Running a successful e-commerce business isn’t a walk in the park, especially if you’re trying to establish a brand from scratch.
Generating traffic to your digital storefront alone is something that can take weeks of extensive research and hair-pulling. And once you manage to scrape a few pageviews here and there, you also have to deal with deflating moments when you finally receive an inquiry — only to never hear from them again.
Don’t worry, it’s all part of the growth process.
As an aspiring e-commerce entrepreneur, you need to accept that plenty of things won’t go according to plan.
Designing landing pages, for example, is essentially a hit-or-miss affair. You may have utilized a ready-made page template that’s “preconfigured” for conversions, but there’s really no way to tell if it’ll work for your brand unless you take it for a spin.
At the end of the day, your best bet is to understand the key elements of a successful e-commerce website, piece them together, and monitor their impact over time. Only then will you be able to mold and refine a truly profitable strategy for your e-commerce website.
To give you a head start, here are the 6 essential components of a high-converting online store and the best ways to implement them:
1. A Punchy Headline
One of the first elements people see upon visiting a website is the headline, which is comparable to a book cover that gets judged on sight.
To make sure it grabs the attention of your target audience, it must be impactful and concise. More importantly, it should be visible above the fold — not camouflaged over a busy-looking image or a mess of distractions.
When creating a headline for your e-commerce website, here are a few tips you ought to remember:
- Try Writing It Last
Sometimes, a killer headline is something you can only come up with after you look at what you’ve put together. For now, you can settle for a temporary headline that describes what you intend your store to be, like “The Best Online Store for Hiking Gear” or “A Pro Angler’s One-Stop Shop.”
- Use a Subheadline
Since you’re not expected to write an entire paragraph for your headline, you can add a subheadline to give your audience more context on what you offer as a brand. This can be something that changes seasonally or to match specific events, like Thanksgiving and Mother’s days.
- Write Multiple Variations
Even with the most talented copywriter in the world, it’s nigh impossible for you to nail your headline on the first try — mainly because you can always concoct a better headline down the road. That said, create a list of potential headline ideas and give the notable ones a fair chance.
2. A Search Bar
For an online store, it may sound beneficial if your visitors could see more of your catalog. But experience-wise, leaving them with nothing but a navigation menu to get around is a terrible idea.
Always remember that the customers who are most likely to convert are those who already know what they want. You just need to provide them with a fully-functional search bar to eliminate friction from their online shopping experience.
The good news is, most e-commerce platforms feature a built-in search bar that is automatically implemented in most layouts. Content management systems like WordPress, on the other hand, supports plugins that will allow you to integrate these feature into any theme.
3. The Daily Deals
While some customers already know what they’re looking for, others could use a recommendation or special offer to be put in a buying mode.
That’s why plenty of e-commerce websites feature a “daily deals” section to stimulate conversions by adding the senses of exclusivity and urgency to the mix.
(Image Source: World of Watches)
The main advantage of daily deals is their versatility. You can use it as an opportunity to present products that don’t sell well, capitalize certain trends that affect the demand, and so on.
An “offers” section can also be made to coincide with shopping holidays, like Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays. Just remember to heighten the sense of urgency by setting a deadline or displaying the number of stocks left.
4. Buttery Smooth Performance
Speaking of getting customers in a buying mode, there’s one thing that can single-handedly snap them out of it: long loading times.
According to statistics, 40 percent of online shoppers would leave a site that loads for more than three seconds. That’s nearly half of your potential customers gone before they even get the chance to see your products.
If you want to improve your website’s loading speed, the first order of business is to run a complete evaluation on Google PageSpeed Insights, which automatically scans for all performance-related issues and presents you with instructions on how to fix them.
For online stores that cater to the international audience, a typical strategy is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN to boost their loading speed. It works by letting users download cached web data from the nearest proxy server.
5. Customer Testimonials
As a new e-commerce brand, winning the trust of your target audience is a major obstacle.
You can’t just expect them to hand over their hard-earned cash to a company they barely know. If you want to convert them into paying customers, you must first earn their trust by proving you can deliver.
This is where customer reviews and testimonials step in.
Statistics show that 97 percent of consumers factor in customer reviews when making purchase decisions. 85 percent of which would trust them as much as they trust personal recommendations from family and friends.
(Image Source: Justforfishing.com)
6. The CTA
At this point, you now have more than enough elements to reel in your audience and convince them of your brand’s worth.
All you need now is that single element that seals the deal, so to speak. And that’s what a CTA or call to action is for.
In simple terms, a CTA gives the audience one last push into taking action. It’s usually implemented as a button with words like “Buy Now,” “Start Free Trial,” and so on.
Plenty of e-commerce brands also use CTAs that aim to generate leads for a mailing list, which is a great approach if you want to maximize the value of your traffic.
(Image Source: BareBaby Organics)
When it comes to creating CTAs, a lot of businesses overlook the importance of choosing frictionless words that signal how easy the conversion process will be for customers.
The words “Join Now,” for example, involves less friction than the words “Register Now.” This is because the term “register” is indicative of a lengthy application process, which a lot of users normally don’t enjoy.
That’s it! You now know the elements of an e-commerce website that sells.
The next step is to mix and match these elements, observe, and fine-tune your website as you go. It won’t happen overnight, but as long as you know how these elements affect your audience’s online shopping experience, then you’re well on your way to a successful online store.