Thursday, 24 November 2022 06:00

Sales is converting browsers into buyers. Here are some unique approaches to help you

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As e-commerce continues to expand its market share, having a website is the bare minimum for small businesses – but it's not enough to convert site visitors into customers.

Good site design, says Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena, can be a competitive advantage. And as the New York City-based company announces 100 product innovations and features through its annual Squarespace Refresh release, Casalena says that Squarespace is increasingly focused on helping small businesses and people who facilitate transactions through their websites, like independent creators, to improve conversion.

Fluid Engine, a drag-and-drop editor that allows Squarespace users to fully customize their site design, rolled out in July and Casalena says this update has made it easier for users to custom design eye-catching sites. 

Today, the company is announcing the launch of Squarespace Icons, a series of limited-edition website templates built using Fluid Engine. The first is designed in partnership with the Icelandic musician Björk.

"I've always thought a good idea for Squarespace would be to take a cue from the fashion world and have a fall template release and a spring template release," Casalena tells Inc. "I think that can keep things fresh and help bring new ideas to life, so I'm excited to take the first step towards making that a reality."

Additional new features on Squarespace pegged towards improving commerce applications include a feature that shows related items in customer carts, product reviews and a scheduling feature, which allows service providers like salons or gyms to book and invoice appointments and classes. 

Bio Sites by Squarespace is a new function that will allow businesses and individuals to create one page link-in-bio sites intended for social-media platforms like Instagram and TikTok – a potential competitor to Melbourne-basedLinktree's custom-landing-page product. "We're really thinking about which transactions people are doing online and helping facilitate them," Casalena says.

Some businesses are eschewing traditional site designs for mobile-focused user experiences in an attempt to secure more customers. Lemieux et Cie, a European-inspired line of homewares by New York-based interior designer Christiane Lemieux, launched direct-to-consumer in April. 

The company quickly scrapped its first website design in favor of a one that promoted scrolling over clicking on product images – which Lemieux says was inspired by TikTok. "We deliberately rebuilt our site for mobile," she says. 

"It has benefited us in so many ways, improving conversion, site visit time and average order value, which is consistently over $1,000." Lemieux et Cie is hosted on Shopify.

Other retailers are looking for new ways to smooth friction in the checkout process. Hollister, the teenager-skewing retailer owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, is rolling out a new system called Share2Pay, which will allow shoppers to load a cart and send that cart via text to another party (ostensibly a parent) who will then continue the checkout process, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. 

With potential sales on the table, businesses have to focus not just on getting shoppers to their site – but getting them across the finish line (or through checkout).