With ever advancing technology and competition on the internet it is important to keep your ecommerce platform up to date. There are few simple tips you can take with you into 2015 to stay ahead of the competition.

Here are some ways to improve your online store:

Guided Discovery

Customers do not want to spend hours searching for the perfect item. Many times, they only have a vague idea of what it is that they actually want. It is up to you to provide them with the options they are looking for. It is important to create a user-oriented experience. An all-around personalized experienced is a great way to encourage customers to fill their shopping carts. Many customers are unsure or are too lazy to look through all the possible options on a website. They are more likely to use your initial navigations to get to the part of your website that has something like what they are looking for. From there they may scan through some options. This is where should give suggestions based on their selections. Giving them well placed featured options based on what they need that also have great reviews, is a great way to get people to buy. You do not want to give too many choices, you need to give the right choices.


Responsive Web Design

Invest in responsive web design. With so many devices and so many different screen sizes you need a design that will look great across all platforms. While your design my look wonderful on a large computer screen, that same design might be clunky and hard to use on a cellphone screen. A responsive design will be beautiful and easy to use on all platforms. If you are not ready to invest in creating an app, this is a great way to impress your mobile users.


Curated Bundles And Collections

This is a great way to show your users your care. Giving them perfect bundles that experts pick out is something that customers really enjoy. It gives them the perfect idea of what to buy. They also feel like they are saving time by having everything they want already packaged together. This is a great idea for the holiday season gift ideas. This also works well when you are selling hobby items that can work well as a set.


Easy Search Options

Your users need to easily be able to find what they want. Your search options should be obvious and well organized. The categories should lead to the discovery of new and great products that the customer may not have thought of. The options should not be cluttered or take too long to read through. You want to give customers a fast and easy way to discover what they need. You should incorporate a search engine for your website as well as simple navigation bars. A search engine that can predict what a customer might be looking for would be a nice touch.

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Eliminate Checkout Distractions

Your checkout should be clean and simple. Once a customer starts on that track, advertisements, other product options, and anything that can lead them to click away from that page should be gone. The customer should know how many steps they have to complete to purchase and have a clear path to move forward. This is vital since if a customer gets distracted and leaves this page it is unlikely they will come back. This is a section of your website that you should keep a close eye on. If you have too many people abandoning the page at a certain point you probably have a problem that you need to clean up.


Live Chat

Customer service is very important. You need to be easy to reach when a user has a question or concern. The faster their concerns can be addressed the more likely they are to buy. Live chat is an easy way to make yourself accessible. Most people will not make the effort to call and will most likely go elsewhere. E-mail can seem slow for many users and people don’t want to feel like they are wasting their time. A chat service is instant and hassle free and it will definitely impress.


Great Product Photos

People are used to being able to pick up and try out a product in the real world which is obviously not something that they can do online. You want to give people comfort that what they are buying is fantastic so every single product photo you put up should show them that. You want to give different angles a modern look and clean aesthetics. This will create trust and help the customer envision themselves with the product. You want your users to see your products and think ‘I need to have that,’ a great picture does just that.


Update, Update, Update

You need to keep everything on your site up to date. If you have a blog it needs to be updated regularly, you should feature new and popular products and replace them when you have new items to discover. It is also important to keep your website design up to date. With technology and web trends changing constantly a design that is more than 5 years old looks ancient and outdated. It is good to invest in keeping everything on your site fresh and clean to make sure your users have a good impression of you from the get go. Keeping your blog up to date is great for getting your page to rank higher on search engines.


Don’t Force Sign-Up

It is a bad idea to force a user to sign-up to be able to purchase. It will distract customers at check out, many see it as time consuming and tedious and it will cause them to abandon their shopping carts. Your website should have an option to ‘Check Out as a Guest,’ or allow users to sign up with Facebook or Google Plus so they do not have to spend time filling out all their personal information.


Show Your Value

Why are you better than the hundreds of other ecommerce sites? Do you save people money? Are you easy to use? Do you offer a wide range of products? Your up-front value proposition is woven into the design and organization of your website. You need to show people why you are the best. Amazon, for example, adds value by showing customers items they may want right on the homepage.


What are some other ways you are improving your site for the upcoming year? Let us know in the comments below.

[Photo Credit: Blake Thomas]