Before you begin to promote your online shop to increase traffic, it’s vital that you check all of your content beforehand. This is often overlooked, but essential – after all, if you can’t provide potential new customers with reasons to visit and make repeat returns to your online shop, all of your efforts to encourage them in the first place will have been wasted.
In this episode of the Ecommerce Success Show, I’ll be talking about how to check the quality of your online shop before you begin spending time increasing your traffic to it.
Does it have a high-quality logo?
Your logo doesn’t need to be the biggest image on the homepage, but it does need to be high quality. If your logo is pixellated or bad quality, this can put potential customers off. If your logo shows sign of age, it may need updating and this guide on looking after your logo can help you.
Are you using high-quality design images?
On the EKM online shop platform, design images are images which are not used to represent a product or a category, but instead are used mostly on the homepage and are hyperlinked to different pages on your online shop. These images must be:
- Cropped to the right size;
- High quality, with no pixelation;
- Not watermarked;
- Hyperlinked to the right pages of your online shop.
A strong navigational system on your online shop is essential to its success – it enables your customers to quickly locate the products or information that they’re interested in. When creating the categories and product locations on your online shop, always:
- Assume that your customer has never seen those products before – no matter how commonplace they may be – so there is a very obvious path to each particular category;
- Make sure that you have no more than 7 main categories;
- Ensure that the customer can see a clear path to any product within the first 3 seconds – everything should be very clearly signposted;
- Remember that every product should ideally be no more than 3 clicks away from the homepage.
On the EKM online shop platform, ‘categories’ is the name we give to individual folders containing products. Looking at each of your categories:
- There should be no empty categories – you’d be surprised how easy it can be to forget these!
- Equally, there should be no sparsely populated categories, as this creates the illusion that your product range is small or that your online shop is unfinished;
- If you have any categories with less than two full rows of products within them, either relocate those products to a better-populated category or add some more similar products into the same category to flesh it out.
Obviously, the quality of your product pages is paramount – after all, it’s here where potential customers decide whether they are going to purchase from you or not. Bear in mind that for some visitors the product page will be the first part of your online shop that they see if that product page was listed in their search engine results. It’s essential that:
- Your product images are plentiful and very high quality. Your customers need to be able to view the product on a plain (ideally white) background, well-lit and from several different angles;
- Your product images should be of uniform size across your online shop – big enough to allow for customers to zoom in to see the finer product details for themselves;
- Your product descriptions are essential, for both search engines and online shop visitors who are visually impaired.
Your product descriptions are what helps to sell the product, so it’s essential that these are high quality, and written especially for your online shop. You need a minimum length of 200 words, which can be easily broken down into the following:
- The Sizzle: This is where you add 4 to 6 bullet points to sell the product. Let customers know how this product could better their lives, or what problems this product could solve for them.
- The Sausage: This is the ‘meat’ of the product, where you can explain all of the factual information about the product.
- The Statistics: These are the ‘at a glance’ facts about the product; what does it weigh? What does it measure? How is it cleaned? What is it compatible with? What colours or sizes is it available in?
The webpages of your online shop are where customers go to learn more about you and your brand, so it’s essential that you provide as much information as possible for them.
Both of these are legally required on your online shop. Ensure that the text on them is not only relevant to your company and your brand but up to date too, especially in terms of any recent legislative changes or third party additions, such as pop-ups or analytical platform code, such as Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics, for example.
Refunds & Returns
What do customers need to do when they want to return an item? What procedure do they need to follow? What are your guidelines regarding refunds, and how long should a customer expect to wait before theirs is received? Make sure you cover all bases on this page.
Shipping & Delivery
How long will it take for a customer’s order to arrive? Do you ship to Europe or even globally? Do you use Royal Mail or a courier? Can the customer track their order with you? Detail as much information as you can so customers can have clear expectations when they purchase items from your online shop.
If your products can be worn or are available in different sizes, a size guide page is where you can refer them to so they can be sure of a product’s fit and/or compatibility. Don’t use an image here (as this is often difficult to read) but instead create responsive tables of sizes which are easy to understand for your customers.
Customers need to be able to contact you, and a simple email address is not enough to guarantee trust. Make sure that you have listed at least a telephone number and an email address on this page, and if you have a physical shop, list the address, opening times and embed a Google Map on the page so customers can quickly contact and locate you if they have any questions.
On this page, you need to talk about your brand, and what differentiates you from your competitors. Provide your customers with the story of your company and how it all started, to encourage them to form a relationship with your brand and it’s values. Talk about your team, your products and where possible, add photos of your workshop, your physical shop if you have one, and where possible, yourself and your staff.
Ideally, you should have a blog on a subdomain of your online shop where you can add newsworthy posts about what your brand is getting up to. Having a blog on your online shop gives customers a reason to return to you time and time again, if it’s regularly updated with quality, engaging content.
Blog posts are the place where you can talk in-depth about your product and industry knowledge and really show off your skills. You can provide hints and tips for customers to use your products in the form of step-by-step tutorials as well as tease them with news of new product lines and upcoming promotions. Blog posts can also be shared on your social media, and when they list links to product and category pages within your online shop, can help encourage new traffic with relatively little effort.
Finally, once you’ve got your online shop content completed and have filled it with lots of information to encourage folk to visit ideally more than once, you can then begin to work on the next step of encouraging potential customers to your online shop. I’ll be back again soon so in the meantime if you have any questions for me, pop them in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.