Most new online business owners instinctively think that they should invest in marketing and ways to drive traffic to their sites almost immediately after the site goes live. If you have been in this position or if you’re in it now, is your site really ready to receive traffic? This latest Moz Blog article discusses five key elements that will significantly improve any e-commerce store.
Posted by KaneJamison
At least once or twice per month, I talk to a small e-commerce store owner who wants to invest in content marketing. Often times, I have to break it to them that they’re not ready for content marketing.
You see, before you spend a bunch of time generating traffic from your target audience, it’s important to make sure those visitors get the best experience possible while browsing your store.
So, in this post, I want to give store owners and e-commerce newbies a clear idea of where they can invest their time before investing in more paid and organic traffic to their sites. Many of these can be accomplished for less than $1,000 or a few hours of your time.
With a few small-scale investments you can help drive performance on conversions, SEO, and more.
So what are they?
Rewrite Your Weak Product Descriptions
Take Better Product Photography
Build Lookbooks & Product Collections
Start Adding Product Videos
Upgrade Your Review Software & Process
Let’s look at these opportunities in detail, and better yet, show you some actual examples of what your site could look like.
Rewrite your weak product descriptions
From product details to features and benefits, product descriptions must pack a lot of information in a short format. You may have overlooked some missed opportunities.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, consider investing in improved product descriptions.
1 – Does your current product page copy speak only to your ideal customer?
If you’ve built buyer personas for your brand, make sure the copy addresses the appropriate persona’s unique pain points and concerns. Bland descriptions meant to appeal to everyone — or just bots — aren’t as effective.
This high chair example from 4moms.com focuses on the three things that matter to their audience: single-handed adjustments, spilt-food prevention, and easy cleanup.
2 – Does your copy focus on benefits rather than features?
You can list features all day long, but customers really want to know how your product will make their life better.
The Amazon Echo sales page does a great job of focusing less on the technical features of the product, and more on the cool things you can do with it.
3 – Are you describing your product with the same words that your customers use?
Using the same language that your customers do will help you better communicate with your target audience in a way that sounds natural for them and touches on their pain points.
A simple way to find these words is to do some reverse engineering. Start by looking at customer reviews and feedback you’ve collected (and those of your main competitors as well) to pick out common words and phrases that satisfied customers are using. From here, you can tie that customer language back into your own descriptions.
I was shopping for a new tent last week and saw this awesome reviewer on Amazon drive home a point that the copywriters had missed. If you read that entire review, the phrase “family tent” is mentioned about 13 times.
But if you read the product description, “family tent” only shows up once. The description fails to mention many of the benefits covered by the reviewer: lots of pockets, sleeping arrangements, ability to catch a breeze but keep the doors closed, etc.
There’s an opportunity here for a competitor in the tent or outdoor space to improve their own product descriptions for the same tent (or even put together a larger guide to family tents).
4 – Are you telling your product’s story?
The folks over at Rogue Brewing understand that the people buying gifts from their website are probably passionate about well-made products, not just well-made beer. Here’s a great example from their site that tells the story of their 28-year search for a decent beer shucker (bottle opener):
Take better product photography
Photography matters. Research from BigCommerce suggests that 67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online.
Good product photos do more than just show shoppers what you’re selling — they provide context and help customers visualize using your products. Plus, high-quality photos will reduce product returns that happen due to misleading images.
So what can you do to upgrade your product photos?
Smartphones aren’t going to cut it
Use a DSLR camera, not your smartphone. Although modern smartphone cameras can take higher resolution photos than ever before, you’ll get better results from a DSLR. Lower-end models start at around $500 — try finding a used body online and spending more money on a better & cost-effective fixed lens that can handle video, too.
Build a cheap lightbox
Create a lightbox for well-lit photos with a solid white background. For less than $10, you can build your own lightbox that will vastly improve the quality of your product images.
Use creative angles
Shoot products from multiple angles. Be sure to include several images on every product page. The more perspectives and viewpoints you have, the better customers will be able to judge your product.
It’s OK to tweak & process your images to make them pop
Process your images with filters that enhance color and overall image quality. Photo filters resolve poor lighting or color issues and vastly improve your product photos. Just try not to get carried away with dramatic filters that distort the color of your products, as this can be misleading for the buyer. Here’s a good example from ABeautifulMess.com showing the difference before and after image edits:
If you don’t have time or the inclination to take your own photography, outsource it to a professional. No matter what route you go, know that upgrading your product page photography is well worth the investment.