Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back, smell the roses and have a look to see what your competitors and other industry websites are up to. CHRIS THOMAS
By Chris Thomas
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Isn’t it easy to get caught up with our own websites and get too close! Trees through the forest and all that. This week I want to run over some really solid e-commerce examples. If you’ve got an e-commerce site then you might find some ideas that other sites use can help boost your own conversions.
If you’re looking for e-commerce inspiration then the United States is probably the place to start! Obviously, the grandaddy of them all is Amazon.
Amazon does a great job at managing a huge inventory. They put so much effort into each and every product page, where let’s face it, purchasing decisions are ultimately made. Most e-commerce websites don’t pay much attention to product pages. They usually just have a bunch of specifications, a price and a “buy now” button.
Amazon has a reasonably strong Call to Action (CTA), but I think (a big call here) a “buy now” or “add to shopping cart” button should be duplicated at the bottom of each product page.
The reason is that’s where you usually end up when you’ve finished reading the page. Rather than scrolling all the way back up the top of the page to add a product to your cart, I think Call to Action buttons should be at the bottom of Amazon’s product pages too.
Amazon uses other neat web 2.0 features like user reviews to help (or reassure) other people make a purchasing decision. It also helps create unique content that search engines crave. Be a little careful with this on your own site though, as the downside is negative user reviews which can (perhaps rightly in some cases) lower your conversion rates!
Shoeline’s product pages blend some of the old and some of the new to create an easy and safe online shopping experience. I love their strapline, “Free Shipping, No Sales Tax, Easy Returns”. Very reassuring.
The other thing that’s really nifty is the size and clarity of their product images. You can almost reach out and touch those boots!
There’s a kooky blue ‘flash animated’ spider which makes you smile when it flits off the page rather unexpectedly having been “clicked”. It makes the experience fun.
They have an un-missable “Add to Cart” button inside the big yellow order box. They also duplicate the yellow order box near the bottom of the page. Full marks.
The other interesting feature is the “RETURN-O-METER”, which can also help reassure potential customers. But I’m not sure what it would do to conversions if it was in the red zone though!
A little like Amazon, they also use customer reviews, but they take the safer form of customer testimonials which I think is really smart.
In Australia, I’m quite partial to www.DealsDirect.com.au.
They create a nice sense of urgency by using “Today’s Deal”. They also use colour nicely, with “green-means-go” Add to Cart buttons. They’re really serious about conversions and have no less than three Add to Cart buttons on every single page.
Good sized product photos, customer reviews and live chat to boot.
Unfortunately for many e-commerce website owners, it’s expensive to develop custom built shopping carts like the ones discussed here. Hopefully these sorts of features will become more available in the “out-of-the-box” e-commerce solutions over time. I suppose it’s a bit like innovations in Formula 1 racing that gradually filter their way down to the humble family car.
While I’ve got you, I’m speaking next Thursday morning in Melbourne at the Energise Enterprise 08 at the Melbourne Town Hall. I’m privileged to share the stage with Amanda Gome (publisher and founder SmartCompany), Peter Williams of Eclipse and other SmartCompany contributor (all round good guy and fantastic speaker), and Jason West from WebSalad
Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.
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