Creating an online store is no longer the technical challenge that it used to be—almost anyone can design and build a website where customers can buy their products. If you already have a physical store, then going online to expand your market reach is the obvious next step. Having an online presence will open up markets that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
In some cases, making your products available online means taking your brand to the international stage. That can be very exciting, as it has the potential to dramatically accelerate the grown of your business and your brand on a global scale.
In order to set up a store that will maximize your chances of attracting customers and making sales, you’ll have to get familiar with a few product page basics.
In this article, we’ll look at ways to improve how your website displays products, presents product descriptions, and showcases positive customer reviews. There’s also a brief discussion about site testing, social media, and SEO.
Focusing on things like that will help you to attract more customers and increase traffic to your site. More traffic usually means more sales, so, implementing the tips we’ll cover could do a lot to improve your business!
1. Create Readable Product URLs
This is a simple fix, but it makes a huge difference to users that are navigating your website. You shouldn’t allow your product pages to generate long, unreadable URLs like this:
Instead, aim to have more clear and concise URLs, like this:
Short, readable URLS make it much easier for users to share links to your products, and, they’re more effective from an SEO standpoint. They also make it easier to organize your site because you can clearly read what each link is pointing to.
The more meaningful your product page URLs are, the easier it will be for users to navigate within your site. If you have two product models with slightly different model numbers, it would be convenient for a user to be able to simply edit the URL in their browser to access the desired product page. That would save them the hassle of going back to the main product page to find the item they’re looking for.
There are plenty of WordPress and Joomla! plugins that will let you shorten your URLs in just a few easy steps, so be sure to do some research and find one that you like.
2. Include Accurate Product Descriptions
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating an online store is including product descriptions that aren’t very descriptive. An even worse mistake is publishing descriptions that are just plain wrong.
It pays to go through all of your products and write an original description for each one. Having unique descriptions is a great way to make your site stand out from the crowd, and it also shows that you have put effort into your online store. This might mean a little extra work, but the end result will be a product page that looks like it’s been professionally created.
Be as accurate as possible with your product names. If you’re running a website that sells multiple models or many different products in the same general category, you need to make sure that each product is properly labeled, so customers can tell one product from another.
Finally, keep in mind that products can change over time. Make sure that you’re still selling the exact same version of the product that you advertise on your website. This will help eliminate the chance of a customer purchasing a product that doesn’t match the description they read. Customers really don’t like it when that happens, so, keep your product descriptions current.
3. Display the Price
This sounds like a hard thing to get wrong, but it does happen. Showing how much your products cost, with up-to-date pricing information, is essential if you don’t want to chase off potential customers.
Most users will visit your site multiple times before they finalize a purchase, and if your pricing is incorrect or missing, those potential customers cannot gauge how your prices stack up against the competition’s.
It’s only natural to expect your customers to do some comparison shopping focused on price. If there are other online retailers in direct competition with you, your pricing information needs to be easy to find and 100% accurate at all times.
Also, the price that you display must be the price that the customer sees when they finally hit the checkout page. Nothing kills a product-based website faster than badly implemented pricing structures, so make sure that all of this data is properly entered and that your customers are getting correct pricing information when they complete their purchases.
Your pricing also has to be correct for your company’s bottom line. Accidentally pricing your products below the recommended selling price means you will lose money!
If you price too low and make a sale, you could cancel the order and inform the customer about the mistake. At that point, your chances of satisfying that customer are practically zero.
Bad pricing has caused problems for some of the biggest online stores—the ones that sell millions of different products every day—so don’t feel bad if it ever happens to you. Just be extra careful when adding products to your store, and make sure that you have a procedure for adding new inventory that lets you confirm pricing before taking that product live on your website.
If you have any promotional coupons or special offers, you should make sure they’re being processed correctly before you start the promotional period. If you have customers applying for discounts that do not activate at checkout, you can be sure those customers will not finalize the sale, and you may even lose them forever.
4. Take Better Pictures
One of the biggest mistakes that new e-commerce site owners make is purchasing a very expensive, hi-tech camera so they can take amazing product pictures. This is a great strategy if you’re going to create printed advertising material or outdoor displays, but frankly, it’s a waste of money if the only place your product pictures will appear is on your website.
One of those fancy DSLR cameras takes massive pictures that require huge amounts of storage space on your site. The formats that you end up with when using a professional-grade digital camera are generally too large to upload onto your website, and if you do use the photos at full size, most users will not appreciate the extra time it takes the pages to load. No matter how good they look on your product pages, large, full resolution pictures are not right for your online store.
The compromise that many creative online product photographers have chosen is to use the camera that’s built into their smartphone. The detail that phone cameras can produce, along with smaller file sizes, makes them the ideal choice for taking product photos.
You’ll still need to scale the photos so they’re the right size for your product page, but there are other reasons to process them with photo editing software anyway. It gives you the chance to sharpen the images and apply filters and lighting effects. That’s how you can make all your product photos look professional and uniform.
5. Encourage User Reviews
One of the best ways to boost your business is to have happy customers, so don’t be afraid to let your customers express how much they love your products. Sharing genuine user feedback builds trust and gives prospective buyers a sense of what to expect in terms of product quality and customer service.
Allowing users to leave comments also helps you gather negative feedback in a timely manner, so problems can be quickly resolved. If you’re making the products yourself, this should be part of your quality assurance process.
Users might not let you know about problems through other channels, so allowing them to leave comments and reviews on your site may be the best way to learn about product issues.
Publishing your positive reviews, and being able to quickly respond to any negative input is a win-win strategy. Customer reviews and feedback can help you to build a better online store, and a better brand in general.
6. Get Specific, Add Details
If you’re able to add detailed specification or include multiple pictures of your products from angles that users would find helpful, you should definitely do those things as a way to attract people to your site. Think about what you would like to know about each product if you were purchasing it based only on the information and pictures on your site, and take it from there.
If you’re a reseller for a major brand, you could link to videos and product specifications published by the manufacturer. Product context is really important for some people, so, seeing a video demonstration of the product being used or having access to a detailed diagram can make a big difference.
Another great way to add detail to your product page is to include information about product weight and dimensions. Your sales may increase if you make that information available because it can help users be sure they’re buying the right product, and it clarifies the shipping requirements. The more information and details you can provide for your customers, the better.
7. Consider Website Compatibility
We hear about it a lot these days, but it bears repeating: targeting mobile devices needs to be a major factor of your web design. The fact is, for many people, smartphones and tablets are the preferred method of connecting to the internet. That means, if you’re going to build an online shopping site, it has to be mobile friendly in every respect.
Your login process, product browsing, and checkout have to work flawlessly on all platforms. They must display and function correctly on all popular browsers, regardless of the user’s mobile operating system, whether it’s Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.
We’re not suggesting that you focus on mobile users exclusively. You have to design your site to work on desktop PCs and laptops too. That means making sure your online store is compatible with all the popular browsers that run on those platforms.
If you want to reach the biggest audience possible, you need to ensure that, no matter how they access your site, users are presented with an online store that looks good and works properly.
8. Make the Most of Your Social Media Presence
Social media is a great advertising tool. The best part is that it can be leveraged as a marketing platform that won’t cost you a dime. Don’t be afraid to encourage your users to reach out via social media channels. If you make your social media presence engaging, your customers will readily use it as a way to get in touch with you.
Use social media to advertise your specials and highlight products that you want to draw attention to. All of these communications can be done creatively, and in a way that makes it easy for your clients to complete your call to action.
If customers connect with you over social media to ask a question, or to comment on your products, you’ll be able to respond quickly, and that can help establish a relationship with them that will last well beyond a single purchase.
9. Don’t Forget about SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for your webpage’s visibility and ranking in search results. It helps optimize your product listings and improve how users are able to search for your products.
Remember to use keywords correctly, especially in product descriptions. There are many SEO guidelines to keep in mind, but remember the basics, such as keyword density, header usage, and creating an effective structure for your content.
If you’re not currently implementing these basic SEO best practices, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.
For many people, the first step in online shopping is to search the web using Google. The catch is, no one has the time or patience to look past the first page of results. Heck, some people won’t even scroll down the page!
If your store doesn’t show up prominently in users’ search results, they’ll never even know it exists, much less be able to buy something from it. You need to optimize your site so that it ranks high in search results. Keeping an eye on your SEO is the way to do that.
10. Make it Easy to Buy Stuff
Of all of the functions that your website should serve, one of the most important ones is the checkout step. If your customers have reached that point in the buying process, it’s essential that nothing scares them off at the last minute.
Ensure that all of your different payment gateways work perfectly, and that any promotions and discounts are working properly.
The common shopping cart feature is very useful for customers, so make sure that your online store has all of the necessary plugins to make your site’s shopping cart work properly. Your product pages should help customers get to the checkout page quickly and easily. This means that the checkout icon should be visible from everywhere on your site.
Increase Sales by Improving Your Product Pages
As we have seen, there’s a lot more to product pages than meets the eye. Displaying high-quality pictures that load fast is important, but you also have to pay close attention to the product details you’re including.
Lots of small matters can have dramatic effects on your conversions, so make sure to check your analytics, heat maps, and anything else that can tell you how users interact with your website. Also, pay attention to what market leaders like Amazon are doing on their websites.
Do you think your product pages could use some improvements? Or have you done something that affected conversions in a positive way?