The eCommerce market has never been hotter, which means you’ve got the potential for a lot more sales if you can get those pesky window shoppers to convert. The downside to all that potential traffic is you’ve got more competition than ever too.
Ecommerce sales are on a steady climb. They rose 14.2% in 2021 on top of already strong gains – compare it directly to 2019 and eCommerce in 2021 was more than 50% higher. People are buying more online, willing to try new brands, and have even shifted some staple purchases to digital options. This shows that eCommerce is not only a common habit but might be the norm for many types of purchases.
As a Shopify store, you want to capitalize. In many ways, that means improving the experience and reducing shopper stress. Thankfully, the platform offers some direct ways to help you out alongside core eCommerce best practices. Let’s dive into those to get window shoppers to step foot into your digital store.
Give them the information they need to imagine use
A survey of recent online shopping habits found that consumers are placing a higher value on complete product descriptions and appealing product photos. Of course, good product descriptions have always been vital to online conversion. But this is an excellent time to reexamine your descriptions.
The information you include about your product will vary depending on the type of item, but here are elements that you probably want to include:
- An exciting description of why the item is fabulous. This is where you can get creative, talking about the fun your customer could have on a new paddleboard or the comfort and luxury of a sheet set.
- Specifications of the item, which may include dimensions, weight, materials, and care. If you sell a sized item, such as clothing, be sure to have a size guide.
- Precisely what will be included in the package, with photos of each element.
- Details about the manufacturing process, if that’s a selling point.
- Any special requirements, such as a power source for electronics or accessories needed (like a paddle to go with the paddleboard).
Window shoppers need some convincing and product information is how you can combat objections before they fully form. Think of size charts for clothing. The standard list of Small, Medium, Large, and larger sizes is okay. Adding measurements to help people understand what to order is better. But you can mix in reviews where people talk about how well things fit or if they needed to order up/down a size for something even better. Think about what people need for your products and what information may help them imagine themselves using and enjoying those items.
Answer consumers’ questions quickly
It’s no longer enough to build a terrific eCommerce store and invite shoppers to visit. Today, two-way communication is essential because up to 50% of potential buyers will leave your site without purchasing if they can’t get answers to their questions.
Most eCommerce businesses rely on lean operations and don’t have the budget for someone to answer customer queries 24/7. Fortunately, there are other options to give customers the information they need. Start with an FAQ page with answers to the most common customer questions. Feature a link to that page prominently so that shoppers can find it.
Then, consider adding a chatbot to your product pages and programming it with responses to the most common customer queries. If the bot gets a question it can’t answer, you can transfer the chat to a live human in real-time or let the shopper know that someone will get back to them (if it’s after business hours). There are a variety of free and paid options to browse in the Shopify app store.
Some of the most common questions your shoppers have are standard fulfillment concerns. They want to know how much shipping costs, how quickly things arrive, and if you offer deals like “free shipping on orders over $50.” Be sure to include that information on checkout pages and consider adding any coupons or deals to your store’s banner.
Specifically for Shopify stores, don’t neglect the Shop app which can manage tracking numbers, updates, and other information for you. Your store can automate the delivery of tracking and other details within the Shop app so that customers get everything they need to know, with minimal impact on your customer service teams. If they’ve bought from other Shopify stores, knowing tracking and similar details are delivered via the app can be a benefit.
Solicit and publish customer reviews
Customer reviews on product pages serve two purposes. First, they provide product information that consumers will trust from some of your biggest fans. Online shoppers have almost as much faith in customer reviews as they do suggestions from someone they know. Second, customer reviews can answer questions for other consumers. When customers post about their experiences in finding the right items on your site, that might be just the information another shopper needed
Best practices for including reviews on your product pages are:
- Include a star rating system that shoppers can take in at a glance and give that a prominent position on the page.
- Don’t censor negative reviews. Negative reviews help build trust that your reviews are authentic. And a negative review might just convince someone to buy if the reviewer’s issue is not one they care about. Or a lousy rating might show someone why the product isn’t right for them and save you the expense of a return.
- Let your customers post photos and videos. Pictures of the product in use or, even better, an unboxing video that shows how the item works, can provide an excellent incentive for others to buy. Push reviews with visuals to the top of your reviews; they will be among the most helpful to other customers.
- Once you have a lot of reviews, allow customers to sort for different qualities such as those that customers rated most useful or reviews that discuss specific characteristics of the product.
- Filter out fake reviews or indicate which reviewers are by verified buyers.
Reviews don’t happen organically. Request a review a week or two after the customer receives their order.
Thankfully, you’ve once again got a lot of Shopify app store tools available to help. There are solutions that capture user email so you can automate marketing emails asking for reviews. Some plugins give you more detailed ways to display and sort reviews, or make it easier for someone to quickly share their thoughts. Prioritize simplicity and speed when you’re new, then look for more robust features as your number of reviews grows.
Use retargeting to keep people engaged
Those window shoppers might not be ready to make a purchase the first time they visit your site. And, after a casual shopper wanders off, they might never make it back. Retargeting allows you to show ads for your brand to those customers as they browse other sites. If someone was intrigued by your products, retargeting gives them an easy way to click back to you.
You can also retarget via email if you have their email. Include pop ups that make it easy to join your email list and sweeten the pot with a discount on their first order. Then let people know when an item they looked at is running low or remind them of what’s waiting in their abandoned shopping cart.
Give shoppers a reason to buy now
Online stores must work a bit harder than brick-and-mortar venues to create the sense of urgency and immediacy that gets consumers to commit to a purchase. A time-limited special offer is the classic way to incentivize immediate buying. You could offer free shipping or a discount code. When a new customer joins your email list, send them a discount coupon for their first purchase.
In addition, adding inventory information can encourage a purchase. Etsy does a terrific job of this. When a shopper adds an item to their cart, it displays the number left in inventory and how many other shoppers currently have the item in their carts, creating a sense of competitive shopping.
Offer free shipping if you can
Almost half of shopping cart abandonments are due to unexpected costs. You can’t do anything about taxes, but you may be able to offer free shipping.
Free shipping is the gold standard of eCommerce and what every online shopper wants. But free shipping isn’t free to you. Here are ways to offer free shipping while staying profitable:
- Raise your prices to cover shipping costs. That is tricky because your shipping costs will vary depending on where each order ships to.
- Offer free in-store pick-up if you have a store. You can ship orders in bulk and save on shipping costs. Plus, you get customers into your brick-and-mortar location, where they might make additional purchases.
- Make shipping free for orders above a certain amount. That has the added benefit of nudging customers to buy more.
- Offer free ground shipping and allow customers to pay for faster delivery options.
The key to being able to offer free shipping is to keep your shipping costs low. Work with your fulfillment provider to find ways to save on shipping.
Build customer loyalty through outstanding service
Converting “window shoppers” is just the beginning. Building relationships with those customers is a crucial step in building a successful eCommerce brand. Your loyal customers will be your best cheerleaders, encouraging others to try products through positive reviews and social media shares.
Giving customers an excellent online shopping experience involves more than providing desirable and high-quality products. Their experience navigating your website and responsiveness to inquiries will make an impact. Even the best product can fail if consumers feel you don’t care about them.
Another aspect of your operations that can have a surprising impact on customer loyalty is the quality of your eCommerce fulfillment. Fulfillment is the closest you come to being in the same room with your online customers, so you want their orders professionally packaged, to make sure they arrive in perfect condition. And same-day fulfillment can reduce delivery times without the need for expedited shipping.