Business In A Crisis: How To Help

Business In A Crisis: How To Help

As I write this Australia is on fire. People are losing their homes, sadly some have lost their lives and our wildlife is being burnt alive, some species perhaps to extinction. It’s a disaster zone and people are scared, angry and devastated. 

5.9 million hectares have been burned across Australia and Ecologists at Sydney University have estimated over 800 million animals have been affected in Australia since September, and it’s only the start of January. 

I have a close friend who is a volunteer firefighter in Tasmania and will be deployed to assist with the fires later this week. I’m scared for him and his family.

I live in Tasmania which has seen its fair share of devastation by fires, but currently is not experiencing anything as bad as the mainland states. There is no escaping it though, every time I look at my Facebook Newsfeed or turn on the TV there it is. It’s confronting and leaves me sad, scared for my country and wanting to help.

That’s the silver lining with tragedies, you get to see the true human spirit come out as people rally together to help. I’ve watched videos of everyday Australians running into burning areas to rescue Koalas or stopping to give animals drinks on the side of the road. Wildlife rescue centres are doing amazing work rehabilitating our affected animals and people all over Australia, and the world and pulling together to help. They are making swaddles and pouches and collecting supplies to send where they are needed. 

The most amazing thing is how quickly people have opened their wallets and donated. Australian comedian Celeste Barber has shocked everyone, including herself, with the success of her Facebook fundraising campaign. Celeste’s mother in law is directly affected by the fires, so she set up a Fundraising post via Facebook with a target of $30,000 “Want to join me in supporting a good cause? I’m raising money for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate a lot or a little. Anything helps. Thank you for your support.”

At the time of writing this, a mere 3 days after the fundraiser started, it is sitting at $32,361,031 and rising. The fundraiser has been collecting $1,000 a second via Facebook! 

This is what makes Facebook truly amazing. Think about how different things would have been without social media. Fire affected communities would have to rely on News Updates via TV and radio. The rest of the world may have seen the fires on the news but that would have been it. 

Social media is a real-time glimpse into what people are experiencing and the message reaches far and wide, very quickly.  People all over the world have contributed to fundraisers and rallied together to help Australians affected by the fires. I wonder if this would have happened without the constant reminder in their News Feeds?

Facebook has allowed people to stay in touch with friends and family and keep updated on how they are. People in disaster zones can mark themselves as safe so people can quickly be reassured they are OK.

One thing that has come up for some people running their own business, is how do they go about business as usual when people are suffering, and if they want to help, how should they go about it? 

Now the following is just my opinion on how to best use your business to help and at the end of the day you need to do what feels right for you. You can read this post on how to carry on business in a crisis.

I feel that if you are wanting to help with the bushfire appeal, or any disaster fundraising efforts, there are some rules to follow to make it a genuine, helpful donation and not a profiteering sales pitch. 

Are your intentions genuine?

This one is easy to cheat but I want you to ask yourself, am I offering this to get more sales? If the answer is yes then don’t do it. In times of tragedy, we don’t need people using the disaster to generate sales.

Know where your money is going, and make it clear

If you do decide to help then pick a legitimate charity or cause to donate to, do your own research and ensure the money is going where it is needed without a large percentage removed for admin costs. Ensure the charity aligns with your own values.

When promoting your offer ensure you clearly state where the money is going, when and how it will be donated.

Being vague like money will be donated to a bushfire appeal, or people affected by the bushfires, can look spammy and leave people wondering if the money will be genuinely donated or not. 

Keep proof of donation / be transparent

Make sure you keep all proof of your donation so you can show transparency. If people lose trust with you, there is no coming back from that. 

Donate then tell

If you want to make a genuine donation to the bushfire appeal and your motives aren’t to get more sales, then make the donation first. You can then tell your community that you donated $X to the XYZ organisation because you believe in the work they are doing. You can then encourage your community to donate also and provide the relevant link. Again, consider your intentions here. If you are doing this for the PR, then don’t. But if you are doing it to raise awareness for the cause and encourage others to donate, then that’s fine. 

Donate all or nothing

Profiteering at a time like this really bothers me. I believe if you genuinely want to use your product to generate sales so you can donate more, and people get something for their donation then a 100% of profit model is the way to go. If you can afford it 100% of revenue is even better. 

Now I understand people still need to make a profit during times of tragedy and can’t afford to just give up all their earnings so ways you can do this are either do it on just one product or just for a set period.

One of our students Kim from Burbridge and Burke has done this beautifully. They created a special product, Koala studs and are donating 100% of profit to NSW RFS. So far they have raised over $3,000 in just 48 hours!

My personal belief is donating a small portion of sales looks salesy and you are still making money off the disaster which to me feels yucky. There is nothing wrong with continuing business as usual though, making sales, making money and then using that to donate a lump sum to your charity of choice. You can then use the donate then tell model. 

Other Ways You Can Help

 

Set up a Facebook fundraiser post

This is what Celeste did and as you can see it can go a long way. Setting up a fundraiser post is easy, and the not-for-profit organisation is already registered through Paypal so the money automatically goes to them, so you don’t need to do a thing.

There is a fine line here. If a fundraiser exists for the charity of your choice, share and donate via the existing fundraiser. Again, it comes down to intentions. If it looks like you are doing it to raise awareness for your brand, it can feel yukky. 

To set up the fundraiser simply create your Facebook post

The organisation must be registered with PayPal giving to appear.

I suggest including a story as to why you want to support this particular organisation and encourage people to help.

Collect Donations

Add a donate call to action to your checkout. You can say your business is supporting the XYZ charity and you would love if they could help. Then allow them to provide a donation as an add on to their purchase. Ensure 100% of that donation goes where you said it would.

Donate goods

If you have supplies that may help a charity, or people affected by the bushfires consider donating goods rather than money. Please be careful with this one as many relief centres simply can’t process any more items. Do your research and find your local food bank or animal rescue centre and donate things that they actually need. 

Educate your audience

If you’re not in a position to donate, educate your audience who may be. Find your favourite charities who are doing good things for those affected by the fires and tell them why you like them. Share stories and posts from charities and organisations. Spreading the word via social media is the reason why so much money has been raised so show your support in this way if you can’t financially.  

Support businesses affected by the fires

While many of us are trying to do our bit to help, others are directly affected by the fires which makes it very hard to continue running their business. Look for businesses affected and support them. Purchase their items, with no expectation to receive them any time soon, if at all. Keep their income going as they may rely on this to support their family during this difficult time. 

Fires are not the only crisis going on right now either, many towns are affected by drought. The #BuyFromTheBush initiative lists businesses in these affected areas, many of which are also affected by the fires. You can find businesses to support at https://www.buyfromthebush.com.au/

Once the fires are over, visit the affected area. Buy their petrol, stay at their hotels, eat at their restaurants and cafes and go crazy at their shops. One of the worst things that can happen to affected towns is that their economy dies in the aftermath. 

Where you can donate

If you are looking for an organisation to support here are some I like:

NSW Rural Fire Service

Donations to the NSW Rural Fire Service directly benefit the volunteer firefighters on the frontline.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade

Victorian Bushfire Appeal

The Victorian Government has partnered with Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army to establish the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. 100% of donated funds will go directly to communities in need.

https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal

Wires

WIRES Is Australia’s largest Wildlife Rescue Organisation. In December alone there were over 20,000 calls to WIRES 1300 line, a 14% increase on last year, and volunteers attended over 3,300 rescues.

https://www.wires.org.au/donate/online

Koalas In Care INC

This is a non-profit organisation and a registered charity run by volunteers. They have been helping rehabilitate Koalas affected by the fires.

http://www.koalasincare.org.au/pages/donation.htm

To everyone affected by the fires, my thoughts are with you, please stay safe.

To our firefighters and their families, we can not thank you enough.

Suggested Reading: Business In A Crisis: Business As Usual?

Replay of the live chat we had about this topic in our Facebook Group.

Written by Karyn Parkinson

Karyn AKA Karyn with a Y is a Facebook ad specialist with a side dose of eCommerce marketing, particularly website optimisation.

When she's not behind the computer you'll find her at the beach with her fur babies or on the roller derby track as Pink Fury!

Unauthorised Audit: Milkman Grooming Co

Unauthorised Audit: Milkman Grooming Co

What is an Unauthorised Audit?

In our Facebook group we run weekly live website audits where we review eCommerce sites and give suggestions on how they can improve their conversion rate and overall user experience.

However, we decided to do something a little different and start auditing brands we already know and love and share what they’re doing well and what they could possibly do to improve.

As we always say “a website is not a tattoo” and this saying goes for established business as well.

Website

https://www.milkmanaustralia.com

What they sell

Men’s facial hair products

Platform

Shopify

Why Milkman?

I chose Milkman as my husband was on their website ordering some more of their beard balm (yes my husband is a flanny wearing, bearded, in denial hipster!) and he pointed out how cool their product descriptions were. He was right, they have awesome copy and great personality throughout their site, I love their branding, but also noticed there were some easy fixes they could make to improve conversions so Milkman – you’re it!

What  We Love

The messaging throughout this site is on point. From the amazing products descriptions to the headings, it’s clear Milkman know their target audience well.

The Website

As we go through the Milkman website with a fine tooth comb, have a think about how you could relate this back to your own website.

The 3 Second Test

The first thing we check for on a website audit is if the site passes the 3 second test.

If we take a look at the home page, without scrolling can we tell in just 3 seconds what they sell and who it’s for.

There are some really good elements to this home page such as the 3 category images – Shaving Gear, Moustache Gear and Beard Gear. However, like so many sites, there is hidden gold that is being completely under utilised. Take a look at the wording I have highlighted above. This shouldn’t be small print tucked up next to the logo this should be front and centre the first thing you see when you come to the site.

If I were to work on this website I would change the home to have a hero image above the featured collections which pictured different men, like those in the collection photos holding the products they use with the heading “We make Facial hair products to keep you #FreshBetweenTheEars” and sub-heading underneath “Helping you shave, sport a mo or grow a beard”. Then the collection images could have “Shave”, “Mo”, “Grow” as their titles.

Mobile Site

Most traffic these days comes from mobile, however, most websites are built for desktop and then just made responsive for mobile.

This is a prime example as on the mobile site all I can see is that they sell Shaving Gear. The small print next to the logo is now illegible and as we don’t have the hero image with the main description all I have to go on is the first category image.

Unfortunately the mobile site doesn’t pass the 3 second test.

 

The Menu

The menu should help a consumer navigate the website and easily find what they are looking for. These days home is not required as most people know they can click the logo icon or even use the back button. I’d remove this to clear up space and instead of Shop I’d have Shave, Mo and Grow as menu items linking to their respective categories. Stockists, Wholesale Enquires and Account don’t need to be in the main menu. Account login can simply be an icon  next to the cart icon and wholesale and stockists could move to the footer.  All the other messaging is so creative I’d love to see them come up with something more original than Lifestyle blog as the blog name too.

Once those changes are made the logo can move to the left and the menu items can fit in line with it, bringing everything up the page to save space. Currently 1/3 of the page is taken up before you see the first images.

Love that they have a header bar above showcasing the shipping prices. 

Home Page

If we continue down the home page the featured products section looks good. All images are the same size and have the same white background which makes my OCD perfectionism very happy 🙂 

Everything is looking great until I get to the soon to be renamed “Lifestyle Blog” and I get a bit of a twitch from the miss-matched image sizes – an easy fix but remember many of your website visitors can be triggered by little things like this. Also one of the blog feature images has a text overlay but the other two don’t. All that is needed here is a bit of uniformity and it would be great. 

Looking next at the footer, I love that it’s a nice white non-intrusive footer, however, it is quite big. I’d move some of the links into the 3rd row not being used just to condense it a bit.

Email Opt In

I love that there is no obtrusive pop-ups to be seen, however, there is a sad-looking Newsletter opt in hiding in the footer. Given they never asked for this audit (I hope we’re still friends guys) I don’t know their stats, however, I’m guessing that little opt in doesn’t get a very high conversion.

With all the great copy throughout the site I’d love to see something a bit more enticing than “Newsletter”. With our inboxes fuller than ever we really have to entice people to want to give us their email. Consider offering an incentive such as a discount off their first purchase, or even just a more exciting opt in name with details on what juicy bearded goodness they will get in their inbox. 

What’s Missing?

I would love to see the personality behind the brand. A great pic of the (I’m picturing bearded) owner/s behind Milkman and a story about how they got started would be great. That could then link through to their About Us page, which sadly is lacking anything about them. Remember people buy from people so don’t be afraid to inject some of you into the brand. 

Even eCommerce giant Showpo showcase the team on the home page and link through to a timeline taking you from where it all began to where they are now – check it out at https://www.showpo.com/our-story.

Another element they could add is some trust icons to showcase why guys should want to buy these products from them and not somewhere else. Having scrolled through their about page I found all wet products are made by beard loving, real scientists here in Australia. We use eco-friendly, locally sourced ingredients and tonnes of botanicals”, however, I didn’t know any of this from the home page and most blokes won’t go searching for this kind of thing. Take a look at the example below from whogivesacrap.com.au and front and centre on their homepage are 3 key messages. Milkman could implement this with “Made by Australian scientists”, “Using locally sourced ingredients” “Eco Friendly” or something similar. 

Category Pages

The category pages are nice and simple. No filter required as there aren’t too many products and you can see them all without going to another page. 

At the moment half the page is taken up by the header, menu and breadcrumbs before you actually see any products so if they do condense those as mentioned above it should fix this problem as well. 

On a mobile you can see this problem is amplified as you are more than 3/4 down the page before you see a product.

Product Page

Product pages are one of the most important pages as a lot of the time people are directed straight to a product – either from an ad, Google or even a friend. Because of this it’s important to repeat any of the key messages from the home page as they may not see them. 

I’ve included a screenshot below of the entire product page, I choose this one as it’s my hubby’s favourite product! 

Aside from some of the same header images bringing the whole page down the products pages are quite good. This is the messaging that made me fall in love with the brand, and it continued throughout the headings such as “what’s in this stuff” and “how do you use this stuff”. It casual and perfect for their target market. I also love the instructional video.

All I would tweak is really the consistency of text size and image/video sizes. It’s not your typical product page layout but I think it works. I would perhaps just move the product name to the right allowing them to bring the product image up above the fold. 

They have some great social proof down the bottom with their reviews – I’d just like to see the 5 stars placed under the product name which when clicked on would take people down the page to see the reviews. 

It would also be good to see some trust icons towards the top of the page showing the eco friendly, Australian made and local ingredients again. 

Personally I think the Afterpay and Zippay descriptions take up too much prime real estate and I would just have the logos under the add to cart button and bring up the first paragraph of description text instead. 

A lot of the same layout issues on mobile and you have to scroll quite a bit before seeing the add to cart button. I’d remove the international shipping part of the header bar on mobile to make it fit on one line, remove the text next to the logo and have the logo, search, menu and cart all on one line. I’d also ditch the breadcrumbs on mobile – they tend to be too fiddly to use on mobile anyway and then also reduce the font size of the product name. After doing all that you will be able to see the product which is a great start and I would use an app to make the add to cart button sticky on mobile so you can always see it. Some guys just want to get their beard balm and checkout – make it as easy as possible for people to check out before they get distracted. 

 Cart Page

Now that we’ve gone to check out we’re presented with a pretty stock standard Shopify checkout page. Later this year (2019 if you’re reading this in the future) Shopify are releasing the ability to customise their Shopify cart page without the need for a developer – which we can’t wait for! I’d love to see some of the awesome testimonials from the product pages added here for trust. 

Also as an Aussie, it says free shipping over $60, but if I add more than $60 to my cart it still shows that shipping with be calculated at checkout. It would be great to see I’ve qualified for free shipping once I reach the required amount. You can even use plugins to update your header bar at the top to show customers how much more they need to spend to qualify for free shipping. This is a good one for Shopify. 

Website Overview

All in all my guess is that this website is already converting OK – it works on my hubby after all! However, with a few simple tweaks and more of their awesome personality dabbled throughout I think they could greatly improve their conversion rate. 

Facebook Ads

Through the power of Facebook’s Ad Library we can have a sneak peak at some of the ads Milkman are running. You can use this tool to spy on others in your industry, find inspiration from your favourite brands or even do an audit for someone who didn’t even ask for it! (Milkman are you still with us?) 

So let’s take a look at what they have running.

They currently have a video ad running which is pretty cool. The image is all perfectly still, aside from the liquid which moves accompanied with some blocky acoustic rock in the background. 

I love that they have made it look like they are creating a cocktail, which in fact is their “recipe” for their 2 in 1 beard wash. A clever ad and spot on for the target audience. 

Next is a dynamic retargeting ad.

This is an ad that will pull through the product they were either looking at or had in their cart. 

As the product image, name and description pull through you can keep the main copy very simple, as they have.

I can only assume they have tested many variations and this one was the winner.

This one is an ad I saw in my Newsfeed after adding to cart. It is another carousel dynamic ad pulling through the products I had in my cart. What is missing on this one is the description of the product. Given it is lifestyles images showing, I’d recommend putting the product name so it’s clear what it is – but again this is completely unauthorised and they may have already tested that! 

To Try

Milkman if you’re still with me this is what I would try if I was doing your ads (feel free to call me 😉 )

As their customers and products fit nicely into three distinct categories – shave, grow and mo I would split these products into 3 different product sets and then show different re-targeting ads for each one.

Then rather than having to be generic in their copy “Whether you shave, sport a moustache or grow a beard, we’ve got the gear to keep you Fresh Between the Ears” they could have super specific text like “Want to keep your beard looking it’s best – we’ve got you covered”  type thing. When you split out your ads based on products you can speak to your audience better and when they feel like you’re talking to them – that’s when you’ve won them over 🙂 

So Milkman thanks for playing (even if you didn’t ask to) it’s been fun reviewing your site!

I hope if you’re reading this you have found some tips you can use for your own website as well. 

If you have a favourite business you’d like us to perform an unauthorised review on, let me know in the comments below. Or if you want us to do an audit on your own site, simply fill in the form below. 

Until next time,

Karyn 

Written by Karyn Parkinson

Karyn AKA Karyn with a Y is a Facebook ad specialist with a side dose of eCommerce marketing, particularly website optimisation.

When she’s not behind the computer you’ll find her at the beach with her fur babies or on the roller derby track as Pink Fury!

8 steps to a successful online store

8 steps to a successful online store

So you’re ready to start selling your products online? We are so excited for you and so happy you’re here. We have helped hundreds of eCommerce Entrepreneurs set up their online store and here are the essentials to getting started:    

1. Validate your product and your pricing

You need to have a good product that people are willing to part with their money for. That’s just a non-negotiable. If you’re confident you have this then you need to validate your pricing before you do anything.

I often see people posting in groups and asking “how much would you pay for this”. This is the wrong question, to the wrong people.

If you feel like you must ask this question, and someone gives you a figure, ask them for some money. Because until they give you cold hard cash, their opinion is not something you can build your business on.

Get super clear on your gross profit margin and make sure you price your products that allows you to reinvest back into the business is an absolute non-negotiable when setting up an online store. Remember, it’s not about being the cheapest; it’s a very fast race to the bottom if you do this.

2. Develop your brand essentials

Your brand essentials include your business name, brand colours, logo, fonts and brand voice. Your brand is so much more than your logo, it’s how people feel.

Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is.

By establishing clear brand essentials you have a true north to follow when setting up your site, developing your marketing and growing your business.

3. Secure the tech essentials

Make sure you own and control your domain name. Use a trusted provider and make sure you lock your domain.

Set up a professional email address for your store, something like hello@storename.com instead of storename@gmail.com is a lot more legitimate and has higher trust.

Secure all of the social handles (even the ones you aren’t using right now).

4. Setup your website  

We use and recommend Shopify for our own stores and clients. Shopify is a self-hosted platform that allows full transparency and control of your site. Click here to read more about which platform to use.

Setup your basic SEO and make sure you have installed the Facebook pixel, google tracking pixels and google analytics.

Once you’ve launched your site, you can request a free mini website audit from us. Click here to request your free mini website audit.

5. Make sure you comply

You need to have a clear and easy to find returns policy, privacy policy and shipping policy.

Make sure you comply with the new GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679) regulation if you sell to citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area.

And of course, ensuring you comply with any legal bodies relevant to your industry is essential.

6. Showcase your product in the best light

When you live and breathe your product it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows as much about it as you do. You need to use great images, and clear and compelling copy (wording). Your site needs to be laid out it a way that makes it easy for people to buy from you. Confusion is the enemy.

7. Get setup for email marketing

Email marketing works and when done well drives a high return on investment. Even if you aren’t employing an email strategy yet, make sure you are collecting emails of your potential customers as well as those who abandon cart and purchase from you.

Remember you own your email list. If something were to happen to Facebook or Instagram tomorrow, or whatever social platform you are using, what would happen to your business?

8. Slay your social media

When you publish engaging, magnetic and compelling content on social media you can drive organic traffic and sales to your site. We do recommend a paid advertising strategy, but when you’re just starting out, organic social media great place to start. Share a great mix of product, lifestyle and behind the scenes content via your social media. We recommend you start with one or two platforms, and nail those first, rather than spreading yourself too thin. We usually suggest Facebook and Instagram, but if your customers don’t play on these platforms then don’t waste your time there. Fish where the fish are.

Follow these steps to make sure you set up your online store the right way, the first time. Reach out if you have any questions… we’re here for you.

Amazon, Etsy, Ebay or Shopify? How to decide which platform to use

Amazon, Etsy, Ebay or Shopify? How to decide which platform to use

Are you building your house on borrowed land? If you sell on Amazon, Etsy, Ebay or other third-party marketplaces, you could be.

There are certainly pros to selling on these sites. And I actually like to move old stock and one-off pieces on these third-party marketplaces.

But, before you put all your eggs in that basket, there are a few elements to consider.

Do you want to build a brand, or just sell products?

Do you want to be customer centric and build a loyal following, or are you happy to be a commodity?

I love what Paul Munford — CEO of Lean Luxe — has to say:

“If you give up control of customer experience and that direct relationship with the customer, then what do you really have?

Frankly, if I’m a brand on this path, I’m not even remotely worried about being on Amazon. It commodifies the brand. Nor am I really even looking to stock my stuff in non-Amazon third-party marketplaces either, because again that creates just another barrier between me and my customer.”

Paul Munford

If you want to build a brand which has loyalty and longevity we recommend a self-hosted platform like Shopify.

How important is customer retention?

We know that getting an existing customer to repeat purchase is easier and cheaper than finding a new customer. Did you know that it can cost 5x more to acquire new customers than to keep current ones?

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase. That’s why I like to aim for a minimum of 20-30% repeat purchase rate.

When we sell on our own website we have the ability to track and measure the entire purchase journey. We own the customer info, the pixel, the data. We can have an elegant communication strategy to encourage repeat purchase which includes retargeting and segmented automated communication sequences.

You don’t get this opportunity on many third-party platforms, however you do with a self-hosted platform such as Shopify.

How important is data to you?

Data shows us the truth. It shows us the true state of our online store, without any emotion, reasoning or bias.

Everything in eCommerce and digital marketing is literally just numbers. You can track and measure everything. There has never been a better time to have an online store. We have complete transparency over the customer experience, what’s working and what’s not working – and we have the agility to change it, literally overnight.

However, so much data is lost to you when you play on a third-party selling platform. I say the data is lost to you, because they still have the data. And they use this data cleverly too. Self-hosted platforms such as WordPress and Shopify allow full transparency of data.

Their platform, their control

Third-party marketplaces control the content on the site and they have every right to place whatever advertising they want on their platform. Including their own private label brands which are cheaper than your brand, underneath your brand! Thanks to John Max for sharing this:

If a shopper is on Amazon and a cheaper brand is featured directly underneath yours, is your brand strong enough to compete with that?

Another thing third-party marketplaces have control over is which shops they allow to operate.

I have a friend who had built a store on eBay turning over 6 figures a month. eBay shut them down overnight with little explanation and wasn’t interested in discussing the matter further. Their business was taken away from them literally overnight and there was nothing they could do about it.

So, before going all in with Amazon, eBay, Etsy or any other platform, look at your long term goals as a business.

If you want to create a brand and business asset you control, we recommend going with a self-hosted eCommerce website platform. Shopify is the platform that we use and recommend.

We recently did a live training on this is our free group Unstoppable eCommerce Entrepreneurs. We invite you to join the group and watch the training now. See you on the inside! 

 

10 Ways to increase your website conversion rate

10 Ways to increase your website conversion rate

When you have an online store, your website is your biggest asset. A good conversion rate for an eCommerce store is just 2-3%. That means for every 100 visitors to your website 2-3 people purchase. By increasing your website conversion rate by just a fraction of a percent it can make a huge increase to your bottom line.

Selling online can be harder than selling in a brick an mortar store because you lose a lot of senses. There is no friendly welcome from your staff, no way for them to touch and feel the goods, no way to try things on and make sure they fit or test them, no shop assistant to build instant rapport with.

There are some key elements you need to have in place on your eCommerce store to overcome these barriers and create a positive shopping experience for your website visitors.

1. Design for mobile first

There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website on my mobile and having to zoom in and squint and battle the site to find the menu!

It used to be that all websites were built for desktop and then some people started to make them responsive as mobiles got popular. A responsive website means the site adapts to the screen size it is on, whether it be a tablet, laptop or phone.

These days however eCommerce websites get the majority of their traffic from mobile devices, yet, people still design for Desktop first.

So get out your mobile phone, if you’re not already on it, and check what your site looks like on mobile, browse your products, add to cart and even make a purchase – is it a nice experience? If not you need to make some changes.

A website built for mobile first will not just size for the screen but be designed for it. The experience will be seamless and unnecessary desktop elements removed.

2. Showcase Shipping & Returns

When you’re shopping online there are a few things you want to know, how much will it cost you including shipping costs and what do you do if it’s not quite right?

Shipping costs are a big part of selling online. You have a few options when it comes to charging shipping – charge by order based on weight, location etc, charge a flat rate shipping cost or provide free shipping.

Shipping costs are the biggest barrier to making a sale online. Most people would rather buy something for $40 with free shipping than for $35 with a $5 shipping fee! They feel they are getting a product valued at $40 for $40 rather than a product valued at $35 for $40. It is all about perceived value.

With this in mind, you can choose to increase your costs to cover shipping costs. If you’re an online-only store or you can wear the cost of shipping as an expense of selling online, think of it as your rent, power etc that you are not paying.  If you can’t offer free shipping on all orders, offer free shipping over a certain order amount. This can also help to increase your average order value.

If you are going to charge under a certain amount a flat rate fee is much easier as a consumer so if you can go with this option, you may lose on some orders and win on others.

The most important thing is to make your shipping fee obvious on every page. Consider a header banner showcasing your shipping cost and promoting any free shipping offers. People shouldn’t have to search your website for the shipping fee. If you feel you need to hide it, it’s too expensive.

Another objection you need to overcome is what to do if the product is not right. You should 100% be offering a guarantee on your products. If you are not confident enough in your products to offer one then why should people be confident enough in them to buy them? So instead of making your returns policy hidden at the bottom somewhere use it as a selling point and showcase your returns policy on each product page. This adds a lot of integrity to your site and gives people confidence to buy knowing they’re not stuck with something if it’s not right.

3. Generate Social Proof

When there are lots of people in a store browsing you instantly get the feeling that the store is popular and it makes you feel comfortable about buying there. It’s like when you’re at a market and there are lots of people at a particular stall, you instantly want to know what they’re selling!

When you’re browsing online you can’t see the other people sitting on their phones browsing the same store, you don’t know if anyone has bought from the store before, if they did, did they receive their item? There’s an element of risk when shopping online and it’s your job to make people feel comfortable ordering from your store, you need to put their mind at ease with social proof.

There are a few ways to add this social proof:

  1. Install a review app and encourage customers to review your products once they have received them
  2. Share your Instagram feed on your site with photos of customers using your products
  3. Install a Recent Sales Notification app which shows when someone else is viewing a product or has just made a purchase. Try Sales Pop for Shopify or Proven for WordPress.
  4. Link to your social media profiles
  5. Use testimonials – video testimonials work best!

4. Kill The Pop Ups

The debate over to pop up, or not to pop up, is usually decided with the store in mind. Pro pop up argue that they receive so many emails from it so they keep it. I wonder though, do they measure how many people they lose who are just dam annoyed when they find this nice website, go to browse and then BOOM are interrupted by a pop up wanting their email. It’s like asking someone on a date before you’ve even said hello.

If you can’t tell I’m anti pop up, but I’m not the only one, Google now penalises websites which use automatic popups by lowering their organic ranking. So if you love that free Google traffic, it’s time to lose the pop up once and for all.

If you do decide to keep your pop up, be sure to have it on a timer so it only pops up after they have scrolled your site for a while.

5. Embrace The Need For Speed

No one likes waiting – waiting at traffic lights, waiting in line or waiting for a website to load. Ideally, your website should load in under 3 seconds. If you’re not sure how long your site takes test it at https://tools.pingdom.com/.

This handy, free tool will tell you how long your site takes to load, as well as suggestions on how to improve your website’s load time. If you have a web developer get them to work their way through the list to make your site as quick as possible. If you have lots of large images on your website you may need to compress them to reduce the page size.

You can use https://tinyjpg.com to compress your images before you upload them.

6. Make Purchasing Easy

When you have an online store you want your users to make a purchase, so make it nice and easy for them. Use a bright call to action colour that stands out from everything else for your Add To Cart or Purchase buttons.

Once a user has added to cart make it a nice streamline process from cart to checkout:

  1. Once they add to cart either take them directly to the cart or clearly display the cart on screen in a sidebar
  2. Ensure if they continue shopping they can easily access their cart at any time, from any page
  3. Make it easy to add or remove items from their cart
  4. Make items clear in the cart including sizing and quantity
  5. Allow them to proceed to payment without jumping through hoops
  6. Allow them to check out as a guest
  7. Integrate your shopping cart with Facebook Messenger so people can receive updates via Messenger
  8. Ensure you have a secure checkout using Https://

7. Use Great Product Images

Without the option to pick up your products, touch and feel them, your website visitors rely on your images to make their purchasing decision.

Your photos should be one of your biggest focuses when building your online store. The perception is crappy photos = crappy product, quality photos = quality product.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Invest in good quality photos, either use a photographer or invest in a good set up if you will be taking your own photos regularly
  2. If you are taking your own photos invest in training
  3. Feature both lifestyle photos and product photos
  4. Use multiple photos of each product at different angles
  5. Consider using product videos, especially for clothing
  6. Allow people to zoom in on photos
  7. Add personality to your images

8. Value Your Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions are so important, yet sometimes given how time consuming it can be to write product descriptions for all your products they tend to start off great then end up short and sharp.

When writing your product descriptions imagine the person has found your product for the first time. You need to replace their missing senses, tell them what it is made of, what the quality is like, why it is unique. The photos along with the description are going to decide whether or not they want to buy.

Be sure to:

  1. Write with your target market in mind
  2. Describe the benefits of purchasing the product
  3. Use emotion, how will the product make them feel
  4. Include the product specifications, including material, size etc
  5. Re-iterate things like Australian Made, Free Shipping etc
  6. Brake up long descriptions with headings and dot points
  7. Use an easy to read font size
  8. Suggest other products that go together
  9. Use a consistent voice across your website, don’t be afraid to include personality!

9. Make Things Easy To Find

When you’re shopping in a department store there is usually a clear map showing which floor everything is on and you can walk straight in, find the right level and make your way there. When browsing your website it should be just as easy.

  1. Make menu items easy to find and read
  2. Break things up into categories such as Mens, Womens, Kids, Babies
  3. Avoid menu overwhelm – you don’t have to include everything in the top level menu
  4. Use filters such as price, colour, size and category to make it easy for people to find what they are looking for
  5. Show related products – this can also increase order value
  6. Use menu breadcrumbs so people know where they are and how they got there

10. Re-target Using Facebook Ads

Just because someone abandons their cart doesn’t mean they didn’t want to buy your product. On average 68% of eCommerce carts are abandoned. Sometimes people get busy, need time to think about their purchase or wait for pay day.

Quite often though during the time they added to cart and when they have the time – or the money that have forgotten about you.

This is where re-targeting comes in. Using Facebook’s dynamic product ads you can show them reminder ads showcasing the exact product/s they had in their cart. This drastically decreases cart abandonment rates.

Unlike email marketing, Facebook ads don’t require the user to provide their email or have an account for you to be able to target them. This one thing alone could drastically increase your website conversion rate.

Don’t be afraid to use this in conjunction with a cart abandonment email, email and Facebook marketing work great together!

Take a look at your average conversion rate for the last 12 months and make a goal for the next 3 months. Implement some changes based on the above and then check your conversion rate again in 3 months time and see how you’re going.

Written by Karyn Parkinson

Karyn AKA Karyn with a Y is a Facebook ad specialist with a side dose of eCommerce marketing, particularly website optimisation.

When she's not behind the computer you'll find her at the beach with her fur babies or on the roller derby track as Pink Fury!