How to optimise your online store and drive sales

What’s the secret to creating a high-converting online store? 

Is it as simple as uploading a product to a website and installing a few apps? Or does it take more of a marketing mastermind to optimise your online store? 

optimise your online storeWe cover five areas you can’t afford to neglect when you optimise an online store and explain their ultimate impact. 

Display a benefits banner

If you want to win a visitor’s custom, you’ll need to act fast. With so many online stores competing against each other, your store will need to clearly communicate why a customer should shop with you –– and not with another vendor. 

The most effective way to do this is by using a benefits bar that hangs above every page of your website. On this bar, you’ll want to shout about the benefits a customer can enjoy when they shop with you. 

Will they receive next-day delivery free of charge? Can they expect to pay less due to a site-wide promotion? Should they trust you, given your excellent customer reviews? 

Whatever your key benefits are — display them here in simple, easy-to-read statements. 

For MyProtein the key benefits are free UK delivery over a minimum spend, the company’s reputation as the number one sports nutrition brand and access to exclusive offers on MyProtein’s mobile app. These are the benefits that will help to drive sales across the site. 

Creating a benefits bar like this will work to reduce your website’s bounce rate –– the number of visitors who leave your website before taking action or exploring another web page. What does this mean? Visitors will spend longer browsing your store and progress to all-important product pages.

Power up your product pages 

Decisions are made on a product page. This is why you should optimise these online store pages –– not only for your visitors but also for search. 

Search engines should be able to identify your product pages from the information contained in product titles and descriptions. Perhaps you’re selling a branded item or use a certain specification a customer might search. If this is the case, you’ll need to ensure your version of the product is visible during this research process. 

When a customer lands on your product page (thanks to your expert SEO optimisation), you’ll need to provide them with as much information and incentive to buy as possible. 

A good product page contains adequate information, without overwhelming the visitor. 

Most product pages are formatted with product images dominating one half of the page, with product descriptions, purchase buttons and everything else on the opposite side. 

A product page should feature several product images that address any concerns about quality, size and colour. This means your product better be ready for a close-up — as well as a few lifestyle shots to create desire and give context. 

Product descriptions also serve a similar purpose. They describe and specify a product to arm the visitor with a high level of detail. In doing this, you’ll legitimise your listing and set expectations, successfully decreasing your return rate. A buyer needs to know the size, materials and quality of their order, as well as more obscure information like assembly instructions, package sizes, production information and legal information.  

High-converting product pages also highlight whether a product is a bestseller, how many times it’s been viewed, how many reviews it has and its star rating. 

Advanced listings may show multiple payment options, including subscription options, as well as product videos or user-generated content direct from platforms like Instagram. 

Powering up your product pages is all it takes to move the needle. Suddenly, more people will progress to checkout and be one step closer to converting. 

Allow your customers to buy stuff

We know what you’re thinking. Really? Of course, you want your customers to buy stuff. 

But this simple concept is often made complicated when it doesn’t have to be. 

The most successful eCommerce stores boast straightforward, sometimes single-click checkout processes, which make purchasing items a pleasure rather than a problem. 

The king of eCommerce –– Amazon –– does this by allowing customers to opt for 1-click ordering. In this scenario, customers will only need to confirm their intent to order with a single click before their order is processed using saved payment and address information. 

Even if customers don’t feel comfortable with the ease of this process, adding to the Amazon cart is also relatively quick and easy. 

The “Add to Cart” option is always in a familiar, predictable location on the right-hand side of the product page with a uniform yellow button. Everything about this process avoids a customer having to do too much thinking –– other than pondering which items to buy. 

By creating a user-friendly checkout process, you’re removing the risk of decision fatigue on your customer’s part so they can focus on what matters. A simple, secure way to pay gets customers in a spending mode where they are more open to upsells in the form of recommended items, items customers also bought and similar products. In short, you’re allowing your customers to buy stuff.  

Focus on repeat orders

As we’ve established, online stores are incredibly competitive. Shoppers have an abundance of choices at their fingertips, allowing them to reject you in an instant, only to find a more suitable store within seconds. 

With this in mind, you should work to nurture existing customers as a priority, as well as finding new ones. 

Customers who have made a purchase from you in the past will be cheaper and easier to reel back in, making their custom more lucrative than a brand new punter. 

Make tracking information playful, offer incentives to return and create segmented email campaigns for loyal customers. Indeed, post-purchase is a justified and relevant part of the eCommerce buyer’s journey. Some of the most powerful ways to increase your repeat customer rate are offering a birthday gift, including free surprise samples and asking for feedback in exchange for an exclusive discount. 

Make delivery a delight

It’s a no-brainer that your online activity is important. Yet, when looking to optimise your online store you shouldn’t neglect the customer’s offline experience. 

Customers should feel delighted when they receive their goods, not disgruntled by damaged items, poor delivery and excess packaging. 

Perfecting these physical elements is what solidifies your reputation. This gives you those all-important glowing Google reviews and a steady stream of repeat orders. 

Depending on the accuracy of your product pages, customers will have a certain expectation of what they will receive –– and how. Much of getting your physical reputation right is aligning yourself with the correct suppliers. Can your courier commit to the delivery terms you advertise? Is your product wrapped in plastic or sustainable packaging? Does the quality of the item match the product images and description? 

Impressing a customer at this point will open the door to repeat custom and referral on their part. Dissatisfying them has the risk of damaging your reputation and being met with scathing, public reviews and requests for a refund. Ouch!