I am glad to announce that pro nopCommerce has been redesigned and upgraded to version 3.30. The upgrade is the result of 2 weeks of works from all the folks in the team, and the process has been extremely fun and engaging!
This blog post is meant to be a brief of what we've achieved, and why we think it's useful to our website. This is not a technical discussion, but rather a conceptual one. We hope that you can learn a thing or two, and implement similar tricks on your store to improve user experience and conversion rate on your website.
Below are a few important changes we've done:
- Responsive design, new logo
- Better checkout system
- Site speed optimization
- Cart recovery system integration
- Social reviews & social comments integration
A more technical discussion of each of the above point is on the way, in the form of individual blog post for each topic. For now, let's get to the high level discussion of how each part was done!
Responsive design, new logo
Responsive design might be the hottest thing to happen in 2013/2014. All the nopCommerce themes we sell on our website are responsive themes, so we thought we should also make our own site responsive as well!
On top of upgrading the site to feature responsive design, we also created a totally new design for our site. To be frank, we thought our website is a bit out-dated. We wanted something cleaner and more professional.
Below is a snapshots of our new design. Being responsive, we now can be sure that our customers enjoy the same user experience no matter what platform or device they are using.
The site is done primarilly using Bootstrap 3.1.1. Bootstrap has been our main framework for theme development, and my team is very familiar with it; so it's a natural choice for this project.
To give our site a brand new look, we've also engaged designers to redesign our logo. We believe a professional-looking website and logo is able to increase the confidence of the visitors of our site.
The reason we've decided on this is due to the fact that themes and plugins require very different visual presentation. Basically we want to showcase the visual design of our themes (and not so much for our plugins).
Points to ponder: Have you designed a category page and product page that is able to showcase your products in the best possible way? Let me know in the comments!
Better checkout system
When our team was discussing about the checkout process, we figured that we want to allow our customers to checkout with fewest steps possible. We've already used our own express checkout plugin in previous version of our website, but we wish to push the limit even further.
After much discussion, we came to the decision of integrating register page with checkout page, making the checkout process for new customers even simpler. If a new customer tries to checkout:
- We show simple registration form prior to the checkout steps
- If registration is successful, the normal register result page is not shown
- Instead, the express checkout page is pulled up through AJAX (no page refresh)
Points to ponder: Do you think the same mechanism would improve the user experience (or even conversion rate) on your own website? Let me know in the comments!
Site speed optimization
If you are familiar with SEO, you would know that site speed is also an important factor taken into account by Google. Even if you don't care about SEO, having a good site speed also ensures better user experience.
And while nopCommerce 3.30 has an improved performance over the previous versions, there are still room for improvements. So we took a big part of our time hacking into the core of nopCommerce looking for places where we can improve the speed on.
Below is a test result we've obtained using Pingdom Website Speed Test tool. Althought not perfect yet, The result looks very promissing as we are able to achieve a load time of 1.79s!
I must admit that there are still many areas where we can improve the speed on. But we don't want to modify the source too much (and make future upgrades a pain), so we try our best to work only on important areas with significant speed improvements.
Points to ponder: Are you satisfied with your site's speed? What have you done to improve the speed of your nopCommerce store? Let me know in the comments!
Cart recovery system integration
One of the strong point of e-Commerce store is the convenience it brings to the table. But with the convenience of browsing products and adding them cart, it also increase the tendency for people to abandon their cart.
From the statistics published on this website, cart abandonment rate can go as high as 80%. There must be something done to this remaining 80% who didn't eventually checkout!
Out of the many cart recovery systems out there, we've chosen Rejoiner as our service provider for managing abandoned carts on our websites. We've also partner with them to implement a Rejoiner plugin for nopCommerce which can be downloaded for free.
Points to ponder: Have you done anything to recover abandoned carts on your site? What other service providers (other than Rejoiner) are you using? Let me know in the comments!
Social reviews & social comments integration
While nopCommerce has its own product reviews system and blog comments system, we feel that there are more things that can be done, especially in terms of social integration.
We wanted users to be able to easily write reviews and comments on our website, as well as sharing it over to social networks.
After some research, we've locked down to Yotpo for social reviews and LiveFyre for social comments. We've seen positive results from using Yotpo and LiveFyre. There are tons of features offered by them that are not already supported in nopCommerce.
I definitely recommend you checking them out if you want to boost interaction on your website to the next level. And of course, both platforms support importing old data, so you don't need to worry losing your existing reviews and comments.
Points to ponder: Do you see product reviews and blog comments as essential part of your e-commerce store? Are you already using social reviews and social comments system? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you've learned a thing or two from this blog post. I must say that nopCommerce is a very good platform, perhaps one of the best in the market. But if you need to be a serious player in the e-commerce industry, there are a lot of things you need to do than merely installing a fresh, non-customized version of nopCommerce.
In short, user experience (UX) and convertion rate optimization (CRO) are as important as SEO! Keep them in check! :)
PS:/ What else have you done to improve UX & CRO of your website? Let me know in the comments!