There's More to Your eCommerce Store than Your Products
Starting your eCommerce shop is an exciting time. Your products had great designs and you couldn’t wait for that money to start rolling in. Days go by. You had 50 clicks from your Facebook Ads yesterday and yet, no sales.
Many of you reading this know that feeling all too well. E-Commerce shops are flourishing in greater numbers and with greater product variety than ever before.
As with any business where the barriers to entry are low (all you need to start a shop nowadays is a computer and reliable internet connection), eCommerce entrepreneurs are entering a crowded and competitive space.
This is what economists call a “perfect market”, where product differentiation is almost nonexistent and product availability is high. This is the space where most eCommerce entrepreneurs find themselves and unless you have a never-before–seen product, your product cannot sell itself.
But, there is yet hope for all your would-be eCommerce millionaires to stand out from the crowd: your website! Your website is the backbone, the face, the legs, the heart… let’s just say it does most of the work for your company.
That being said, let’s dive into the 7 ways to make your eCommerce shop stand out.
1. Make Your Website Design Cohesive
Most people don’t want/can’t shell out the money for website design or photos. Most of you know already that is costly and doing it right at the beginning of your store is basically impossible.
That’s okay! Any mistake you have already made gets you one step closer to tweaking and tightening up your website design, copy and really figuring out your message.
Shopify and Squarepace can be great for just getting started. Both Shopify and Squarespace let you personalize your store to match your brand. Remember, branding is using consistent imagery, sounds, phrases and logos with which people come into contact.
Your website is the very first contact in the sales process. Everything from your logo, typeface, and photos, down to the colors of your website is your brand. Define your brand early and do not deviate from it.
There are hundreds of websites that sell what you do. Ever heard the saying that “people quit their managers, not their jobs”? Well, the same goes for your budding eCommerce business: people buy into your brand/story as much (or more) than your product.
People are buying into your brand, so you need to make sure you invest in it. Keep all this in mind and then once you have traction on your eCommerce store, invest in a web designer as well as a branding photographer.
MVMT Watches started on Shopify. Their branding was clear from the beginning and it was clear they were targeting millennials based on their modern design.
They did not deviate from their clean, professional look.
In a short amount of time, they were on every blogger’s wrist because everyone bought into the brand: “A Millennial Watch”. Last year MVMT Watches sold for 300 million.
2. Make Your Copy Engaging and Consistent
Design is only one side of the coin; the other side is your copy. Some companies from the first page of their website to the last just SELL, SELL, SELL. (Maybe this is you)!
Picture your typical used car salesman saying, “what do I need to do to get YOU into this SUV?!” when you’re really there to buy an electric car.
Copy that focuses intensely on selling from the get-go without contextualizing your product falls flat on most customers.
The website Quicksprout.com recommends that “You have to think of sales like dating. If you reek of desperation, no one will be attracted to you. At the end of the day, the person you are selling to should feel privileged to buy it.”
People want to hear the story rather than you pitch why your product is the best thing since sliced bread.
A website that does a great job with deliberate and on-brand copy is Childhoods Clothing. They sell the story of being American made. It’s one of their differentiators and they hone in on that. Who doesn’t want American-made premium clothes for their kid?
Another example of great copy comes from is Hapa Glow Co. They are a skincare company that believes in self-love, as well as, being 100% natural and organic. Their website even has an “about the brand” page. Even though this company is not even a year old, the company is exploding because they are selling the brand! The moral of the story is: sell your brand and the products will follow.
3. Pick a Tone
It’s never too late to pick a tone for your copy. It has to fit your design as well as your mission.
Are you a serious company made for serious clientele or are you a bubbly company made for young mothers?
Conveying this through your copy will ensure that your target market will identify with your company making the sale that much easier.
If you are struggling with coming up with a tone, a good idea is to go to a website that is also targeted at the same market and see how they write.
Notice if it’s conversational or technical writing. Do they use a lot of exclamations?
Use this research as a starting point to give your copy a tone that is right for your company.
4. Obsess Over the Customer Experience (CX)
The experience of the consumer is one of the most important elements for an eCommerce store. A few things go into making the customers experience one they won’t forget:
- Customer Service
- Product Curation
- Unique Mediums
Customer service is the heart and soul of your company. That is why immediate (or fast) customer service is imperative.
If your company can respond to a question right away it is less likely your customers will abandon their cart and look at another website to find what they need.
Based on research by Forrester, 63% of customers say they are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat as opposed to one that doesn’t.
Along with fast customer service, allowing customers to interact with you how they choose (i.e. text messaging live chat, or email) can give them a personalized way to reach you.
Mochi allows you to respond quickly and gives you the opportunity to capture and retain customers, leading to fewer empty carts and an increase in sales.
With a reasonable monthly fee, you can talk to customers the way they want to reach you while having lightning-fast customer service!
Careful product curation and suggestions serve to enhance your customer’s experience, as pretty much everyone loves to be helped.
How many people have bought something on Amazon because of the “Frequently bought together” feature? If you can’t code that into your store, Shopify has a 3rd party bundle app that can be taken advantage of here.
This is a win-win for you and your customers. You make more sales, your customer has a higher sense of satisfaction. It’s a no-brainer.
Let’s say that a budding, beginner photographer is buying his first camera online; however, he doesn’t know exactly what he needs.
A bundle beginner kit is a huge hit for the store because it saves the customer time and gives the shop a bigger sale! Bundle your products, save time, make more money. Sweet deal.
Instead of simply adding copy and images to your site, try a unique medium such as video or animation.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, your customers want to see it in action!
Websites who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. If you can’t pay someone to make a video here are a few tips:
- Rent a camera from your local store
- Figure out how to record in 60 frames per second(fps) or 120 fps to cut down on motion shake (gives your products a crisp and professional feel)
- Shoot 1-2 hours before sunset (photographers call this time of the day ‘golden hour’)
- Use a free video editor (iMovie is a great one)
If you can pay someone to make a short video or animation, even better!
Some video content is always better than no video content and, if you follow the tips above, you will have GREAT content.
A few tips from someone (me) who had to learn the hard way.
Although, it’s a good idea to have a video on your website, do not put it as the first thing visitors will see and do not put it on auto play because this will increase your bounce rate.
5. State Your purpose
What do you believe in? No, I’m not talking about how you ‘built a better mousetrap’. What I mean is, what are your principles?
The average consumer wants to know your story. People are passionate about a lot of different things and want to help those that are passionate about their shared interests.
Amazon, just this month, went “gold” for September in support of childhood cancer. By “going gold” Amazon has shown their customers that they are more than just the massive business conglomerate built by the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos (Bill Gates eat your heart out); Amazon showed us that they are passionate about finding a cure to a problem that has unfortunately touched almost everyone’s lives.
To show that Nugget knows what your average mother cares about, they closed their website for a day in support of the climate strike on September 20th, 2019.
“At Nugget, we like to call kids “the most creative people on Earth. Tomorrow, youth leaders around the world are leading a Climate Strike of tens of thousands of students, hoping they can spur grownups (that’s us) to address a planet that is getting warmer every day… Nugget’s website will be closed for business from 9 am to 5 pm EST, in support of Greta Thunberg and the other activists at the helm of this movement. The kids are speaking to us, and we’re listening. We hope you are too.”
Writing honestly evokes emotion in your consumers. Nugget writing about how they care for kids when their target market includes young mothers is perfect.
This ensured that everyone was grateful to them for showing support to a (some would say) controversial topic.
So many people shared in their Instagram stories how they were proud to support a company that was passionate about something they believed in.
Even though they would have had many orders (their revenue is 3 million) they did it anyway because they believed in it!
Be who you are and show the support for things you believe in. People love candidness!
6. Share Your Reviews
Having reviews on your website, doesn’t this seem like a no brainer? Yet, most people just have reviews set up on google or directly on the product SKUs.
And while these are good to have, it is not enough. That’s why you should have a testimonial page!
This establishes trust with your customers. Ask customers that have written reviews if you can use the review along with a picture of them.
This makes them seem like real people. To go even further, you can link their Instagram page (if they so choose).
Knowing that real people love your product will give other clientele one more reason to buy from you.
Another great idea that I have seen to be effective is having your reviews sprinkled throughout your website.
How many reviews is too many for the consumer to see? The limit does not exist!
7. Offer Strategic Discounts
Back in 2012 Coupons.com and Claremont Graduate University led a study on how coupons impact people’s happiness, stress, and health.
They sighted that customers that received a $10 coupon experienced a 38% rise in Oxycontin levels and ended up being 11% happier than the recipients who did not.
Their heart rates also decreased by 5%. Your number one goal is to make your customers happy!
That being said, price yourself so you can offer 10% off their first order. Have a pop up that offers them a coupon if they give you their email. Something like, “Subscribe to our newsletter & get 10% off your first purchase!”
People will be so pleased and happy to get even 10% off they will, of course, give their email.
Giving a discount, even a small one, shows your customers that you appreciate them!
And of course having their email, you can now start email marketing, the most effective (but hardest to start) ways of marketing.
Over to You
Making an eCommerce store successful is challenging. As you know, it’s not enough to have a great product.
Your website has to shine for your products to shine. To make your eCommerce shop stand out we learned:
- You need to have a cohesive website design. This includes branding, photos, and copy.
- Your customer service needs to be an experience they won’t forget. Answering questions right away will deter them from going elsewhere.
- Having a purpose and adding it into your story.
- Having honest reviews for people to see constantly.
- Giving a discount in exchange for their email.
Have any other tips? I would love to hear them. Drop a comment below!