Thanks to a number of online platforms, operating an e-commerce site is a lot easier than it used to be. No matter what you sell, powerful solutions exist to market your product to the masses. The downside to this ease of use is a saturated marketplace where your product is competing against literally hundreds of others from every corner of the world.
Just like a brick-and-mortar store, the key to success is standing out and clearly communicating what makes your product better. Many of the same principles of maintaining an attractive storefront that drives foot traffic apply to the maintenance of a successful e-commerce site that drives web traffic. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to improve your bottom line.
1. Communicate your value
Your product’s main selling point needs to come across the second someone visits your store. Ask yourself why someone should purchase from you instead of Amazon, and communicate that answer on your homepage through a convincing headline (such as “Try Western Canada’s favourite pepperoni today”), body copy (to explain this headline in detail), benefits and proof points (like free shipping, warranty, or guarantees), and captivating images that tell your product’s story in one look.
2. Describe your product through imagery
This hinges on what you sell. Decorative products need to be seen in the context of a room or on a wall. Cleaning products need to be seen cleaning. Clothing needs to be shown on a model, preferably the type of demographic you want to sell to. Not all products succeed on a white background, simply because this presentation doesn’t tell their story.
3. Experiment with size
Larger images typically do better than smaller ones. Larger type often communicates more importance than smaller type, but when abused, doesn’t draw any attention at all. Depending on your site’s layout and the products you sell, experimenting with different sized images and increasing the size of important headlines or section headers may increase conversion and motivate action. This case study provides helpful insight.
4. Increase your credibility
Spelling mistakes, poor design, and low-quality images can all negatively affect how visitors perceive your site. Keep in mind that you are asking your customers to transact money online in exchange for something they hope they’ll receive. People are growing more tech-savvy, and as a result, are wearier of online scams. Gain the trust of your customers by featuring reviews, testimonials, interesting company info, or positive PR your company has received. At the very least, ensure your design is contemporary and clean. As you’ve likely heard hundreds of times before, you only get one chance to make a good impression.
5. Test, test, then test again
Testing your site should be part of your routine, and if it isn’t, hire someone to do it for you. Best practices don’t always apply to everyone. If traditional wisdom says to include navigation drop-downs, but a thumbnail gallery better serves your product range, try it out. The only way to verify if it works for you is to implement it, test it, and gauge the results. Testing ensures you aren’t getting complacent with frontend practices that haven’t worked for you in the past, and aren’t falling victim to simple issues on your backend.
When optimized, e-commerce can really help your bottom line and build your brand around the world. Again, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when so many variables are at play, but if you follow these guidelines and tinker at the margins, you’ll find what works for you and before long, the results will show.
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