Highly flexible, and able to adapt to the needs of any business or organization, it’s no wonder that IBM WebSphere Commerce has quickly become the standard bearer for enterprise ecommerce solutions and merchandising systems throughout the online sales universe. But just because it offers a more consistent, user-friendly and customizable experience than other platforms out there, doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from a little fine-tuning.
You already know that IBM WebSphere Commerce is a sound investment, but if you really want to make the most of it, it all comes down to one thing:
User Experience (UX)
Ecommerce management professionals have a tendency to be a little bit one-sided when monitoring their site, placing more emphasis on the application’s technical performance than the end-user’s actual experience. But while both are of course important, the primary goal is to generate conversions. And in order to do that effectively, you can’t just think like a designer, programmer, or engineer. You have to think like a customer too. So here are a few tips on how to optimize your site for the best possible user experience:
Monitor and Respond to User Reactions
Given the multitude of shopping options out there, and immediate gratifiers like same day shipping, customers these days have pretty high expectations when it comes to site performance and deliverables. That’s why the modern customer tends to have a very itchy trigger finger when it comes to contacting customer support, or even worse: leaving a negative review. And you can also bet that if one person put in the effort to actually stop what they were doing and type up a complaint about your business, there are probably many others out there who had similar experiences, but simply didn’t want to take the time out of their day to say something about it.
Reading reviews, monitoring what people are saying on social media, listening to customer service complaints and responding—both textually and technically—can provide valuable information about the weak points of your business. So rather than getting angry about these things, you and your team should take them as crucial performance indicators that will ultimately benefit your business’s bottom line in the long run.
This seems like an insignificant issue, but believe me it can make a big difference in the way customers experience your site. Large image files can seriously slow down your site’s loading times—especially on mobile devices—and every split-second of delay time is a potential customer lost to the competition. Compressing your images for the web is a relatively simple, if somewhat time consuming process, and it will work wonders for your site’s loading times.
Optimize Navigation and Search
Whether it’s opting for scrolling rather than click-through navigation, or completely redesigning your search functionality with Solr, smooth navigation is absolutely crucial to the success of any ecommerce enterprise. After all, you can’t make sales if people can’t find your products. How you go about this depends on the size and complexity of your site. But no matter what, the more you can offer as far as clear-cut product categories and responsive searchability, the happier your customers will be.
Keep an eye on every step of the sales funnel
From key page performance, to hit rate, to cart abandonment and page failures, every aspect of your conversion process should be tracked and monitored inside and out. If you notice that order processing is trending down over the previous day, week, month, etc., take a careful look at the performance of login, search, image display, and checkout to determine if your site’s failure rate has increased on any of these pages or processes. Any small hiccup along the way can add up to serious losses down the road, so keeping a close eye on your sales metrics vs failure rates will put you in a better position to correct mistakes as they arise.
IBM WebSphere Commerce is one of the most trusted enterprise ecommerce solutions on the market, and by following these simple optimization tips, it will help your business perform to the very best of its ability.