Simple ways to make more from online stores

Small Business Advice 10 October 2014

Read our tips on how to boost your web business

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Last year UK consumers spent more than £90bn online and that figure is set to smash the £100bn mark by the end of 2014.

To help you make the most from your site, we’ve put together some quick tips on how to boost your online business.

1. Design a simple, but striking website
Research shows that shoppers will make a judgment on the quality and credibility of your site within 50 milliseconds of arriving there. That’s less than half a second, so presenting a site that’s eye-catching without appearing cluttered is crucial to your conversion.

Avoid creating a mess of loud messaging, bright colours and too many pictures. Give your customers a pleasing taste of what you offer and make it easy for them to navigate around the site. A simple website is both easy to use and enjoyable to explore, just like any good bricks and mortar shop.

2. Focus on your photography
An image is worth a thousand words and in a world where image sharing is part of everyone’s daily routine, you need to be sure that your products will sell on a photo alone. Airbnb discovered that they received 2-3 times more bookings on listings high-quality city images and the exact same thing will be true of your site.

You don’t need to hire a photographer either. Do some research on sites that you like and use your phone or digital camera to capture some shots that show off the product in the best possible light.

Check out this great post from Shopify on how to do DIY product photos.

3. Craft some killer web copy
Great design and beautiful images will get you a long way, but your site needs to convey a great message as well.

Your content should sell the product or services on its own, so try writing out a page first and then asking yourself: ‘would I buy this based on this description’’

Also, 97% of people are just scanning the words you’ve lovingly created, so make it easy on their eye by bolding up important terms (ie. FREE DELIVERY) and break up long paragraphs or use punchy bullet points for impact.

This post is a great place to start learning how to write great website content

4. Don’t forget about mobile
Your customers are carrying your store around in their pocket every single day and so it’s important to cater to the mobile shopper. Stats show that more than 20% of all online sales will be made by smartphone in 2014. That figure would be higher were it not for the fact that poorly designed mobile sites result in around £1.5 billion in lost or missed sales.

Making your site mobile responsive is a good way of ensuring smartphone users can view your site on their device in an easy to read format. This may involve updating your template or speaking to your web developer, but it will be worth the investment of time and money.

5. Show customers they can trust you
Retaining customers comes down to reliability and if you’re able to show your shoppers that they can trust in your service, you are going to reap the benefits.

Let’s put a stat to that: 90% of online shoppers say that positive customer reviews can help influence their buying decision.

You can promote your credibility by posting customer reviews, displaying card scheme or security logos (Visa, Verisign etc) and you can also seek out third-party approval from sites like eTrust or Trustpilot.

Forbes have written a great piece on how to get more reviews for your business.

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