You’ve got an eCommerce store and are always looking for ways to make it better...which doesn't have to mean spending most of your budget on website tools or other investments. Here is a list of tips to improve your eCommerce store and even better, a list of free or low-cost tools to help you along the way.
Present your products in the best light possible, and we mean that literally.
Customers are visual people and an impressive product photo can make all the difference. eCommerce photos are your customers’ eyes on the product, so why not give them the best vision possible? If you take your own photos, maybe consider creating your own home studio. It can be a small space in your house or office with good natural light and room to move around. Follow these 14 tips for creating your home studio.
Or spend some time editing your photos. Have you checked out these free photo editing tools?
Picasa isn’t just a place to store your photos - use the basic photo editing tool to give a special touch to your photos as well. Picasa connects with Google+ and stores all your photos in one place, making it a good central working space for you.
If you use a Mac, try out Apple’s photo editing service. You can make changes to lighting, contrast, saturation, crop photos, and add filters. The tools are easy to use and intuitive for excellent results.
Pixlr is another free service that offers a variety of photo editing tools. Adjust light, color, size, and layers or add one of a variety of filters for a quick fix. The photo editor is clear and easy to use even for a photo editing novice.
Aviary is a free photo editing app, available on Google store or for iOS and integrated with Adobe. Download the app to easily edit photos on your phone, using one tap photo correction, or manually adjusting light or color on your own. You can also add special effects, frames, text or stickers. It’s a great tool for photo editing on the go.
Use stock photos to enhance your landing page or blog posts.
Aside from your own snaps, enhance your website with eye-catching stock photos. Check out these easy to navigate websites that offer free, high-resolution stock photos with a variety of subjects. Just make sure you confirm which ones require attribution and in what way! The best free stock photo websites that we’ve found are:
Pixabay is a collection of over 420,000 beautifully shot stock photos of various subjects. You can download the images in multiple sizes and search by categories and keywords. These photos don’t require any attribution, making it easy to use a few to enhance your website.
Unsplash is a collection of stock photos of a variety of subjects. You can search by keyword, photographer or by subject; or just scroll through the collection endlessly for some seriously great photography eye-candy. Ten new photos are added to the site every 10 days. Download the images you like directly from the website, but make sure to give attribution for the photos used.
Free high resolution photos by photographer Ryan McGuire. The photos are free, inventive, creative and organized by category. He doesn’t require attribution, but of course, welcomes it.
Give your customers the details!
Imagine we’re your parents asking about your day - there’s nothing we don’t want to know and there’s no such thing as too much information! Include a detailed product description that includes the various specifics on your products, whatever those may be: size charts, ingredient lists, materials, weight, height, shipping dimensions and any other relevant details. Aside from photos, your product descriptions are the link between your customer and your product, so make them good!
Streamline Your Checkout Process
Make your checkout process from review of the order all the way through payment and order confirmation as clear and simple as possible. Consider allowing the option to check-out as a guest. Cart abandonment can happen even at the very last minute - when people just can’t be bothered to create an account, or have lost track of what they’re ordering. Make sure to guide your customers through the process until the very end.
Optimize your site for SEO
Basic Search Engine Optimization or SEO doesn’t have to be a big, complicated endeavor that requires tons of tech knowledge. Simply spend a few minutes researching the best words to use to make sure customers can find your store in the first place. These are a few free tools to see what keywords you should use to optimize your site.
Wordstream is a paid tool to search for keywords, but allows for 30 free searches to get started.
Create an account for a free trial with Wordtracker, then subscribe to a monthly plan to keep using it.
The basic, free plan of Keyword Eye lets you search for 10 keywords a day, while you can upgrade to a monthly paid subscription plan for unlimited searches. This tool is laid out simply for visual people and a quick search for keywords can seriously increase site traffic.
This last tool isn’t free, but if you have a Google Adwords account, use Google keywords to find out what people are searching for. You can then use these words peppered around your site and in product descriptions to lead people to where you want them - your store!
Let your customers know what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Create an About Us section on your store or website. Use a blog to highlight the reasons and ethics behind your product lines. Let your customers know who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what you believe in. This creates a loyal base of returning customers. It also helps you stand out from other stores selling the same product if your customer vibes with your purpose. Check out these impressive examples:
This apparel brand is based in the USA, and is all about combining fashion with environmental sustainability. Their story and mission make them stand out from hundreds of other apparel brands also based in Los Angeles.
Fashion brand Cuyana has an entire philosophy behind the clothes they sell, and they aren’t afraid to show it.
Wanderer Bracelets founder Ben shares his story behind the creation of bracelets, taking his product from a simple fashion accessory to a brand with a cause and conscience.
Use social media to promote your store and individual products.
Get active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or others. Add links within your eCommerce store that allow customers to easily share products that they like.
Website Designrazzi has compiled a list of free places to get social media icons to add to your site, increasing sharability and visibility.
Originally designed as a plug-in for Wordpress, this sharing tool can be easily added to any website. Let your customers share the products they love.
Develop trust between you and your customers
There aren’t any free tools for this one, but it is a simple concept. Make sure your product descriptions match the items. Make sure all the product details are accurate. Try to get everything right the first time: trust lost from a first-time customer all but guarantees they won't be a repeat customer.
Make it easy for your customers to pay for what they want.
What are the payment options for your site? Consider using a payment service that is well known and simple to use. Two of the most well-known options include:
Paypal is recognized by customers internationally as a secure way to pay. It also allows for you to accept more payment types, and get paid faster than through other options.
With cheaper subscription plans for SME’s, WorldPay is a good option if you have global customers and want to increase their payment options.
Optimize for mobile
Make it easy for customers to buy on the go.
GoMobi is an easy-to-use platform to create a mobile site. This tool allows you to create a well-designed website using templates or simple design, without having to know code or HTML. A subscription fee applies.
Input your website’s URL on Duda Mobile’s landing page, which will allow you to see a quick version of your website in the mobile version. A basic plan lets you create a mobile site for free, while a monthly paid subscription gets you more features.
Zoho helps you create mobile websites that will be optimized for all types of mobile devices - from a mobile phone to an iPad. You can monitor mobile traffic and use one URL for both your web and mobile versions of your site. Initial mobile website is free and various paid add-ons are available.