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25 tips for a more successful online shop

Increase sales and profit

Freddy Czaja


These 25 tips should help you to make your online shop even more successful. Of course, you will know most of the topics and have already tackled them once - but maybe you will notice something that needs to be optimized and simply makes the online shop better.

1. Design

Design has a significant role in the success of an online shop. It decides whether visitors feel comfortable, find their way around and whether they remember the online shop (branding). For all these reasons, the design must be tailored to the target group, have a very positive effect and make you want to shop in the online shop. And especially important: it should be different from the design of the competitiors.

2. Product descriptions 

Products without product descriptions are dubious and are a valuable potential that will not be used! Here must be said very clearly: even if it takes a lot of time to create high quality product descriptions, they contribute significantly to the success of the online shop. And in a number of ways: First, product descriptions are essential for search engine optimization, which will only take effect in the long term. Second, product descriptions are expected by customers and provide information about specific product information. Also, the most important information should be available in easily manageable tabular form.

3. Product images

Product images have the same task as products in the store - they sell the product! Example: If in the store stand shoes that do not look new, dirty or unattractive effect, then nobody buys them. And that's exactly how it is in the online shop. Product images have to get the most out of every shoe, hammer drill and every bike. Also, there should be multiple product images showing different views or details. Important for Search Engine Optimization: All product images should be at least 500px by 500px, have a relevant image name, and the alt tag should match the product name (or include other relevant keywords).

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4. Trust

Especially with high-priced products Trust (trust in the online shop) is enormously important.
And not without reason: one of the points in the famous Maslow need hierarchy is the need for security. Already in the first few seconds a potential customer spends in the online shop, he consciously or unconsciously tries to find out if he can trust the online shop. If the product is available, potential customers will try to find out if the online store is trustworthy. Different things are confidence-building:

1. Trust symbols such as (Trusted Shops) are a strong sign of trust.
2. The payment method PayPal indicates that the online shop has been checked and creates trust through its buyer protection.
3. An imprint must be available and easy to reach (footer), here are company names such GmbH (in Germany) confidence-building. Also, the imprint must be well designed to evoke an emotional, positive feeling.
4. Contact details such as telephone number or e-mail address should be displayed in a clearly visible manner, as they suggest service readiness.

5. Usability

Good usability says a lot about an online shop and contributes significantly to the success of the company and to the satisfaction of its customers. Things that do not work or are incomprehensible cause potential customers to leave the online shop - because the next online shop is just a click away.

The whole thing is a very important issue as the usability extends across all areas of the online store (navigation, product pages, category pages, checkout, etc.) and touches all devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone). Example 1 Font: The different fonts should be easy to read and match the target group (font, font size, font color, etc.). Example 2 Navigation: The navigation should be understood intuitively by customers and lead quickly to the destination. This concerns the main navigation in the header, the lateral category navigation, the breadcrumb navigation and all cross-links. In order to objectively check the usability of the navigations, tests should be carried out with experienced and inexperienced online buyers. Example 3 Load time: The load time of a website is a crucial factor in usability, becouse customers dont like to wait. If you manage to bring the online shop under the loading time of 0.25 ms required by Google, the customers will more buy- which is also good for the search engine optimization and in the end, for the success of the company.

6. Shopping cart & checkout

The shopping cart and checkout are of particular importance in online shops, as they are the last hurdles to completing the purchase process. It is important here that all pages are transparent and trusting and easy to use. This includes the arrangement of the elements, the simple overview, the use of few checkout steps, a positive design or the easy-to-fill fields.

7. Payment Methods

PayPal, credit card (Visa, Mastercard), prepayment and Sofortüberweisung are the preferred payment methods in Germany and should therefore always be offered if possible. It should be remembered that customers usually have a time problem and need the product X quickly - which means that advance payment for these customers is not interesting, but promise the other payment methods fast shipping. For the sake of transparency and clarity, the offered payment methods should be clearly visible. Here is especially the footer or at least a link in the footer, which leads to a corresponding page to recommend.

8. Responsive web design

Today, it is self-evident for internal users that websites adapt to any device and are thus optimally usable. Online shop operators should therefore pay close attention to their responsive design of the desktop, tablet and mobile version of the online shop to meet all requirements for usability and search engine optimization. What should I do? First, the online shop for desktop, tablet and mobile devices should be designed and implemented. Thereafter, at regular intervals, all page types on the various devices should be tested and verified. Why is that important for search engine optimization? Google as the main search engine wants users to get the best results, with a very good presentation and usability. If an online shop can not deliver the last point, the shop will have probably get worse rankings in the search results.

9. 404 page

A 404 page is displayed whenever a page (URL) is not available. There are several reasons for this: For example, if a link is incorrect or broken, or if the file to which the URL refers has been deleted, moved, or renamed. From the point of view of search engine optimization, care should be taken to ensure that all external and internal links of a website function and point to the right resource. If something goes wrong, the 404-page must be designed so that customers easily find the products or content you are looking for (the 404 page must look professional). It is also important that the correct HTTP status code is output on the server side.

10. Call-to-action

A call-to-action takes users by the hand and shows what to do next. A typical example would be the button "Add to cart". A call-to-action must be short and crisp and encourage users to do what we want. Here the right words and the design from the buttons and links play an important role. Words, colors and shapes should have a positive effect and influence users emotionally. Important call-to-action should be checked for her effectiveness in the form of A / B tests.

11. Pagespeed

The pagespeed of an online shop is enormously important for customers and search engines. Users who have to wait a long time to build a product page, are quickly gone and just go to another online shop - especially when it comes to potential new customers. For this reason, search engines like Google place particular value on the fact that all resources of a website are quickly loaded in the browser. What can be optimized? Server, image sizes, online shop software and much more. Here you can test your website or the online shop: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

12. Glossary (technical article)

There are many methods to get new online shop customers. One of them is to write and publish articles (in a glossary) that contain answers to common questions (keywords). The chance here is that in the customer journey, even before the last step "conversion" (purchase), we establish contact with the target group and are thus one step ahead of the competition. But before it starts, it must be ensured that all product and category pages of the online shop are equipped with very good texts. Also, the goal should be to write only high-quality technical texts. Why is a glossary still important? All (attractive) content that fits thematically to the online shop increases the relevance of the online shop in search engines and leads to better placement of product and category pages.

13. Fast shipping 

Above all, customers want the ordered product to be delivered quickly! For this reason, should the online shop, if possible, expand the service so that the products within 24 hours to be shipped or have a delivery time of 1-2 working days. And that has to be communicated! For this the product page, the header or the footer is suitable. In summary: The "fast shipping" is an important selling point and ultimately leads to more sales - Amazon makes it!

14. Amazon & Ebay

For most online shops, it is mandatory to sell in online marketplaces like Amazon & Ebay. The reason is quite simple: the range is increased and it will more sold. This is especially important at the very beginning, because the own online shop is not yet known and also the rankings in the search results are weak. So what is to be done? The online shop and the ERP ideally requires interfaces to the marketplaces or products must be sold separately.

15. Search function

The search function in online shops must work perfectly - there is nothing more to say. Reason: Most users do not have the time to search long in categories until they find the product they want - they just want to get the product very quickly. And the search function is the best way to find the product. Amazon shows this in perfection.

16. Search engine optimization

Online shops can not ignore SEO, because this is one of the important part on the online marketing. Good results in the search results secure a part of the turnover, which gets bigger and bigger with the years - if good SEO work has been done. What should I do? Search engine optimization is a huge Task and should be approached from the beginning very professional. For this reason, at least one employee of the online shop must be familiar with SEO and be the conductor. What is especially important: very good unique product- and category texts, very good unique product images, fast loading time, title-description (title-tag), meta-description, simple URL structure, responsive web design, headline content and structure, professional design, internal and external linking - and duplicate content must be avoided in any case - and much more...

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17. SEA & Google AdWords

Products with a high margin (and perhaps high demand) should be supported by Google AdWords. Search Engine Advertising (SEA) is the umbrella term for search engine advertising - and AdWords is Google's most successful product and shows text advertising for products and services in the Google search engine and affiliate websites. But there are also other types and providers. Banner advertising, remarketing or Google Shopping are good ways to reach customers. Other providers are Bing or Yahoo.

18. Cross selling

With cross selling will for example under the product further products offered, which are a supplement to the favored product. These offers help the customer further and bring additional sales to the online shop. Furthermore, this can also increase the time on site (session duration), which is very good in terms of search engine optimization.

19. Upselling

The upselling strategy tries to get customers to opt for a high-priced product rather than the cheapest one. For this purpose, instead of e.g. a product, three products presented and the merits of the high-priced highlighted. The whole thing should not be obtrusive, because customers otherwise feel taken by surprise and buy no product.

20. Benefits & USP

Sometimes clients have to be told what they should feel & think (marketing). This also means that online shops call their advantages and the unique selling point. This information should best be displayed in the header of the online shop. Examples include: Free shipping and return, shipping within 24 hours, market leader in the field of XXX. What should be achieved? This information is emotional or factual benefits that positively influence the decision to shop in your online store.

21. Categories

Categories bundle similar articles so that customers have a better overview and find their desired product faster. These categories should then be skilfully presented in different navigations to guide customers. In addition, category pages are also the chance that search engine users will find the online shop (landing pages). For that you have to imagine that a summary of several products of a certain "category", are very relevant to some searches requests  (generic keywords). Example: windbreakers, cordless screwdrivers, Adidas jackets - and this is an important topic, especially for search engine optimization. Here it should be noted that the Meta Titles has to be right named, have very good category descriptions and the usability is excellent. Tip: Try to generate additional categories for other corresponding search requests. Important: All landing pages (categories) have to be linked several times in the online shop.

22. Shipping

Shipping costs, payment methods and prices should always be treated very transparently so that there is no nasty surprise in the checkout process. For this it makes sense to present the link to the shipping costs directly on the product site and also in the footer.

23. Optimize conversion

One of the goals in marketing is that of all potential buyers and visitors of the online store, as many as possible make a conversion (purchase of a product). For this reason, it is important that all page types (category and product pages), elements, text, designs, etc., are optimal enough to achieve this goal. To come very close to the goal, of course, many tests must be performed and evaluated. What is to do? At first, should be a guess that is tested by an A / B test or a customer survey. After successful testing, the improvements should be added. Example: Button "add to cart"

24. E-Mail Marketing

So that customers do not forget the online shop, from time to time a newsletter should send to all customers. Although the new GDPR and everything related to that does not make it easy, a well-thought-out e-mail marketing should be used. What should I do? It should be easy and beneficial for customers to subscribe to the e-mail distribution list (newsletter). The newsletter and e-mail messages should appear about once a month, so that it is not perceived by the customer as spam. The newsletter should look attractive and have several good call-to-action and, if possible, be personalized.

25. Packages

Although it costs a bit of time and money, the packages should look very well and also very well packed. For technical articles, for example, customers expect everything to be well padded. This first and second impression is important so that your online shop may win a regular customer. Also, you should use personalized Packages or tapes to brand your packages. 

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