Online shopping is comfortable and incredibly convenient, so you think it’d be an easy sell. But there’s lots that retailers can do to sour the experience and turn potential customers off buying online. One of the most basic issues, is that it’s often harder to sell something when customers can’t access the physical object.
Sure, the convenience of online shipping and ability to compare prices is great, but this simple fact can be a sticking point. Think of it this way – have you ever held off on buying that suit online because you’re not 100% of the fit? Or maybe gone in-store to buy your laptop so you know just how heavy it is?
Because of this simple point, you need to make your customer’s eCommerce experience more than just one of convenience (although that’s a necessity too).
Recreating the in-store experience
What your customers basically want is all the benefits of going to the shops themselves without actually having to do it. That means baking as much information and guidance into the item description as you possibly can – your customers want to know exactly what it would be like to hold your product in their hands. This means including key info like:
- Multiple images with ability to zoom
- 360 animation
- Video of the product in use
- Care instructions
- Non-technical description of product
- Specifications including weight, material, size, etc.
- How-to guides and manuals
- You get the idea…
It might seem like a lot of information to gather, but I promise you that it will make all the difference. What’s more, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel for this – just communicate with your supplier to get accurate specifications and descriptions.
What type of information you provide will depend on the product category. For example, always make sure that you include a list of ingredients if you’re an online food retailer – after all, in-store, your customers can simply flip the packaging and read them there. If you don’t list the ingredients, people with food allergies or special diets will simply not buy because they don’t want to risk it.
Don’t scare your customers away with poor writing
It’s amazing how much a well-written product description can do for you. For a start, spelling and grammar mistakes make you seem dodgy and untrustworthy. But it’s so much more than that: customers actually rate poorly written and wordy content as the most annoying part of online shopping and the biggest reason for abandoning the products in their shopping cart.
Poor wording can also be a major source of ambiguity, which you want to avoid at all costs. If a customer is unsure about an important detail of your product, they’re either going to abandon the whole purchase, or they will try to contact your customer service, meaning that you will have to put resources into explaining to customers what should have already been clear from the beginning. For example:
- Make sure that your online shop is easily navigable and separated into logical categories and give your customers the opportunity to customize their searches by including filters. Think of it as giving your customers the best of both worlds: you’re making sure to recreate the in-store experience of physically interacting with a product while at the same time offering all the convenience of being able to quickly search through hundreds of products to arrive at exactly what they want.
- Provide both imperial and metric measurements: No matter where in the world you are selling, you might have customers who are used to a specific measurement system. This means you need to make sure to include both pounds (lbs) and kilos (kgs), as well as centimetres (cm) and inches (“).
- Include sizing charts for clothing and accessories: Make sure to include size equivalents from all countries so that your customers have an easy way to assess the size they need to order without too much hassle.
- I’ve often found that a medium in Store A can be a large in Store B or a small in Store C. If you want to really stand out from the crowd, include the measurements of each size (for example, a Small fits a woman 27” waist). Bonus points if you also have instructions on how customers can correctly measure themselves.
Trust and security
Online purchases can still come with a nagging feeling of distrust on the customer side, so it’s super important to convey a sense of security by incorporating content that makes your customer feel like they can trust you. This includes things like:
- Clear refund and exchange policies. Let your customers know that if something DOES go wrong – they have options. This also protects your business by ensuring there are strict guidelines for what can be refunded or exchanged, and under what circumstances.
- Trust badges are also an excellent way to convey trust. A trust badge or trust seal is a symbol placed on your website that ensures your visitors know that you are legitimate and that all their data is collected securely. A trust badge can significantly increase conversions.
- Reviews are another way to convey trust, as it provides the social proof that others were willing to trust your business and had a great experience or you can resolve issues quickly.
Create your standards playbook
Thinking through your content will also help inform your website design to ensure you have the best website possible for your products or services.
But once you have that design, it’s tempting sometimes to do things quickly rather than properly.
You may have an extensive set of products and categories, for example, so pimping out your product data may seem an overwhelming task. So break it down.
Some products and categories have higher margin than others. So, build a category matrix for each category and its rank from a sales and margin perspective. Then look at the minimum amount of product information each category needs from a product data perspective.
e.g. In order for a TV to be put live and saleable then it must have…
- Front photo
- Back photo
- Lifestyle photo
- Marketing spiel
- Technical Specifications
Set standards for yourself and don’t budge.
Need a hand? At The Playhouse Group, we do this regularly, so don’t be shy and get in touch today!