When it comes to generating sales for your boutique’s website, do you struggle to turn site visitors into paying customers? In today’s world of online buying and social connections, the market is more competitive than ever before. It is important to find ways to stay ahead of the competition and drive more sales to your online store. By focusing on these four core areas, you can easily improve your website’s effectiveness and boost sales.
Consistently Offer Something New
Many designers and fashion boutique put a great deal of time and care into building their website, but once it is launched, they consider themselves done, walk away, and expect it to perform well. However, it is vital to make sure you give your online boutique the same love you would a physical store – frequent cleaning and display updates are a must. Imagine if every time you stopped by your favorite store everything was exactly the same - the store windows, inventory, and merchandise - boring! Instead make sure to update your homepage images, test different shopping incentives, and ensure that your website has something new to offer repeat visitors.
Update product descriptions
Simple updates like refreshing your product descriptions to reflect the season and including more expressive adjectives can have a powerful effect on your customer’s decision to buy. It is also helpful to highlight different product benefits. If sales have been slow online for a specific product in a category, but similar items are performing well, it could be because you are not talking about the item’s most popular and useful benefits, including where and how to wear the item. In addition, refrain from using “I” or “me” too often in your content. Your website is there for the benefit of your customers, so your content should be focused on them. Search for uses of these words and look for ways to change the “I” into a “you” statement. Finding opportunities to refresh you online copy throughout your website – from product pages, to the homepage, to the purchase confirmation – will lead to a more engaging experience for your site’s visitors and more sales.
Get a boost with a blog
If you've been considering whether or not to have a blog as part of your website, the answer is yes. Postjng consistently on a blog will not only will creating content on your blog boost your SEO efforts but give you a different means to connect with your audience as well as influencers.
A few important things to note when creating your blog posts:
- Do keyword research to help figure out what topics you should write about and what phrases you should think about incorporating while writing. You can use tools like SEMRush or Google's Keyword Planner to help with keyword research. While SEMRush is a monthly service, it allows you to look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for as well as helping you generate keyword ideas. Google's Keyword Planner is another great option for doing keyword research, especially as there's no cost to use it.
- Make sure to come up with multiple headlines and then figure out which one is best as it can mean the difference between 1,000 views and 10,000 views.
- There's no need to write articles that resemble term papers. Instead, break your posts into easy to digest bite sized chunks of content for quick and easy consumption.
Gorgeous Images Go Further
It goes without saying that product imagery is extremely important, especially for an online boutique. People today are very focused on images, with 67% of consumers stating that the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product. Despite this, many online boutiques do not work to optimize their images.
When adding product images to your website, there are a number of things to consider. First, the images must be high quality – this cannot be emphasized enough. Large products shot against a white background are essential not only for fashion editors, but for your website. Secondly, make sure you include multiple images for each item, containing alternate views, style, and shots of different colors of the same product, as well as editorial-style images. Lastly, allow users can zoom-in on image to see the product in greater detail and/or open it in a new window to see it larger. These core elements increases customer trust and brand credibility, by ensuring your customers can clearly see the amazing products you are selling.
Finally, consider image placement on different pages. For example, your homepage should not contain only copy, or all images. Including a mix of product visuals with copy helps draw people deeper into your website. In addition, experiment and test different locations for the image on your product pages. Is there a difference if the image is at the top of the page, or near the ‘Add to Cart’ button? Do sales change if you include images in the cart? Testing different image locations can have a big big impact on site sales once you find your recipe for success.
Invest Daily in Your Social Media Presence
Today’s buying process has gone social. Consumers love to share their new purchases on Facebook, save favorite products on Pinterest and see fun photos of their favorite brands on Instagram. In fact, studies have shown that 21% of consumers have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest. Being willing to embrace social media channels for product and brand promotion, as well as sales opportunities, can lead to significant revenue increases for your online boutique. Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Determine which social network is best for your business and then create your company. You don't necessarily have to be on every social network - it's better to be on less networks and be more active so that you can spend time actually listening and responding to your customers as opposed to being on every social network but being too busy to interact with customers and potential leads.
- Start posting daily updates on a variety of topics for your business. For example, you can share photos of new inventory, talk about a happy customer, promote a sale or share news on latest celebrity style trends. Threadless is well known for their fun posts of office picnics and behind-the-scenes shots on Instagram. You should look to post content on a consistent basis, however contrary to following the scores of reports that proclaim what the best time is to post, you should doing your own testing to figure out the optimal frequency that gets you most engagement levels, especially as compared to your competitors. The general rule of thumb is a minimum of one a day on Facebook and about 4 - 6 times on Twitter.
- To help save some time, you can automate the process by using tools like Swayy and Buffer. Swayy can help you with finding quality content that's related to your industry and you can use it to schedule posts to your various social networks. Buffer is another app that can be used to help with scheduling posts to your social networks. Making use of these apps can help cut down the time you spend on social marketing, leaving you with time to focus on other areas.
- Make use of social commerce plugins to maximize sales opportunities. For example, companies like Shopsy and Soldsie can effectively turn your Facebook and Instagram pages into points-of-sale allowing you to have higher conversion rates as opposed to linking back to your eCommerce website.
Make Use of Social Proof
Social proof is when a company prominently features praise for their product or service from people that their target audience identifies with. Take a look at the following statistics:
- Close to 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that shows ratings and reviews of its products.
- Over 70% of consumers from the US stated that they look at product reviews before making a purchase
The reason why social proof is so effective is because when people are presented with a situation where they are unsure how to behave, they'll typically look to others to decide how to act.
Just think about how much uncertainty and anxiety one typically feels when looking to make a purchase (trying to decide if it's a good product, if the price is right, etc.) and it's clear that making use of social proof can be a highly effective method to boost conversion rates for your business.
A few types of social proof that you can implement for your boutique:
- Testimonials are the most common method of social proof that uses peers of the target audience. The key to a successful testimonial that helps with increasing sales is to make sure that the people you use appear as peers of your target audience, so including an image with your testimonial is a great idea. Aside from superficial elements, choose testimonials that include phrases that your target audience would use.
- User reviews and ratings are a great way to utilize social proof as customers make the best brand ambassadors. The more reviews and the higher the ratings, the more assurance a potential customer has in purchasing the product. You can check out this guide from HubSpot on how to accumulate reviews.
- Press coverage, blog and celebrity endorsements from publications and people that your audience appreciates is another form of social proof that can give you big results. The more influential and relevant the endorser is to your brand, the more powerful the social proof. Make sure to include "as seen in" and "as seen on" information on products that have been featured in this way.
By implementing these four tips for improving your online boutique, you will be on the road to increasing web sales!
Michael Jaccarino is a former CTO of a technology firm that helped companies to better manage, measure, report and analyze their performance. Deciding on a career change, Michael currently is a freelance journalist that enjoys covering start-ups, digital culture, online marketing trends, mobile communications, digital convergence and other internet and technology topics. You can follow him on Google+LinkedIn or Twitter
Photo Credit: vpickering