Your company website is your virtual shopfront – the place online that anyone interested in your product is likely to arrive at. Here you highlight the unique value your products can offer everyone in your target market. As with anything that can be sold online, new markets may open up for your business worldwide. Of course with opportunity comes competition. Now you may not be competing only against your rival across town but with similar firms from Melbourne to Milan.
As some online shoppers will never set foot in your own physical store (if you have one), you must wow them and woo them through your website. The question we ask today is – once they visit, do you make it easy for them to move from curious, to interested, to sold? Here are 10 tips to help improve user experience and increase sales.
Tip 1: Get Your Landing/Home Page right! – Once visitors click onto your homepage or through an ad to a specific landing page, make sure they know (a) where they are and who you are (b) what they can do while on your site, and (c) why they should stay longer.
Tip 2: Write great copy - Ensure your copy and content is persuasive and highlights the value of your product. Does it
- read well and is understandable by everyone?
- focus on benefits for the customer, not just features?
- provide answers to any fears or uncertainties visitors may have against purchasing?
- give clear instructions on how to buy?
- provide information on what happens after buying (delivery, returns process)?
Tip 3: Use product images - This seems an obvious point, but a text heavy site with no product images or visual cues often has visitors nodding off if they haven’t already clicked away.
Tip 4: Offer less products per page, with better description - Rather than following a ‘something for everybody’ approach and offering dozens of product alternatives, maybe try to focus on fewer. This way you can zero in on the benefits of each in more detail. Some web design guru’s give advice that for online retailers, 4-6 items on any one page is the magic number. Did you know that Amazon follow the rule of 6? They limit their highly effective ‘customers who bought this also bought these’ list of related items to a max of 6 per screen.
Tip 5: Test/Change which benefits you use to sell each product – You may be very proud of a certain product benefit. Do customers feel it is equally as important to them though? Test different benefits within your headline or sub header and see what visitors are responding to in biggest numbers.
Tip 6: Test layout of any call to action - anything from the headline, copy wording, placement on page or even colour scheme of any ‘call to action’ box or button can increase response rate. Tweak, test, repeat!
Tip 7: Reduce clicks to get to sale - Ensure that visitors don’t have to jump through too many hoops to avail of a free trial or make a purchase. The longer the ‘click trail’ they have to follow, the more likely they are to baulk. Simplify when possible.
Tip 8: Offer time sensitive offers/stocks etc - This is a great way of keeping your website up to the minute, and keep customers coming back to your site. A timely offer can make your product look scarce and exclusive to potential buyers. Google loves websites that update content often too, so it won’t do your SEO any harm either!
Tip 9: Promote shareability - using sharing buttons on your site allowing visitors to share an offer or product with their social network can be great exposure. An example would be a clothing or art & design site allowing Pinterest pinning to special interest community boards to gain you viral attention the easy way.
Tip 10: Be your customer! – The more input you have had in your website design, the more a labour of love it will be to you. Try to take off your designer hat and wear a visitor’s hat instead. Use your site like they would. There may be holes in user experience that you are not seeing, looking from the inside out.
These tips will get you thinking about your website and any potential for improvement. It may be purring like a kitten to your eyes, but tweaking, testing and always looking at every change from a user perspective can glean even those small improvements that can snowball into better sales.