We’ve all heard it before – “conversion rate optimization is crucial if you want customers to buy from you”. But, just exactly what do marketers mean when they say that things like copywriting, product photography, user experience and site speed are important? It’s easy enough to understand the overall concepts, but what are the specifics behind these things?
You’re browsing the web, searching for a new pair of jeans. These jeans need to stretch because you ride your bicycle to work every day and you don’t want them wearing down quickly. While comparing prices and products you leave a slow website pushing unwelcome popups on your screen, navigate away from another because you can’t read the funky font used, and finally wind up having to decide between two different brands at the same price point. The images on Brand A are high quality but you don’t know if the jeans stretch because it only lists measurements and fabric content. The images on Brand B are good quality, and the product description points out that the fabric has a four way stretch. You’re shopping online and don’t have time to go in store to either to try anything on.
Which brand do you buy from?
One of the biggest obstacles we face within online sales is the inability to communicate detailed information to a consumer.
Now, I’m not talking about details like specs or measurements, as these are easy things to point out in a product’s description. What I’m talking about is experiential. It’s information that can only be processed by experiencing it through one of the five physical senses. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? What does it smell like? What does it taste like?
Communicating information like this is monumental.
Have you ever noticed that simply trying on a clothing item can make or break your decision to buy it? Maybe there’s a particular scent you prefer when buying candles. Maybe you’ve tried a dessert item in the past and realized you didn’t like it, so you opt for another choice instead. These are examples of decisions that are highly dependent on the use of our physical senses. So if appealing to the physical senses is that powerful, what are some things that we can do to make up for the lack of experiencing a product in person?
When you sell online, you lose the advantage of having sales associates who have mastered the art of conversation. In order to level the playing field, you need to leverage copywriting. Good copywriting lists important details. Great copywriting gives a brand a voice. Its foundation is the description of a product, but its forte is its ability to communicate a consumer’s dreams and aspirations and provide a solution to their problems. It is subtle in its persuasion and it meticulously coerces your customer to move further along your sales funnel. It entices, it appeals and it convinces. It also provides you with other benefits like optimizing your SEO by allowing you the opportunity to use long-tail keywords (specifically long-tail phrases) naturally, which, in turn, allow you to create context for your website (and that’s important if you want to appeal to Google’s Knowledge Graph). But where can you use these long-tail phrases? Your blog is the perfect place for it. You can create an entire content marketing strategy to lead relevant and high quality traffic into your website through your blog. Plus, you gain the advantage of becoming the expert in your field. From style blogs to lifestyle videos, to tips and tricks, content marketing allows you to build a foundation for a relationship with your audience where you provide it with value and it, in turn, provides you with business.
2.) Product Photography
Have you ever heard of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Product photography is essential in the sale of goods. Just like copywriting, photography can have an impact on your conversion rates because of the amount of detail it presents to a prospective customer. In fashion e-commerce, it has a huge impact on the perceived quality of an item. It communicates details like color, silhouette and texture. It provides an answer to questions like “How does this drape on a body?” or “Is the fabric printed/dyed/embroidered?” or even “Does this fabric content stretch?”. Product photography is also important in the efficient re-purposing of creative assets. If you’ve got a high quality image of your product, it’s almost child’s play re-purposing that asset as content on platforms like Instagram where fashion content performs exceptionally well. If you’re bootstrapping your business and have no budget for a model, things as simple as natural lighting and white backgrounds have a profound effect. You also don’t need expensive camera equipment – most smartphones these days have the capability to take great photos. Just remember to take the time to plan and pay attention to details.
If your product stretches, remember to show some movement in your images. If the product has a deep and beautiful color, shoot it in natural light so that your customers can see its rich tones and hues. Got embroidery details or a unique wash technique? Grab a quick close-up/detail shot. The more visual information you can give your customers, the better – your goal is to provide them with enough visual resources to inform their decision making process and make the sale. One last thing, don’t forget consistency in your imagery. Consistency will allow you to visually brand yourself so that your customers know it is you when they see you online.
3.) User Experience
Optimizing your website has an immediate impact on your customers. When your website is easy to read, relevant content is strategically placed and your images are high quality, you will likely see a much higher conversion rate than if you were to have obtrusive pop-ups, irrelevant content and low resolution imagery. When your website goes from a hundred unique visitors to a thousand, that conversion rate can mean the difference between a twenty dollar day and a two thousand dollar day.
A blog section (for content marketing) is a good tool to improve user experience on your website, plus, it’s amazing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Content marketing allows you to add value to your customer’s experience by giving them tips, tricks, style guides/hacks, etc. By adding value to your customer’s experience, you begin to build trust and rapport and that has immediate effects. A great example of this is creating a marketing campaign around a blog post that features items from your new collection. By presenting your customers with a unique value proposition (in the form of said blog post), you are able to not only provide them with context around the product (benefits to buying it), but also use the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors (branding). The unique experience you create for every customer will remind them that you hold value, and in turn, you will see an increase in your retention rate.
Lastly, don’t use carousels and videos on your homepage. They’re clunky, the slow down your page’s load and the CTRs are usually terrible for them. Google will also penalize you if your load time is more than 3 seconds. Rather than using carousels and videos, try using a static image that immediately communicates a value proposition to your customers.
4.) Site Speed
While these concepts may sound extremely simple, time and time again, they prove to be remarkably important in conversion rate optimization. They hold an insurmountable power in influencing a prospective customer’s decision making process by providing them with experiential information that would otherwise be non-existent. They allow your brand to stand out by providing context in a world where content is endless. They leverage creativity strategically and appeal to your audience’s needs and wants while taking full white hat advantage of algorithms. They speak to the dreams and aspirations of your audience and empower that audience to interact and engage with your brand. They provide an intuitive and seamless user experience.
And most importantly… when all these variables are leveraged strategically, they improve your website’s conversion rate. And a higher conversion rate means more sales. And more sales means more growth. And who doesn’t like a booming business?