FAQ, don’t hesitate to update them.
Right above their FAQ section, Zoma also has a Product specs section that shows off all the wonderful features of their product, as well as information on their delivery and fulfillment. Using a product features tool to show off what your product has to offer in a very user-friendly way can push interested prospective customers towards buying. Various tools exist depending on your platform, like the DoT Products app for Shopify and Product Specifications for Woocommerce.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, as there are many other interactive website features you can use to increase engagement and conversions. These include wish lists, search boxes, social media integrations, various payment, and security features, and much more.
Whichever of these interactive design options you choose, implement them in a way that will quickly grab visitors’ attention and build an interest in your brand or your product. For many of these visitors, this will be your only chance to convert them into customers or at least propel them down the sales funnel, so make the most of it!
Travis Jamison has been involved with e-commerce for over a decade. As the Founding Director of Smash.VC, he is an investor and strategic growth partner in a number of bootstrapped e-commerce ventures.