As a freelance Facebook advertising consultant working with small eComm brands, I often come across online shops that could easily achieve more sales without spending a penny on advertising.
Too often business owners are led to believe that Facebook advertising is a quick fix — an easy option to boost sales with little effort.
I believe in the power of Facebook advertising for small brands, but only when it makes sense. You need the right foundations in place first.
If your online store isn’t turning browsers into buyers, ads won’t help – or at least they won’t be as effective as they could be. Either way, the bottom line is you’ll be wasting money.
And so one of your very first steps in growing sales should be to focus on making your online shop better.
Keep reading to learn more.
How well is your online store performing?
Your online store has a job to do. It’s there to convert browsers into buyers.
If you throw ads into the mix but your site isn’t converting, you’ll be throwing good money after bad because ads don’t fix store conversion problems, no matter how good they are.
4 key metrics every online shop owner should know
1. Conversion rate
Of all the people who visit your website, how many make a purchase?
Your online shop should provide a nice customer experience and be easy to navigate. Well-crafted product pages with customer reviews will make a big difference.
2. Average order value (AOV)
The amount each customer spends per transaction.
To increase AOV, consider bundling products, cross-selling at checkout, offering free delivery above a certain purchase value, or increasing your prices where appropriate.
3. Bounce rate
Your bounce rate tells you the percentage of people who visited your store but didn’t take any action.
If your bounce rate is high, it could be a sign that your site isn’t fast enough, isn’t mobile- or tablet-friendly, or doesn’t look trustworthy. Optimise it to make it work better and add social proof, customer reviews and higher-quality content to build trust.
4. Abandon cart rate
How many people add a product to the cart but then don’t buy?
If customers are getting as far as the cart but then not completing, it could be a sign that your checkout process isn’t smooth enough. Beyond that, consider offering a currency converter and reviewing your delivery options.
How to build an online store that converts
1. Make a good first impression
Is your website fast enough? Does it work well on all devices? Have you optimised your homepage to make it captivating to new visitors?
2. Create high-converting product pages
Include multiple images and a video if possible. Write creative, appealing product descriptions and list the features or specifications. Add reviews to build trust.
3. Develop a smooth checkout process
From product page through to completion of purchase; remove any barriers, speed up the process and offer multiple options for payment and shipping.
4. Instil trust in you, your products and your brand
Answer FAQs, get all the legal bits (like privacy and cookie policies) right and make it easy for customers to get in touch.
5. Add value to educate, inform or entertain your audience
Show your face and tell your story. Consider adding a blog to share tips, guides and inspiration. Show off your PR features and share positive feedback.
See examples from other indie retailers
One-woman band Matilda sells handcrafted chocolates through her online store, Tilly Wonka.
Notice the simple, easy-to-navigate homepage which features bestsellers, the use of collections and the consistent, high-quality images.
There are multiple images for each product as well as creative product descriptions and a quick, easy checkout process with multiple payment options.
There’s an obvious link to FAQs from the top menu, too.
Beards and Daisies
My clients, Jo and partner Luke sell houseplants individually or via subscription through their online store, Beards & Daisies.
The homepage builds trust instantly with a captivating header that gets across what the company does and taps into the why (“make a house a home”).
With collections built around customer pain points (“unkillable” plants and pet-friendly plants), creative descriptions that tap into FAQs, and Trust Pilot linked on every product page; this online store is ticking plenty of boxes when it comes to optimising for conversion.
Plum and Ashby
For friends Vicky and Freya, it’s beautiful home and body collections which they sell via their online store, Plum and Ashby.
Featuring luxe lifestyle and product imagery, clear customer reviews on each page and product descriptions that tap into emotions and feelings, this is another best-in-class. The ‘New’ section makes browsing easy for returning customers, as does the option to browse by either scent or product.
Bonus points for cross-selling! This store includes links to matching products within the descriptions and includes a “you may also like” section on each product page.
A quick recap:
- Advertising might not be the answer. Fix your online store first.
- Know the numbers – conversion rate, average order value, bounce rate and abandon cart rate.
- Look for opportunities to improve. What impression does your site give? How easy is it to use?
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Learn how to optimise your online store so it turns browsers into buyers.