Sometimes in life, less is more. And that’s definitely the case with e-commerce. Believe it or not, research has proven that customers buy more on sites that have fewer products to choose from. Want to know more? Here’s how you can increase your e-commerce sales by setting up a site with limited options.
Why Too Many Options Can Confuse
Have you ever visited a restaurant with a hundred-page menu? With so much to pick from, surely every person’s tastes are covered, right? And yet, when the waitress rolls around, you’re still confused. And even after you’ve ordered, you weren’t convinced you made the right choice. Sounds familiar?
In the book “The Art of Choosing”, Professor Sheena Iyengar introduces a study conducted in a real shop with real customers. Two stations are created – one has 24 flavours of jam and the other has only 6 flavours. Incredible, 30% of people purchased at least one pot of jam from the station with 6 flavours, while only 3% purchased a least one pot of jam from the table with 24 flavours. The larger selection did attract more onlookers, but just didn’t convert.
Quite simply, too many choices can simply confuse and alienate customers to the point where they get frustrated and shoot off to another site in search of ‘safer’ territory. By keeping things plain and simple, your e-commerce store will ooze confidence. In the customer’s eyes, your small product range must be of a high quality, as you haven’t resorted to stuffing in sub-par merchandise solely for the purpose of filling up your page. You’re selling the good stuff – the stuff they need.
Trim Down Your Options
Offering less choice doesn’t just involve the amount of products you have for sale on your site. It also involves the amount of options customers have to click through in order to reach the checkout.
If your sign-up form has a list of endless fields tumbling to the base of the page, most site users will take one short look, shake their heads and run for the hills. Likewise, if your customer has too many additional add-on options thrown at them on their journey to the checkout, they’ll abandon their cart before they’ve made their purchase. Cut down your options to make the customer journey easier. What information do you really need from them? What do you have to be offering them before they pull out their bank card to pay?
Trim things down as best as you can so your customers are clicking in all the right places.
Design Your Categories Carefully
There’s nothing wrong with having a lot to offer your customers – but you’ll have to be careful about how you display products in your store to avoid them feeling overwhelmed. A great way to redesign a frenzied webpage is by dividing your products up into categories. A lot of stores do this with a navigation bar at the top of the page. Think carefully about how you design your categories. The fewer, the better – but make sure they’re all appropriate and you’re not squeezing loosely related products together.
Categories Within Categories
Creating sub-categories may seem like you’re going against the first principle of a simple, easy to follow site design, but by creating more ways for the customer to trim down their choices, you’re actually more likely to see increased sales.
The key to success in e-commerce is personalisation. A customer is much more likely to buy if they can find something on your site that suits them – something they feel as though they need and want. By looking for ways to cut down customer options and offering less choice, customers won’t have to wade through a sea of incompatible products – they’ll be looking at exactly the kind of things they had in mind in just a couple of clicks.
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