E-commerce is an increasingly competitive area of the world wide web. Search for almost any product online and you will be presented with a myriad of sites competing for your hard earned cash. So how can you make your online store stand out from the crowd without resorting to competing on price?
Luckily, being the kind folks that we are here at Web Wise Business, we've come up with a list of 5 creative ways to vastly improve your e-commerce website.
These 5 tips, when implemented correctly, will not only help with search engine optimisation, and therefore traffic to your site, but will also improve customer loyalty and conversions.
Ready to get creative with your online store?
This article is a bit of a long one, but it is chock full of great tips and advice so if you don't have time to read it all now, why not bookmark it for later?
1) User Generated Content
User generated content isn't exactly new for e-commerce websites, with many having the ability to add comments or ratings for products. In order to stand out, you need to be doing something a little bit different from the norm - that's where the creativity comes in.Comments
Most sites will simply offer a comment box with the text "Comment on this product" or something similarly uninspiring. Posing a question to your customers is far more likely to encourage interaction so how about asking something like "how did you use this product?", or "What do you like about this product?" - far more likely to invoke a response, and the more responses, the more people will visit your website if only to see what others think.Ratings
You could also consider asking customers to rate your products on 4-5 criteria. The benefit of this to customers is that they can get a better understanding of how the product fits their needs. The benefit for you is that, instead of simply coming to your online store to buy products, visitors are also coming to research them too - more visitors = more sales opportunities.Encouraging Interaction
Getting user interaction is a challenge for any website. Customers need to be reminded or incentivised to leave feedback as, to them, it's not really an important activity. Sending an automated follow-up email 2 weeks after delivery to ask "how are you finding X product?" and requesting feedback, with a link to the relevant feedback page, will get more customer feedback, more customers returning to your website and show more interest in the customer, thereby helping build your brand identity.Social Sharing
The ability for customers to share their purchase choices with friends is bound to help traffic and sales right? Facebook and Twitter offer the ability to integrate with websites to enable visitors to "Like" or "Tweet" your products to their networks.
2) Interesting Statistics
Offering non-intrusive customer statistics, such as seasonal product purchase trends etc might not seem like they would be very important to your customers - probably because they aren't.
This type of information is however, the equivalent of link bait to online marketers, bloggers and analysts - all they type of people who will talk about the information online and create links back to it which will help a lot with the search engine optimisation of your website.
Most online stores simply use the same image that all of their competitors are using to sell the same products - the ones the manufacturer supplies (and probably uses on their own site!).
Taking your own images of products allows you the opportunity to not only stand out from the crowd, but to give your customers a better idea of what they are buying and really sell the product. Take images from all angles and close ups of unique elements such as nice pattern designs on clothing or the HDMI ports on a flat screen TV - people genuinely interested in buying your products want to see these things.
American online retailer Zappos do this to great effect, taking their own images of the shoes they sell from every angle. Their success speaks for itself and customers regularly comment on this.
When buying almost anything, customers will be comparing one product against at least one other on a range of features from colour to technical spec.
Make this easy for them by incorporating comparison charts into your product pages. You could do this simply for comparisons against the other 2 top selling products of a similar type. Or, by making your website more dynamic and interactive, you could allow customers to select which items to compare.
Either way, you will again find that customers will now not only visit your online store to shop, but also to research products - meaning when they're ready to buy, they're already in the right place to do so.
5) Text Description
Finally, the simple product description text. As with product images, 99% of online stores on the web are probably using the same manufacturers descriptions as all of their competitors.
Not only is this duplicate content - which the search engines hate - but it also isn't providing any more of a reason to buy from you than anyone else.
Content written from a customers perspective - someone who is genuinely passionate about the product - is much more likely to inspire sales. Try describing best uses for the product. "Does this shirt look good with jeans?" "Do these shoes look better with trousers or a dress?"
This kind of information will engage your visitors more, encouraging the creative side of their brain to start thinking of the product in this way, again increasing the likelihood of sales.
Remember, the tone in which the product descriptions are written is another opportunity for you to define your brand - is it young/ hip / fun / corporate etc? Just remember to be consistant!
So there you have it. Five (well, more than 5 really!) ways you can vastly improve your online store - what are you waiting for?
If you would like professional help with developing a successful e-commerce website, feel free to contact Web Wise Business on 01786 430 076, or email us.