the-art-of-ecommerce

What’s included in an ecommerce website

We looked at 100s of ecommerce sites to distill down what the optimal structure for a successful online store is. The most important pages we discovered are the Homepage, Products, Our Story, and FAQ. We’ll dig into the product pages in a bit.

Homepage

The homepage of your website is meant to be the summary of your offering. A successful homepage makes it easy for customers to understand what you’re offering and access ways that they can purchase your product.

Checklist

Noteworthy features of your products

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Checklist

Clear links to pages to purchase your products

Homepage Checklist

Descriptive headline

Large visuals that showcase your product

Obvious calls to actions (eg. Shop now, Buy now)

Clear links to pages to purchase your products

Noteworthy features of your products

Testimonials, quotes or social proof on why someone should buy your product

Unique incentives such as guarantees

Soft lead capture (eg. Newsletter form)

Our story

You’re selling more than a product, you’re selling your brand. A story page helps communicate to your customers what you believe in and why they should purchase from you. If potential customers align with your values, they’re more likely to purchase from you.

FAQs

A FAQ is a simple way to quickly organize and present common concerns and questions someone might consider before purchasing your product. Pay attention to the common issues people have and write convincing answers to their hesitations.

Writing your brand story

Writing an honest brand story that connects with your audience can be an overwhelming task, it requires a balance of introspection and pragmatism. With any type of writing, it’s important to just start writing and improve as you go. Your story may not be perfect the first time, but it will improve and maybe even change as you and your company evolve.

When beginning your story, think of these three questions as a beginning framework:

What do

we value?

Think of why you started the company. Why this business or this product? In an ideal world, what impact or effect does your company have on your customers?

What are we

creating and what

makes us different?

Describe what it is you’re selling, is it a product, an experience, what’s the thing that makes you unique? Don’t just list features, think about the problems you’re solving.

How do we

approach this?

Beyond your product, is there anything unique about your business or the way that you approach creating or selling your product?

The three objectives of a

successful checkout experience are:

Maximize revenue, maintain focus, and remove hesitations.

After all of that effort, without a thoughtful checkout experience, you’re going to lose out on your hard-earned customers. Keep your shopping cart simple and to the point—make it easy for customers to understand what they’re buying and what to do next—click that check out button.

You can also take advantage of impulse buying by providing relevant suggestions. Don’t get greedy and throw high priced items at them, keep relevant goods similar to or lesser value than the item they’re purchasing.

I feel the need, the need for speed.

Not just a great Top Gun reference—speed is one of the most overlooked factors of a successful ecommerce site. For every second someone waits for a page to load, your conversion rate drops.

Everything is a compromise and page speed is not the whole story, however, you need to determine if what you’re putting on a page is worth the extra load time. Be pragmatic with your choices. Your checkout page should be one page where you’re very strict, make sure load time is in tip-top shape.

Optimize your assets and remove unnecessary code. You might think using all the analytics software is a great idea but it can result in a bloated page, prioritize what’s important and remove anything extra.

Getting the word out

Turns out “If you build it and they will come” was exclusive to cornfield baseball diamonds—you need to find ways for people to discover your ecommerce site. Depending on the sales and marketing channel, you may see results immediately or they may require longer-term investment.

Which you choose depends on your objectives, skills, and capacity. Don’t invest heavily into a blog if you’re not willing to commit.

Content creation

With 55% of consumers having made a purchase after discovering it on social media—Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are worthy investments. Consider what content your audience would appreciate—with a competitive online landscape, it’s important to create something unique. Don’t expect the same results from copying others.

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Ideas

Make your product unboxing share worthy

Suggest customers tag you in posts to be featured

Contact magazines and blogs to be featured in their gift guides

Build a blog with valuable content for your audience

Partner with relevant companies to create giveaways

Work with micro influencers with relevant followers

Create a referral marketing program that incentivizes sharing your product

Make a viral video that explains your product or story in a completely new way

Partner & referral marketing

Similar to the value of reviews on your website—people are four times more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend. Explore different ways to incentivize your customers to share your product with others and think beyond cash incentives.

Influencer marketing

While many will balk at the term influencer, it’s a valuable resource into crafting customer connections. Instead of focusing on the bigger names, find smaller influencers to work with that have good engagement and a relevant audience.

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