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E-Commerce Tips: Taking a Site to the Next Level

You’ve got the shopping cart at the right position; literally, top right, just above the search button. And you also have your website terms and conditions and all these other features that complete your online shop. Great, but the real work has only begun. E-commerce tips are all good and well for having a functioning site, but over time, with the same look and feel, your customers could find your site boring and drift off to visit other sites which are more inviting; so come on, don’t slack. It’s time to revisit your site, look at what trends are out there and ask yourself “how can I improve my online shop.”

In my journey (of a few years) as a professional in the eCommerce space, I’ve seen many business owners fall into the same trap of being comfortable with what they have. There are a few tweaks that you can do on your Online store to give a fresher more trend current look and feel (without undergoing a major, and maybe costly, revamp).

I’ve decided to share a few of these e-commerce tips.

1. Better product images

Give your customers an almost real experience with the products by improving your product images. Arrange an affordable product photoshoot in order for you to get images which are clean and high res. This is important. Nothing is more off-putting like landing on an online store with pixelated product images. I mean really, is this the best way you can convince me to buy your product? One of the best things you can give your online shoppers are images that are clear, with other image features like the zoom-in functionality and colour changing functionality (where applicable). Are you happy with how your product images look? Is there consistency in how they look? Would you be convinced to stay on your site and explore some more?

2. Be season relevant

If its summer, the colours you choose to use on all artwork (banners, action-buttons, etc.) as well as the products you choose to promote must be season relevant. That’s so obvious right? Not really. As a serial online “window” shopper I’ve been so disappointed landing on an onlinestore in summer, only to be met by the winters products and design themes. I mean, comeon, why are we not summer ready? Move with the people, that’s all it is. When the winter blues are over, I’m usually ready to hit the beach, buy gifts for Christmas, organise a braai or a dinner party, all I ask from the online shop business owner is to meet me at my point of excitement. By being out of date with seasons and trends, you could potentially miss out on online sales from buyers who were more than ready to shop.

3. Tell a story

I have come across an online store that I enjoyed greatly because of the product description. Product description? Who reads that stuff anyway? A lot of people do and yet still, you get many store owners thinking they can get away with a copy and paste, one liner for the product description? Not so fast buddy! Don’t neglect the product description; this is your time to show off and give your products (and your brand) personality. I know you’d rather keep your description as technical as possible, but most times what does all that technical lingo mean anyway. Here you can use a more relatable tone to describe your products, make it fun and exciting, but don’t make it long. Tell an interesting story about the product and its use. You’re not just selling a products, you’re answering a need and you’re selling a lifestyle.

4. Simple navigation

Well, this is basic eCommerce 101: the less clicking to get to the product, the better. You already have the main categories which is great, now you want to add sub-categories, that’s fine too…until, you decide to add sub-sub-categories and sub-sub-sub categories. You’ve lost the customer completely. It’s important that when looking at your product catalogue, you decide on the best (and most importantly, the easiest way) to represent your products. Visit other online stores and open your mind to simpler ways of mapping out your user-journey.

5. Typography

Wikipedia describes “typography” simply: “Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed.” Allow me to repeat “appealing when displayed”. I’m no designer, but there definitely are other visually appealing fonts than Arial or Times New Roman (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Arial or Times New Roman). Explore the fonts you use, if it’s a softer font will it be readable? If it’s a harder font will it be appealing when displayed? Does it make reading more appealing if some words are bolded or italicised? Every feature, image, text, button and other design elements used on your online store must be carefully thought of in order to communicate the right message for your brand.

About the author: Zama Nogcinisa is an eCommerce manager and serial online window shopper. She spends a lot of time visiting different online stores to study trends and new developments in eCommerce. She’s excited about the potential South Africa has, to grow in the eCommerce space and celebrates a lot of successful South African online stores.


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