Do you have a great product idea? Awesome!

You probably already know that the quickest way to get it into the hands of customers is by setting up your own e-commerce shop.

The technicalities of launching your e-commerce store have been covered many times before, so today I want to talk about three specific ways to create a consumer-facing online store experience that your customers love!

Use Lifestyle Photos to Boost Sales

Great product photography is one way to increase sales for your e-commerce shop. One of the top reasons that people still purchase products at brick-and-mortar stores is because it provides them with the ability to see a product from all angles. Good photos and video on product pages can provide this benefit online!

Great product photos are well lit, show off any important details, allow the user to zoom in on high resolution photos, offer consistent alignment and show off the product from multiple angles.

Your e-commerce shop can take this a step further by introducing lifestyle photos onto your product pages. Lifestyle photos show a product in use.

For example, here we see an Under Armour running top laid out on a white background.

This picture makes it difficult for the shopper to understand how the top will fit or hang when it’s on an actual person. In this case the shopper may leave the website without purchasing, preferring instead to wait to go to a retail shop or worse by going to a competing website that does show lifestyle shots of running tops on actual people.

Luckily, Under Armour knows a lot about e-commerce and also includes lifestyle shots on the product page!

Can you see the difference though? In my opinion one of these product photos is definitely more persuasive than the other, and I think you know which one I mean!

Don’t Be Afraid to ASK for Reviews

Reviews are not just important, they are essential to e-commerce.

According to eMarketer, “consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from the manufacturers themselves.”

Additionally, according to BrightLocal 79% of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and research by Bazaarvoice found that site visitors who interact with reviews and customer Q&As are 105% more likely to make a purchase.

Then you have research from Reevoo that found reviews lifted sales, on average, by 18%.

Why are reviews so powerful?

According to Michael Luca for the Harvard Business School, reviews “fill in the gaps by providing a tremendous amount of information on which to base decisions.”

While a product description tells a shopper what a product looks like or how it works in theory, consumer reviews tell the shopper how it works in real life.

Reviews answer questions like… Do these pants run small or big? And… Will this outdoor product hold up well in rainy conditions? While the company can answer these questions directly, reviews are seen as providing unbiased insight that can be relied on. They also allow shoppers to receive insights immediately without having to wait for a response to a question from a customer service team.

Because reviews are so important for increasing sales on your e-commerce website, it makes sense to get as many positive reviews as possible. How can you do that? Ask your customers to give them!

Try setting up an automated email that goes out several days after a package has been received by your consumer asking how their experience was.

To increase the number of people who respond to your email with a positive review try offering a small incentive, such as discount code or free gift with next purchase. Software like Yotpo makes this really simple.

If you’re worried about negative reviews, let’s talk about what you can do to control them.

First, if you offer a great product and excellent customer service you are not likely to receive many negative reviews. However, offering both a great product and excellent customer service are both necessary. They both help minimize your risk for someone leaving a negative review. Even if a bad product slips through, great customer service can make the experience positive again.

Second, even if someone leaves a negative review they are giving you valuable information about your company and an opportunity to fix it.

According to Victoria Treyger for Forbes, “Like any legitimate complaint, a bad review is a learning experience. If the customer’s bad experience was the result of oversight or an off-day, be honest. Mention what steps have been taken to resolve the issue and invite the reviewing customer to return to see improvements or receive a small restitution. Once the situation is resolved, take steps to ensure the bad experience won’t be repeated.”

If your products are truly high quality then the number of good reviews should far outpace the number of bad reviews if you’re asking your happy customers to leave a review after they purchase — and those good reviews are going to create an experience future shoppers love and depend on!

Tell a Story Across Multiple Channels

Storytelling is an essential part of building any brand.

Rachel Gillett for Fast Company demonstrates this by asking, “What grabs your attention more: a list full of ingredients like acacia gum, oligiosaccharide and glutemate or a story about one company’s mission to bring the tangy sweetness of a blueberry and the warming power of a bowl of oatmeal to kitchen tables around the world?”

The blueberry bit is more compelling, right? Many studies over the years have shown that human brains are more engaged by storytelling than facts.

It’s become commonplace for brands to tell stories on social media. We often see user generated content being shared, as well as testimonials being posted on sites like Facebook and Twitter. However, an e-commerce shop’s website should tie together all of the brand storytelling being done on other sites into one cohesive place.

For example, Oiselle, is a women’s running apparel brand that promotes the story of sisterhood and camaraderie being good for runners.

Their social media channels are full of images of women runners supporting other women runners.

And the company has even created a club called Volee that helps bring together female runners across the country. Of course, part of being Volee includes not just camaraderie and support, but a commitment to promoting the brand on social media, buying their clothes and wearing a branded singlet at races to promote the company.

You could say this a win-win for both the customers and the shop because there are strong benefits for each.

Because the story of sisterhood is so powerful for Oiselle in their various marketing touch points, it’s also reflected on their website. Their main homepage image currently reads, “the perfect plus one for your run.”

Of course the plus one that they’re really talking about is a product, but through imagery they keep to the story of sisterhood front and center. This is a story they already know is compelling to their audience because they have high engagement levels of social media, so it makes sense to bring it all together on the site where checkout actually occurs.

That’s powerful e-commerce marketing!

Getting Started

Whether your e-commerce shop is just about to launch or it’s already live, it’s never too late to improve your marketing and lay the foundation for success.

Start by taking a look at your product photos and deciding whether they could use a refresh, or maybe a few additions from various angles. Next make sure you have a process by which you can continuously receive positive reviews, and finally make sure you are telling a compelling story to your target audience.

Good luck and have fun!