Have you ever wondered:
How to get more customers to my store, and how to make them buy my stuff?
Every year thousands of online retailers visit Chicago to attend the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) to answer these questions, learn from ecommerce experts about latest trends and technology, and see where the industry is heading.
One thing is clear – ecommerce is big, and it keeps growing. Look:
Shoppers in the USA spent $341.7 billion on retail purchases on the web in 2015.*
And yes, consumers still spend most on Amazon, Ebay, Walmart Stores and other giant retailers. But here’s a fun fact:
The world’s largest merchants experienced the slowest growth since 2009.* Because small, niche retailers are now taking a part of the market, offering specialized, more personalized and original products for small market segments.
Do you know what that means?
This is the best time launch your own online store, if you haven’t already done that. Not sure where to start? Read this piece to learn how to find a niche market for your online store, you’ll also find 115 niche market ideas you can steal!
Now, if you already have your own store, here are the main takeaways from the IRCE conference to take your business to the next level.
1. Boost conversions by 12% / second by increasing your page load
People hate slow web pages.
Now, consider the patience of a customer:
Users expect pages to load in two seconds, and after three seconds, up to 40% of users will abandon your site.
Etsy conducted an experiment and decreased their mobile page speed by less than a second, and their bounce rate increased by 12%.
And it gets worse:
According to a study, 250 milliseconds more or less of a page’s load time is what either keeps your customer on your page, or makes them go to your competitor.
So if you want people stay on your store, go to Google Page Speed, Pingdom, or install Yahoo Yslow, and test your page speed. And if your page takes longer that 2 seconds to load, you might want to make some changes.
The easiest way to start – make sure your product images are optimized for the web. Here’s how:
- Unless you need a photo with a transparent background, reformat your .png images to .jpg – .png images are usually ”heavier” and take longer to load
- Resize your images – don’t use a 1000x1000px image in a 100x100px spot
- Compress your photos – try TinyPNG to save megabytes without compromising on quality
- Add the lazy load option – it means that loading of some images will be delayed until the point where they’re needed.
Or, consider removing something from your website entirely. Ask yourself:
Are all photos needed, do they all help your customers make their buying decisions? What happens when you take some parts of the page out?
Try and test that! Less is more in many cases – taking out the unnecessary might both improve page load and boost conversions.
Now when your images are optimized, all the unnecessary is removed, and the page works seamlessly, the next step is to:
2. Get visible on Google, then convince shoppers with rich product descriptions
When users Google a product you sell, two things can happen:
They can find you.
Or they can find your competitor.
Want to win in this duel?
First, check your site’s search performance with Google Webmaster tools.
(If you’re not using this tool, you definitely should – a site that’s active in Webmaster Tools has a better shot at being fully indexed and ranking well.)
Webmaster Tools allows you see which pages have been indexed, your most popular keywords, and much more. What you should start with is check if your site is healthy – that it doesn’t have any crawl errors or other critical issues that would prevent Google from finding your site.
When you open your Google Webmaster Tools, this is what you want to see there:
Next step – add useful content on your product pages. Google wants you to have rich, catchy, user- and SEO-friendly product descriptions that include relevant keywords.
There are various tools to find keywords for your product descriptions, including:
Google Keyword Planner that you can use to search for keyword ideas and find phrases related to your product and brand. (It’s free!)
Ahrefs that lets you not only find new keyword ideas, but also find keywords your competitors are ranking for in search engines, then use these keywords in your copy. (From $99/month)
Another way to find effective long-tail keywords for your product descriptions is:
Using Amazon autosuggest.
Amazon is the second biggest search engine after Google. Similar to Google, when you start typing something into its search box, it shows the most popular search terms. It shows you what products and using what words real people are typing in when they’re looking to buy a product that you are selling.
So you don’t have to guess anymore. You can use these suggested search terms, and use them when writing about your products on your store.
Use the same method on Google Search to find even more relevant keywords for your copy.
When you have all these keyword ideas from the Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Amazon Autosuggest, Google Search and other tools, it’s time to start writing.
Many think that product descriptions are for Google, but the truth is:
It’s not Google you have to convince to order from you, it’s the buyer.
So invest time and effort in unique, well-written product description. Prewritten templates for products might work well, but what Google (therefore, you too!) wants is unique content on every page that doesn’t duplicate.
So focus on useful content for your store visitors, and it will pay back. If you still doubt that, here are the stats:
88% of shoppers say product content helps them make their purchase decisions.
The higher quality and the more useful your content is, the more likely users will leave your store with a purchase.
Finally – just because you have great products and product descriptions on your page doesn’t mean they will be discovered. So you have to promote your content and get quality backlinks.
Here are some ways you can find link-building opportunities:
Use Mention to see what brands are already talking about your products and your brand, but are not linking to your store. Then contact them and ask them to do that.
Try Moz’s Open Site Explorer to find inbound links to the page and analyze the linking pages. Consider pitching sites that have already written about you, offering new and interesting content.
When your products can be found on Google and traffic to your store increases, it’s time for the next step:
3. Increase the number of purchases by 64% with product videos
Here’s what you should do if you want even more people to leave your store with a purchase:
Add product videos.
The truth is:
Shoppers today want more info with less effort. They expect rich product information through visual online experiences – something as close to being in-store as possible.
A study even shows that 64% of shoppers are more likely to buy something after watching a video. That’s because videos are concise, information-rich, and all that’s required of users is clicking a play button.
Want to know the secret of a product video that sells?
In the first 20 seconds make it clear why your product is worth buying. Highlight the benefits of having the product in the very beginning of the video. When you’ve caught the viewer’s interest, you can continue with features and other specifics.
There are many services that can help you with great quality videos. Here are some of our favorites:
Demoduck – these guys make awesome live-action and animated explainer videos
Voicebunny – offers voice-overs by professional voice actors
Fiverr – a place to find people with the skill, perfect if you’re on a tight budget
Product videos don’t have to be complex to be effective. There are many brands that do product videos right. For example, ASOS – they have a video added on each product page to show how garments fit.
4. Add social proof with reviews
Here’s the deal:
High quality photos, videos, and product descriptions are a must, but sometimes it might not be enough to sell your product.
You need to add social proof. That is, reviews.
Look at these numbers mentioned the conference:
72% of online shoppers trust consumer opinions online.
90% of buyers report being influenced by online reviews.
75% of all people are rationalizers, which means they’re looking for unbiased facts and opinions to help them make their decision.
Oh, and the best part:
People tend to spend 31% more when a company has excellent ratings and reviews.
So it’s worth investing some time to gather reviews from your happy customers.
All you need to do to get those positive reviews is: ask. Not asking typically gets you a 50/50 result, while asking for reviews yields an 83% positive average review rate.
You can also use tools like Yotpo that help to get more ratings for your store and products.
But you know what’s even better than a review on a product page?
A video review.
Remember when I said that videos are the thing in 2016? Well, so are video reviews. You can’t fake them, they are more trustworthy, and more persuasive.
So when your best customer gives you perfect feedback, ask for a video review. Invite them for a video chat and record them saying all the great things about your brand.
Another way to add social proof to your product pages is to ask your customers to post photos with their orders and received products. Customer photos not only increase trust, but also show products ”in real life’.”
5. Analyze your sales data, and plan the next steps
Now, you have your store up and running, have great products listed, and some orders are coming in, too.
Many sellers think that’s enough. But if you want more, keep reading.
If you’re serious about your business, you have analyze your results, draw conclusions, and plan ahead.
Here’s the simplest way to do that, or at least the first step to get even better sales of your products:
Go to your Google Analytics and take a look at your best selling products and most visited pages within the last 6 months.
Here’s how to find your pages with the highest traffic:
Behavior → Site Content → All Pages, and order by Pageviews.
Then find your best-selling products in the same period of time:
Conversions → Ecommerce → Product Performance, and order by Quantity.
Have a product page with high traffic, but few conversions?
There can be two reasons:
First – users can find this page, but it’s not persuasive enough for them to make a purchase. Think of improving your product descriptions, add videos, better quality images and photos of your products from multiple angles.
Check this post by Shopify that explains how to write product descriptions that sell. Or learn from the best:
Second – if there are very few purchases or no purchases at all, submit a test order to make sure everything works and users actually CAN buy it. Here at Printful we use tools that help us notice errors instantly.
For instance, Ghost Inspector is a free extension for Chrome that automatically tests your webpage – it records clicks and notifies you in case user hasn’t been able to take some action, like add to cart or finish a purchase. That way you can catch bugs and fix errors quickly.
If there are no errors and everything works as planned, pay attention to usability – are your products easy to buy?
Remember when I said that buyers today are very impatient, and I meant it – your designs can be the coolest, but if you’ll make them difficult to buy, people will choose something less cool, but easy to order.
Change something on the page, do A/B tests with Google Analytics – here’s how to do that, explained step by step.
If you need a hint where to start, use Inspectlet to record how visitors use your web page, what they are looking for and where they click. Is there anything your users have problems to find? Make it more noticeable, then run a test.
Have a product page with low traffic, yet many purchases?
Invest in advertising. People clearly love your product, so you just need to make it more visible and easier to discover. Start with Facebook and Instagram ads, which are easy to set up and proven to be effective. 43% of shoppers discover new products via social media, and 34% say social media influences their buying decisions.
For example, Startup Vitamins’ second best-selling product is the ”Get Shit Done” sticker, but when we look at the most visited pages, it’s not in the top 15. This is a good product to advertise, since we already know that people like it, but needs more visibility.
This is just the beginning, you should keep testing and improving your store constantly. Because there are so many other things that can affect conversion rates. We mentioned page speed for seamless shopping experience, videos and reviews for binding trust and help users make smart buying decisions. But there are more!
ConversionXL is a great blog to keep an eye on because they often offer useful and tested ideas to boost your conversion rates. If you’re recently started with your store, this might be a good piece to start with.
So this is it – all the best of the best lessons learned on the IRCE conference and from our own experience. Hope you found them useful and will implement them in your marketing strategy!
*Source: Internet Retailer, ”2016 Edition Top500 Guide”