With the continued increase in consumers who rely on Internet shopping instead of brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce websites have become an increasingly valuable asset to any business. Whether you use only the web to sell your products or you use it to supplement your physical store, the website is the equivalent of your storefront. It is your customer’s first impression of your business and will decide how they perceive your brand. Below we’ve provided eight tips to help you make a lasting first impression and to increase those conversions once you’ve pulled visitors in.
1. Stand Out
Standing out from the pack is easier said, right? Not necessarily. It is a matter of researching what everyone else in your market is doing and finding creative ways to avoid falling in line. Maybe you’ll offer more evocative content on your website than the typical promotional copy like catchy videos or songs, or perhaps you’ll go above and beyond with customer service policies that no one can match. Any way you choose, avoid following the same cut-and-paste tactics that all e-commerce sites use if you hope to increase your sales above theirs. Incorporate gifs and flashy graphics onto your landing pages to better entice and entertain visitors. (Protip: a little goes a long way with this! Also, make sure this doesn’t sacrifice site speed.)
2. Get Help
Unless you have an extensive web and graphic design background, you’ll likely want to seek the help of freelance professionals and outsource your site design. Many entrepreneurs fall victim to the pitfall of trying to do everything on their own, either because they don’t trust anyone else with their vision or because they think the cost isn’t worth it. This can often lead to great products that are never seen because of poorly designed landing pages.
3. Show Your Human Side
Many consumers find the big business appeal comforting and reliable. Many others would rather see some sort of personality behind the scenes so they feel like they are doing business with a human being instead of a machine. You can extend your hand by offering peeks behind the scenes — without revealing too much, of course — and by letting them get to know that another person cares about their satisfaction.
After all the marketing you’ve employed to get people to visit your e-commerce site and stick around, you can still lose them for good if the product you advertised is out of stock. Consider how many items you need to have for different times of the year, and pay attention to demand trends to avoid losing potential consumers.
5. Always Keep the Customer in Mind
This is Sales 101, and one of the most important considerations in any front-facing operation. It pays to set up a system that allows consumer feedback and to have a means by which you use this feedback to improve the way you serve them. Strategies going forward should involve finding ways to remove any obstacles between the consumer and their purchase.
6. Optimize Your Pages for Search Engines
Every site in existence should employ some form of search engine optimization (SEO), and this is especially true for e-commerce sites. Over seventy percent of all sales inquiries begin with a search engine. Consumers usually type in contracted terms and expect the engine to know what they mean. For your site, include these key terms wherever possible, so their searches lead to your landing pages.
7. Streamline the Checkout Process
A general rule of thumb in e-commerce is to place the least amount of obstruction between the initial view of a product and the big button that allows customers to buy it. There should be no more than three steps from the main page to the checkout, and navigation should be engineered toward ushering the customer along without complication. New customers should be able to figure out how to enter their information quickly and return customers should have even less to figure out.
8. Content is Key
Outside of the sales pages and the main page, commit your blogs and articles to generating interest without bogging the consumer down with homework. Create easy to follow guides to share on social channels. Showcase your standout products in easy to read product guides, or give easy explainers on the types of products you sell to better answer your customer’s questions. As with any action you take toward potential consumers, the idea is to add value. This can often take the shape of informative content that leaves them with a better idea of how to best use your products or services.
It is important to have patience and accept there are no shortcuts. It takes time for word-of-mouth and marketing ploys to take hold, and you’d much rather have a slow build that leads to permanent success than a quick one that evaporates just as fast. Just remember these eight tips and you’re ready to start selling!