Your goal for your ecommerce website should be to entice visitors to take action before leaving, preferably by exchanging their hard earned dollars for your valuable products or services. Every single element of your website can and should contribute to this main goal.
Here are ways you can improve product presentation on your website:
19. Lead the visitors to your sales funnel.
In order to increase conversion it is first important to know what your clients are doing before you try to influence them into purchases. Sales funnel analysis is important in understanding how you are leading your visitors through your buying process ending in sales. You have to know what visitors do upon landing in your site, looking over your product categories, selecting the products that interest them, putting those products in the shopping cart and eventually completing the purchase by hitting the Place the Order Now button and paying. The goal is to keep the visitors in your site – and making sure these visitors do what you want them to do – to buy.
The idea of a funnel is due to the fact that you cannot expect 1,000 visitors that came to your homepage to result in 1,000 purchases on your site (though that would be fantastic). With 1,000 visitors, you may end up with 20 sales (or 2% conversion rate) or 100 sales (10% conversion rate). The goal of a sales funnel analysis is to determine what are the steps a visitor goes through to buy anything from your site – and where in that process do they leave your site. If you understand the bottlenecks of the sales process in your website, you can act on it and remove those bottlenecks.
Here’s a simplistic example of a sales funnel process when the entrance point is the homepage:
- Step 1 – Visitor arrives on your homepage
- Step 2 – Visitor clicks on your Product Category A
- Step 3 – Visitor looks at Product 1
- Step 4 – Visitor puts Product 1 in the shopping cart
- Step 5 – Visitor fills out the order form
- Step 6 – Visitor puts in credit card information
- Step 7 – Visitor submits the order
- Step 8 – Visitor does not return the product
Web analytics software such as the high-end WebTrends software and the free Google Analytics incorporate a sales funnel analysis to help ecommerce site owners to determine at what point do visitors abandon the sales process and where do they go. If you see that visitors put products in the shopping carts, but abandon their shopping carts, then you need to investigate why they did not complete the transaction – e.g. is your shopping cart system too burdensome; are you requiring too much information; does your shopping cart have bugs, etc.
Or you may find that while visitors are looking at your product categories, they are not putting anything in their shopping carts – is it because you don’t have the products they thought you would have or is it because your pictures are too small or too hazy to help convince visitors that you have great quality products.
20. Make it easy for visitors to use and buy from your site.
One of the important rules to succeed on the Web is to develop a website that serves the needs of your visitors in a manner that is both user-friendly and easily understood. Make everything easy (and fast!) for them, and users will stick with you – and may even come back again.
21. Let the visitors immediately know what you are selling.
It is important that you make your offering immediately apparent to visitors. They need to be able to figure out what the site is all about upon arriving on your website, especially your homepage. Visitors are more likely to leave if they can’t understand what your site is all about and what you are selling.
The key is to have a clear and distinct focus. People should be able to immediately discern what your site is all about, even if you sell a thousand products! Your focus should be apparent in the pictures on your homepage, in your title, in your tagline, and in the text on your homepage particularly the headings.
Take for example LaneBryant.com – the site title tells you that this store is for “fashionable plus-sized women” and you immediately see a picture of a plus sized woman. The focus is reinforced by the tagline, which says “fashion leader in women’s plus-size clothing, sizes 14–28.” All the elements of the site tell you that LaneBryant.com is for plus-sized women.
22. Entice customers to buy.
If you study the top ecommerce sites, there are several elements that they commonly use above the fold on their homepages – their best selling products, products for the season, special promotions or hot new products. All of these elements have one clear goal: to grab customers’ attention and make them interested enough to go into the site and buy these products.
The New Products of the week feature show that you keep your inventory fresh. It gives old customers a reason for coming back again and again to your site. Same with the discounts and promotions. People love a great sale, and the idea that they can buy items at a discount has always been a strong motivator to buy. If you are running any promotions, highlight it in your website preferably in your homepage above the fold and even in your internal pages.
23. Avoid intro, splash, or entry pages.
A splash or intro page forces a visitor to see an ad or message before allowing them to access what they actually came for. For an e-commerce site, visitors need to know what you are selling immediately and splash pages are irrelevant in achieving this objective. You want your visitors to buy, and making them wait for a movie to load or to click on a link before entering simply delays the buying process.
24. Invest in great photography.
Merchandise comes to life with great photography. Pictures sell, and there is no excuse for poor photography. Remember that selling on the Web means that visitors will not be able to physically see your product up close, nor be able to touch and smell it. Users have to rely on what they see on their computer screens.
The pictures of your products should be clear, clean, big and devoid of any distracting backgrounds. Your shots should be technically excellent, no blurred or out-of-focus shots, please. Always include a larger or zoom version of the item always making sure – and this is important – that your larger version has a Buy Now button as well (you don’t want to miss an opportunity to sell your product).
Avoid complicated backgrounds – if you are selling gold earrings, avoid putting them on yellow-patterned pillows as this makes it harder to see the earrings. The beauty and quality of a product often get lost on busy and dark backgrounds; and you want customers to focus on the product, not the background. Remember that you are selling the product, not the background!
25. Make your sales copy compelling.
Your product pages must give a reason why visitors should buy your products. Highlight the benefits of your products, in addition to its features.
LL Bean does a great job in their copy. In one of their women’s jeans products, the text that jumps at you given its bold and bigger size is not the measurement of the jeans but rather this benefit statement — “Proof You Can Find a Great Pair of Jeans at a Great Price” followed by bullets of supporting benefits
- “Comfort, durability and style at a great price”
- “Premium ring-spun cotton feels soft and broken in”
- “Classic jean styling”
- “Sit below waist”
Always give your customers a reason why they should buy the product. Then follow it with specifications of the product, giving as much information as to its fit (if clothes), size or other technical details.
Then spell check, spell check and spell check. There’s nothing more horrifying in a sales copy than spelling errors.
26. Make your call to buy signals consistent and prominent.
Your “buy now” buttons should be prominently placed in your product pages. Many etailers say that bigger “buy buttons” in bold and in a color that stands out can help increase conversion rates. Buy buttons should be placed above the fold to keep it prominent and in view of the customer. Avoid making the user scroll to find your buy buttons. The key is to make the buying process as simple and as easy as possible – and ease of use on the Web always translates to dollar.
Sears.com uses a big red “Add to Cart” button positioned above the fold in their product pages. Target.com also uses the color red, and the Add to Cart button is the second most visible element on the page after the product image. In fact, Target’s buy now button jumps out at you because of its huge size even though it is at the bottom of top fold.
Also consider the strategy of Amazon.com, which places Add to Cart buttons in their category pages to users to make buying easy for those users who already know what they want to buy. Their Add to Cart buttons are in a more prominent deep yellow color to more emphasis to it compared to the lighter yellow Add to Wish List button beside it.
Consistency of the look of your primary action buttons is also important. If you allow users the ability to compare various products you offer, make the “compare” button similar to your “buy” buttons, albeit differences in color shading.
Make sure that the prices of the product stick out. Keep it above the fold and presented in bold or bigger font.
27. Use an Upsell Page.
Upselling is a marketing method used to persuade your customers to spend more money than they had originally intended. It is usually a page added between your normal ordering page and your payment page. It is commonly shown after the customer enters their personal data, but before putting in their credit card information. Customers are shown additional products (maybe 3-5 at most) at a reduced price.
The key is to tempt the customer into buying more from your site; so for an upsell page to work, you need to show products that are attractive to them for them to accept the offer. It can be complementary products (check first if the upsell product is not in the shopping cart) or great deals if buying additional quantities of the product. Make the offer compelling by showing them how much they will save if they bundle the up sell products with their current purchase. Put on the page all the information about the product — the price, the savings they will get if they purchase and an “Add to Cart” button (don’t make them click to a product information page or they may not come back in this very crucial buying stage). One thing though: make this offer a “take it or leave it” option so customers can opt to buy the original products they wanted or whether to want to add your up sell products to their purchase.
Other Articles in the series “Conversion Rate: How to Sell More Online:“
- Conversion Rate: 30 Tips on How to Sell Online
- Conversion Rate: Get the Right Traffic
- Conversion Rate: Build Customer Confidence
- Conversion Rate: Improve Product Presentation
- Conversion Rate: Maximize After-Sales Opportunities
Recommended Books on Improving Conversion Rate:
- Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion
- Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers
- Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions
- Video Strategies To Help Sales: Improve Sales And Increase Revenue By Boosting Your Online Marketing Strategy With Business Videos That Increase Conversion Rates
- Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets
- How to Choose a Shopping Cart System for Your Online Store
- 10 Ways to Convert Visitors to Buyers
- How Internet Retailers are Successfully Improving their Conversion Rates
- Conversion Rate: Get the Right Traffic
- Conversion Optimization: How to Optimize Your Website for Visitors