In this guest blog, Elle – The Ecommerce Assistant, shares her thoughts and experience on selling products online. Elle supports business owners with setting up and selling more through their Shopify websites but her tips in this blog apply to any online shop. Her details are at the end of the blog if you’re looking for help with Shopify or Klaviyo.
If you want to start selling products online but you’re not really sure how to start, I’d highly suggest looking at Shopify as your ecommerce website provider. If you already have a WordPress website and plan on adding a few products, you can build a shop into your existing website.
They provide a user-friendly, easy to use website builder so you can start creating your online shop and list your own products quickly and easily.
But sometimes this ease of use can also be the biggest downfall for small businesses just starting out.
That’s because you need to make some adjustments or changes that suit your brand and products, and this is often something I see massively overlooked by many small businesses.
Most importantly, you’re not just building a website. You need to keep in mind the primary focus of your website at all times, and that is simply, to allow customers to buy things. So you’re going to need to optimise your website for conversions. Which isn’t as scary as it sounds.
In simple terms, this means to create an easy-to-use website which enables a customer to simply find what they want and buy it.
To do this, it’s a combination of lots of little things that create one beautiful, functional ecommerce website.
Here’s 7 steps to get you started:
1 – Use high-quality product images and lots of them
Use clear images that showcase your products in multiple ways. That means using different angles (think about showing the inside of a notebook not just the cover) and close ups (like showing the embroidery detail on a makeup bag). Ideally you want cut out shots, which are typical of any ecommerce website and show your product with a white background, as well as lifestyle shots and (if you have some) customer photos. If you can afford it, I highly recommend investing in professional product photography. It makes such a difference to the overall look and feel of your website and instantly elevates from DIY to a more big brand experience.
2 – Write compelling product descriptions that highlight benefits and features
You need to tell potential customers all about your products and you need to make sure you are selling to them as well. That means you’ll need:
- Easy and clear product names that make sense to anyone not just you
- A product description that sells your products benefits to the customer
- Easy to find features and details, ideally located within neat tabs
By making sure you include detailed and accurate product descriptions that highlight features, benefits, and details, you’ll ensure that customers can find out everything they need to know before deciding to buy.
3 – Use a clear and easy-to-navigate main menu
If a customer can’t find their way around your website, they are probably going to leave. So to make sure this doesn’t happen, think about your main menu and how it’s best laid out to take your customers to where they need to go. Ensure you have clear categories visible, to instantly guide people to products they might be interested in. And ditch the home button on your main menu, this is not needed on websites anymore as everyone knows the logo returns you to the homepage.
4 – Add customer reviews and testimonials to build trust
Positive reviews and testimonials from real customers can significantly influence purchase decisions. We all do it, we scroll down to the bottom of the product page to check what other people think of the product we are thinking about buying. So it’s really important that you start asking for reviews from day one, it might feel like a slow process at first but the more you ask, the more you get. And don’t forget to also show reviews that you might view as negative, if someone has giving feedback saying your t-shirts run small, this is of great help to future customers when they are deciding what to buy.
5 – Use email marketing from the start
Collect customer emails and use them to nurture and build your community, away from social media. If you’ve got a pool of people who have ordered before or who have signed up but never ordered, you want to be able to share with them what’s new, what offers you have and to do this you need an email service provider.
By keeping customers engaged with regular campaign emails and targeting them at the right time with automations like an abandoned checkout you can dramatically increase your online shop’s monthly revenue. If you’ve not yet started email marketing I highly recommend Klaviyo if you’re using Shopify, you can get started for free here and if you need a helping hand getting started, I have a self-paced online course too.
6 – Mobile first design
The majority of online shopping occurs on mobile devices, and your website is likely to be no different. So you must ensure your website is fully responsive and offers a seamless shopping experience across different screen sizes. But more importantly, try and think mobile first. This means when you are designing your website or adding images and copy, to look in the mobile view first and then check back to the desktop. It’s really hard to do, as your probably going to using a computer to design your website, but the more you can think mobile first, the better your website will look.
7 – Regularly updated your content
Your website is never really finished and it needs constant updates to keep it looking interesting for repeat customers and relevant for new customers. Keep your website fresh with new content, whether it’s blog posts, product updates, or educational resources related to your industry. And make sure you are setting time aside to do updates, there’s nothing worse than seeing a website that has out of date Christmas information or that has had sporadic updates done to it so it no longer looks neat and tidy with a cohesive brand and message.
But my top tip, if you are always thinking of your customer first, you can’t really go wrong. This starts with making sure your website has a clean and user-friendly design and making it a place you would be delighted to shop on.
Elle Williamson | Founder
The Ecommerce Assistant
“Having spent over a decade working in ecommerce, with small to big brands, my superpower is showing independent businesses how to get the most out of their online shop and to maximise their ecommerce sales.”
Email her: firstname.lastname@example.org