10 minute actions to improve your online sales

  • Samantha Graves -
  • Advice
We know that you are busy and your bottom line is the main concern. We advise merchants every day how to sell more and have condensed this advice into 7 points with actions you can complete in 10 minutes to improve your store and grow your online profits.

Make mobile matter

As an e-commerce business, you’ve heard this, 1000 times before. However, have you invested time and research into your mobile website? To drive this home, here are a few recent statistics regarding mobile usage:

  • 62% of traffic on Shopify stores is from mobile users.
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
  • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.

Without having a mobile store, or a poorly functioning site, you are not only losing potential customers and creating a bad first impression, you are pushing them to your competitors. There is a lot to consider. How much content are you displaying and is it too much for a handheld device? Are the links and back button easy to navigate, regardless of the size of the device or hand? Can you easily access your menu and filters? Are you offering easy payment options, such as Apple Pay, for your mobile customers? The bottom line is to ask your mobile customers to do less, you’ll benefit from it in the long term.

10-minute action - Run your e-commerce websites through Think with Google. It will test how mobile friendly your store is, how quick it is on both mobile and desktop and will give you actionable advice on what to improve. 

Further Reading: 10 reasons why your store must be mobile

It makes perfect sense to me

We know, we get it, your products are of exceptional design and quality, and your lifestyle photography represents your vision and brand perfectly. But can your customers actually use your site? Is it easy to access on a 3/4g connection? Is the checkout process clear on mobile, tablet and desktop? Have you sat down with a friend, family member or complete stranger, and watched them navigate your website, on desktop and mobile? It’s amazing how many companies rely on staff or designers to test their store. An important point here is that these two sets of people use this website every day, they automatically know where the checkout function is, how to navigate any small bugs, whereas a first-time purchaser is likely to give up after a few failed attempts. Not only give up, but never return. From unclear product descriptions or a difficult to find checkout button, to missed sales or offer opportunities, the insight of a complete stranger can be invaluable.

10-minute action - Sit with a user and watch them use your store, from landing page to checkout, and analyse their journey. You’ll gain invaluable insights into where you may be missing out on sales and find potential bugs.

Is it safe?

Shopping online, especially from a new retailer, is a trust exercise between consumer and supplier and a key reason why customers abandon their purchase is that they’re not really sure they can trust you. Shoppers want to see a trustworthy website with reassurances along the way that the service or product you are offering will fulfil their expectations and more.

Key online trust indicators include:

  • An open, honest and obvious returns policy.
  • Social proof i.e an active Twitter or Instagram feed written by a human, not a bot.
  • Payment trust symbols from verified retailers i.e Visa, Mastercard, PayPal.
  • A professional looking checkout displaying all charges (delivery or VAT) clearly, before purchase.
  • Testimonials from past customers and star ratings.
  • Clear contact options and an FAQ section

Are you showing your customers you are a trustworthy retailer ready to help if a purchase falls foul? 

10-minute action -  To nullify pre-purchase butterflies, check you are displaying the six trust indicators mentioned above. In the 10 minute window, make sure your contact details are correct and at least your delivery and returns information is clear and easy to find.

Further reading: Why people don't buy: 14 common reasons

Picture perfect

It is imperative your imagery shows your product to the finest degree. In brick-and-mortar stores, customers can pick up, hold, feel, size and examine what they’re about to spend their money on. Are your pictures high resolution? Are they misleading in colour size and scale? I’m drawn back to this article where a customer, thinking he had a bargain, accidentally bought a rug for a dollhouse. Not only are they honest depictions of your product, but do they look professional and trustworthy? Good product photography can take your business from second hand eBay seller to London Fashion Week winner, it’s that simple. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. Most mobile phones come with a semi-professional level of resolution, and for smaller products, you can purchase a photography light tent for around £30. However, if you're working in the fashion industry, investing in models and a professional photographer can make or break your online brand and business. 

10-minute action - Look at your photography in an unbiased light. Is it uncluttered, clear, well lit, from multiple angles, would you ultimately buy from your store? If not spend 10 minutes either, reaching out to product photographers or reading up and ordering your own equipment and decide what is the best foot forward for your brand.

Further Reading: 9 essentials for perfect product photography

We have questions

On top of having clear and correct product descriptions and photography, are you satisfying your customer's inquisitive minds? Feedback and communications from your customers can often offer insights into things you may have overlooked on your website. Maybe your services or products aren’t clear, or the length or fit of a particular garment might not be apparent. You may not be available to answer your customer's questions immediately, before they bounce off your website, often to a competitor's. By providing a forum, especially regarding delivery and returns advice, not only are you cutting down your query inbox but also showing a transparent business process. There are now chat apps that can offer an instant response. Shopify has Facebook messenger enabled to support your customers in real time, however, a good old fashioned FAQ is a quick fix when you’re in your busiest periods.

10-minute action - Search through your communications with your customers, are there any recurring themes? If so, create a commonly asked questions blog or page using the responses you gave directly to the customer.

Direct to your door

Customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the delayed gratification that online shopping creates. I know personally, I have forgotten I’ve placed an order, only to be greeted with gifts from my past self. Speed is not so much the essence rather than price and reliability. Compete on shipping services, not on price. With startup or growing businesses, it can be difficult to compete with low-cost options such as Amazon, you can even wrap shipping costs into the price of your product. Free shipping shows the customer you're willing to go the extra mile, make that purchase sound all the sweeter, and detract from bricks-and-mortar competitors that might seem more convenient. In the same breath, offering free returns can often soothe any purchase doubts, this is a model ASOS have championed. They offer “free” next day delivery and easy returns, drop off locations and have invested millions in eliminating purchase doubt. We know the investment may not be possible, however, you should be able to find a model that works well for your customers and your bottom line.

10-minute action - make a plan to test different free shipping options over the course of a month. For one month run a special free shipping offer, then in comparison offer a “Spend over £XX and receive free shipping”, see which benefits your business in comparison to paid delivery service. 

Further Reading: How ASOS built their online empire

Making life easier

The more screens between a shopping cart and final purchase, and the more hoops you ask your customers to leap through, the greater the risk of cart abandonment. This is especially relevant for mobile customers, as entering delivery details and card detail on mobile can be extremely fiddly, and password reset screens impossible. There are great benefits to asking customers to become a member; their delivery and card details will be saved for future purchases for one. However, an average retention rate in e-commerce is 30% (there’s a great article from our partners at Compass with simple tips to increase your retention rates). Approximately 70% of your customers are one time only purchasers. By offering guest checkout you speed this process. There can be many reasons a customer chooses to checkout out as a guest: maybe they’ve forgotten their login details, maybe they are adverse to spam marketing emails, maybe this is a one-off gift purchase or something they’ll never consider purchasing again. Whatever the reason offering the guest checkout option can offer freedom to the speedy shopper.

10-minute action -  Select 3 items and purchase them from your store. Can you do it in under 3 minutes? If not you should consider enabling the guest checkout option or limiting your checkout screen to one page. With Shopify, you can easily enable the guest checkout option, find the full guide here

Further reading: 7 Ways to boost e-commerce conversions


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About the author

Sam is an e-commerce expert and brings her know-how to the We Make Websites blog on a regular basis. Focused on providing quality Shopify and e-commerce advice, some favourite topics include CRO, SEO and best practice content marketing techniques.

For all comments, questions and content enquiries, please email blog@wemakewebsites.com

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