New to the ecommerce game or just want to know why your sales have plateaued? Jacklyn Deans, ecommerce expert from Flash & Color, was onsite at MAGIC to give us her top online sales and marketing tips. Whether you work in e-commerce or are just hoping to avoid some costly retail mistakes, check out her 7 ecommerce sins now.
Sin #1: Having no buyer persona.
You have to know exactly who you’re selling to. Who’s most likely to buy your product? Who’s going to talk about your product? And who’s problems are you most likely to solve?
Answering these questions helps you craft your buyer persona. During this process, you’ll name your target customer and research her demographics, interests, devices, favorite media and blogs, and most importantly, her buying concerns.
As Jacklyn says, “Once you understand their buying motivations then you can push potential products to them.”
She recommends finding this information through internal and external data sources. Internal sources include customer surveys, observations, analytics data, sales data, user reviews and feedback. External sources include industry and market research data, trade journals, and reports.
Sin #2: Having image issues.
“Great images sell products,” says Jacklyn. And bad images increase returns. Your customer doesn’t have the ability to touch, see or experience this product in person so your images have to do your products justice, and represent them accurately.
Some of the most common photography mistakes are: poor lighting, low resolution, having images that are too big or not having enough images at all. So, what’s the solution?
Jacklyn recommends making an image plan and get professional photos taken. Shoot images in high resolution but use web resolution (72 DPI) so they load quickly.
Sin #3: Disregarding UX design best practices.
You need to make your site easy to navigate and shop or your customer is bound to click out. Common UX mistakes include: a cluttered design layout, fonts that are too small, having your “add to cart” button below the scroll, using a non-responsive mobile site, and incorporating homepage sliders.
Fun fact: Homepage sliders slow down your site and negatively impact SEO. The worst part? Only 1% of people click on them.
Sin #4: Bad copy.
Copy refers to any of the words written on your site and the truth is, great copy matters. Not only does it make your company look professional, it also helps sell product. Examples of bad copy include weak headlines, poor product descriptions, no blog content, and excessive grammatical errors.
Find an amazing copywriter by browsing their work on sites like Upwork, Writers’ Access, or Scripted. The perfect wordsmith can help you tell your brand story, craft your brand voice, and even load your site with keywords using tools like Keyword tool.io.
As Jacklyn shares, “The importance of good copy can’t be overstated.”
Sin #5: Bad shipping policy.
“A poor shipping policy is the #1 reason customers abandon their shopping cart,” says Jacklyn. So, what is the solution?
Have a shipping policy that is straightforward and easy to understand. Place it prominently on your site (for example, on your announcement bar), have a dedicated shipping policy page, and ship quickly (within 1-2 business days).
A great shipping policy is one that offers customers free shipping over a certain threshold. If you make the free shipping threshold higher than your average order, your customer is likely to buy more and your average sale is sure to increase. TIP: If you’re on Shopify, you can use an app called Sales Motivator that tells your customer how close they are to free shipping.
Sin #6: Not having a marketing calendar.
“So many businesses sell in a reactionary fashion,” says Jacklyn. To be successful, and cut down on stress, you must automate your marketing. Make a year-long marketing calendar so you can have all of your assets, inventory, campaigns, and sales set up in advance. Your calendar should include all major holidays, obscure holidays, industry specific events, editorial magazine events, company events, shopping holidays and postal/logistical dates.
Sin #7: Choosing the wrong marketing channels.
You have to know where your customer hangs out and speak to them in the way they want to be communicated with on that channel. This is why knowing your buyer persona from Sin #1 is so important. You don’t want to waste precious time or money investing in the wrong places. As Jacklyn says, “Let go of any channels that aren’t producing an ROI. If it’s not making money, don’t bother.”
Some examples of popular marketing channels: content marketing (blogging + vlogging), email marketing, influencer marketing, paid ads (Facebook, Google, targeted), and SEO. Keep in mind that SEO takes 6-8 months to start working, and email has the highest return on investment of any channel.
Lastly, be sure to hire experts to craft a strategy for each channel and regularly review your analytics. With years of expertise under her belt, Jacklyn says, “If you fix these sins, I guarantee you’ll see an increase in your company sales, your loyalty, and your engagement.”