Top 10 E-Commerce Optimisation Hacks
There are many ways in which you can improve your e-commerce website or app and there are lots of points at which you may lose your potential customer. We have collected our top 10 tips to ensure the best lead to conversion rate!
Using one or two will help, making sure you are doing all of these hacks will make your store the most productive it can be, working smarter and earning more. These 10 easy to follow tips should enable even the most un-tech savvy to improve their online store…
1. Optimise Every Aspect of Your Homepage
On average you have around 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention when they land on your site. In that first 3 seconds you need to not only grab their attention, but also provide details of why you are the best option in a sea of other sites. A homepage that is impressive in terms of design and usability goes a long way in converting visitors into customers. You should always A/B test homepage design elements to find what works better with your audience.
If your home page loads slowly, has a clunky interface or is too busy you will almost definitely lose that prospective customer, however fantastic a product you offer. Keep your product images up to date, ensuring you have the most recent offers and releases on your home page will show you in the best light.
If your stock changes regularly or if you work in a business where you have definite seasons (fashion for example), showing this season’s ‘must haves’ will quickly grab customers attention.
Calls to action – I’m sure you have heard this, many times from digital marketeers, having at least one call to action on the first screen of your landing page is essential. Digital shoppers want to be able to shop quickly and easily, being able to buy options from the home screen or get to the section they need right away will increase sales. Potential customers should not have to work to hunt down the option they want.
2. Effective Product Pages
An effective product page will not only generate more sales revenue, but it will also help reduce costs by preventing as many product returns.
Pricing is almost always going to be the deciding factor for someone making a purchase. Another common reason online shopper’s leave a site without completing their purchases is often down to unclear or misleadingly low pricing. Having exceptionally low prices per item but making the costs up in packaging and shipping is a sure-fire way to lose a sale!
Clearly displayed and prominent prices on your product pages with shipping costs detailed alongside the listing will ensure your potential customers stay engaged and informed.
One of the biggest challenges for online retailers is, although you may well sell a physical product your customers can’t see/ touch/ smell/ taste the product prior to them deciding to purchase. As the retailer you have to rely on your product descriptions to provide clarity and make the sale for you.
Your product descriptions need to be detailed, compelling, and relevant. Taking the manufacturer’s copy and pasting it on your product page will not suffice, in fact it could well damage your SEO ratings as Google will consider it duplicate content. Incorporating your brands personality makes the copy unique and relatable. Your product descriptions should be written to reflect the specific needs of your ideal customers and speak to them as individuals. Short paragraphs and bullet points of specifications should be included.
Providing robust product descriptions and complete item specifications, dimensions and other technical details will ensure that you have less returns as the more informed the customer is the more likely they are to be happy with their purchase.
Another way to improve e-commerce conversions in product pages is by addressing the pinch points for potential customers. Are your competitors offering free returns on the same item? Or is there a money back price guarantee available? Or free shipping above certain amounts?
Return policies are often expensive, rigid and restrictive. If you can provide a straightforward and free (if possible) returns policy, your customers will be more than happy to shop from your website.
Similarly, if you offer a ‘price match’ guarantee people are inclined to shop with you over your competitors as this enhances customer trust. Being able to demonstrate that your store is customer friendly and trustworthy is one of the cornerstones to winning at e-commerce!
3. On-Page SEO
To rank well on search engines, you must use the most relevant and frequently searched keywords for your product page’s title, description and headings. Much of this work will be done when you set up your products but there are more ways to optimise your pages…
You want your potential customer to click your search results instead of your competitors therefore, labelling your products with the right information when you set them up will help you rank better in search results, and all importantly entice the viewers to click!
One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is using Alt Text, by ensuring you have the relevant text in all your tags counts as much as your anchor text. Another place you should optimise your alt text is in the labelling of your images, you must use your keywords within the image description. How often do you use an image search to find the product you want? Tagging your images is as important as tagging your product descriptions.
Ensuring you have ‘long tail’ keywords (product specific phrases with 3 words or more) will help people who search long phrases. People searching the longer keywords and phrases are more likely to be potential customers as they know exactly what product they are looking to purchase. Optimising your product pages with precise key phrases is one of the best practices in ecommerce.
4. Navigation and Responsiveness
Your website’s structure and navigation affect the user experience of the entire site, if your site is difficult to navigate or has complex categories and lists, users will simply look elsewhere for your products.
Having a mobile-responsive store is essential to any e-commerce website, now far more items are purchased from a mobile device than from a desktop computer. Consumers expect that the mobile user experience of a website to be equally as good, if not better than, the standard desktop site. Visitors expect a responsive, optimised navigation layout, ensuring your mobile site is easily navigated will equate to an improved mobile conversion rate.
Your menu items on both mobile and desktop should display the range of products and categories concisely; it should not so overwhelming that it’s impossible for shoppers to find the items they’re looking for and drown in a sea of potential purchases.
5. Adding a Blog, or even better a Vlog
One of the things you will hear content marketeers and SEO specialists talk about repeatedly is blogging. Not only does it create fresh content which search engines love, it also keeps your consumers engaged with your business, even when they are not actively purchasing.
All the most successful stores have blogs where they cover product launches, trends, make announcements, publicise promotions, and answer use queries with detailed posts about products and usages. These blog posts can be shared via email or on social networks, this increases the organic reach of your store without you needing to actively market this content.
Vlogging has become a new media phenomenon, with YouTube stars earning six figure sums and having millions of subscribers. By including video content, you can increase your products reach, creating entertaining and engaging videos this again provides sharable content to your community.
Now, as the digital arena has become highly competitive, having a blog or vlog for your store has become an essential aspect of your marketing strategy.
5. Reduce Cart Abandonment Rate
Over half of all visitors who abandon their cart do so because it’s too complex or too slow a process to complete their purchases.
There are many ways to improve the interest to sale conversion rate. Probably the most simple and straight forward is to simply reduce the steps it takes to buy a product. Offering immediate checkout once you have selected an item is a must. Reducing the number of entry fields you require for a purchaser to complete their transaction also enhances the ease of completing the checkout process.
To further streamline checking out it is advisable to enable PayPal for quick checkout and payment, therefore not requiring the customer to enter card details at all!
Another way to enhance your prospective buyers experience is to enable guest checkout on your site. Many people don’t want to sign-in just to make a purchase, whether this is due to creating accounts, passwords or email spam. Enabling the checkout process without the need to create an account will certainly help buyers access purchases easily and improve sales.
6. Say Thanks!
Many site designers overlook the ‘Thank You’ page, however from an optimisation point of view this is a gem!
Firstly the consumer aspect of having a thank you page cannot be underplayed, users love it because they see it as a personalised item, and research indicates that a thank you page is going to double the chances that this customer will buy from you again.
Targeting your customers on the thank you page with immediate referral discounts when they are still very interested in your offering. your site on their social media or send to friends via email referrals providing discounts for sharing proves effective to grow your prospective client base.
Another, and from a store owners’ point of view, more important reason for using the ‘Thank You’ page is in tracking the buyer’s journey in Google Analytics. This data helps provide you with usable data about how and where your customers came from and what they eventually purchased.
7. Consistent Off-Page SEO
E-commerce optimisation is a constantly evolving process, as your store changes you need to ensure your optimisation is up to date both on the site itself and off the site driving traffic. By following the steps above including, adding your blog, and product optimisations, you will help with a ranking, but without relevant and targeted off-page SEO efforts, your store won’t show any marked improved conversion results.
Off-page SEO is a heady mix of link building, social media and community marketing, influencer marketing (where appropriate), marketing outreach, and paid marketing. For the success of your e-commerce store, you will need to have most of these tactics in place and fine tune the messages regularly.
Backlinks or link building (as it’s often called) is effectively building votes of confidence in your store. If a site links to you, they’re vouching for the quality of your content and in your business. Bear in mind that not all of these votes are created equal. Search engines use backlinks as indications of the linked-to content’s quality, so a site with many ‘high value’ (relevant) backlinks will usually rank better than an otherwise equal site less of these relevant links. There are 3 main ways of building links; natural, manual and self-created.
Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of a page owner, this means that someone has promoted your product on their blog or media simply because they like your site and products. These types of links are the hardest to accrue but the best to have.
Manually built backlinks are created by deliberate link-building activities; this can include things like customers reviewing and linking to your store this also encompasses influencers marketing content. This is often from blogs and social media sharing.
Self-created links are created by you physically adding a link to your site in a directory (Yell, Thompson local, Google and industry specific listings etc), on a forum, inserting your link into blog comment signature, or anchor text.
Using review sites like trust pilot or trip advisor increases the validity of your site, Google reviews also all count towards the overall SEO ranking for your site.
Off-site SEO is enhanced by social media, if you rely on web searches alone you will be missing out. Social Media marketing strategy is as important as your ‘normal’ marketing strategy, having a cohesive social and digital marketing strategy will pay dividends.
The 5 main social networks (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn) provide a way for businesses to generate awareness, create brand trust, provide customer interaction and reviews, direct traffic to site specific pages or products, and boost SEO. Social indicators: for example, Facebook likes, and shares or tweets and followers are noticed and counted by the search engine algorithms – boosting your SEO scores.
8. Exit Messages
Another way to improve sales and to increase sales referrals within your web store is to add exit popups, this can be done in one of two ways. People love what they consider to be a bargain. Even if they were getting a better price elsewhere, if you have a lucrative deal, multi-buy offer etc, they are surely going to stick and buy the product. Showing this discount at the point of navigating away will entice the user to stay on and purchase. This will not only increase engagement on the store but also vastly reduce cart abandonment rate.
The second method is similar to the thank you page we talked about earlier; following a purchase the user is actively engaged in your brand. By adding promotional offers such as discounts, referral bonuses, freebies and prizes will encourage the user to shop again or refer a friend.
9. Product Reviews and Feedback
The majority of shoppers will read consumer reviews of a product before buying it online. This provides faith in the listing, demonstrating what peers thought of the quality of the product instils all-important trust prior to purchasing.
Providing real world reviews alongside your description is one trick that helps Amazon win the most sales; if it works for the global giant it will work for you too.
As we talked about above also providing reviews on platforms like trust pilot (which has a free starter package), Facebook and Google not only affirm faith in the products but also in the business as a whole.
10. Multichannel Marketplaces
E-commerce optimisation is not just about optimising the website itself, but there are many offsite ways to sell your products too.
One of the fastest growing ways to sell off-site and to funnel to your website is with social media. For example, Instagram and Facebook now offer integration with e-commerce websites and common e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce. You can tag your products within the social platforms posts to boost sales and create social network specific offers.
It’s also worth thinking about other places where your customers are likely to instinctively shop; for example, e-commerce giants like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and DeePop. Creating seller accounts within these markets opens up a wider range of buyers. The aim then is to get repeat business directly through your own e-commerce site to cut costs, this is done successfully with follow up offers often included in emails and shipping materials. Building a sales platform on these online giant marketplaces brings your store to a huge audience with little marketing effort.
The above 10 tips are exactly the process we at drop_ guide all our e-commerce clients, we can optimise everything for you, boosting your sales whilst you focus on other aspects of your business!