Are you the owner of an online shop who is looking to increase sales? Follow these 6 practical tips to attract and retain more customers and to stand out from your competition.
1. Design your online shop for usability and easy navigation
A well-designed e-Shop is definitely necessary in order to attract visitors and convert them into customers. “Well-designed” to most people means beautiful and visually appealing, but it is so much more.
In fact, according to this survey, only 10% of people consider “a beautiful appearance” to be the most important factor in a website’s design. Another 76% of people reported that what they consider as the most important factor is how easy for them is to find what they are looking for.
To achieve this, you need to put a lot of thought in how you categorize your products. You will also need an easily accessible and intuitive navigation system that will direct visitors to these categories.
Remember that you can (and should) place a product in multiple categories to increase the chances of your visitors finding it.
Having a good search function on your e-Shop, as well as detailed filtering mechanisms for your products, are also essential for an optimal user experience. Especially if you have thousands of products, it will be very difficult for someone to browse through them without these functions.
Last but not least, is the design of your checkout process. Avoid needless steps and the collection of unnecessary information. Also, make sure that you don’t force buyers to create an account, but instead give them the choice of a guest checkout.
2. Create unique and high-quality content
High quality images are crucial for the success of an online shop. Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar store where you can see closely and maybe touch the products you want to buy, on an e-Shop the only means to experience the product before buying it is through photos.
Besides the image quality, you should provide your visitors with multiple angles of a product, as well as the ability to zoom.
Your product and category descriptions need to be unique and engaging. It might be tempting just copying your product descriptions from other websites (especially if you have many products), but that will negatively affect your search engine rankings. Remember that Google loves unique content.
If you don’t have the time or skills to create your own unique content, then you should really consider investing in a copywriter’s or photographer’s services.
3. Add a blog to your online store
Having a blog on your online shop increases your authority in your specific industry and greatly improves your SEO. It will drive traffic that is more relevant to your e-Shop that in turn will lead to more sales.
When it comes to blogging, quality will always beat quantity. You don’t have to post something daily or even weekly. You can have one well-written and thoughtful post every month, which will give you a significant advantage over your competitors who do not have a blog.
4. Inspire trust to your visitors
You can’t have a successful online business if you can’t inspire trust.
An SSL certificate and the secured locker next to your website address is one of the first things online shoppers check before buying anything. You need to let your visitors know that you take their security and privacy seriously.
A solid and generous return policy must also be in place and displayed prominently. A lot more people will end up buying your products because of a good return policy, than the people that will actually return anything.
Social proof is one of the strongest motivators for online buyers. You need to encourage customer reviews on your website and on other platforms. Display these reviews on your landing page to get the maximum benefit.
5. Offer great customer service
Great customer service is important for all business and online shops are no exception.
Quick responses are the heart of a great customer service. Online shoppers won’t wait long before moving onto a competitor’s shop. Setting up a live chat on your website is a proven way of gaining customers. Also, don’t ignore your social media accounts and make sure you respond quickly to inquiries there as well.
Customer service can be quite overwhelming, especially if you get the same questions all the time. A good idea is to offload some of the pressure by creating a frequently asked questions page and strategically place links to it throughout your website.
6. Don’t forget your existing customers
Some online shop owners forget their existing customers and focus solely on getting new ones. This is a big mistake.
It is not only cheaper to target existing customers, but it’s also 60% - 70% more likely to convince them to buy again from you. On the other hand, the probability to convert new customers is only between 5% - 20%.
For example, sending an email with special offers to existing customers relevant to their previous purchases, will land more sales and will be a lot cheaper than an advertising campaign aiming to attract new customers.
Running an online shop can be a challenging experience, but also a rewarding one in so many ways. The saying “online business is a marathon and not a sprint” may sound like a cliché, but it’s nevertheless true.