With ecommerce, you have a split few seconds to gain customers trust. A customer will visit your site, take a quick look around, and if something seems off, it could be a reason for them to leave and visit other stores for their shopping.
Think of when you visit a shop online yourself! I know when I am looking at a website, if one or two things throw me off, I am quick to jump ship and search elsewhere. With that in mind, let’s cover some tips and tricks to make your shop look credible, so that you know customers are not leaving for these small reasons.
Design, design, design - this is so important! Having a site that is aesthetically pleasing, and easy to navigate is key. This can be the initial impression that makes or breaks trust with your customers, so make sure design is on the forefront. Some things you can do to ensure this is:
- Have clear, well designed slideshow images. Make sure your slide show images look good on both desktop and mobile - as the two screen formats can crop images in different ratios, so be sure to always check your changes on all screen sizes.
- Make sure the site is not too cluttered - have a simple logo and layout. The nice thing with Shopify is that you have a handful of templates you can choose from, which are well thought out and designed, so just choose the one you like best, and personalize it to your liking.
- Make sure your menu bar organizes your site - have dropdown menus that organize your products into collections. Have your contact us page, about us page, etc in the footer. Organize your site in a way that makes it easy for the customer to get from point A to point B.
- Look at other sites you are inspired by, and get inspiration for your own site based on that!
- If all else fails, ask for help! Reach out to Shopify support to chat with the Guru team, they are always willing to lend a pair of eyes, and make recommendations. Post your site on the Feedback forum for others to leave you feedback on your shop, or even hire a Shopify Expert to help you build it (though this can get pricey)
Once the design is established, here are some other things that you will want to consider.
A Contact Page!
You wouldn’t believe how many sites I see are missing this. Having a clear way a customer can reach you if they have any questions about the product, shipping, etc establishes an initial sense of trust. Ensure too that you are on top of replying to customers, because this lets the customer know you are available for them when they need it.
- On the note of contact page, it’s also a great idea to get a custom email address - one like contact@(storename).com (insert your shop name where storename is). That way customers are not reaching out to a @gmail.com or @hotmail.com address - which can look unprofessional.
Have an About Us Page
Having a tab dedicated to your story, and what your business is about is another great way to connect to potential customers. When it comes to About Us stories though, I recommend writing it in such a way that it connects with a lifestyle. What I mean by this is talk about why you decided to do this (did something happen in your life which caused you to go into your business - something that many others can relate to) and how this is solving that problem. Having a story which others can relate to, and connect with, is the best way to approach it.
- A great example of a site I saw recently was a skincare shop which sold products that helped with a specific kind of skin issue. The products were beautifully packaged, the site was aesthetically designed, but her story was incredible. She had went through the issue herself, and talked about her struggles with it, her journey with it, how it completely changed her life - and how it brought her to this point of starting her own business selling the treatment she found helped. Her story was so real, and so incredible, that even though I have never experienced what she went through, I felt connected to her, and to her products. That alone made me want to buy products from her. All that to say, have a story which others can connect with, or talk about why your shop exists and what need it fills.
- Along with an About Us page, make sure you have a clear FAQ page, Refund Policy page, and Shipping page. This sets clear expectations with the customers on what they can expect, how your shop works, and what options they have available to them if products are bought.
Customize Your Products
Since many of us are using Oberlo to source our products, we all know that product titles and descriptions can get quite long and exaggerated. Saying so, always ensure you update the product titles to your own product titles, and adjust the product description to your liking as well.
- Having a title and description that is unique to you, and fits with your brand can help your items seem unique and cohesive with your site.
- This also prevents people from searching your product titles in Google and potentially finding sites who also sell that same item!
- Though this is not always possible - if you have a niche store, which only sells a handful of items, take your own product images! You wouldn’t believe how taking your own product photography can sometimes make a world of a difference. Order in a few of your top selling items, and revamp the images to fit your brand and style. I love the example of Lennox-Fashion.com - she orders in her items, and takes her own lifestyle shots in the clothes. This shows customers what the products look like on, and how they can style the pieces with other items available too.
Have a Custom Domain Name
- Just like how I mentioned it was important to have a custom email address for customers to reach out to, it is also important to have a custom domain name, instead of having a .myshopify.com store name.
- Make sure the domain name is catchy, and easy to remember
- Make sure it is not too long or hard to type out
- Make sure the .com version is available, and that no other sites are using a similar domain name
- Lastly, a great thing with Shopify is that when you add a custom domain name to your shop, Shopify gives you a free SSL certificate. This means your site will start with HTTPS, rather than HTTP. The S at the end of HTTP indicates to customers you have a secure site - which establishes trust in sharing personal information such as credit card info, etc.
Have a Social Media Precense
I think this is so important nowadays as an online retailer. Whether it be a Facebook business page, Instagram page, Pinterest page, Twitter account, or Youtube account - find the best channels you can put your focus into, and build them.
On the opposite spectrum, one mistake I see merchants make is having too many channels. Having channels attached to your business which are not active, or up to date with relevant content can drive customers away too. So choose one or two channels which you think fit your market best, and put effort into connecting with customers and posting engaging content.
On the note of community engagement, think about adding reviews to your site! Having customer testimonials and ratings are a great way to establish trust amongst new buyers, so feel free to check out review apps such as:
Make sure your site always has relevant, and new content.
- Add new blog posts, remove products off your site, make sure your About us, Shipping, and FAQ pages are up to date, and that your slideshow images are up to date - basically ensure all text and images on your site are applicable, and current.
- On the note of relevancy, that also applies to being transparent with customers. Make sure your checkout/shipping page have clear shipping times labelled. This is a big thing with dropshipping - since shipping can take anywhere from 10 - 50 days. I recommend adding the expected shipping times in the shipping rates (like the example below), and offering free shipping when possible, so that you reduce the rate of complains. You would also be surprised at how many customers are okay with longer shipping times if it means they don’t have to pay for it - so bump up your product prices to cover shipping on your end, and offer free shipping if possible.
These are just a few things I notice when a shop online, and are things that I find can make or break my own online shopping experience. As mentioned, with online shopping, customers are so quick to visit and leave sites, so doing everything you can to keep them interested and give them a sense of trust and credibility is so important.
I would love to know what things you look for when shopping online, and what things draw you away from sites. Let’s open up the discussion so we can all learn from one another!