If you already have an ecommerce store that is receiving any kind of traffic, then these optimization tips will make your life a lot easier!
We are going to be taking a look at 9 simple methods you can use to optimize your ecommerce store.
Categorize products based on segments
You should definitely show customers the products they are interested in when they land on your page.
You can do that by utilizing a strategy called segmentation.
It’s a good ecommerce practice frequently used to increase conversions.
By categorizing products based on audience segments, you can show people items they are more likely to be looking for.
Let’s say you sell gaming accessories.
So would you show male gamers pink gaming accessories?
Most probably not.
That’s why it’s a good idea to segment your audience and create product categories for each audience segment.
Instead of having random categories on your landing page, try to do the following.
Answer these two questions:
What are your best selling product categories?
What kind of customers purchase products in those categories?
So let’s say our gaming accessories store has three best selling categories:
So how can you categorize these products to match the customer segments?
The easiest way would be to go by gender.
Male gamers are most probably more interested in darker “Manly” colored products. While female gamers are more likely to purchase lighter colored gaming peripherals.
If you already have sales then you can take existing sales data and analyze it.
Figure out what are the differences between products purchased by males and females.
This would help you create two product categories. One for males and the other for females.
That way your potential customers don’t have to look through products they are definitely not interested in.
You can segment your audience based on multiple characteristics, not just gender.
Here are just a couple of segmentation ideas that can be used for any kind of ecommerce store:
You should not get very obscure with segmentation. Otherwise, the strategy may not be as effective.
The following image is a great segmentation example!
There are multiple segments with specific categories that can be clicked out.
No shop now call to action buttons needed!
If you have not done it yet you should definitely segment your audience and categorize your products.
Make sure it’s as simple as possible for your potential customers to find the products that they are looking for.
Segmentation is a great segway to our next point.
Have a rich set of categories and subcategories
If you are selling more than a few products you should definitely have all of them categorized and subcategorized.
By categorizing products you make it easy for visitors to find the items they are interested in. Which in return will increase the odds of them making a purchase.
Even if you sell just t-shirts you can still break them down into different subcategories:
- With graphics
- With messages
- Long sleeve
The list can go on and on. Of course, you should not have tens of subcategories that don’t make sense.
The key is to know what you're selling. If you know each and every item that you are selling, then it will be easier for you to place products into categories and subcategories.
More often than not a single product will belong to multiple subcategories. That is completely fine, as long as the product and category sort of match.
The pictured store is called Nasty Gal. As you can see, they have a rich set of categories combined with subcategories.
Just for their Tops category, they have 16 subcategories. Even though their products in subcategories often overlap, the overlaps are very logical.
More call to action buttons is better?
Absolutely not! Having tons of buttons may seem like a good idea, but it’s not.
In reality, this is one of the biggest conversion killers out there. You should be conservative with the amount of call to action buttons on your landing page.
Call to action buttons are how you connect with your customers.
Imagine you are trying to make a sale in real life. Would you say Buy now over and over again?
Most probably not.
So why would you apply the same strategy for your ecommerce store?
Many stores have way too many call to action buttons on their landing pages.
You may think that several Shop now buttons will make it easy for visitors to start shopping.
In reality, it just doesn’t work that way.
Having way too many call to action buttons makes a site look like a low-quality sham.
The call to action buttons should also have meaningful and original content instead of the generic Shop now or Buy now text.
That doesn’t mean you should never use the Shop or Shop now phrase for your call to action buttons.
You can use them, but not in rapid succession, and always try to be original.
Very often I see stores where the Shop now button is placed side-by-side dozens of times.
It really doesn’t want to make me shop for anything.
Start building trust with visitors immediately
Instead of expecting your visitors to blindly trust you, make them trust you.
Show off customer testimonials on your landing page.
In addition to customer testimonials, show trust badges on your landing page. There are tons of free Shopify trust badge apps out there.
Since it’s not possible for visitors to see how busy your store is, use informational social influence to increase conversions to show off the popularity of your store.
Make your visitors feel at ease by showing them that other people already trust you. Building trust with visitors is a very important strategy that is not implemented by many e-commerce stores.
So make the most of it! It’s a great way to have an edge over your competitors.
The Watch Box has done a great job with their testimonials section. It’s right on their landing page too!
Of course, it’s likely that your store has not been featured in the news just yet. So instead of having an “In the news” section, you could show off your trust badges.
The testimonials include information about the person who made the purchase, their rating, and what they purchased.
They also show off the total amount of reviews they have. If you have gathered a good amount of reviews, then you should implement something similar on your landing page.
Have a modern store design
When it comes to e-commerce stores, then old school is not cool.
This one may seem a bit obvious, but you would be surprised how many store owners settle with an outdated design.
There are not many examples of Shopify stores having a very outdated design, unless you are really trying to make your visitors feel like they traveled to 2008.
But outdated and ugly design elements plague stores built on platforms that are not Shopify.
Why does design matter?
An outdated store design can make the products sold at the said store feel low quality. Even if the products you sell are great.
Visitors will automatically have a bias due to the lack of polish applied to your store.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
Large blocks of text
Instead of having a whole bunch of text on your pages, trying to explain your product, have visuals that do the work for you.
Try to replace large text blocks with good looking images and videos.
In this image, we can see a whole novel being written out. The image is also very generic.
Instead of a novel, the store should have a video preview or a few images which would explain whatever it is they are selling.
Try to avoid dull colors. For example, if your site has a white background, then don’t add large gray buttons. Have two or three eye-catching colors used throughout the store.
Make the most important things like call to action buttons stand out.
The store on this image looks like it has not updated its style since they opened back in 1999.
They have found all the design mistakes it's possible to make and then made them all.
Lots of dull colors, low-quality images, generic images, and a bad font choice.
On the plus side, they have a customer testimonial right on their landing page which is nice.
Use modern fonts
Stop using fonts like Arial, Times New Roman or Comic Sans. Today, the three most popular fonts are Roboto, Open Sans, and Lato.
And for good reason. The fonts look like they belong on a site created in 2020.
Fonts like Arial just look very outdated. If I see an old font in a modern-looking store, I instantly feel like the products sold at the store are from the last decade.
Avoid squeeze pages
So what is the difference between a squeeze page and a landing page?
The single key difference is the fact that squeeze pages try to extort the visitor’s email address with popups.
Unless you're actually giving the customer real value for their email address, a squeeze page is not a good idea. That is just not how you should go about collecting email addresses in 2020.
If you want to collect email addresses from potential customers, have a separate form that is above the fold.
Above the fold is the upper half of your landing page. It’s the first thing a visitor sees without scrolling down.
In the email collection form, you should still provide potential customers with an amazing value proposition.
By today people are aware of the value of their email address and don’t want to receive newsletters from every ecommerce store they visit.
Lincraft has a great value proposition in return for a visitor’s email address.
They are talking about real dollars instead of percentages. That’s a great strategy, because people think in terms of numbers, not in percentages.
For example, 10% off does not really resonate with a visitor until they start paying for their order. But seeing that they can get $10 off, the customer would already feel like they have some credit at the store.
Making them feel like they have an extra $10 added to their bank account. Instead of saving an ambiguous fictional percentage, which they will finally be aware of when they eventually, if ever, pay for their order.
Appeal to visitors emotions
Emotions have a lot to do with making a purchase. 95% of purchases take place due to a heightened emotional state. Emotions drive action, so leverage that knowledge.
To appeal to visitor emotions, you have to know what emotions are associated with your products.
For example, maybe you sell luxury goods. In that case, potential customers want your products to make them feel a higher sense of self-worth and accomplishment.
If you sell sporting goods, then people expect your products to make them feel like they will be at the top of the leaderboard in their next marathon.
So how can you make people feel those emotions?
With images and videos! Show visitors high-quality images of your products being used in an environment that gets their emotional juices flowing.
Safira sells female jewelry. They appeal to females by making them feel a sense of empowerment.
By making female visitors feel like they are empowered by their jewelry, they can induce a heightened emotional state in their target audience.
The second thing they get right is having high-quality images of attractive females wearing their jewelry.
Good looking, happy people interacting with any product make the product instantly have a positive feeling associated with it.
Make it really clear what you are selling
Again, this one may be really obvious to some, but not that obvious to others.
When a visitor lands on your page, it should take them only a couple of seconds to understand what is being sold at your store.
The best way to convey these facts to your potential customers is to use a couple of words paired with good looking images or video content.
That’s why it’s important to have a good landing page copy. Coupled with attractive and relevant images.
Here are a few quick pointers if you are trying to learn how to write a landing page copy:
- Short sentences, at most 8 words per sentence
- Easy to understand words
- Spread text out over the page
- Make sure your images align with your landing page copy
What if you are selling a single product which is technical?
In that case, we recommend that you have a 30-second explainer video on your landing page. Make the video short, but concise.
In this image, we can see a great store that has gotten quite a few things right, but a couple of things could be improved.
- Good looking professional imagery
- Only 1 CTA above the fold
What could be improved:
- The second and third image seem a bit random, there is no real indication that the products are basketball-related
- Generic “Shop Now” call to action button. Could be “Shop T-shirts” or “Shop Hoodies”
Considering that the first thing you see when landing on the shop page is a guy on his phone, it is not 100% clear what is being sold.
Only when scrolled down it becomes evident that the store sells basketball-themed clothing.
In this image, only a single product is being sold. It’s really clear what the product is and there is the right amount of text placed above the fold with only 1 call to action button.
When looking at the page, it is absolutely clear what is being sold. It would take a visitor only a second to understand if they are interested in the store or not.
Stick to a single niche
Your supplier may be able to supply you with electronics, clothing, and bicycles.
That doesn’t mean you should sell all of those products at a single store.
Turning your ecommerce store into a general store may seem like a really good idea, but in reality, it’s not.
If you want to sell earphones, bicycles, and everything in between, then create a separate store for each niche.
This store has loads of unrelated categories that just do not make sense.
The store sells clothing, skin care products, and apparently TikTok merchandise?
In this example, it’s clear that the store owner has started in a single niche and then branched out to whatever has been popular at the time.
Very few people find a store like that appealing. To most people, it looks like a scam.
Branching out is not necessarily a bad thing, but it should not be done randomly.
When looking to expand, it’s best to stick to a general niche.
This store most probably started in the skincare niche. It would have made sense for them to branch out and sell makeup products.
Instead, they went the opposite direction and started selling clothing, phone cases, and personal protective equipment.
You can of course have a general store, but it should always stick to a certain niche.
So instead of a phone case store, you could have a phone accessories store.
In that case, you can widen your target audience and generate more revenue.
But when starting out you should focus on a very specific niche. And remember that you should never start selling products in a new niche, just because it seems hot at the moment.
If you really want to sell products in a completely different niche, create a new store for it. You already have a template so it should be easy to set up.
Have good looking product images
By using the default product images provided by your supplier, you are not setting yourself apart from competitors.
With custom imagery, you stand out from the competition resulting in an increase in conversions.
Creating custom images may take a lot of time, but it’s worth it in the long run.
You may not be able to afford to hire models and professional photographers to shoot pictures. But that’s not an excuse why you shouldn’t have custom imagery.
Anyone can learn Photoshop or similar software in a matter of days. You can even use a photoshop like product that’s available online for free.
So what constitutes a good looking image?
Let’s say your store sells custom rims for cars. Your supplier has provided you with generic product pictures of rims on a white background.
So instead of having a set of rims on a white background, you could do some photo editing magic and Photoshop the rims onto a nice looking car.
The goal is to make it look like the rims are actually installed on a car.
Good looking product images help you appeal to the emotions of your potential customers.
Let’s say a person is looking to buy a new set of rims for their car. They see the same image format everywhere they go:
Set of rims on a white background.
Now they would visit your store. Instead of seeing a set of rims on a white background, they would see how good a set of rims look on a car.
This would make your store stand out from the rest and make them more likely to purchase a new set of rims from you. Only because you had a good looking product picture.
That’s why it’s so important to have contextual product pictures.
It may take you a bit of time to master photo editing, but it’s totally worth it. Creating the perfect pictures for your products shouldn’t be your number one priority.
Once you have your store set up and you are looking to boost conversions, you should start focusing on custom product imagery.
There is a lot to digest in this article. So many little things to think about, but that’s what internet commerce is all about.
You should always try to make your store look legit by masking your call to action buttons.
Be original with your CTA content. Don’t repeat the same phrase over and over again. It makes your store look bad.
Segment your target audience and craft personalized product categories for each segment.
Using the power of segmenting you can make more sales just because you know what potential customers are looking for.
Don’t stop with segment-based categories. Create as many subcategories for your products as possible.
Make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.
Instead of hoping that visitors will instantly trust you, take the first step and build trust with them.
You can build trust with visitors by adding sales notifications and testimonials to your ecommerce store.
Make sure your store looks nice. Make sure you keep up with the competition by having a modern-looking website.
Don’t turn your landing page into a squeeze page. Squeeze pages are not popular anymore.
Instead have a form where visitors can sign up for your email list. In return for their email address, offer them a coupon code with real $ value.
Learn what drives your customers and leverage that knowledge.
Once you have segmented your target audience, you should also find out what makes them drive.
That way you can figure out what your target audience is looking for and how you can appeal to their emotions.
Emotions play an important role when it comes to purchases. That’s why this is a very important step you do not want to skip!
Make sure you are not too obscure with your images and text.
When a visitor lands on your page, it should take them no more than 10 seconds to understand what you are selling.
The less time it takes for visitors to understand what you are selling, the higher your conversion rate will be.
If you choose to branch out, then stick to a single core niche. Don’t start selling products in a completely different niche unrelated to your store.
Since it’s important to appeal to the emotions of your potential customers, you should also have relevant good looking product images.
This step may take a bit of time, but it’s skipped by most small scale e-commerce businesses.
By having appealing product images you will instantly be miles ahead of your competitors. In return, you will definitely see an uptick in conversions and sales.
Now that you are familiar with the key optimization tips, you can use this landing page checklist:
- Avoid spammy CTA buttons
- Display relevant categories and subcategories to visitors
- Build trust with social proof and testimonials
- Have a modern design
- Ask for visitor email by making them a real $ offer, avoid annoying pop-ups
- Appeal to visitor emotions, sell a lifestyle not just products
- Make sure visitors understand what you are selling without ever scrolling
Have custom images that your visitors identify with
If you are looking for a source of social proof for your ecommerce store, then make sure you try out Social Oracle.
We have Shopify and WooCommerce plugins making the integration process really easy!