Our Top 22 Tips for Effective E-commerce in Ireland.
Developing an Effective eCommerce website or Online Store in Ireland requires all the same marketing considerations that you would put into opening and running a successful physical brick-and-mortar store.
You need to know:
- What you are going to be selling
- Who you are going to sell it to
- How you are going to reach these customers
- A pricing strategy and so much more
You need to follow the same path for eCommerce as you would for any other business.
- Perform your marketing research
- Developing a marketing strategy
- Implement the strategy
- Followed by measuring defined KPIs and making the necessary adjustments.
This process can be quite daunting when you have so many other responsibilities to be concerned about such as finances, personnel, product management etc.
ePresence is a full-service digital marketing agency in Cork that can help you when setting up or running an Online Store. We have done it for many happy clients all around Ireland and are extremely happy to share our years of experience developing successful eCommerce websites with you.
We’ve taken all this experience and summarised it into our Top 22 Tips for highly effective eCommerce marketing for you to peruse at your leisure. And feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about eCommerce Development.
1: Make sure your eCommerce website is Mobile Friendly.
When we say make sure your eCommerce website is Mobile Friendly we don’t just mean that it passes Google’s Mobile Friendly tests, but that it has been developed specifically with Mobile usage in mind.
Most modern website platforms, such as WordPress and WooCommerce, automatically take care of many of the technical issues in terms of creating a responsive website that automatically adapts its layout to the size of the screen it is being viewed on.
There are a few differences in how a potential customer interacts with your eCommerce platform depending on what device they are using.
Mobile Usage Differences
- What looks good on a larger PC screen might not translate well onto a much smaller mobile screen. While a PC screen is large enough to display several columns across the page and a few rows down the page a mobile device generally only displays one column and relies on the user to scroll up and down the page to see the content. Very often this can result in a mobile version of the page becoming very long and fewer users scrolling down the full length of the page.
- There is much less real estate available on a mobile screen so it’s important to ensure that the most important content on the page appears at the very top of the page so your user knows straight away that they are on the correct page. Remember all that a mobile user sees when they land on a page might be the main heading and banner image – so make sure it makes sense to the user.
- A person using a mobile device is not using a mouse which presents a few user issues that need to be borne in mind.
- No mouse cursor changes when a website visitor hovers over something clickable so you have to make it obvious to the user that they should click at that spot by either using a button or identifying text that is a different colour and underlined.
- Bearing in mind that mobile users are often making use of their thumbs to click, type and scroll you need to ensure that buttons and clickable text are not too close together and it’s good practice to make buttons the full width of the screen so the user can click easily with either thumb.
- The limited size of a mobile screen can also make it difficult for many users to read the text, so make sure the font sizes are appropriate.
- It’s extremely important to plan your eCommerce platform for mobile users from the very start, don’t just design it for PC users and hope it works ok on a mobile device. Test and use your site on a mobile device at multiple steps during the development phase to iron out any unforeseen issues before launch.
- And of course, don’t forget site speed, but we’ll cover that in more detail under SEO.
View our E-commerce Web Development Services.
2: Link to and make use of Social Media
Social media is a great tool for Brand Awareness so make good use of it, have links on your website to your social media platforms and make good use of social sharing buttons on products and blogs to encourage visitors to share what they find with their friends.
Linking your website to your social media platforms and encouraging Social Sharing is considered by Google as an SEO indicator.
View our Social Media Marketing Services.
3: Use quality product photos and information
It cannot be overstressed how important good quality product images are for eCommerce. Unlike in a brick-and-mortar store your potential customers cannot pick up or hold the product, the images are the only visual interaction they will have with the product
Make sure the images are of excellent quality and provide at least 4 different images of the product within the product detail page combining these images with detailed descriptions of the product. Make use of video if possible.
Be careful – quality images can be very big files and need to be properly sized and optimised so as not to slow your website down. WordPress users can make use of Imagify or Smush to compress images and render them in the latest formats for greater speed.
4: Invest in eCommerce SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is three little words that carry such importance. While paid advertising is extremely important for eCommerce it is advisable to give SEO as much time and attention as you possibly can because Google Organic website visitors are not just FREE, but they are also very good quality visitors.
SEO can be broken down into three distinct categories:
- On-Page SEO – This covers all aspects of SEO on a web page such as The Title and Description Tags, Headings, Keywords in opening paragraphs, the type and amount of content etc.
- Off-Page SEO – Link building, the art of encouraging other quality websites to link to yours.
- Technical SEO – These are the parts of SEO that the normal eCommerce website owner will probably not get too involved in, but leave up to a web developer. This includes things such as site speed, maintaining a sitemap file, monitoring for broken links and duplicate content and many more behind-the-scenes activities.
Several fairly simple things can be employed to improve your SEO and achieve better rankings on the Google Search Results Page.
- Content Marketing – Start a blog and write about relevant topics that you know will be of interest to your potential customers, research their pain points and cover these topics in depth.
- Know what keywords or search phrases you wish to rank for and write blogs specifically around these keywords.
- Keep your Title Tags and Description Tags tightly linked to your chosen keywords for that page.
- Use the keywords in your Headings.
- Use the keywords 2-3 times in the opening paragraphs of the text.
- Write good quality articles of around 1500 words. There is a strong correlation between article length and its Google Ranking.
- Don’t forget to link to other relevant internal articles and link to external pages that you have used as references.
- Make sure images have been properly sized and optimised and fill in a relevant Alt Tag.
- Have FAQ sections that answer potential customer questions.
SEO is not just a great way to attract potential customers to your site for free, but once it’s set up successfully, it will work for you 24/7 365 days a year.
View our SEO Services
5: Make use of Live Chat on your Online Store
A potential customer may have a fairly simple question about a product which is the difference between buying the product or not making the purchase.
Live chat is like having an in-store salesperson available online to answer any questions a customer may have and thus ensure the sale.
6: Build trust.
In eCommerce, you are asking people to trust you with their personal and financial information. This is easier for a brick-and-mortar store as customers can physically see and visit the shop and speak face-to-face with staff. It’s a little more difficult for an Online Store to achieve the same unless you are a well-known brand.
Firstly make sure that you have an SSL certificate, your website should be https://xxxx and not http://xxxxx
Secondly, make sure that it is very clear on all your online platforms how customers can contact you and respond promptly to any communication.
Thirdly, encourage your customers to submit reviews online, this builds social proof.
Inform visitors to your online store what security measures you have in place to protect their data. Use security logos.
Do what you say you are going to do, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than to make bold claims you cannot live up to.
7: Build an Email list and use it.
On average 96% of the first-time visitors to your website will bounce off and never return, you need to have some method of communicating with these people and encouraging them to return and make purchases.
Start collecting email addresses on your site from day one. Use a tasteful pop-up to encourage visitors to sign up for your mailing list. You could offer a discount voucher to further sweeten the pot for first-time buyers.
Be careful – make sure the pop-up is not overly intrusive and does not interrupt the buying process, only have it on certain pages and not everywhere on the site, especially not in Cart or Checkout.
View our Email Marketing Services
8: Social proof – encourage customer reviews.
Customer reviews are a powerful tool to encourage visitors to purchase on your eCommerce platform, if other people had a good experience this decreases the risk for the potential customer.
Have a feature installed for customer reviews and encourage people who have already bought to leave a review, you can do this via email.
9: Create Urgency and Scarcity.
Make use of the psychology of selling, and create urgency by having a special offer available only until a certain date, or in limited supply. This encourages site visitors to make the purchase NOW for fear of missing out at a later date.
Nothing is ever perfect, it can always be improved upon. You should always be experimenting by running A/B tests on Ads, Landing Pages etc or trying new marketing tools or platforms.
Introduce new products or a variation of an existing product. Nothing is a failure if you learn from it, it’s just as important to know what doesn’t work for you as well as what does.
11: Encourage repeat sales with a Loyalty Programme.
Not only will loyal customers spend more than once off customers, but it is easier and cheaper to sell more products to existing customers than it is to obtain new ones.
Offer discounts for additional purchases or give existing clients access to new products first before launching to the general public.
It’s quite easy to communicate with existing customers as you have their email addresses, so think of innovative programmes that will reward your loyal customers, not only will these customers make additional purchases but they will also tell their friends and family about their WOW experience with you.
12: Remove Friction with Conversion Rate Optimization
Every website serves two purposes – to attract relevant website visitors and to convert these visitors into paying customers. Develop a system of measuring the effectiveness of your sales funnel, by analysing this data you should be able to learn where the major drop-offs are in your process.
If you are finding that you are suffering from a high cart abandonment rate it could point to excessive additional costs being added during the checkout process such as courier fees or that the checkout process is too complicated and asks for too much information.
If you find you are attracting a lot of site visitors but achieving very little interaction with product pages, then you could be targeting the wrong demographic or trying to sell products that very few people want or need.
Test your eCommerce process by making purchases yourself on different devices and by watching others make use of your platform and learning from their feedback.
Conversion Rate Optimisation is a constant process of Measuring – Making Changes – Measuring again and repeating.
Remarketing is a very powerful tool in attracting potential customers who have visited your website back to your site.
You have probably heard of “Cookies” before, this is a small piece of code that can be loaded onto a potential customer’s device when they visit your online store, this piece of code is then used to target this device with Advertising when they visit other websites on the internet that allows these ads to be displayed.
The same approach can be implemented on certain social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram using “Pixels”.
These people have already shown an interest in your products or services, this makes them an ideal segment to target with appropriate adverts.
Remarketing has been proven to increase online conversions – and sales.
View our Paid Advertising Services.
14: Say Thank You – Show Gratitude
When a customer makes an in-store purchase the sales assistant would normally thank the client for their support, and do the same thing online.
Immediately after the purchase, say Thank You to the client. You can redirect to a Thank You page and follow this up later with a Thank You email.
You could even go so far as to post handwritten thank-you cards to repeat customers.
Sending out a Thank You email to a customer is also a good time to get feedback and ask for a product or service Review.
15: Put products front and centre
Your Online Shop is just that – it’s an Online Shop so put your products front and centre.
Have really good quality images of your products and design a clean web page layout that does not distract from the products. Make sure the product images are not cluttered but highlight the product itself, sometimes a simple white background is best.
Don’t be afraid to make use of sufficient white space between products on web pages so that the products stand out, don’t clutter the page.
Don’t try to squeeze too many products in a row across a page but limit it to 3 or 4 maximum depending on the page layout. (1 on a mobile device)
16: KISS – Keep it simple, silly.
Keep the design and layout of your eCommerce platform clean, clear and simple.
Think of your online store in the same way you would a physical supermarket, there are separate sections for clothing, food, household goods etc. These sections are then further divided into clearly marked aisles – such as men’s clothing, women’s clothing and kids’ clothing etc.
Layout your online store in a similar fashion with categories for the main product ranges that are further divided into logical subcategories.
Develop your eCommerce platform within known norms, and don’t make people have to think too much about what to do next by over-customising your site.
17: Ensure you have a site search and product filter functions
You get two kinds of customers, those who like to browse through a range of products before making a decision and those who want to be directed to exactly what they want immediately.
Search and Filter functions serve the same purpose as a store assistant would in a brick-and-mortar store, they help potential customers find exactly what they are looking for – quickly.
18: Specify your returns policy.
A clearly defined returns policy helps to overcome buyers’ friction and build trust in your brand. Make sure your Returns Policy is easy to find on your website and that it clearly defines the responsibilities involved in the process of returning any goods.
19: Have an FAQ for common questions.
Frequently asked questions sections on the website are a great way of giving a potential customer a quick answer to some of the more common questions that customers ask.
FAQs increase trust, increase conversions and are also considered an SEO factor in Google rankings for your site.
20: Put your contact details everywhere on your website
Displaying your contact details in multiple places on your website not only builds trust but will also increase conversions.
Have an easy-to-locate Contact Us page, have your contact details in the footer of every page, have your contact details on every product detail page and make your phone number and email address clickable.
Many potential customers may be on the verge of making a purchase but just want to ask a question first before making that purchase. The easier it is for them to quickly contact you and have that question answered the more likely they are to make that purchase.
Any eCommerce platform that has no, or hard to find, contact details immediately raises a red flag in a potential customer’s mind about giving out any personal or financial details.
21: Keep the User in Mind
Everything you do should be done with the customer in mind. To do this, you should know who your customer is and if possible, what motivates them or why they buy from you.
Build your eCommerce platform around your customer’s needs and not your own. A cosmetics company marketing to Gen Z (Teenagers) will have a very different look and feel to an insurance company selling to Gen X (People in their 50s) and be active on different social media and marketing channels.
Get to know your customer’s Demographics and Psychographics, not just who they are and where they are but what interests they have, and what motivates them.
You can get a lot of information from Google Analytics, your existing customers and by doing some basic research communicating with your customers, social media followers and email subscribers.
22: Be honest and upfront about pricing.
One of the biggest reasons people abandon their cart is unexpected additional costs that are added at checkout. While it’s not always possible to have free shipping or include shipping in the product price you must be upfront about any additional costs that may be incurred.
This is particularly true if you provide international shipping where courier costs can vary considerably from region to region and be a major additional cost – sometimes being more expensive than the actual product itself.
Give the customer some shipping options if possible, some customers may be happy to accept a longer delivery period if it saves them money.
On the product detail page tell the customer that specific costs will be calculated and added at checkout. or if you offer free shipping on orders above a certain amount.
Interested in eCommerce then read our other eCommerce articles.
Do you have an eCommerce question? Contact Us.