Small Ways Your Ecommerce Site Can Work Harder For You
February 2, 2021 | Education
Consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020. Americans have become online shopping experts who expect a safe, seamless purchase experience.
Exceptionally smooth, well-thought-out journeys are the norm, and if they hit long forms, bugs, or unnecessary complexity, visitors might wonder if you’re cutting corners in your business.
Brands like Amazon and Walmart set the standard, but how can small businesses tweak their websites to compete on user experience, SEO, and conversions?
Put social proof top and center
As our shopping options are almost limitless, we increasingly require social proof that other people have chosen the products we look at to give us a nudge and endorse the purchase decision. In fact, 95% of 18-35-year-olds read reviews before trusting a local business. Many standard e-commerce product detail pages have reviews at the very bottom of the page, but it might be worth trying different methods for placing reviews and testimonials elegantly at the top of the fold.
Don’t have many reviews? Automate a friendly ‘thank you for your purchase’ email a few days after your customer has received their product with a link for them to share their thoughts.
Make sure your product photos are high quality
Your product photos have a huge impact on your conversion rates. The time you spend learning how to improve them or the money you spend making them great is likely to come back to you in sales.
Pixel Union suggests “Make sure when you’re taking the photo that you’re not too tight on the subject (your product). If you don’t include any background, it’ll be hard to change the size or orientation of the image to fit with your website, social media, or other promotional material…As a rule of thumb, your product itself should take up approximately 65-70% of the photo.”
While you might find that a mix of product and lifestyle shots look great on individual product detail pages, uniformity is usually best for list pages showing lots of different items.
Avoid a sea of white
Another tip from Pixel Union is to opt for another neutral background color if your website background is white.
Always include a call-to-action (CTA)
At every turn, your audience needs to know exactly what you want them to do. It might sound intuitive, but 70 percent of small business websites lack a clear CTA on their homepage. Use command verbs and words that provoke emotion alongside your brand proposition for maximum impact.
Use trust seals or industry awards on your website
The key component in customers’ willingness to perform transactions on e-commerce sites is trust. Just like social proof helps to add confidence in your products, industry awards tell your visitors that you are respected in your field, and trust seals let them know you can be trusted to handle their data. Logos don’t have to be distracting or gaudy, they are not there to stand out—just as a small signifier that you are operating professionally.
Keep header tags hierarchy and font sizes consistent
Header tags are an important part of a site’s SEO strategy, but most people don’t understand how to use the heading structure to define the hierarchy and why it matters beyond aesthetics.
Lots of us use headings to control the size of the font, but that confuses search engines, which use the levels H1 – 6 to classify how important the elements are.
If you choose to have a banner at the top of the page with the title as a graphic instead of H1 text, search engines won’t see a relationship between the H1 tag and your page title, which might signify that your page isn’t cohesive. Velocity shares more about how search engine spiders check the relevance of the header tags with the associated content.
Make sure your microcopy is in order
Microcopy refers to the short copy in your interface that helps people know what to do; the form labels, placeholder field text, and your submit and sent buttons. It helps to guide users, engage them, cue them into functionality, and also connect them to your brand personality.
Career Foundry shares advice for how to define a consistent voice in your microscopy, avoid dead ends, and be both casual and clear.
Reduce the available options on your pages
Set your users free from the tyranny of choice. Website visitors can be overwhelmed by having too many options, which can lead to action paralysis. It can be especially detrimental on mobile where you have less visual real estate. Do your product detail pages have social share buttons that are rarely used? Visual Website Optimizer did an A/B test removing the share buttons and conversions increased by 11.9 percent on pages without the added distraction.
Add an FAQ page
An FAQ page has the dual advantage of supporting your customer with questions they might need answering to and also bolstering your SEO. While you should definitely cover questions to do with your company and shipping, also consider the general questions people might ask about your category. Answering questions like, “Is moissanite jewelry more ethical than diamonds” could help you to appear in a ‘featured snippet’ on Google.
Make sure your product titles have keywords
While the trend for giving products human names is very cute and kitsch, it doesn’t help Google to understand what the product is. Include both the noun and a couple of descriptors to help your product rank higher in the algorithm: ‘The Isabella—strapless flower dress” will rank higher than, “The Isabella”.
If you try any of these tips, remember to test, measure, and optimize so that you can learn more about your visitors and what they respond to. Use Google Analytics, Inspectilet, Marketing Cloud, or HotJar to understand how each tweak you make impacts your conversion.
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