Eight key improvements from an ecommerce site relaunch

Ecommerce site Simply Hammocks relaunched a few months ago, and has so far achieved some impressive results. 

The changes made have led to higher conversion rates and a 60% year on year increase in sales in the two months since (re)launch.

The site, along with other brands from The Simply Group, was acquired last year by Scott Woodhead, who has founded other successful commerce sites, such as My Glasses Club and Loving Outdoors.

It seems that Simply Hammocks needed to work to bring it up to date and to speed (literally), hence the relaunch.

Here, I’ll look at some of the changes made to the site as part of this process, and some of the early gains that have resulted.

Making the site mobile-friendly

Simply Hammocks has managed to increase mobile conversion rates from 0.06% to 2.3% by optimising for mobile.

Previously, the site wasn’t mobile-friendly at all, so mobile users had to work hard to make it through checkout.

Here’s the old version on mobile:

simply hammocks old mobile

And the new version:

IMG_2884

Optimising for speed

Site speed matters. It’s about providing a better user experience, which in turn helps to improve conversion rates and reduce site abandonment.

brighton-seo-site-speed-for-content-marketers-4-638

(image taken from Tom Bennet’s Brighton SEO presentation)

It will also be increasingly important for SEO, as Google is looking to make page speed a factor in its next mobile algorithm update.

According toThe Simply Group co-founder Scott Woodhead:

We ran all images through minify which saved us 1.4GB in file size. We moved over to Shopify which utilises Content Delivery Network and load balancing servers so the website was faster under traffic.

We also removed unnecessary apps. One in particular was from an installed module that wasn’t being used but was loading javascript for each page from company that didn’t exist. This added 3 seconds load to every page!

In addition, the homepage banner, which used to be a 16MB images,  was optimised for speed.

Social proof

Social proof can be very effective for ecommerce sites when used well. Here, Simply Hammocks has introduced pop-ups which appear to show which products other customers are buying right now.

They are relatively subtle pop-ups which don’t interrupt the user, but instead gives people a gentle nudge.

They appear roughly every five to ten seconds (at least around 10am on a Monday morning) and give the impression that:

  1. People are buying from the site, which reinforces trust. If other customers are buying, then it must be OK etc…
  2. People are buying at regular intervals, which creates a sense of urgency.

popups

According to Scott, these pop-ups have increased conversions by 40% since implementation.

Improved product imagery

The importance of product images for online retailers shouldn’t be underestimated, as they form a key part of the customer’s decision on whether or not to make a purchase.

Here, the product pages have multiple images which allow potential buyers to see the product in context, as well as more practical shots which show a close up of the material, as well as the storage bag.

hammocks

The site has also added some quirky imagery – you’ll see the odd tortoise or dropped ice cream on some of the product shots.

Previously, images were mainly garden shots, meaning that the category pages were a sea of green. This made it harder to individual products to stand out.

A focus on delivery

Delivery is a key part of the customer experience, and shoppers increasingly expect greater convenience in terms of shipping options and speed.

Indeed, a recent survey found that 42% of customers have higher expectations around delivery now than two years ago, with factors such as greater control a key issue.

ecommerce delivery user expectations

The site offers free express delivery, with all items shipped the next day. It displays the rate of next day arrivals (97%) at the top of the site as a sales driver.

delivery hammocks

Product page detail

Most of these hammocks are in the £70-£250 price bracket, and naturally customers want some detailed information before committing to buy.

To this end, there’s plenty of detail about the products, including buyer’s guides, detailed information on size and materials, as well as product videos.

product detail

The site also offers downloadable instruction manuals, useful for customers who may have misplaced theirs, but also a great SEO tactic, as people searching for manuals are likely to end up on this site.

As mentioned above, the product images and variety of views also helps to make the pages more effective than before.

An improved content strategy

There are some who would cast doubt on the value of blogging for online retailers, but it can be very effective when done well, and I’ve seen examples where relatively niche retailers can gain an advantage.

Content which directly addresses customer queries and concerns around products (such as how-to guides) can be very effective.

Here’s an example, which answers a common customer question:

hammock blog

It’s useful content for customers, but also helps pick up search traffic. The key thing here is that this content is targeting a key audience of potential hammock buyers.

Thanks to this content, the site ranks well for this query, and will continue to attract traffic for some time to come.

hammock seo

Smooth checkout

There’s no forced registration, the checkout has been enclosed with distractions removed, and forms work well. All key factors in a successful checkout process.

hammock checkout

In summary

The site is a work in progress, but some of the key issues which affect conversion have been addressed already. The site is faster, works on mobile, product pages are effective, and the checkout works as it should.

There are more improvements planned, such as hammock buying tools, greater choice over delivery slots, and other social proof features such as showing items which are frequently purchased together.

The improvements here offer a lesson on the areas to prioritise when redesigning ecommerce sites, as well as the potential gains which can be made.

For more information on this topic, see our Ecommerce Checkout Best Practice Guide. For more reports, including guides on mobile commerce, customer experience, and social customer service, head to ClickZ Intelligence

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