Totally. Running an online store, and all that comes with it, can be overwhelming. How do you attract potential buyers? How do I ensure the best possible buying experience? How can I retain customers so they come keep coming back for more? These are all great questions to ask, and we’ll tackle them one at a time when you’re ready to engage with us.
The good news…here are some great tips to keep in mind, and that we believe we’ll elevate the shopping experience of your new and existing clients.
Never forget that your brand is of upmost importance – without it, you’re quickly going to lose confidence and trust of any potential clients. And just like many things in life, first impressions matter! For that reason, make sure that your logo is sharp, and that it’s well positioned in your homepage. Why? Because clients will be able to associate your products and/or services with it – it’ll either trigger a good or bad experience whenever they see it. As always, we are here to help. Check out our brand identity services to learn how we can help.
Call to Action
This means that your potential clients should know what’s happening with your online store as soon as they visit it. For example, are you having a special sale (e.g., 25% off any product) or did you just launch a new product or service you want them to know about? Be clear on how you want your clients to experience your site and what is easily visible for them to act upon.
Making sure your site is secure and safe to shop is paramount. It doesn’t matter how attractive, cool-looking or cost-friendly your product and/or service is, if users don’t feel safe they won’t pay. End of story. A way we can help you with is making sure your online store has a SSL certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer, (and basically has a “lock” icon next to the web address in the browser address bar). All that to say that once such a certificate is in place, it means your online store is as secure as it can be and any data that you enter is safely shared with the website. And this is crucial as your clients are entering credit card information to make a purchase.
This may seem like an easy one, but not always. In a nutshell, do not make it harder for your shoppers to buy your products and/or services. Your site navigation (or in other words, menu bar) needs to be easy to find (usually at the top by the logo) and simple. Don’t clutter your navigation with too much information that will hinder the shopping experience. A good way to organize products and/ or services is by creating categories, so that users can browse by product or by entire product categories. Along with that, we highly recommend having a “search” option so that users can easily find products – especially important if you’re selling a bunch of products.
Related to the call to action we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to call out featured products, mostly seem in only store homepages. This will instantly attract users to look at, for example, new products, products on sale, or even a special category of products. Be sure to reserve a spot in your online store to make such product showcase section prominent.
Discounts, and more discounts
Seriously…who doesn’t love discounts?! An easy way to entice your potential clients to make a purchase is to give them a discounted price – whether they’re seasonal (e.g., Christmas), a special event (e.g., online store grand opening, or new product launch), or just because. Feel free to get as creative as possible (hint: adding a pop-up as users first enter your site, or a discount section in your homepage are great choices), but don’t get too carried away as this strategy may backfire. This means if you’re giving way too many discounts, then users will always expect and not buy knowing that a discount may be coming. So, find a balance and choose specific periods where it makes sense to have discounts.
Another strategy to drive more sales is making gift cards available as a product and/or service. Simply put, gift cards allow your clients to help sell your products to family and friends! Also, as with any gift card, this tactic will help your clients not to guess what to gift and better yet, avoid, any future refunds and returns since the receiver is buying exactly what they want. Need we say more?!
Email Marketing Campaigns
We cannot stress email marketing enough. Read this: e-mail is not dead and will not be dead anytime soon, if ever! As a best practice, always reserve a “newsletter sign up” section in your online store homepage – it doesn’t have to be front and center, but visible enough to attempt to collect email addresses. However, also make it interesting for users to want to sign up – for example, provide them with a 15% discount for their first-time purchase if they sign up. Once you get a healthy list, then you’ll be able to start creating and sending ongoing newsletter with updates, new product launches, discounted products, sales, etc. to help you make that sale. A word of caution is not overdo newsletter deployments – no one likes to be spammed and if you end up sending too many emails you’ll end up losing more potential buyers than gaining. The good news – we can help you with email campaigns. Check out our web strategy and design services.
No one likes surprises, and because of that, be very clear about your pricing model. Call out costs such as shipping, taxes, and international fees, so that users are clear about their full cost – or else they may abandon their purchase completely and worse yet, never come back. Another way to be clear of prices, is to provide incentives that may reduce their costs – for example, free shipping in the United States for orders about $50 (which, by the way, can be visible as a banner right above your online store’s header). Also worth mentioning, be sure it’s clear the currency you’re charging your clients, may it be US dollars, Euros, etc.
Related to pricing, is also to make it easy for shoppers to buy from you and avoid surprises. The last thing you want as an online store owner is to have your sale abandoned because you can only accept one payment type. As mentioned earlier on, be sure to avoid surprises and be clear about what type of payments you accept – whether it be Visa, Mastercard, etc. A good way to make this clear, is to display payment types accepted in the footer of your website. So, let’s make it easy for you to get paid!
As more users shop online, having your product and/or service reviewed is important. In fact, a good or bad review can directly influence potential users from making that purchase. This is logical – would you rather purchase from an online store with constantly good reviews or from an online store selling similar products with constantly bad reviews? We won’t answer this! Another point to be made is to leverage email marketing (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section) and encourage shoppers who have previously made a purchase to review the product and/ or service – and give them that extra push by providing them with a discount code after they made the review. Lastly, make it easy for your users to review products, which is usually one with a 5-start rating next to each product they’ve purchased or thinking about purchasing.
In this day and age, having a social media presence is critical to the success of your online presence. Whether you’re selling products or services, social medial will inevitably create stronger engagement with your target audience. Yes, this means more work and content generation for you, but it also may very well mean more sales! To help get the word around about your online store is to have social media “share” links next to each product or service you sell so that users can share those to their network. Also, be sure to have social media icons easily accessible to your potential clients – usually done at the header or footer of your online store, and don’t forget to add them to your newsletters (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section above). Remember, the goal here is to expand your sales and have your shoppers help YOU sell. Be as innovative as you like in this space – running social media contests is a great way to engage with your audience (e.g., every user that tags five of their friends in one of your posts will get a 10% discount towards their next purchase).
As we’ve mentioned several times, make it easy to sell. So, make sure that you have a shopping cart that easily accessible (usually by the menu bar at the header) and this will facilitate your users making that purchase. Equally important is to make the checkout process simple, simple, and simple! Do not force users to create an account if they don’t want to, and instead allow them to purchase “as a guest”. Keep in mind that you can still collect their email by adding an optional “newsletter sign up” checkbox as they’re checking out. Also, only have data that is important for users to make the purchase – the less information the less likely they will abandon their shopping cars. Read through the “Cart Abandonment” section below to learn more about tips to potentially salvage that sales!
As an online store owner, you can’t always expect sales to be made just because potential clients are adding products to your website’s shopping cart (although it would be nice). In fact, and we don’t mean to scare you, the average cart abandonment rate is a little over 68%. Yikes! What may lead to such astonishing number is poor usability of your online store and for not properly addressing items that we’re discussing in this article. Now the good news…you can convert some these cart abandonments into sales. A good way to do this is through email marketing (refer to “Email Marketing Campaigns” section above) and target users who have not completed their purchases. Through this method, you can also encourage to close the sale by offering discounts.
We can’t stress this enough, but simply said, your online store must be nicely displayed in any device – may it be a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile. In fact e-commerce will get to $845 billion 2022 – and mobile commerce, or m-commerce, will drive almost 50% of those e-commerce sales in 2022! If this doesn’t get you excited and extra motivation to have your online store be responsive, I don’t know what will!
A page that’s is often underestimated is the About Us page. Why? Because many users like to know who they’re buying from. Knowing who’s behind the online store, their background and understanding their story may make users at ease when buying from you. Also worth mentioning is an image of you, or a team photo can go a long way and may just create a “human” connection between you and the user behind the screen. Lastly, make the story real and genuine – share why your online store exists today and what your mission is. Read the next section (“Find a Cause”) for additional content you may want to add to this page.
Find a Cause
This means that you’re helping the community – either locally or to a broader region. Whether you’re passionate about a cause (helping children, environment) or if you want to align a cause to your products and/or services, you’ll certainly increase your clients’ loyalty when they know you’re helping for a cause. Make this visible in your online store – and the “About Us” page is a great way to share with the world (refer to “About YOU” section above). Another good way to promote this is during the checkout process (refer to the “Checkout” section above), and by adding a section where users can select how much they want to donate. How cool is that?!
And finally…Don’t Settle!
And last but not least, don’t settle! As an online store owner and primary ambassador of your brand, you need to keep on evolving your website – may it be with a new product line, or with a better shopping experience as you learn more about your target audience behavior.
As always, we’re here to help with all of your online store needs. Let’s have a chat to get started with your online store or take it to the next level.