Examples and tools for building in social proof for retail and travel websites

We all, in varying degrees, look to others for advice and reassurance to reduce risk and uncertainty. In everyday life, as well as when online shopping. Often, without even realizing, we’re gently nudged along on the customer journey with social proof. This can start with something as simple as liking an Instagram post, clicking on the link in bio, followed by a trip to the website, shopping cart and straight through check-out, faster than we can say #microinfluencer. ‘The social proof heuristic is a psychological and social phenomenon whereby we, as consumers, look for behavioural guidance when we’re unsure, or in an unclear, unfamiliar, or ambiguous situation.  The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more a given individual will perceive the idea to be correct.’  Robert Cialdini PhD…

Essential CRO and SEO advice for small new e-commerce businesses

In the past couple of years, we have seen a boom in e-commerce websites that have managed to sell their products without necessarily bringing something new to the table. But e-commerce is a growing sector that will continue to see increases in the coming years. That only means one thing: the competition will grow exponentially in the future. Millions of websites sell their products in the online medium, using its accessibility and ease of use to draw the attention of customers. This will make innovation a necessity. In this highly competitive world, your product landing page and presentation can make or break your business. Learning how to optimize it for both your consumers and search engines is vital to thriving in the crowded market of e-commerce. A great product is just half the battle. The rest is making sure that the entire world…

4 copywriting tips for optimising your product pages

In ecommerce, as in life, there are those who are unsuccessful, those who are successful, and there are those that are exceptionally successful. Given the choice, which one of these three groups would you choose to emulate with your own ecommerce business? There are of course many factors that come into play when determining whether your business becomes the next big thing, or last year’s forgotten disaster – product quality, customer service and price points to name just a few. But how well you handle the product copywriting on your website is one thing that can have a massive impact on how successful your business is. To help ensure that your product descriptions are successful in turning web users into customers, you could do far worse than attempt to emulate the techniques and methods of those online businesses that are already hugely successful. So who…

A recommended wireframe and best practice examples for retail Product Details Pages

In part four of our review of best practices for different types of retail site pages we will cover the Product Details Page (PDP).  Of course, the product page template is an essential page in the conversion path and when visits are aggregated across all product pages, this often represents the largest chunk of total views or 'footfall' when viewed in analytics. Product details pages are accessed both as part of a wider online purchasing journey, for example browsing a category page and then navigating through to specific product, such as campaign or landing pages. It’s therefore important to understand the different user needs as not everyone who visits a Product page will be ready to buy, so the page also needs to provide as much relevant and useful information as possible. Sometimes large catalogue retailers use more than one template design because optimisation teams…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for online retail Product category pages

This is the second in the series of posts from me in which I hope to give you ideas to consider for testing improvements to page elements on retail and other ecommerce sites following emerging best practices. In my first post, we covered best practices for ecommerce homepage designs. If you work in an ecommerce team at a retailer, or are involved in design for your client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will help generate ideas for testing page enhancements.

Key Ecommerce category page wireframe requirements

In retail, 'product category page' is the general term referring to pages listing the range of individual products. But you may know Category pages as Hub, Department or Division pages. Then there will often be sub-category pages too depending on the information architecture for the catalogue. The key core elements of…

What Makes Great Ecommerce Website Design? Part 3: The Product Page

The product page is one of the most important page templates for retail sites, if you look at the footfall across a site (for example, from the Content Drilldown in Google Analytics for well architected sites). So, Part 3 of my series of recommendations on ecommerce website design dedicated to best practice I look at product pages. Previously we looked at retail home page and category page best practices. The product page is the page that most customers who are engaged in buying mode will spend some time on: reading descriptions, comparing specs and flicking through product images.. Although some websites feature a 'quick buy function' which may enable customers to 'skip' this page. However this behaviour depends on the stage in the buying cycle the customer is at (and whether or not in-depth information is required). For example those customers who already know exactly what product they…

What Makes Great Ecommerce Website Design? Part 2: The Category Page

In Part Two of my series of blog posts looking at the factors that help make different parts of an ecommerce websites more effective in experience, merchandising and SEO, I review examples of category pages. In Part 1 I looked at 5 Ecommerce home page best design practices. You can think of Category pages serving as the 'Departments' within your website like they do in a department store - the ladieswear department, childrens wear department and so on. These areas in a department store are typically demarcated by very visual merchandising, such as mannequins dressed in the types of clothes that you'd find in that department, visual posters/ signage showing branding or imagery depicting the section you are in - smiling children on posters indicating that you are in the childrens' section. These subtle visual prompts are often un-noticed yet serve to ensure that…

How to use personalised product recommendations to increase Ecommerce sales

The importance of effective product recommendations cannot be ignored. When done correctly they can heavily contribute to the success of a website, both by increasing the quantity and the size of orders being placed. Studies of personalisation have revealed that, when recommendations are made intelligently, those products being recommended can enjoy conversion rates over 900% higher than sitewide averages. Amazon have famously leveraged this technique to attract a huge customer base and vast revenues - a look at their homepage will reveal a site committed to personalising its shopping experience around the needs of each and every individual customer. Today, the importance of website personalisation as a method for boosting conversion rates is recognised by most digital professionals. An Econsultancy report recently named website personalisation as 2014's top digital priority by…

5 real-world examples showing the value of rich media in Ecommerce

Ecommerce professionals and conversion rate experts have been lauding the benefits of rich media like video and 360 degree views for retailers more and more over the last couple of years.  Yet a huge range of high profile ecommerce businesses are still yet to adopt product video, high resolution imagery or 360’s. A number of the clients I work with have benefitted a lot from adopting rich media and have seen big increases in engagement and conversion. I’ve been talking about how rich media can add value to your proposition and general user experience for ages (such as here on SEJ and here on my personal blog) but I thought it would be useful to feature some quotes from expert retailers who have reaped the benefits. Thanks to…

How to increase sales by improving your product pages?

If you review the analytics for an ecommerce site using the content drill down in Google Analytics you will often see that product pages have the greatest "footfall" measured by total number of pages viewed by page type. This shows the importance of making the design, copy and calls-to-action on product pages as good as you possibly can. You can really reap the rewards of small changes across page templates for all product pages. To give you ideas of what you can test and improve, here are my 6 recommendations on how you can improve sales by improving your product pages.

1. Split testing

Split testing, for me is a fundamental element of ecommerce, as it allows you to accurately reflect on multiple pieces of content or designs.  Also, given the simplicity of some of the A/B testing tools available (especially…

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