When it comes to eCommerce stores, it’s no secret that they're increasing in popularity - which is why we’ve crafted six important things to do to ensure an eCommerce store is a success.
It’s no secret that eCommerce stores are increasing in popularity. With the rippling effects of COVID-19 around the world, there’s a greater demand for online stores than physical ones.
You may have heard the phrase about the current digital shopping and selling environment, about how it’s the best time to sell but also the worst time to sell. We can agree with that. While everything is at your fingertips, there’s more competition in the eCommerce world than ever before.
So, how can you make your eCommerce store a success? We’ve crafted six important things to do to help you beat the competition.
Your store should be designed around your products and aligned accordingly. It should be obvious what you’re selling and the purpose your products serve, which can be made evident with the correct product alignment - much like Thin Lizzy’s store.
If you’ve got a limited number of products, such as specialised items being sold at a high price, then you’ve got a small catalogue.
For example, a range of high-priced products, like quality hair styling products, often come in a few numbers, with a hair straightener, curler, and related.
Have quality Product Detail Pages (PDP).
If your customer spends $900 on your product, you need to include all the answers to their questions on the PDP. Think about any potential concern a customer may have and include that information - layout how your product can fix a problem or change their life.
Use quality images.
Images reflect the quality of your products. It seems straight forward, but this includes your images being of the highest quality, positioned correctly (not too big or not too small) and overall appealing.
If you’re selling a range of 30 different things, this is considered a medium catalogue.
For example, an eco store will often sell 30 products of consumable goods that fall into categories like soaps and shampoos.
Focus on categorisation.
Each type of product should be categorised correctly, like all haircare products being aligned under a haircare category, all skincare being aligned under a skincare category, and so on.
PDP is important.
You should include enough information about your products that your customers understand them. PDPs are helpful, but they don’t need to be your top priority.
Cross-sells and Upsells.
Merchandise your site with cross-sells and upsells to improve KPIs. If your customer lands on your homepage, they should be greeted with a promo which encourages them to buy from you. For example, like free shipping when they spend a certain amount or 10% of when they purchase a certain number of products.
If you sell 50+ products that fit into different categories, this is considered a large catalogue.
For example, you sell various beauty products, from face washes to makeup to hair stylers.
Categories are essential.
You want to make the shopping experience as simple and as straightforward as possible for your customers. Make sure to include filters, not just categories which each product falls under, like face wash or mascara, but the option to filter products by colour, price, brand, ratings.
Use Cross-Sells and Upsells.
If you’re selling many products, you want to encourage your customers to buy more than one. As your customer adds a product to their cart (or is about to), implementing a product suggestion that goes in hand with their first product choice will encourage them to purchase more.
Google offers various search marketing tools - like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) relating to Google AdWords and the Google Shopping tab. We worked alongside Wine Central to improve their SEO and help their products show up in the Google Shopping tab.
Did you know that 90% of online viewers stick to the first results page? This is exactly why you need Search Marketing.
SEO isn’t straightforward. It takes a lot of work to make your eCommerce website stand out in Google search results.
PPC also requires adequate research and understanding of your eCommerce’s keywords and target audience.
Understand what people are searching for. Google Suggest is a great starting point. All you have to do is type a few characters of your query to see what is popular. Be aware of keywords your competitors might be using too.
Like you’re reading now, blogs are a great way to develop trust with your buyer. You can explain your product’s benefits, show how to make it work better, and more. Look at your competitors - how do they build trust and engage buyers?
Focus on your site’s accessibility, the time it takes your site to load, easy navigation and overall user experience. This also includes the overall appearance of your site. When your site is running well, you’ll see an increase in web traffic and rankings.
When your business appears on Google, ensure the name is correct. If you have a physical location, make sure to add your company’s hours and address - Google uses peoples locations and prioritises businesses that are close to uses.
A traditional way of building the credibility of your site is backlinks. Google will often only reward you with increased traffic if your backlinks are organic, like appearing in articles, customer reviews, and overall quality content.
Use keywords. Once you understand the keywords to target, include them in your product descriptions, meta titles and all alike.
Include long-tail keywords. Targeting long-tail keywords means targeting unique searches. In return, your store will show up to potential customers who search for the exact phrase.
Identify errors and fix them. After fixing the technical issues, there are smaller details to pay attention to - like duplicate pages and missing headline tags, which decrease SEO rankings.
Include relevant product information - for example, descriptions and keywords. So when people search on Google Shopping, your Ad will show.
Use Google Shopping ads. If people are shopping for something like a black dress, they will often click through to the shopping tab and browse the products advertised there first.
Run PPC ads on Facebook and Instagram. You can use custom audiences, target life events, and other techniques.
If you’re selling a product sold by multiple eCommerce sites, you need to stand out. SEO and PPC are strategies that you can use in conjunction with Google Ads and Google Shopping to push qualified traffic to your store - traffic that converts and puts money in your pocket (which is what we all want).
Customers want to use easy-to-understand sites, so boost your sales effortlessly by optimising the User Experience (UX). We helped Smokai to deliver a friendly user experience on their website.
88% of users would not revisit a site if they had a bad user experience. Your website represents your brand and reflects your products, so you want to ensure they align.
Provide a Search Bar
You want to make your website as easy to use as possible. If customers can’t find a specific item, then how can they buy it? A search bar allows customers to find what they are looking for.
You wouldn’t run an instore retail store without a salesperson, and so the same applies to online. An easily accessible live chat on your website is a great way to engage customers, cross-sell and upsell.
Use High-Quality Content
From a good colour palette to high-quality photos to original and engaging content, you want to include it all. A call-to-action (CTA) button is also ideal, as it reduces distractions and directs customers to the buying page.
Include Product Filters
If a customer is after a specific colour of shorts, or pants for that matter, you want to give them the option to search all products that match their preferences. Allow users to select multiple filters, such as product positions, price ranges, colours, sizes and categories.
Optimise For Mobile
Build a responsive website. You want your store to transfer, transform, and appear consistent across any device or platform. That means no bugs and all the same content as your website on a mobile device too.
Ensure an Easy Checkout
When your customers are at the last step of the process, you don’t want to lose them. Make sure to create a smooth checkout process by implementing auto-fill forms, offering various payment options, providing clear shipping information, and shipping times/delivery.
If your customers have come across or engaged with your eCommerce on social media, then congratulations, they’re more likely to spend 20-40% more on your products. You can use social media to drive traffic to your website, gain awareness, and make sales (which we touched on briefly under SEO).
Social media is about three things, engagement, connections, and relationships. As you can see above, our Do Good Things Instagram page showcases our work, engages customers with our brand, and creates connections.
If you’ve just released a new product - create a Facebook post about it. If you receive a message and photo of your customers loving your products - share it. There are many ways to use social media to boost your business.
Use the Right Platforms
Ensure you use the appropriate platform for your target audience. You should have an idea of your buyer personas and target market. If you’re selling to business managers to improve business productivity, then a more business-oriented platform, like Linkedin, would be suitable. But if you’re selling to anyone who owns a cat, then think about more personal platforms, like Facebook and Instagram.
Create Relevant Platform Content
The right platforms are one thing, but relevant and suitable content to those platforms is another. If you’re selling something best represented aesthetically, show off your products in an appealing way. If you’re selling something that thrives on communication and you want to encourage customer interaction, then make the content stand out and provoke discussion.
Include Engaging Visuals
Content with attractive visuals can gain 2.3x more engagement than just text or word posts. Use appealing pictures to take advantage of this approach. For example, think of images and their visual tones associated with your product, and be sure it is consistent.
The benefit of social media is the ability to effectively communicate with your target audience, grow your followers, create brand loyalty, and in the end, find brand ambassadors (but we’ll touch on that in the last point). You’ve probably seen multiple contests held on various platforms - it's a way to engage current followers and gain new ones.
Social media ads are everywhere. You visit a site, then next time you’re on Facebook, an advertisement from that website pops up. It’s a way to draw back visitors and turn them into customers. On many platforms, you can also create ads and target them to a specific location based on demographics, like gender, interests, age, location.
We don’t just mean your organic reach or your reach gained through SEO and AdWords - we mean creating relationships with influencers and gaining brand ambassadors. Simple mentions of your brand by influencers and even other brands is a great place to start. Check out how Plant Projects focuses on their inter-business relationships to reach more customers.
If you come across an influencer who is genuine about their posts and their brand deals and genuinely loves your brand, you know they’ll be worth the money. Some influencers don’t even charge for their posts - they get sent free products and discount codes for their followers, of which they receive a portion of profit if their discount codes are used.
You should work with influencers who already have a loyal audience. The number of followers isn’t enough - you should be looking at their insights, as many platforms nowadays are filled with deactivated accounts and bots.
People like to be led, hence the word ‘followers’. The audience will likely take a trusted influencers word over having to do the research themselves. The best influencers are confident and attract loyal customers.
If an influencer can offer you feedback from your business’ brand deal, this is ideal. Great influencers will work with you to provide you with further research into how their followers reacted.
Marketing knowledge is key to a successful brand. The influencer should have worked with brands before and know the ins and outs of including sponsored products or advertising your business.
Once you’ve successfully gained new visitors and customers, you want to nurture those relationships. Nurturing sequences include automated emails, push notifications and SMS’. The ultimate goal is to move your customers from the bottom of the sales funnel and nudge them to finally purchase or purchase again.
One of the best nurture sequence applications in the market is Klaviyo. You can add Klaviyo to your eCommerce store and set-up automated sequences - which means the app sends the nurturing sequences for you! As shown in the example above, we used Klaviyo to set up an email marketing nurture sequence for Plant Projects - turning visitors into loyal customers.
When a visitor has entered their details, and either expressed interest or signed up for your newsletter, you want to greet them with an email or SMS.
Personalise the email or SMS using your customer’s name in the subject line - helping the email stand out in the inbox and increasing the customer’s chances of opening it.
Educate customers, make them aware of the products you offer and the purposes they serve. Include a welcome series of three emails to tell your customers about your brand.
Incentives offered after a customer registers their interest will draw your customer back to your store and encourage them to purchase from you.
If a potential customer adds a product to their cart and expresses interest by entering their contact details but doesn’t purchase from you afterwards, you want to bring them back to your store.
Abandoned cart emails and SMS’ can be used if the customer adds a product to their cart and doesn’t follow through with the purchase. Use a common message like “Forgot something in your cart?” and be sure to include an image of the product they forgot to prompt their memory.
Welcome discount can be used as an incentive to nudge the customer to purchase your products. The welcome discount could be a discount code for their first order or an offer of free shipping.
Add-ons are a great way to sell more than just one product. Suppose your customer has expressed interest in one product, like a single jar of almond milk powder (as seen above). In that case, you can add-on to their purchase by suggesting a product that goes in hand with the first product, recommend a bundle deal, or offer free shipping when they buy two or more products.
Once your customer makes a purchase, you want to encourage them to return and purchase again. Post-purchase, you want to find a way to ensure your customer returns - building a relationship with them.
Thank the customer for purchasing, notify them when your order has been dispatched and shipped, and inform them of simple shipping notifications.
Loyalty programs are a great way to turn a one time customer into a lifelong customer. Like the welcome discounts, you can offer a discount code or free shipping after their first purchase, or even point rewards - for every $10 spent = 1 point, and for every 1 point = $10 credit.
Follow-up sequences can remind your customers about your products. Whether it be a sneak peek into your soon-to-be-released products or some additional tips on how to use your products - it re-engages the customer back to your store.
As eCommerce stores increase in number, it’s crucial to stand out to drive revenue and gain awareness.
Establish your store’s purpose, identify your catalogue’s size, and ensure your web design and alignment compliment your products.
Use SEO and PPC in conjunction with Google Shopping and Adwords to market to your target audience.
Optimise the UX design to turn your eCommerce store visitors into returning buying customers.
Take advantage of Social Media by using the right platforms and content to engage new and existing customers.
Focus on your reach, and build brand and influencer relationships to increase awareness.
Implement nurturing sequences, like Klaviyo, to set up automated communication with potential, new and recurring customers.