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How To Optimize Your eCommerce Site

Ecommerce,  Web Design

09 Jan, 2022

How To Optimize Your eCommerce Site: 7 Ways To Max Conversions

After weeks of planning and development, you’ve finally finished setting up a beautiful eCommerce site.

Your website is attracting customers, but much to your chagrin most of them leave without buying anything.

Or worse, some visitors pick out a bunch of items and add them to a cart, only to abandon that cart and never return.

Toys Story ecommerce meme

Why can’t you increase engagement on your eCommerce site?

Because you probably haven’t made conversion rate optimization a priority.

And you’re not alone – over two-thirds of businesses don’t have an optimization strategy.

Instead, they’re pumping maximum resources into customer acquisition, only for all that hard-earned traffic to bounce or abandon their cart due to crappy UX or jarring web design.

According to Econsultancy, companies spend just $1 on conversion rate optimization for every $98 spent on customer acquisition.

What a waste!

If you want to see sales skyrocket, you need to work smarter, not harder. That means investing in the tools and resources to optimize your eCommerce site – so the traffic you bring in actually stays to make a purchase.

We’re here to help.

Keen to get started? Read on.

What is eCommerce Optimization (& Why It Should Be Your Top Priority)

 

eCommerce optimization is all about taking your website and making it better, faster, and stronger, all so that it can excel at what an online store is designed to do – converting visitors into customers and raking in sweet, sweet sales. 

If you optimize your eCommerce site, it means you’re constantly working on the strategies, tools, plug-ins, and processes to make your customers’ journey through your website as smooth, entertaining, meaningful, and convenient as possible.

If this is all obvious to you, and you want to get straight into the tips and tricks – we won’t waste your time, click here.

Potential optimizations could be something as simple as adjusting the font on your homepage to be more legible and eye-catching, adding some graphics, or changing your color scheme.

For example, Edible Arrangements increased same-day sales by 8% when it added a countdown banner to its homepage to create urgency:

Edible Arrangement case study web page

But optimizing your eCommerce site encompasses more technical elements, too, such as:

  • AB testing emails and social media posts to figure out which is the most effective
  • Conducting keyword research for SEO
  • Streamlining site layout and structure
  • Optimizing PPC management so your most important products and services are clearly visible

Case in point, after rigorously testing its follow-up emails, Envelopes.com boosted conversion rates by almost 65% by following-up with customers in personalized ways depending on how they left the website.

eCommerce optimization teaches us that marketing a hot product does NOT guarantee sales.

Attracting eager customers to a slow, clunky, confusing website with a complicated check-out process is the quickest way to kill the hype and bomb the first impression.

You’ve got to invest in the activities that remove any and all potential barriers to making a purchase, such as:

  • Slow load speeds
  • Confusing navigation
  • Inconsistent messaging
  • Unclear USP
  • Outdated shipping processes

Optimizing your eCommerce site is a constant, ever-evolving process. It requires you to understand market trends, the ins-and-outs of data driven web design, and the finer points of the sales cycle.

But most importantly, it requires a deep understanding of your customers.

eCommerce Optimization Checklist – Follow These 7 Steps

 

1. SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all the rage, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a lick of marketing know-how will attempt to sell you their SEO playbook.

At the same time, there’s a lot of snake oil and shady black hat strategies out there, so it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just smoke and mirrors.

Don’t get it twisted, improving SEO matters if you want more conversions.

Which is why we’ve summarized some important SEO strategies to help you optimize your eCommerce site:

SEO Strategy How it boosts CRO for eCommerce
Long-tail keywords
  • Low search volume, so it’s easier to rank on SERPs
  • Long-tail keywords outrank one-word keywords by 3-6% in positions 2-5 on SERPS
Meta titles and descriptions
  • Short, unique titles with keywords positioned at the front increase clicks and traffic
URL optimization
  • Simple,e short URLs containing page keywords are easy to read and rank
  • 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices in 2020
Mobile access
  • Mobile formatting ensures that customers can transition seamlessly between devices and access your store from anywhere
  • 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices in 2020

The important thing to remember with SEO is it’s a tool to help you get people into your store and onto your site.

Just focusing on SEO is not going to be enough to convince people to make a purchase.

Remember, search engines actually check user metrics and take them into account for rankings.

In other words, having satisfied, convinced, impressed customers directly improves your SERP position.

So how do you level up UX? How do you stand out?

We’re glad you asked.

2. Targeted messaging

To increase conversions, you need to hone in on people in your target audience and do everything in your power to appeal to them.

Customers are turned off by vague and broad-reaching messaging and instead turn to companies that cater specifically to their needs in small but meaningful ways.

After all, nearly 72% of consumers admit that they only engage with brands that personalize the shopping experience.

Manscaped is a great example of targeted messaging done properly. It knows men need a razor/trimmer they can use downstairs, so its marketing messages are super relevant to that.

manscaped tagline

It’s marketing team never misses a chance to really double down on its messaging geared for its target audience.

marketing messaging from manscape

Notice that Manscaped isn’t trying to appeal to just any demographic. It specifically targets men aged roughly 18-40 years old who care about their looks and are attracted to hip or trendy products and messaging.

That makes all the difference between reaching your target audience and boosting sales or falling flat on your face.

If you can strike the right cord with the people you are targeting, they will be more likely to buy.

Great, so how do you do that?

There’s no one answer, but it never hurts to develop a compelling eCommerce story.

3. Clear and convincing copy

Great eCommerce sites know how to entice their customers by saying exactly what matters and nothing more. How?

  1. By not cluttering every little piece of white space and bombarding customers with irrelevant details
  2. By staying succinct and knowing why they’re making each point

Here’s the not-really-secret set of steps that remarkably few companies follow through with:

Research customers and competitors
  • Stalk competitor websites
  • Read customer reviews
  • Leverage interviews and surveys to get in-depth feedback
Use customer language
  • Use the same language as spoken by people in your target demographic
  • Don’t overcomplicate things with stuffy jargon
Talk about things customers care about
  • Define your company values and vision and make them part of how you conduct business
  • Create a connection between your brand and causes your customers prioritize
Be consistent
  • Avoid code switching from one page to another
  • Pick a target audience and tailor your copy toward its members

To show you how that’s done, let’s take a look at how Girlfriend Collective nailed its copy to deliver clear, concise messaging.

example of clear copy from girlfriend collective

If that wasn’t enough, then things become even more apparent in this next post:

crisp web copy from girlfriend collective

With its unique and consistent copy, Girlfriend Collective distinguishes itself from other activewear brands by appealing to eco-conscious women who seek durable and sustainable clothes instead of fast fashion.

When writing copy, it’s important to emphasize:

  • Your company values
  • Features that make your products or business unique
  • Language that visitors relate to and understand
  • Ways your company is making an impact

If customers don’t know what your company is all about, there’s no way you could possibly expect them to care about your products or values.

Luckily, there exist multiple ways of communicating who you are as a company and the value you bring to the customer.

4. Content creation

Content creation is the point of contact where you provide immediate value to your customers and raise your credibility.

There are countless ways to make original content. Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Long form interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters

The power of compelling, original content cannot be easily overstated. Take blogs as an example.

77% of people read blogs, and people spend 3x more time on products recommended through blogs compared to email. On average, blogs drive eCommerce revenue by 6%, and the number jumps to 12% for companies that blog consistently.

Regardless of the medium, all content can potentially be an incredible asset to your business

It’s a way for you to reach a whole new segment of customers.

Remember long-tail keywords?

Suppose your business makes organic cleaners, and a potential customer searches for “best hypoallergenic laundry detergent.” As luck would have it, you just happen to have a comparative guide that answers the customer’s questions and includes a link to your online store.

While a hypothetical, this situation happens all the time in the world of eCommerce.

Especially if you’re a content master like one of our clients, Sakura:

example of content in blog on sakura of America website

By providing plenty of value in your content, blogs or otherwise, you position yourself as a voice of authority in your industry and a reliable resource for your audience.

results from sakura website

Granted, content creation wasn’t the only thing responsible for these results, but you get the gist.

Work on developing a variety of different content about various topics, such as:

  1. Your industry
  2. Your products
  3. Customers’ pain points

Content creation is also a great opportunity to establish your brand voice and do some tasteful internal linking. Hey, a little immodesty never hurt anyone.

5. Easy navigation

This may be the most important aspect of eCommerce optimization, as it requires you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and trace the steps they’ll take as they navigate through your site.

If customers have to dig deep to find basic information or find their way to a product they need, you’re going to have a tough time increasing your conversion rate.

Remember that nearly 61% of customers will go to a competitor’s website if they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for.

Simply put, you need to focus on removing obstacles and making it obvious to your customers where they need to go next. Every page needs to tell them exactly where they are and how to get to where they want to be.

This includes:

  • Clear navigation with a search bar (please just have it)
  • Copy that includes pointers and doesn’t swallow the page
  • Categorization of similar products, filters, etc.
  • Showing the right info at the right moment
  • Shopping cart optimization

For example, if your messaging says something like “buy from anywhere,” explain what it means and add supporting content.

Does that mean anywhere in the US? Or worldwide? And what about shipping rates?

By making your website easy to navigate, you invite customers to explore your site, rather than encouraging them to find the nearest exit.

6. Accessible design

Good design is vital to first impressions – 94% of people base their forest impressions on design alone.

But is it possible to make a website that looks good without sacrificing functionality?

217 million people around the world have some sort of a visual impairment, and 6.5 million people in the US have an intellectual disability.

But, for the sake of the argument, if you don’t already care about that from a basic human decency standpoint, how about this fact?

Companies whose websites aren’t accessible lose approximately $6.9 billion a year to competitors who put more effort into levelling the playing field.

Functional designs that make it easy for everyone to access and use your site are a great way to elevate the customer experience and demonstrate to your customers that you care about them. It’s no wonder that website accessibility was one of the top web design trends of 2021.

Here are a few ways that you can make your website design more inclusive:

  • Color schemes with contrast minimums
  • Less overwhelming, super-bright colors
  • Option to adjust font size
  • Using appropriate alt tags
  • Not overcomplicating your site with pop-ups
  • No walls of text
  • Using infographics and other supportive visuals
  • Being mobile-friendly
  • Auto-complete
  • Addings captions/subtitles to videos

Overall, you want to do more of this:

accessible website design tip. highlight links

And this:

example of color used in accessible web design

And less over saturation, walls of text, and messy graphics that confuse and distract.

Accessible design doesn’t have to be boring. Our advice?

Partner up with a web design company to help you explore your options and help you avoid accessibility issues on your website.

7. Page by page

Okay, so that was a lot of information.

How do you keep track of it all?

Don’t panic. Here’s what it takes to optimize your eCommerce website, page by page:

Page Optimization
  • Homepage/High impact pages
  • Make navigation straightforward
    • clear navigation bar
    • Search bar
    • Buttons and pointers everywhere
  • Link to your other popular pages like blogs or bestsellers
  • Use compelling images with alt tags
  • Write relevant, targeted copy
  • Be interesting but not at the price of accessibility and clarity
  • Develop a unique design, but don’t overdo it – white space is okay
  • Be consistent
  • Product pages
  • Use photos, videos, and/or AR
  • Add detailed but easily scannable descriptions
  • Show as much relevant info as possible before customers even get to the shopping cart
  • Add customer product reviews
  • Encourage feedback and use it to power your marketing
  • Minimize 404s (see next point)
  • 404 pages
  • If a product is sold out, don’t delete the page, just change its status
  • Consider “email when back in stock” option
  • Link to other products in same or related categories (e.g. if they’re viewing running sneakers, link to other sneakers and other running equipment)
  • Make the page interesting to at least entertain customers and ease their annoyance
  • Shopping cart
  • Clearly display all of the products
  • Answer all the questions a customer has about the purchase:
    • Any additional fees?
    • Return policy?
    • Shipping period + cost?
    • Guarantee?
    • Payment methods?

Feel free to save this checklist for future reference.

But if that’s not enough (and in our experience, it often isn’t), you don’t need to go it alone.

You can get the help you deserve.

Conclusion: Your Partner For eCommerce Optimization

Contrary to the impression you might have after reading all of this, eCommerce website optimization is not necessarily the Herculean effort it’s hyped up to be.

Not if you know exactly what needs to be done and have a seasoned expert in your corner ready to help.

But we don’t expect you to read one article and immediately reach out unless you already know how much professional help you need.

In which case, get in touch!

But more importantly, here is another website optimization blog we wrote that you might want to read if you liked this one.

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