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Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the data-driven process of optimising your website in order to create more conversions, such as sales or leads.

Tools such as Google Analytics make it possible to track the paths that users are taking to reach your site, otherwise known as ‘funnel tracking’. Funnel tracking shows which sections of your site – and which actions – most commonly lead to conversion. It also gives a clear view of where users are typically dropping out. Asking your visitors directly using on-site surveys is another good way of getting insights into what they like and any bugbears they have with your site.

Once you have this information, there are a number of actions you can take in order to improve conversion. For example, you can better optimise your website’s navigation structure, or test which layouts and content elements work best to encourage conversions.

We’ll delve further into the sophisticated world of heatmaps, session tracking and split testing for CRO below, but the importance of CRO stands proud as a means of quantifiably turning your website traffic from just numbers into business.

Setting goals

Setting CRO goals

Before we look at the ins and outs of CRO, it’s important to first understand what your individual conversion goals are. It’s likely that your business will want to generate profit, but the exact goals will be different for every company and may include:

Each of these goals can be achieved in different ways. For example, to boost sales you might want to funnel traffic to high performing or seasonal e-commerce pages; and you could change content and design elements on the page to increase conversions. Or to improve sign-ups, you could test the language and positioning of the sign-up button to increase clicks, as well as the content of the sign-up box/page itself in order to encourage submissions.

Measuring current conversions

Here comes the science bit, as CRO isn’t based on guesswork. You can use a number of tools to find out exactly what visitors are doing on your website, the likes of which will help you to determine which elements work and which could be improved on.

Heatmaps, such as those from Crazyegg and Mouseflow, show you where on a page the most activity occurs in a colour representation, with warm colours being the most active areas. They can highlight areas where users click on a page, or even where the eye is drawn, using eye-tracking technology. Scroll heatmaps are also useful for pages that are heavy on written content as you can see how far down a page users scroll, in order to improve content or adjust its length.

Video Source: Mouseflow

If heatmaps don’t provide you with enough insight, page recordings almost certainly will, as they show real customers’ journeys across a page. You can see where the cursor moves and what they click in what order, as well as text that is tapped where you could add a link.

And for businesses who rely on leads from their online forms, form analysis from the likes of hotjar can uncover the reasons why visitors abandon contact or download forms. Using all these insights in relation with the conversion funnel information from Google Analytics will give you a greater understanding of how visitors currently interact with your website. Now it’s time to make changes to chase those conversions by testing what updates work best.

Using surveys for insights

Surveys for CRO

The above tools help you see what is and isn’t working, but to be sure of what your web visitors want, a good customer survey can provide specific reasons why people aren’t converting. Let’s say your contact form has high traffic, but a large percentage of people are leaving before they submit the form. This shows that some sort of action needs to be taken on the submission page – but how do you know what needs to be tested? Well, you can ask your customers in a short survey and identify their reasons for not submitting.

It’s easy to set up an auto email to anyone who leaves the form without submitting it, asking if there was any reason why. Perhaps they felt like they had to give too much information, meaning you could simplify the form; or perhaps they clicked on the contact button by mistake, meaning you should optimise placement of the button.

The same action can be taken for cart abandonment on an e-commerce site. A prime example of re-marketing that works, you can send an email reminding customers what they still have in their basket. Plus the email can also be used to ask if there was any site-specific reason they changed their mind.

Testing for CRO

The final stage of your CRO process is changing the elements that you’ve found hinder your conversion goals. Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method of trying alternative design and content elements across different urls to see which version works best.

Multivariate testing through VWO. Image source: Crazyegg

Changing one element at a time, you can tweak the wording, placement or colour of a CTA and send half the traffic to the new url, keeping the existing url as a control. Then, keep the highest performing page and continue to methodically update any other elements your surveys, heatmaps or form analysis unearthed.

Make your website work harder

Your website is one of your strongest assets for bringing in business, but in many cases it can work harder for you. CRO allows you to measure exactly what changes bring the greatest return, in order to systematically update pages. It doesn’t have to be a big task as you can focus on your key pages first, and transfer what you learn to other pages over time.

If you need help with carrying out CRO on your website, get in touch with Ad-Rank today.

‘Make a great product, and they will come’ has never been less true than in today’s crowded marketplace. For e-commerce businesses, having a watertight marketing strategy is essential in getting your brand noticed and converting visitors into returning customers.

A marketing strategy is something that evolves over time, incorporating the latest techniques and channels. As such, this guide isn’t just for new e-commerce businesses or products. If you feel like your marketing strategy could be working harder, many of the elements below can easily be moulded to suit your business.

With that in mind, here are the eight most important areas that you should include in your e-commerce marketing strategy, as well as ways to measure and refine your processes.

1. Develop a mission statement

A mission statement defines who you are as a business. It’s the first thing that customers will see on your ‘About Us’ page and will define your brand story. Mission statements are particularly useful for larger organisations, or those who work across different sectors, as they provide focus and consistency across different areas. This post from 60-Second Marketer covers how to create a mission statement.

mission statement

Image source: 60secondmarketer

2. Build buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customer. They help your team to understand and visualise your audience in order to focus marketing efforts towards this demographic.

You can use existing customer data to form personas, as well as interviewing a representative customer group for more in-depth insights. You’ll need information such as demographics, what channels the customer uses and who influences them. Hubspot’s post explains how to create buyer personas in more detail.

3. Engage in competitor analysis

You may know exactly who your competitors are, but take a deeper look at their digital strategies and it can fuel your own marketing initiatives. You can easily find out which competitors rank highest for key search terms. Then there are a number of helpful competitor analysis tools that will give you statistics on web traffic and what channels competitors’ customers are using. Details of their backlink profiles may also give you ideas for your own link building strategy.

4. Set your goals

Now that you have a clearer picture of who your customers are and what your competitors are doing, you should set some measurable goals in your marketing strategy. This part of your plan will be ever-evolving, so it’s important to revisit yours regularly.

You need to set achievable goals which cover all areas of marketing. For example, ask yourself what is an attainable figure for new customer acquisition or engagement on social. You can also audit your current website content and set yourself the target of increasing web traffic by a certain percentage.

5. Produce engaging content

Content works in a number of ways to bolster your e-commerce website, so it’s key to incorporate a content strategy into your overall marketing plan. Firstly, content is a tool for driving traffic to your website through optimised product descriptions and landing pages. Although you may sell products that can be found elsewhere online, it’s important that your content is unique in order to avoid duplication issues.

Another area where content is important is in encouraging conversion through the use of attractive product descriptions and compelling CTAs. A content strategy will cover all channels and content types, integrating them into an overarching plan – from creating a blog of original articles; to driving traffic to your product pages; producing video content for social; or formulating engaging email newsletters.

6. CRO

Content is just one element of your website that will affect conversion. You should make Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) a part of your marketing strategy and regularly set aside time to split test any new pages added to your website. Using heatmaps and funnels like the ones from Mouseflow allows you to see where customers are focusing their attention on your site and what journey they take between pages.

Mouseflow - Session Replay, Heatmaps, Funnels, Forms & User Feedback

You can use this information to improve menu navigation, checkout processes, mobile functionality and more through A/B testing. By changing one element at a time, from wording to imagery and the placement of important information and links, you can quantifiably test what works best.

Another element that has proven CRO results is adding a review function to your website. This user-generated content is trustworthy as well as answering customers’ questions. Plus, to alleviate the common issue of customers leaving things in their cart without checking out you can add a campaign of remarketing, or retargeting, to your strategy. Either email customers to ask if they forgot to checkout or use limited-time display ads reminding people of what they viewed.

7. One-off campaigns

As well as ongoing keyword optimisation to improve your on-page SEO, you’ll also need to plan limited-time campaigns. These often revolve around big events for your company, such as new product launches or upcoming holiday deals.

Sponsored ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are ideal for targeting certain demographics. You pay for a set amount of time, so you can run the campaign from the two weeks leading up to an event or the month before a big holiday.

Another one-off example would be hiring a social influencer to review some of your products and post about them for a short period. Using visual channels like YouTube and Instagram, influencers can demonstrate your product to a well-established following.

8. Retention and analysis

As you add more campaigns to your marketing strategy, remember to rinse all content through your buyer personas (do they fit the target audience?) and your mission statement (does the content align with your beliefs and style?).

You’ll also need to track your efforts and the responses to them – whether through Google Analytics, customer feedback or social media statistics. Analysing engagement and traffic allows you to measure the effectiveness and ROI of each campaign, as well as streamline your efforts for a personalised user experience.


Each e-commerce business is different and will have its own set of strategic goals, which will change over time. Therefore, it’s important for your marketing strategy to be flexible and for you to regularly test different marketing channels and strategies to see which ones are most effective.

Keeping up to date with the latest marketing techniques to use in your strategy can be hard work. For more advice on both tried-and-tested and emerging e-commerce marketing strategies, get in touch with us.

An interview with SEO manager of Findmeagift.co.uk

There's no question that ranking higher than your competitors in search results is a must. But how can you ensure that your ecommerce site is the one that rises to the top. We caught up with Will King, SEO Manager at online gift store Findmeagift.co.uk to talk about the SEO challenges that ecommerce businesses face and how they can increase organic visibility and, in turn, sales.

Tell us about Find Me A Gift and your role there

Find Me A Gift is a UK based online gift retailer. We sell about 6,000 gifts targeting as many occasion and recipient based market sectors as possible.

As SEO manager, I’m primarily responsible for maximising and maintaining our organic visibility across search engines such as Google and Bing. Being a gifts company, it’s essential we have strong organic visibility during seasonal periods such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so a lot of our day-to-day work revolves around preparation for the upcoming peak.

What are some of the biggest challenges faced by ecommerce retailers when it comes to SEO?

Preventing any negative impact from search engine algorithmic updates is more of a challenge than it used to be. Google make changes to its search algorithm every day and a poorly maintained website can easily experience a reduction in organic visibility. Managing your website's relationship with Googlebot to ensure healthy crawling and indexation is a huge challenge, especially on massive ecommerce websites with thousands of pages.

"With so many ecommerce websites targeting the same customers, and new websites entering the market all the time, maintaining a competitive advantage is an ongoing challenge."

 

The Google search engine results page has evolved way beyond the 10 blue links it used to be. More often than not, Google can answer a searcher's query through the featured snippets on the SERP without them ever having to leave. PPC ads also take up way more of the SERPs than they used to, especially on mobile. This naturally reduces the visibility of the organic listings and reduces the likelihood of a customer seeing and clicking them.

Google Analytics

What are some of the top SEO errors online stores and ecommerce websites often make?

I see a lot of websites with poor Google Analytics set-ups. Every ecommerce website should take the time to configure their analytics to ensure they get clean, accurate data, and are able to get the most value from it. Quick wins include excluding local traffic, macro and micro goal tracking and dedicated views for each source/device combination.

It’s clear Google are placing huge importance on content quality. Ecommerce websites in particular need to pay close attention to this, and make sure the content they make available to Google for indexing is high quality and provides value to users. With products continually being added and discontinued, a process needs to be put in place to ensure legacy pages are dealt with.

Most ecommerce websites allow users to browse through categories and apply ‘sort by’ and ‘category’ filters. A strategy needs to be put in place to ensure this doesn’t cause indexation bloat and that the right page is indexed on Google.

Additionally, managing 301 redirects on a huge ecommerce website can easily go wrong. It’s common to redirect users from page A to page B when it makes sense for the user experience, but too often the redirect is set-up incorrectly. A common error is not redirecting directly to the final destination page, which can result in users hopping from page to page. This can result in a loss of page rank.

How do you measure the effectiveness of an SEO campaign?

It very much depends on the goal of the campaign. For a common content marketing campaign the initial metrics will focus on coverage, link acquisition and brand mentions. We use a range of tools for this, such as Ahrefs.

Longer term, organic traffic growth and online visibility are measured using tools such as Pi Datametrics.

searchmetrics

If you were to prioritise the various SEO metrics, how would you list them in order of importance?

Profit should be the primary SEO metric. It’s no use investing time and resource to bring traffic to your site if it doesn’t convert into profitable business.

Organic traffic is more important to us than keyword rankings. Rankings are influenced by factors such as location and personalisation, so we pay less attention to them. Finally, we monitor our aggregate organic visibility using various tracking tools such as SEMRush, Search Metrics and Pi Datametrics.

 

If you want help optimising your ecommerce site, get in touch. Ad-Rank has years’ of expertise in the field, so we can help you get the sales your business needs.

Social media can make or break a brand.

It’s estimated that 52% of online and offline purchases are influenced by Facebook alone, with nearly a third of shoppers actually purchasing items directly through social media platforms. Social media marketing has rapidly overtaken old-school methods to become one of the most cost-effective and user-friendly marketing techniques there is, as well as the most interactive.

Thanks to real-time capabilities and levels of data-gathering that can’t be matched elsewhere, you can now tailor your social campaigns to the exact needs and demands of your demographic – producing fully targeted, relevant and timely advertising.

Here are five ways that you can leverage social media to increase your following and drive sales in the coming year:

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

overview

The data-capturing capacity of social media is staggering, helping you identify engaged population segments and determine the best focus for your resources. With social media sites like Facebook categorising users by all manner of criteria, why limit yourself to age, sex, and location? By including your biggest competitors as interest targets, you can attempt to convert their fans by placing unobtrusive ads or articles in their news feeds. Targeting the right people can pay off massive dividends.

RAKE IN THOSE REVIEWS

 

Success on social media hinges more on how much your customers talk about you than on how you talk about yourself. Monitor engagement with your brand across all channels and you can pinpoint conversational themes – reviews aren’t just marks out of five stars on Facebook, they’re the comments people make about you in their Tweets, what’s happening in your comments on Instagram and a host of other things. Listen to your social feeds and use the information to find out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on.

 

UTILISE GIVEAWAYS, COUPONS AND COMPETITIONS

 

competition_marketing

Though giving away things for free may sound counter-intuitive to making a profit, a small outlay can reap big dividends. Facebook and Instagram ‘like and comment to win’ contests are a fast and effective way to encourage new and existing users to interact with your brand, broadcasting you to their own networks in the process of trying to win a freebie.

This kind of campaign is incredibly low-budget, making it a great choice for up-and.coming eCommerce companies. For an extra boost, you could offer runners up a discount code or coupon for your site, to increase the chances of them making a purchase and thus becoming a potential lifetime customer.

 

SOCIAL, SHOPPABLE VIDEO

 

shoppable_video

One-third of all activity online is spent watching videos, which might be why more than 51% of marketing professionals state that video gives them greater ROI than any other type of content. On a website, videos can sometimes feel awkward or disruptive, but on social this just isn’t the case. 82% of Twitter users regularly use it to watch video content, and it’s mostly through Facebook that YouTube videos truly go viral.

A number of brands are now trialling shoppable videos on social, with Snapchat stories offering up click-through functions from short, sweet adverts to product pages. Between the natural acceptance of video as commonplace on social media and the ability to exhibit your wares in a simple, shareable, creative format, this kind of marketing couldn’t be more valuable.

 

RESPOND TO FEEDBACK

 

feedback

 

Engaging with your audience is possibly the best way to build your following and increase sales. One great way to do this is by encouraging comments on Facebook and Twitter – the good and the bad – and then responding to these comments in a friendly and positive manner. The story of Samsung’s illustrated exchange with one avid fan went viral a few years ago and led to the company rewarding the fan with a customised phone – as well as invaluable widespread positive media coverage for Samsung. One study found that customers spend between 20%-40% more with brands who respond to customer service requests over social media – not bad for something so simple and easy to do.

You can even respond to criticism of other companies and “poach” customers. A quick search for key phrases on Twitter or Facebook will allow you to pinpoint disgruntled customers, which you can then directly target and offer solutions to their problems.

74% of marketers plan to grow their social media advertising usage in the next 12 months. So don’t get left behind – leveraging social media in your content marketing can be one of the most effective ways to build brand loyalty.

If you're looking for new, innovative ways to convince and convert your target audience into new customers, then get in touch today.

As an e-commerce retailer your products are the backbone of your business. There’s no denying the importance of great product photography, whether you’re looking to improve sales on your e-commerce product pages or heighten engagement and conversion through social media.

As many as 67% of consumers consider image quality to be ‘very important’ when buying online, so investing in clear, high resolution photography is vital for brands and businesses looking to make their mark in a saturated marketplace.

This article looks at how your product photography can set you apart from your competitors and deliver you those all-important sales leads.

Increase search and social mobility

Making your brand more visible is the first step to generating awareness and sales. Visual content typically does very well online, while consumers are 40x more likely to share content that features an image across their social channels. The more shares your product pages receive, the more likely you are to reach new customers, increase traffic and support SEO through social signals.

This means that your photography should not only be professional but should also be highly distinctive and branded. Creating shareable content starts with researching your target audience, establishing exactly what content your existing customer base is already sharing and where.

Mastering the art of product photography on Instagram is going to differ from taking photographs for Twitter and Facebook, for example. Posts on sites like Twitter are also restricted by character limit, which places more emphasis on stand-out imagery over lots of written content.

Enhance your image

In an attempt to cut through the noise, marketers are constantly employing visual tricks to attract user attention. Cinemagraphs are an excellent example of this as they allow you to add looping video elements to your photography (like an animated gif). Cinemagraphs are an original and artistic way to bring your brand to life – not only do they set your brand apart but they also delight and inspire audiences.

The use of cinemagraphs has increased since social channels such as Facebook and Instagram introduced their auto-play video capabilities. They provide a more native, integrated and visually appealing way to reach new customers, with research suggesting that cinemagraphic content tends to have more virality, with 71% higher organic reach than still photographs.

The moment Mike Jordan became Michael Jordan. #WinLike82 pic.twitter.com/aOR6qV79ZS

— Nike (@Nike) November 8, 2017

Source: twitter @Nike

Strengthen brand identity

Building a strong brand identity is only ever achieved by illustrating the core values of your business, from your logo and tagline right down to your preferred tone of voice. Product photography is one way to strengthen your brand identity and tie together its image across your web presence.

Keeping your photography consistent in style ensures that your brand develops its own digital persona. One brand that uses product photography to strengthen their brand identity is online retailer ASOS, who recently started including swatches of cosmetics within their product photography. It’s a step away from the style of product photography commonly used within the beauty industry and in turn has become instantly recognisable among consumers.

ASOS_product_photography

Source: ASOS

Build trust

Far from being able to touch and engage with products as they would in store, customers shopping online only have the imagery you provide to get an idea of exactly what you have for sale. This emphasises the importance of high resolution photography that clearly demonstrates what the consumer can expect to receive when they make a purchase.

Visual elements are particularly important to brands that exist solely online, as product photography has the potential to make your brand feel more in touch with the real world. 65% of senior marketing executives agree that visual assets are core to a brand story, something that is key to making your business appear more personable and trustworthy.

Increase conversion

Getting your product photography right can be beneficial to your business in many ways, yet its primary purpose is likely to be centred on converting customers and increasing sales.

One of the challenges of shopping online is that consumers can’t pick up the product, so they have to rely on visuals. As they won’t be able to fully experience the product, your images need to do everything they possibly can to capture the physical benefits and convince buyers that your products are high quality and authentic.

DueMaternity.com, an online maternity retailer, found that by investing in rotating 360° product images they were able to increase their conversion rate by 27%. 360° photography adds a new dimension to online shopping as it allows browsers to take a ‘virtual tour’ of your product, simulating an in-store buying experience.

Appeal to mobile audiences

It’s no big secret that more audiences than ever before access the internet through mobile devices, so appealing to potential customers that are on the move is crucial. Mobile audiences want quick and easily digestible information and don’t have time to read great swathes of content, so you need to let your product shots do the talking.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, and nowhere is this truer than on Instagram. The online photo-sharing platform has recently launched shopping tags, enabling brands to seamlessly add a shop-able element to existing ads. This feature is particularly relevant for mobile users who enjoy the convenience of making purchases on the go in one click.

Whatever the size and scope of your business, high quality product photography is essential for those hoping to generate revenue through e-commerce. Product photography is often more cost effective than one might think, especially given its necessity.

To learn how Ad-Rank can help you get the most out of your product photography, contact us today.

In an age of integrated social media, e-commerce apps for just about everything and 24/7 online customer service, retailers must continually adapt the way they market and sell their products – or be left behind.

2017 is just around the corner and already looks set be a year of ground-breaking developments, designed to improve the online retail experience both for those with something to sell, and those looking to buy. (more…)

If the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes text, it is logical that including images and videos in your content strategy will have serious benefits.

When a wall of text is too long, people may not stop and read it. Images may lack the depth of information needed to satisfy a searchers needs – so how best to capture and keep attention? (more…)

When it comes to buying things, we like to know what we’re getting. After all, you can’t touch, smell or try out the product, so strong, compelling images are essential.

Yet while more and more brands recognise the power a great image has on sales, it is still an often neglected aspect of a website. In this article, we will look into how this process works, and some best practices for how to leverage it for your own e-commerce business. (more…)

A new study by WooContent has revealed that the majority of consumers feel that they are being spammed by brands online, with 75% adding that they would boycott their product or services as a result.

We asked over 1000 internet users the following questions, and here is what we found out…

Do you trust Google to display the most relevant content you are looking for?

Yes – 79%

No – 21%

Users said that they feel they can trust Google to display the most relevant content in their search results, likely due to Google’s ever evolving spam-filtering algorithm.

Do you think Google is getting better, worse or staying the same as a search engine?

Better – 34%

Worse – 9%

Staying the same – 57%

The majority of users either feel that Google is maintaining its standards or improving as a search engine – again, this is likely to be related to their continuing work on spam-filtering.

Do you think the quality of content online has improved over the last few years?

Yes – 70%

No - 30%

Improved search, and filtering out of thin or irrelevant content, means that users are finding it easier to seek out high quality content relating to their needs.

“Targeting consumers with relevant, useful content has never been more important,” said WooContent’s Managing Director, Chad Harwood – Jones, commenting on the findings.  “With so much information available online, brands need to build trust.”

Are you familiar with the term ‘advertorial’?

Yes – 17%
Somewhat – 20%

Not at all – 63%

Are you familiar with the term ‘spam’?

Yes- 100%

No – 0%

Do you regularly encounter spam content online?

Daily – 58%

Once a week – 20%

Infrequently – 22%

While it is likely that users are encountering both advertorial and spam content regularly online, only one term is commonly understood. This is likely because of the negative connotations – users will work to avoid something that annoys them, but may not pick up on subtle marketing if it is tailored to their needs.

Harwood – Jones goes on to say “I suspect that when most people think of spam, they think of junk emails. However, the rise of social spamming is a more recent trend, and as the internet evolves businesses will always seek to take advantage of new channels and platforms to reach large numbers of people at relevantly low costs, especially compared to paid-for advertising such as Google AdWords.”

Would you stop buying from a brand if they continually send you spam content?

Yes – 75%

Maybe – 24%

No – 1%

This is a particularly important discovery – that giving users irrelevant content could actually lead to them boycotting your brand. While the term ‘spam’ can be interpreted in different ways, being known for producing spam content or for spamming users can clearly have a negative impact on reputation and sales.

“It’s interesting to see that people are willing to go as far as completely disengaging with brands products and services as a result of being overly targeted with poor quality content. This is a stark warning to businesses who push the boundaries when it comes to implementing content led marketing tactics,” says Harwood – Jones.

 
Do you read content to help you decide on purchases?

Yes – 90%

No – 10%

Another important result – users are looking to online content to make decisions on how they spend their money. Producing original, interesting content that is relevant to user needs will create better results than risking lower-quality content that could be ignored or perceived as spam.

How hard could it possibly be to run an e-commerce site? It's not like you have a physical premises to look after, after all. You just need to set up a website and put your products on it. Right?

Nope. It's not that easy, as anyone who's set up an e-commerce website will attest. Not only do you need to combine strong copy and inspiring imagery, but SEO and user experience (UX) need to be taken into consideration too, so visitors spend their hard-earned with you - not your competitors.

UX vs SEO - courtesy of Moz.com

UX vs SEO - courtesy of Moz.com

To help you make the most of your e-commerce site, we've come up with a comprehensive guide to the anatomy of the perfect product page.

 

Clear copy

Make sure that the copy is snappy and interesting, so people want to buy your product. Dry, jargon-filled product descriptions are off-putting and dull. Yes, we know that it'll probably take you ages but it'll be worth it. Just make sure that what you write fits in with the overall tone of your website. Keep it short, sweet and easy to digest, with bullet points and subheaders to break the text up.

ModCloth Product descriptions

ModCloth product description

Be sure to keep the descriptions benefits focused too. Rather than listing the features, explain how these features will improve customers' lives, so they can't resist buying it. Although you should be sure to include dimensions and composition information too.

Without making it too obtrusive, find a way to work delivery information and returns policy into the pages. Even if you're providing a link to another page, it's good to be transparent. You don't want customers getting all the way to the checkout before bailing because they didn't realise how much shipping'd cost. A huge 47% said they would abandon their purchase at checkout if they were hit with an unexpected shipping bill, according to comScore, but it can be easily avoided by giving this information up front.

Oasis Delivery

Oasis-Stores.com delivery info

 

Clear design

Make sure the page is as clear and easy to read as possible, with few distractions from the task at hand (ie buying whatever you're selling).

If you're selling an item rather than a service, be sure to have high quality images, so visitors really know what they're buying. In fact, the more images you can include the better, because it illustrates the product clearly. A study by VWO actually found that larger image sizes can increase conversion rates by as much as nine percent.

If you can, allow visitors to zoom in on the images too, so they can see what they're buying in more detail.

Just be careful that adding pictures doesn't slow the site down. While it's great to have high quality images, if they're too large they can slow the page load down, which can cause people to bounce. Make sure you know what your publishing platform can handle, use a tool like GTmetrix or WebPageTest to test site speed and wherever possible use a free tool like TinyPNG to resize images without losing quality.

TinyPNG

 

Clear customer touch points

You might not think customer service is an important issue when shopping online – your customers are sat behind a computer after all. But questions or queries can put people off a sale, opting to hit the high street for a similar product, where they can talk the product through with a sales advisor. A Forrester Research study found that a huge 44% of online shoppers think that the ability to ask a question in the middle of a sale is vital.

To accommodate for this, give customers a way to quickly get in touch. For instance, installing live chat apps such as Intercom will make it simple to ask questions there and then - without disrupting the sale.

AO.com live chat

AO.com live chat window

 

Clear calls to action

Be sure that your call to action is straightforward and easy to complete. For instance, if you want people to request more information, pop the call to action on a clear, coloured button that stands out from the rest of the page. If you want people to add a product to their basket, or buy it now, you should be explicit in saying that too.

If necessary, add more than one button to the page, especially if you have lots of content - you could choose to have one at the top and one at the bottom.

Waterstones CTA

Waterstones.com: CTA appears when you hover

 

Clear add-ons

If your product goes well with others on your website, tell people about it. Just make sure it doesn't interfere with the main body of the page.

What do we mean? Don't add a related products box before the call to action, or before your customer has found out more about the product, like this page on the John Lewis site. You're distracting the visitor from what they initially came to the site to do, so could end up leaving the page without making the sale at all.

JohnLewis.com: The product specifications are beneath 6 product bundles

JohnLewis.com: The product specifications are beneath 6 product bundles

 

Clear security features

While we're sure that your site is safe and any bank details entered will be cared for as if they're your own, you should make this clear to your visitors.

Be sure to add security certificates to your page, so they know the measures you've taken to keep their vital info private. Most tools will supply an appropriate badge, like Norton Secured, McAfee Secure and Truste Certified Privacy, which can be added to your site.

Also, obtain HTTPS status too, so that users know they're on a secure server. It will also give your site a bit of an SEO boost, because Google will view the site as being more trustworthy.

Norton Secured

Clear social proof

To further reassure visitors that they are safe using your site, harness the power of social proof. Add reviews from satisfied customers to prove that you're a reputable firm with a great service.

Amazon does this particularly well, with a star rating at the top of each and every product page and reviews at the bottom. This allows potential customers to get an honest feel for how real people found the product, plus any unexpected bonuses and faults that might occur.

Customer reviews on amazon

Clear mobile site

We're all aware that mobile commerce is becoming increasingly common as smartphone adoption increases. Test your e-commerce product pages to make sure they're mobile optimised. Be mindful that your buttons aren't too close together, that the calls to action are clear and the content fits neatly onto the screen.

Wherever possible, make sure important buttons are within the 'Thumb Zone' ie that they are easy to reach with your thumb when using the site - which is the digit most people use on mobile web. It'll make that click to buy even easier.

The 'thumb zone' for one-handed phone use

The 'thumb zone' for one-handed phone use

 

Test it

Of course, no two e-commerce sites are ever the same, so it pays to test your product pages to see what works for your customers. Instapage and VWO are great, inexpensive tools that allow you to create variations of your product pages, so you can hone in on what works.

For instance, you may choose to vary the colour and position of the call to action button, or the messaging on that button.
Or try different image styles - for instance lifestyle shots rather than product cut outs.

Or you could change the style of the copy to have more details, or inspirational info instead of bullets.

If you want help optimising your e-commerce site, get in touch. Ad-Rank has years' of expertise in the field, so we can help you get the sales your business needs.

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