5 Ways To Optimize Your E-Commerce Site To Produce More Sales
5 Ways to Optimize Your eCommerce Site to Increase Sales
1. Establish Trust
With the growing number of e-commerce sites, it is crucial to establish trust right off the bat. Internet savvy surfers have become more cautious in reference to which sites they feel comfortable giving their credit card information. There are a few must haves like using https: (instead of http:) on your checkout page and having a credibility badge from a company like the Better Business Bureau or Norton Security.
Once you have covered those basics, it is time to move on to lesser known, but equally as simple trust signals; signals like design. One of the most proven ways to establish trust is to follow these established web design standards:
You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to create beauty online. Did you know that humans are actually programmed to trust beautiful websites more than unattractive websites!? Now, before you start feeling bad for ugly websites, listen to this: The definition of a “beautiful website” is actually scientifically proven and easy to replicate. Things like the position of your logo, whether or not you have high quality pictures on your site, and the width of your sidebar all play into usability and trust factors.
Here are a few tips to design your website in a trustworthy manner:
For starters, people are used to seeing logos on the upper left-hand corner and the search bar on the upper left-hand corner. It is a good idea to start off your site with your logo and search bar on top. People expect to see it there; and if they cannot find those elements in the first three seconds of visiting your site, they might not stick around long enough to see what you have to offer.
Secondly, make sure your layout follows the golden ratio rule. Our brains prefer to look at layouts like this:
A third tip is to use pictures of real people (aka yourself) somewhere on the website. Unless you are a big company, people want to know that they are buying from a real person and not some spammy character hiding out on a non-jurisdiction island somewhere. Put professional pictures of yourself on the “About” page (which is one of the most visited pages on every website). Show your visitors that you are a real person, and it will help them trust you.
Lastly, clean up the clutter. One of the biggest factors in trust is simplicity. Make your site easy to navigate and easy at which to look. One study on conversion rates found that removing only one field on your “contact us page” increased conversion rates by 50%. Make your site simpler, do not confuse people with too much information and excessive “ads.”
If you are not sure how your site is holding up to “trust signals,” you can go over to FiveSecondTest.com and run a free usability test. Simply upload a screen shot of your homepage, and ask these five usability questions. These are the same questions that Google used to determine “trust signals” on their Panda algorithm update.
- Q1: Would you trust the information on this site?
- Q2: Would you trust this site with your credit-card information?
- Q3: Would you consider bookmarking this page?
- Q4: Are there excessive ads on this page?
- Q5: Does the information on this site appear to be written by an expert?
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is still the most effective form of direct marketing. Even with the rise of social media, email is still the most guaranteed way to reach someone. If you have not set up an email marketing campaign yet, you are literally leaving money on the table.
One of the easier ways to learn about email marketing is to follow someone else who does a good job at it. Here are a few marketing blogs that I follow. If you sign up for their newsletter list, you will get an instant crash course in email marketing (Eric Leslie Photography, Quicksprout and Information HighwayMan.) Here are a few ways to increase the number of conversions on your newsletter:
First things first: You will need a newsletter service. My favorite service is Mailchimp. I use them for all of my clients, and (best of all) they offer a free plan. Once you sign up for Mailchimp, you are ready to start. The easiest way to collect emails for your newsletter is to install a pop-up on the home page of your website that asks people to join the mailing list. Quicksprout does a good job at this. You should use about a 10-20 second delay before the pop-up appears because that will give readers enough time to build trust in your site before they are asked to join your mailing list.
Secondly, you will need a value proposition. People do not want to get spammed, so they are not going to give you their email for nothing. You will need to show them how your mailing list is going to add value to their lives. The best way to create a value proposition is to connect your list to something about which they are passionate.
One of the companies that I work with sells paintball makers, and hoppers. Their value propositions all revolve around “winning more paintball games” and “defeating your competition.” No matter what your industry is, try to connect your value to something on Maslow’s hierarchy of news, e.g., money, power, self-esteem, etc.
3. Customer Reviews
40% of people will make decisions based on reviews. That is a huge number of people. Think about it! If you are shopping for a new TV, and you read 25 bad reviews about a specific TV are you really going to spend $800 – $1500 buying that TV? Probably not. Having customers’ reviews on your site is a great way to motivate other buyers.
Here is an easy and proven method to encourage customers to leave positive reviews: wait until after they have purchased something to ask for a review. Recently, I was very impressed with a company from whom I purchased a Macbook sticker from The Decal Guru. A few weeks after I received my sticker, they sent me an email that said, “I hope you are enjoying your decal. If you have a few minutes of free time, we would love for you to leave a review on our site to tell future clients how much fun our products are.”
This method is not only automated, it’s extremely effective. If you are using an e-commerce platform like Big Commerce, this is extremely easy to accomplish because they have built-in features that do this for you. If you are using a self-hosted option, like a WordPress site, you might need to hire a developer to create and set this up for you. Either way, it is worth it. Targeting your happy customers for reviews is one of the easiest ways to generate more “social proof” for your site.
4. Get Your Social On
I know! I know! You have heard it before, and there are a million blog posts about social media. Do not worry. I am not going to bore you with the same old information; however, you do need to use social media. Ignoring social media is like ignoring customer service. You simply can not grow past a certain point if you do not use social media.
You do not have to go overboard, but pick a few social media channels to get the ball rolling. The most important thing to remember is not to be boring. Try to tailor your social media strategy to two things: your company and the demographic of your social media platform, e.g., Google + is perfect for video content.
Another SEO company for which I have a lot of respect is Distilled which uses Google+ to do video Q&As. You can allow customers to post questions about your products, and then you can create videos to answer their questions.
Pinterest is obviously a picture platform, so make sure you have interesting and beautiful pictures of your products that you can post on Pinterest. Facebook is still the world’s more powerful social media platform, so you cannot ignore it. I would use Facebook as another “customer serve” channel. Give yourself or your employees permission to interact with customers on Facebook. You will have to tailor your Facebook strategy to your own company, but make a point to interact with customers at least once a day. As your social presence grows, so will your company.
5. Go to Work
I could go on and on about optimizing your sites; but for the sake of readability, I will leave you with those four tips. Go get to work! If you spend the time implementing these strategies into your company, I guarantee you will see growth.
About the Author: Bryant Jaquez runs two companies: RedFounder and BrewSEO. He keeps himself busy by helping multi-million dollar companies grow. If you are interested in getting in touch with Bryant, you can reach out to him through the contact form at BrewSEO.