Written by David
20th May 2013 • 5 min read
Want people to buy your products? Of course you do. That’s why you’re in business.
Yet there’s a basic truth many eCommerce store managers overlook.
For anyone to buy a product in your store, they’ve first got to find the product they need.
If you’re putting any barriers in the way of your customers finding the products they want, then you’re losing sales.
We all know the basics. You can SEO your website, so people are more likely to find you on Google. You can list your product on multiple channels, including Amazon and eBay, to give your products the best possible exposure.
But what about the customers who are shopping on your site?
Do you offer them a helping hand in finding what they want?
Or do you make them do all the legwork?
If you’re simply listing your products and crossing your fingers, then I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re probably losing sales.
Helping Customers Find What They Need is Your Job
The Internet may be changing the retail landscape, but in terms of how customers find the products they want, not much has changed from the in-store retail experience.
In a real world store, customers have two options. They can:
- Browse the product displays until they find what they want.
- Ask a shop assistant for help finding a specific product.
To maximise sales, shops must display products in an attractive, easy to browse way. They must also train staff to offer quality customer service.
Online stores are much the same.
Customers can browse through products until they find what they want. Or they can go to the search bar to ask for help finding a specific product.
To maximise sales in your eCommerce store, you must make your store easy to browse.
That means sorting your products into relevant categories, and having quality images and descriptions of your products on your site.
Browsing customers are often “just looking” and will only buy something if it takes their fancy. The more attractive you make your products – with the right images and copy – the more likely they are to buy.
You must also make sure your search bar is up to scratch.
Let’s have a look at how to do that.
Simple Tips to Optimise Your Search Bar
Make your search bar easy to find. Don’t bury it in the footer of your website, or hide it away on your product pages. Display your search bar prominently on your homepage, directly beneath your store banner.
Today’s web shoppers expect an easy to find search bar, and if they don’t see one in the first couple of seconds, they’ll go elsewhere to find what they need.
Keep your product listings customer focused. Even if you use an advanced product search engine, it’s only as intelligent as the data you provide it with. Work with a copywriter, or learn copywriting skills, to make your product titles, descriptions and keywords relevant to your customers. Describe your products in the language of your customers. If you’re unsure about this, do some market research.
Businesses often think in terms of the features of products, whereas customers are mainly interested in the benefits. How does the product help them?
(Top tip: Use Google’s free keyword tool to find out how customers search for the products you sell).
Maintain your data feeds. Unless you keep your data updated, including price, stock, size and technical details for every product in your inventory, your store’s search will give customers irrelevant results, or overlook relevant products that you could be selling to them.
Enable filtering and sorting. This is especially important for stores selling hundreds of similar items. Allow customers to filter search results by category, price, brand, etc to help them quickly find what they need and make the purchase.
Sorting is likewise important. Can your customers sort search results by price, popularity or relevance?
Is your search optimised?
Does your search act as a virtual shop assistant and help customers find what they need? Or is it getting in the way of them doing their shopping, and driving them elsewhere?
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