On Episode 5 of the T.J. Mousetis Show I shared 10 simple tips for your e-commerce site. Most of these tips can be done in a few hours from a laptop on the couch while watching Netflix, although I would recommend doing them without the distraction of Michael Scott or Leslie Knope. I know that people learn in different ways so I thought I would share my 10 tips in blog post form, since video isn't everyones jam. I hope they help and I'd love to take a look at your e-commerce site. Comment with the link and any questions you might have. I'd love to help!
10 Simple Tips For Your E-Commerce Site (or blog)
1. Keep Your Landing Page Simple
Get rid of the scrolling banner, the Instagram feed, the twitter feed, all the extra stuff and keep your landing page simple. You want your visitors and potential customers to have a good initial reaction to your site. Think about your site like it's a brick and mortar store for a second. Do you like walking into stores that are total chaos with stuff everywhere or do you like when stores are clean and put together? Our online stores should be thought of in the same way. Do you want to annoy your customers with a crowded landing page of chaos and swirlyness? No! So stop trying to cram as much crap onto your homepage as possible. Todays customer is using apps like Instagram + Snapchat. Think about how simple those apps look. People want to understand what they are looking at and not be drawn all over the page. Also, a simple homepage works well for a phone which is going to be more and more of your traffic. Stop designing a homepage for a giant desktop computer when 70% of your vistors are looking on a smartphone. And in case you missed it in the first sentence, lose the rotating banner of images. It is a conversion killer!
2. Capture E-Mails
You should have started capturing customer e-mails yesterday, last week, last year. It's such a great tool to have a customers e-mail so you can send sales and news right to their inbox. We use Shopify as our e-commerce platform, which we love. If you are serious about your e-commerce site, you should start using Shopify. Shopify is loaded with themes and apps to help you collect e-mails. We have a banner that pops up on our site that prompts people to sign up for our e-mail list in exchange for a 15% coupon. You should be doing that! If you need a good e-mail campaign client, we use MailChimp, which we also love! Start collecting e-mails today so when you have a sale or a new item you can let your customers and potential customers know through their inboxes!
3. Social Links that Work and that you use
Nothing frustrates me more than when I go to any website and click on the Instagram logo on their page and one of two things happens. One, it opens a new page that says, "URL not found" or it works and the top post says "83 weeks ago." If you are going to have social links on your site, make sure they work and use them! If you don't use Instagram, then don't link to it. If you don't have a Pinterest, then don't have the button. Only link to social medias that you update regularly so when your potential customer hits follow or like they will eventually receive an update and come back to your site. It makes no sense to have someone follow a page that you will never update.
4. Free Shipping Amount
Amazon Prime has ruined shipping costs for all of us. Now, I know that you aren't a huge multi-billion dollar company like Amazon, but I am sure that there is an order amount that makes sense to offer free shipping. For walk in love. it's any order of $100 or more and we have it listed right at the top of the page. Whatever the amount is for you, make sure that it's clearly listed. Your customers will add stuff to hit that number because everyone loves free shipping! Again, Shopify is full of themes and apps that easily allows you to add this feature to your website!
5. Categories for Shopping
I am guessing that when you go to an e-commerce site there is a specific category you click on first. When I shop online I normally always click on the new tab. I love knowing what is new on a site, then I usually go to the sale section, then shop all. If I am shopping for Brooke I will probably click on shop women's. People shop in different ways and you should have the categories that appeal to those differences. Don't just have one giant category. We have seven categories because I think too many categories can also be distracting. So, think of the categories that make sense for your brand and products and then create them!
6. Simple About Page
Keep it simple! Keep it simple! Keep it simple! I think the best about pages are split into two areas. The first is a short mission statement style bio. That's for people who don't want to read some long story and just want the nuts and bolts of what you are about. Your mission statement should be 2-4 concise sentences. The second area of the about page can be longer and tell the longer story of the brand. Some people, like me, will only read the short version. Some will want the longer version. Your about page should have both and they should be separated so people can see the difference. Also, get rid of all the links on your about page that link away from your site. You want people to stay after they read so they can shop!
7. FAQ Page
Having a frequently asked questions page is a great way to save time. I am sure you've received e-mails about your products that you've answered over and over again. Well, make a FAQ page and put the answer there. It won't eliminate every person e-mailing you that question but it will limit them, giving you more time to focus on selling and building your brand.
8. Contact Form That Works Best For You
At walk in love. we don't have a phone number on our site because it doesn't make sense for the way we work. We have a small team of three and we work on a schedule outside of the normal 9-5 so having a phone to answer questions doesn't make sense. We do all our correspondence via e-mail because that works for us. Use a contact form that works for you and your schedule. If you can answer the phone all the time then have your phone number, if not then use e-mail. Use whatever works for you well to give your customers and potential customers the best possible experience.
9. Hide Sold Out Items
If something is sold out on your site and there are no signs of it coming back in stock, hide the product! If it is coming back soon then keep it active with some sort of alert system. Again, with Shopify we have an app that allows us to alert people when sold out items are back in stock. We will keep the occasional sold out item on our site if we know it's coming back soon or has been re-ordered. If not, it is hidden. If your site was an actual brick and mortar store would you want people to have the feeling that all the shelves are empty or that they are full and well stocked? Hide sold out products so people see what you have and don't just see what you did have.
10. Consistent Product Photos
This is the only tip out of the ten that you will have to do a little more than laptop work to finish. Your product photos should be consistent. If that means all the photos are taken on the same person, then great. If it means they are all flat on white, great! Whatever it is, make it consistent in both look and size across your whole site. All our photos are flat on white. I like doing it that way because I think it displays our product the best and eliminates the distractions of who is wearing it. If your product doesn't look great flat (like jewelry) invest in a mannequin bust and take all your photos on that. Whatever you do, just make it consistent across your entire site.
I hope that helps your e-commerce store and if you have any other questions let me know in the comments! Also, if you use any of these tips on your site, please let me know so I can check them out!
This is my e-commerce site - walk in love.
Here is Episode 5 of the T.J. Mousetis Show in case you want to watch it after all!