How to Design an E-Commerce Website That Sells More
E-commerce websites are great for selling your own products online. It’s like the digital version of a brick and mortar store. No overhead costs, like the cost of leasing a store space or hiring a ton of employees! No business loans to get for remodeling a store space and footing startup costs! All you have to worry about is maintaining inventory as orders come in and shipping out products in a timely manner to your customers.
I see many e-commerce stores online with a ton of potential, but with a few extra tweaks they could really take their websites to the next level to start seeing more sales. The website is literally THE key to getting more sales for e-commerce stores, so you want to make sure it’s done well and strategically. Below, I share a few tips for polishing up your store to help you get more sales in the future.
Tip #1: Use crisp and bright product photos
When browsing for merchandise online, everyone ALWAYS judges by the photos first. The best way to position your products is to do the same as big box retailers, like Macy’s or Nordstrom would do. Use a clean, white background and good lighting and a professional DSLR camera to capture the best photos possible.
If you live in a dark apartment (most apartments are dark unless you’re in a loft), you may need a box light or two. Or you could go outside and take the photos. All you need for a white background is a large white piece of poster board that you can place down on the ground or on the carpet if you’re inside. You can pick one up at your local office store and reuse it every time you take new photos.
If you don’t want to do all that (I completely understand…it’s a lot of work lol), hire a local photographer to capture product photos. It may seem like an extra expense, but trust me, when your products look clean and crisp online, you’re going to sell more than if you have dim, blurry, or unprofessional photos.
Tip #2: Include marketing-focused product descriptions
This is where your creative writing skills from English class will come into play. You want to SELL your products in the description. Did you source special fabrics for the materials? Did you scour vintage stores for rare gems to include in your jewelry? Did you put together 40 pages of content in an eBook filled with your 10 years of expertise as a finance adviser? Whatever you used or did, play that up! This is something many store owners overlook. Sell the products in the caption and don’t hold back. Be descriptive and talk about why it’s special and why your buyers should love it. People actually read that stuff when they’re considering their purchases online.
Tip #3: Include forms to get potential buyers on your email list
An e-commerce store totally needs an email list! Think about it. You can follow up with people who haven’t purchased yet, who abandoned their carts, AND who have already purchased so you keep them coming back for more! Here’s how to do it:
For people who haven’t purchased yet, you want to capture their email addresses with a coupon or promo code that maybe gives them 10% off their first order. People usually aren’t ready to buy right away, so this will allow you to keep in touch with them via your regular weekly emails, until they are already. (Be sure to email your list once a week because when you go MIA they may forget who you are and they’ll start unsubscribing.)
And next, you want to have the abandoned cart feature on your website. This is done in different ways, depending on where your website is hosted. So look into the details for your hosting provider on how to set it up. Abandoned cart emails help you to get more purchases by reminding people of what they were interested in buying.
And finally, have an email funnel set up for after purchases are made. Once someone becomes a customer, add them to that email funnel to keep them in the loop on any other products that they might like. This increases your chances of getting repeat buyers. You can even include coupon codes for them to share with friends to get even more exposure!
Tip #4: Create blog content showing off your products and being a resource for your knowledge in your area
Blog content is great for helping people to visualize themselves with your products. If it’s a clothing-related item, you can put together fashion blog posts with the products. If it’s books or something educational, you can give a tease of the content in the blog posts and lead them over to the product for the full benefit. You get the gist.
Blog content is also great for positioning yourself as an expert or thought leader in your field. And it gives people extra reasons to visit your website, giving you more exposure. You want people to become familiar with you and your brand and creating content is a great way to do that, while building trust!
Tip #5: Create a unique value proposition
What makes your products unique? Is it a special message that you share? Is it special materials that you use to make the product? Is it your past experience? Is it your premium product presentation and buying experience? Think about what makes your products unique and make that known on your website, as a sort of tag line, where appropriate or in a couple of sentences about your brand on your homepage, right above shop items. Think about memorable buying experiences that you’ve had and what you liked the most for inspiration.
For an idea of how to incorporate the value proposition on your website, I recommend using a nice banner image at the top of your homepage, followed by an email form to capture email addresses with your discount code/coupon, followed by the value proposition, and then the first few items in your store. The value proposition can be elaborated upon over on your about page.
That’s it! Let me know if you try any of these tips and happy selling!