Jesse Hanley, SEO magician and overall web-optimization expert is back with another guest blog post. This time, he discusses eight major mistakes he sees people making with their eCommerce sites and what they should be doing instead.
So you've just spent thousands of dollars on a new eCommerce site, but it's just not converting.
You're jumping into Google Analytics each day, and the numbers aren't making any sense.
"The site looks beautiful!", you exclaim. "Why are fewer people buying than the previous site? It just doesn't make sense!".
Well my friend, welcome to the art of website design and copywriting where 90% of people make huge mistakes that cost them big bucks.
In this article, I'm going to cover the top eight mistakes that your business is most likely making that is costing you thousands of dollars each month in sales, customers, and leads.
Some of these tips may sound against convention, but give them a go and see if your sales increase.
Let's jump straight into it.
Mistake #1: You designed the website around your preferences, not your customers.
It's often the case during the designing of a new website that entrepreneurs try to steer the web design and direction around their own personal preferences and completely ignore their customers.
They pick their favorite colours, their favorite fonts, and even make big decisions like the layout of the site.
The fact is that each of these elements plays a HUGE role in conversions, and if you've chosen them based on one person - yourself, then you've made a fatal mistake.
To ensure that you don't make this mistake, begin by surveying your customers from the start using online tools like TypeForm or SurveyMonkey.
Create a series of questions around the look and style of the site to get the feedback you need to create an amazing design that converts.
Business owners that want to take it to the next step will visit their customers in person or schedule a Skype call to run them through the designs and get their feedback then and there.
You'll be very surprised on the results that come out of surveying, and more often than not you'll find out that your customers may love designs that you don't - but we’re not in the business of satisfying our own ego, we're in the business of making more money.
You can also consider tools such as Qualaroo which help you analyze response to your page layouts through A/B split testing and other analytics.
Mistake #2: Your site’s copy is all about how great you are, not what your customers will get when purchasing with you.
It's easy when designing your store to put all your accolades everywhere.
#1 eCommerce Store In America
Featured On Oprah For Blah, Blah, Blah
Over 1,000,000 People Shop With Us Each Year
Unfortunately, no one cares.
It's so easy to take the wording on your site for granted. Lots of people don't appreciate copywriting, but it's the one thing that could make or break your website.
At the end of the day your customers aren’t concerned about how great you think you are, how many customers you have or how much money your business makes. So stop featuring it everywhere.
They care about knowing that their orders will arrive on time, that they have 24/7 customer service and that you're a legitimate business who is passionate about the products they are selling.
Mistake #3: Not writing unique content for each product and using manufacturer copy instead.
When designing a site with hundreds of SKUs and products it's easy to copy and paste from competitors’ sites, manufacturers' sites and even others’ site reviews on the product.
But doing so runs a huge risk of Google banning you from their search results and killing a potentially huge growth engine for your business.
Google loathes duplicate content and if it sees that you’ve just copied and pasted it will remove you. Simple as that.
Another reason to not copy and paste is the fact that most manufacturers are terrible at writing content that sells.
They are great at writing the technical aspects of their product and what it is/how it works, but when it comes to talking to your audience and followers it will fall flat on its face.
Only YOU know how to talk to your audience. So focus on creating unique content tailored specifically to them. As a result, you'll see a huge uplift in sales and conversions.
Now, if you're a business with hundreds of thousands of products, then whack a NO INDEX meta tag on the product pages that have copied content. This will tell Google not to look at them. Use the code: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
Here's an example of product descriptions done right:
Mistake #4: Thinking sliding carousels are useful to people on your website.
I admit it.
Product carousels are nice. There was a time where I used to include them in my eCommerce designs.
But then I realised I'm not in business to make nice things.
I'm in business to make websites that convert, drive sales and bring in more customers.
Carousels are one of those popular design trends that many online stores have adopted without actually asking why or looking into the data.
There are three main reasons why I think you should rip carousels off your site.
1. They slow down your site.
For every second that your site is slowed down you potentially lose 7% of your conversions.
2. People don't click on anything but the first banner.
After the first banner opens on their screen, most users will begin navigating all over the place and will ignore the rest of the banners that they can scroll through.
Erik Runyon from WeedyGarden showed that less than 1% of visitors click on a slide other than the first one.
Do you have a site that auto-rotates through banners?
Well, according to the Nielsen Group, people hate them too. Carousels that automatically scroll through are completely ignored according to a recent study.
3. It's not good marketing practice.
When a user hits your landing page you should show them one specific call-to-action (CTA) they should act on. Any more and you're not doing your job.
By showing too many CTAs, a user is often left unsure what action to take, so defaults to no action. If you have a banner on your site, you're probably unsure of what to replace it with now.
My suggestion is to go with a classic, static image with a clear call to action on it.
If your business services multiple demographics you can use tools like VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) to custom tailor this image to the user. For example, if a user browses women’s shoes on your site, next time they visit your homepage they see a deal specifically for women.
Mistake #5: Adding social icons everywhere.
Lots of marketers obsess about social media, and with good reason. It drives huge traffic for online businesses.
With that said, it doesn't help one single bit for website conversions.
When you present your users with multiple options, it leaves them confused, bewildered and unsure of what action to take next.
Lately, I've seen stores add HUGE social buttons on the left and right sidebar. I've even seen some people increase the size of the icons underneath the product images.
My suggestion: kill them all immediately. They are doing nothing to help your conversion rate.
Some people will try to justify that showing how many shares a page has gotten will increase their conversion rate.
It just doesn't happen.
A study by VWO showed that when they ripped off social media icons on eCommerce stores they saw a 11.9% increase in 'add to cart' actions.
That should be reason enough to test the difference it would have on your website.
Now, if you really must have them then make them smaller (see: Amazon) and only show them on pages that have a high share count.
Mistake #6: Seeding your reviews with 100% positive ones.
So let’s put you in the shoes of a consumer.
You're browsing the web for a product you want and you stumble on an online store that is selling it.
You scroll down to the reviews page to see what everyone is saying. You begin to read through hundreds of positive reviews without a single negative one in sight.
Great shipping! Amazing product!
I can't wait to buy again! Such quality and amazing prices!
You start to feel a little suspicious of the reviews, so you leave the website to see what other people are saying. You then find a site that has some negative reviews, which you learn aren't that bad, and you buy there instead.
According to a study by Reevoo, this happens too often.
Negative reviews can benefit your business despite what most marketers think. When a consumer sees that there are negative reviews, they'll spend more time reading through them and are more likely to convert.
Mistake #7: Not having a call to action when an item is out of stock.
You've spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on marketing your business to get traffic.
But for whatever reason, one of your products goes out of stock which means you are not going to get any sales.
Most businesses stop right here.
But if you want to be one of those businesses which are always on the hunt for new ways to increase revenue, then you need to find a way to monetize this traffic that you've worked hard to get.
There are two ways to do this.
The first is use a backordering system that won't take payment until the product is back in.
This benefits everyone as you'll get a sale and the customer won't be charged until the stock comes back in. There are some platforms with this system baked straight in.
The second option is to have a lead capture form trigger when the 'back in stock' notification pops up. This allows people the option to leave their email or phone number (preferred) to get a notification when the product comes back. It's a low-friction way of capturing a lead.
It's a simple modification that can bring in big results if executed smart.
Mistake #8: Your design focuses on desktop first and you haven’t thought about mobile.
This is the last mistake, but one of the most important out of the eight I've talked about above.
We're moving fast into a mobile-first world. Arguably we are already in it.
But yet marketers, designers and developers keep building websites for desktop and only putting half the effort into mobile.
There are big debates online about whether people buy or not on mobile. The truth is they do but at a lower conversion rate than desktop.
This has lead business owners to believe that they should continue focusing on desktop first design. They assume that because they are always on their computer so are their customers.
But that's just not the case.
One of the most important things to note is that people use their phones to RESEARCH first and check out later on other devices.
Read this guide by Google to understand more how people behave across their platforms.
When designing a mobile site, it's important to focus on making sure that information, navigation and product images are seamlessly accessible to your visitors.
Even if they aren't converting on mobile, they need to be able to get all the information they need to make a decision on whether or not yours is the site to purchase from.
Over the next five years there will be some huge changes in the mobile space, and making moves now will ensure you are ahead of the game down the line.
After going over the above eight critical mistakes did you notice any that you have with your store?
Optimizing your store for conversions is tricky and doesn’t happen overnight.
The key is constantly testing, surveying, asking questions and pushing your team to build a site that delivers a flawless experience to your customers.
If you need help with your eCommerce site my team is available to help. Simply reach out to me via email at Jesse@RankingPress.com or visit our RankingPress website to learn more.