chloe

The about us page is usually one of the most visited website pages. It is where a customer heads to when they want to know more about you as a company, what you stand for and how you can help them. However, this page can often be overlooked or undervalued by e-commerce sites.

So how do you make the most of your about us page and better engage your website visitors?

1. Include a clear sense of mission and values

More and more consumers want to buy from sites with whom they have a shared sense of mission and values. This page is a place to clearly state your purpose and company/brand values. If you look at the ‘about Waitrose‘ page, you will read about how they source their produce, their work with charities and what they are giving back. It includes information such as:

“We want to know where our food comes from, how it’s been produced and what it contains. It all starts with long-term relationships with our farmers and suppliers, and continues with our beliefs in championing British produce, supporting responsible sourcing, treating people fairly and treading lightly on the environment. This is the Waitrose Way. But it doesn’t stop there. With your help in branch and online, our Community Matters scheme has donated £14 million to local charities chosen by you.” Waitrose

When you tell customers what you stand for, you are connecting and engaging with them on a different level. Whilst this won’t motivate every consumer, it will definitely resonate with some. It helps to build up a picture of the kind of company you are.

2. Tell your story

The about us page is the perfect place to tell your company’s story. If you are a family run business people want to know! Customers always want to know about the people involved. If it works, tell your story via a video. This is the way websites are going. People no longer expect to read reams of text. A short video, of a couple of minutes, is often much more effective. Everyone loves a good story and it will help your business come alive.

Ben and Jerry’s have a fantastic about us page. They tell their story really well. It starts with a fun video entitled ‘explore some of the great moments in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream history’. This is followed by their story broken down in to decades. Its not one monotonous page of text and data. It is interesting, well presented and gives browsers the option to dip in and out of their story using the different decade tabs. Definitely one worth a look!

3. Your team – who you are

Website visitors love to see the people with whom they are interacting. They enjoy seeing people: from the owner of the company to the person that handles customer service. Make sure you have good photographs or images, displayed in a way that is in keeping with your company style and brand. Children’s furniture company, Great Little Trading Company, have a page dedicated to what they call their ‘testing team‘. This page describe how all their product are tested by the very people who will use them: children. Photographs of the children testing the products and their names are also included. This page enhances their brand: a fun, creative company, with their customers, children, at its heart.

Employee testimonials also work really well. They can showcase your culture and give customers a glimpse of the staff having fun behind the scenes. Rent the Runway do this really well. If you scroll down to the ‘us’ section of this page, notice how their staff testimonials say something about what they do and how they work.

4. Customer testimonials

Testimonials should be all over your website. On the about us page you have the opportunity to take one or two testimonials and paint a fuller story of how a customer’s life was changed or impacted because of your products.

Find one or two testimonials that have really engaging stories. They should resemble the key customer personas’ stories. For example, if you sell jewellery and engagement rings, customers may want to see a story about a woman who got her rings from you and images or even a short clip from her wonderful wedding.

5. Links to products and a call to action

Recognising that many people visit the about us page, make it easy for them to get to the products that interest them. One way to do this might be to personalise the page with previously viewed products or items that match their persona profile.

Make sure you include a clear call to action and an on ramp, (on ramp is explained in previous blogs which can be found here) enabling visitors to easily purchase products and engage with you.

  • Add a call to action with appropriate products.
  • Add on ramps with a newsletter sign-up and clear content offerings.
  • Link to blog posts that specifically highlight customer stories or what the company has done to extend its mission (for example, charity work).

What have you done with your about us page? How have you made it stand out? Have you found it engages new visitors and potential customers? If you have any other ideas that you can share, we’d love to hear from you.

chloe

4 ways to improve checkout

The checkout page should make it easy for customers to provide their details and move on. At this stage the customer has committed to buy and wants to get through this section as quickly as possible.

How can you improve your online checkout page? It needs to be smooth and secure, whilst only asking for the minimum information.

I think we have probably all tried to buy something online, but the checkout process has been so arduous that you’ve actually abandoned the purchase out of sheer frustration.

If you want to understand what cart abandonment could mean financially for your business, there is a great article here. It provides different way to calculate this loss. This can be helpful if you need to present a substantiated rationale to your team to improve your checkout page.

I have identified 4 different sections of your checkout page which directly impact on checkout abandonment rates. Get them right and conversion rates will go up. Make sure your e-commerce site is reaching its true sales potential. Don’t let yourself down at the final hurdle.

  1. Address
  2. Delivery
  3. Payment
  4. Customer service information

Simple changes to the above, could have a really positive impact on sales.

Address

The address should be clear and easy to complete. If relevant, make sure the autofill is on and logical. Anything you already know about the visitor should be completed already. These days people don’t expect to have to input their entire address. I am a big fan of predictive search in address lookup. The double click approach whereby the visitor enters their house number/name and postcode and then selects from a list of possible addresses is simple, popular and easy to use. Anything that makes it easier for the customer is a winner. This may all seem very basic but I am often surprised how many websites I come across that haven’t bothered to include simple things which can speed things up considerably for your customer.

Some e-commerce sites, normally from sectors that see themselves as ‘down with the kids’, will use a ‘fresh’ or different layout for their address section. I would suggest this is unnecessary and can often cause confusion. The more ‘traditional’ form layout, with the label outside the box and a border just around the form field is usually the best. Customers are used to this design. They have already committed to buy, providing the form in a style with which they are accustomed, may make it easier for them to complete.

Make sure it is frustration free. If the customer presses the back button don’t make them complete the address section again. We all know how irritating this can be!

Think about how your checkout page will appear on a mobile or tablet. The form needs to be relatively large and clear. Remember someone actually needs to be able to press the buttons with their fingers. The form should not be so small (i.e. before the user has enlarged it) that it is impossible to complete. The form also needs to work when rotated from portrait to landscape. Thinking about these simple user requirements will reduce checkout abandonment rates.

Delivery

The delivery section should be simple and clear. I don’t think anyone particularly enjoys completing a web form. The longer and more complex it is for your visitor, the more frustrating it will feel. Given that you are only moments away from making a sale, don’t ask for unnecessary information or make things complicated. Here are a few ideas that will speed things up for your customers:

  • Use the customers IP address to geolocate where they are in the world. Don’t make them scroll through Azerbaijan to Timbuktu, if you know they are in the UK, then pre-populate this field for them.
  • Set the delivery address as the default billing address. Or include the option to check a box so that the delivery information is pre-selected from the billing address. This takes the headache out of completing this information twice.
  • Include a link or pop-up that explains what the different postage options mean. Not everyone understands the difference. Having to look this information up adds another unnecessary step to the purchasing process.
  • For some websites, it may be worth testing a ‘complete your order in the next x minutes and we will send it today’. Sometimes including a sense of urgency can help secure the purchase. Amazon use this technique to good effect.

Payment

Once again this step is critical to the buying process. It needs to be simple, clear and function well. When I am working with e-commerce companies, things that I look out for include:

  • Have all the main navigation links been removed? If not, they should be. There shouldn’t be anything on this page which distracts the customer away from the task in hand.
  • Customers are very security conscious these days, make sure your site instills confidence in the buyer with secure payment logos and Feefo ‘trusted merchant’ if relevant.
  • It helps to format the credit or debit card fields so they are the same as the customers actual card. Once they have selected their method of payment, make sure the boxes that appear are in line with those on the card e.g. if the numbers appear in blocks of four, then that is also how the form should appear. This makes things easier for the visitor and gives the payment fields more credibility.
  • Use iconography to show the customer where they are in the buying journey. This is relevant for all the above steps.

I could write a stand along post on how to simplify the payment process, whilst maintaining online security. However, in the interests of brevity, the above four ideas are simple fixes that I come across time and time again.

Customer service information

If is often helpful to include the customer service links on the final checkout page as well. Customers usually feel more at ease if you include statements like “Have a question? Do get in touch. We would love to help you”. This should either be a link or should be followed directly by a phone number, live chat, an e-mail address and/or web form.

Do show the returns policy as a sales feature on this page. This will encourage buyer confidence. If they can clearly see that they have 30 days to return their item, free of charge, then that will often give the customer the extra reassurance they need to press the ‘buy now’ button.

Most websites want you to buy something, be it a product or service. Difficult, confusing or just not user friendly online checkouts, can be a really blockage to a visitor becoming a customer. Make things as easy as possible with the best checkout experience.

chloe

Checkout

Wow, is it August already?! As ever there is loads going in the e-commerce sector. Take a little break from your work load and skim through some of the most recent news below. You never know there might be some ideas in there that you could implement in your business…

Worth noting…

Why You Shouldn’t Schedule Meeting Longer Than One Hour

CRO for Inbound Marketing: 6 Conversion Optimization Initiatives to Implement Today

In other news…

Facebook has never had more users, made more money per user than in Q2 2016

Verizon acquires Yahoo’s operating business for $4.8 billion

7 Adwords Features You Didn’t Know Existed

INFOGRAPHIC:

How to Deliver Negative Feedback & Why it Matters

Question
Why has Noble-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz called Apple’s business practises “fraud”? Read the full story here.

The numbers
$5bn Is the amount Kickstarter generated for start-up companies, ranging from virtual communities to real-life enterprises. Read the full story here.

Recommended reading
'The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness' by Prof Steve Peters

chloe

converting browsers to buyers

Does your e-commerce site encourage browsing?

More importantly does it convert browsers to buyers?

We all like to see the statistics demonstrating X number of new visitors to your site. However, if those potential new leads aren’t (virtually) hanging around to browse and ultimately buying something, they remain just stats!

Make it easy for your web visitors to browse. Make it hard for them to resist a purchase.

After 13 years working in the e-commerce sector, here are my three top tips for improved browsing and better conversion rates:

1. The navigation

This is the principal way in which customers browse the website. It is therefore essential that it is logical, clear and fast. Is it in a logical location? Most people expect to find it at the top of the screen on a desktop and as a ‘hamburger menu’ on a mobile or tablet. Creative designs are all well and good but if the customer can’t orientate themselves on the site, they’re not going to get very far.

Is the filtering system clear? If you’ve spent a lot of time working on the design and content of the site, it becomes easy to get bogged down in the details and fail to see things from the customer’s point of view. How easy is it to drill down to the product you want? It can be helpful to include a ‘mega menu’, allowing customers to quickly search for the relevant item. Jewellery resellers, Jewel Hut do this well. Hover over a top level navigation item, such as Pandora, to see this in action. Simple additions, such as colour and font, can help a visitor identify where they are on the site and on the filtering menu. If some of the text is a link, then make sure there is colour on the roll over. This will indicate to the visitor that there is a link to another page.

We live in a very fast paced world and if a site fails to load quickly, visitors are more and more likely to abandon the page.

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load

You only have a few seconds to capture someones attention, so don’t lose out because of slow loading speeds.

2. How scannable is the site?

Reading online is 25% slower than reading from print. Why is this? Mostly because it is harder to do. Your eye is distracted by colours, fonts, pop-ups, advertising and images. When you read printed text, your eye moves naturally from left to right. This isn’t the case for online text. Therefore, you need to make website copy much more scannable. Text should be visually broken up with white space. Sentences need to be short and, if possible, only include one concept, idea or product per paragraph. Filtering menus need to be very easy to scan over, enabling potential customers to easily see what they are looking for.

3. Images

Physical shops – bricks and mortar stores – understand the power of their display window. They are always trying to catch the eye of a potential shopper. They keep their displays fresh. Mega stores such as Selfridges have been spending serious money for nearly a century to attract people into their stores. This concept can be translated into your virtual shop front, your home page and subsequent landing pages. If you sell women’s clothes, make sure the category pages show clear, large images of the products. Visitors should be able to rotate the image. Size information should be very easily available and clear. You want your potential customer to be able to visualise themselves wearing the dress. The more they emotionally connect with the item and start to imagine owning it, the more likely they are to make the purchase. If your images are not up to scratch, visitors are very likely to abandon the page before purchasing anything.

There you have it, three ways to encourage browsers to buy. If you have other ideas on how to improve conversion rates, we’d love to hear from you.

chloe

Product copy blog header

Writing product descriptions can be daunting and difficult. When I am working with client companies, I often find their product copy can be cheesy or dry. This is particularly true for resellers, who tend to use the manufacturer’s descriptions. Here are four ways to improve your product description and better engage with customers.

  1. Inject some personality
  2. Employ an expert
  3. Tell a story
  4. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s

There are many things to consider when writing website copy and product descriptions. Whatever you might think, people do actually read the descriptions. That’s the point! So, how do you make them interesting?

1.Inject some personality

The product copy should reflect your company’s values. If you are a large corporation and your message is ‘a safe pair of hands’, then the text included should be a reflection of that message. If you are all about the fun, the product description should also be fun. Make sure you stay true to your brand and your values. Take a company like Innocent Drinks. They were one of the first companies to give their products personalities. Their style is cheeky, friendly and amusing, as are their product descriptions. The product copy for their strawberry and banana smoothie is a great example:

“Whether they’re foraged at a pick-your-own, served with a side of cream at the tennis or crushed lovingly into our drinks, strawberries are delicious. And we’re very fussy about which strawberries we use in our smoothies, which is why we grow them where the sun always shines and taste them up to seven times before they go into our bottles. And it’s also why we’ve added 25% more of them to this smoothie. The more the berrier, indeed”.

As you can see it is fun, entertaining, friendly and completely reflects their company brand and identity. Now, I’m not on any sort of commission for Innocent but they are a good example of a strong brand who write product copy that is very much in keeping with their company. When you read the product descriptions you could probably guess the company without even seeing the item.

2. Employ an expert

If you are a business that sells thousands of different products, then writing product copy can feel well, just a bit brutal. Employing a copy writer can ensure engaging copy, written in ‘plain English’. Be aware that the writer needs to really ‘get’ you as an organisation. They need to understand where you are coming from and what you represent, otherwise it will never reflect your personality.

3.Tell a story

I am a firm believer in the power of storytelling. This is not a new thing. In fact, if you look around, storytelling is used all the time and to great effect. You see it used in politics, training, sales, marketing and in advertising. You are looking to connect emotionally with your potential customer. Along with the images and reviews, the product description builds up a picture, in the visitor’s mind, of what it might be like to own the item. The more realistic that fantasy, the more you will connect on an emotional level with the visitor and the more likely they are to press the ‘buy now’ button. This may all seem terribly manipulative which is exactly why is also needs to be completely authentic. What is it that makes your brand different? Why should people choose your products? What is your USP? If you manufacture your products sustainably and this is a core value, this should definitely be emphasised in your product copy. If you only make one thing and your USP is that you are the best at making it, then make that part of your story.

Storytelling is a great way to connect with your customers in a way that is both engaging and emotive. Get it right and people will buy into your brand and start to push that ‘order now’ button. Get it wrong and new leads will be turned right off.

4. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s

You have moved heaven and earth to ensure that your product copy is engaging and a reflection of who you are as a company. Don’t let yourself down with sloppy grammar and spelling mistakes. If your style is informal and chatty, there is a greater risk of grammatical errors. Make sure you run all your copy through a spell checker and get someone who has not been involved in the writing process to give it a quick read through. Customers need to feel confident that you are a professional organisation. Minor errors can make everything feel very amateur. Don’t make it hard for visitors to press the ‘buy now’ button.

Do you have other tips and hints on how to write great product descriptions? If so, we’d love to hear from you.