How to keep your online store in great selling shape
Pages that are slow to load. Broken links. A clunky checkout. You can’t afford negative experiences like these when selling online. Here’s how to avoid them.
- Analytics tools and customer feedback are valuable sources of data about your eCommerce site’s performance.
- Use data to make decisions about where to make changes to your site to boost online sales.
- Set aside time every week to update and optimise your site.
Your online store needs regular attention
When was the last time you gave your online store a makeover? Or made some changes in a bid to lure in more customers? To sell more products online, eCommerce stores need regular maintenance – they’re not a set-and-forget proposition.
As detailed in this guide on how to start selling online, the final step in setting up your eCommerce business never ends. That is, you need to continually update and optimise your online store.
Not sure what these updates and improvements should include? Here, we provide some simple strategies to help keep your site fresh, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
Get to know your analytics tools
Web analytics are a goldmine of valuable information about your customers, that can help inform decisions about any changes you make to the site. If you’re using an eCommerce platform like Shopify, you should be able to access analytics to see where your visitors are coming from, which pages they’re visiting on your site, how quickly pages load, customer conversion rates and more. Google Analytics can also help you dig up similar data.
Whichever tool you use, you should be able to find helpful support articles online about how to access and make sense of the data you collect.
As well as analytics tools, don’t discount the power of customer feedback. Ask customers (or family and friends) about their experience in finding products on your site, or in making a purchase. Is your search feature effective? What about your navigation menu? Is it clear and logical? Collect as much feedback as you can, on all elements of your site, to help you learn what’s working – and what isn’t.
Use data to your advantage
With data pouring in, it’s time to use it to your advantage. See which products are selling well, or which marketing campaigns achieved the best results. Monitor the amount of time customers spend on-site, or the pages of your site they are most likely to leave from. Track things like the number of products in a customer’s cart, or the effect of free shipping on basket size.
By tracking trends like these, you can start making smart decisions about what to change in your online store. For example, you might spot that some pages on your site have high exit and bounce rates, or low conversion rates. Compare these pages with the well-performing pages where you’re selling more products and see what’s different. Could you add more images, calls to action, or customer reviews? Test different strategies and see what has an impact.
Make it easy for customers to find answers
Think about ways you can make your site more helpful to customers. Continually review and revamp all the ‘informational’ aspects of your site – such as your FAQs, search tool, shipping information, and returns policies – to ensure it’s all up-to-date.
To help reduce the volume of calls and emails you receive from prospective customers, you could consider adding a chatbot.
Depending on what you’re selling, you could also include videos or instructions on how to use the product, or inspirational styling ideas to spark interest. And, of course, provide as much detailed product information as you can, to help all those customers who like to do their research before they buy.
Set aside time each week for site sprucing
As well as regular updates to your homepage to refresh your latest product offerings, which for some eCommerce businesses happens almost daily, you should set aside time each week to give the rest of your site some love.
One week, you might look at product imagery, ensuring it’s optimised for both quality and download speed. The next week, you might focus on SEO and how you can optimise site content to boost your ranking on search listings. Another week, you might audit all clickable links to make sure they are accurate and up-to-date.
Another worthwhile task? Checking usability on different devices to make sure your site’s mobile and tablet friendly, too. Ideally, you will have chosen a responsive (aka mobile-friendly) theme when you built your eCommerce store, but it doesn’t hurt to regularly check its performance on different screen sizes to ensure everything flows the way it should.
Just like homeowners are continually ticking home maintenance tasks off their to-do lists, eCommerce business owners should, too (or, when business is booming, outsource it to someone else!).