Just about anyone who works in retail will agree - over the last few years, revenue in physical stores has been flat, while e-commerce sales continue to rise.
Sure, Amazon has a large piece of that pie - 60 percent as of 2016 - but smaller online retailers, especially the savvy ones, are still able to hold their own. This is a good thing, as the average online shopper tends to be younger, wealthier and perfectly happy to buy everything from a wedding dress to laundry detergent directly from their smartphones.
Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store adding an online arm, there are a number of strategies to keep you from getting lost in the sea of retailers flinging open their virtual doors.
One of the most important strategies? Product listings.
As it turns out, selling your goods online isn’t as simple as posting a picture and naming a price. There’s an excellent chance that whatever you’re offering isn’t one-of-a-kind, which means other retailers have the same products.
To convince a customer to choose your store instead, you need to make sure the way you present your products is engaging, entertaining, eye-catching, and optimized for search engines. To get there, try the following tips.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Product Descriptions
When you’re shopping online, every product is virtual. As you’re trying to decide whether to click the “Buy” button, you can’t pick things up, touch them or try them on. This is why product listings have to be incredibly detailed and visual; retailers have to create the experience of the product for their customers through words and images. If a detail is missing or customers aren’t sure what you’re offering, they’ll go elsewhere to get what they need.
There are a number of ways to overcome this issue. The first is to write full, richly detailed product descriptions for each item you’re selling. Include: sizing charts; buying guides; measurements; materials; an explicit title; up-to-date brand/designer information; condition of the product; key features; size; materials; and anything else that might be relevant to a customer.
Don’t be afraid to put a little personality in your product descriptions! Today’s consumers are almost as interested in the experience of your brand as they are in the products you sell. Give your product listings a little pizzazz through colorful language, snippets of stories and entertaining copy that stays on brand.
An Image is Worth a Thousand Words
While words are important, images hold equal weight. You can wax poetic about your products all you want, but if you don’t include a range of great images it’s going to be very hard to take your business seriously. While words can do a lot, nothing beats great visuals when it comes to showing your customers exactly what they’re buying.
You’ll want to include images of your product from all angles, but don’t rely solely on isolated product photos or boring stock photography. Use photos that are clear, simple and uncluttered; a white background is a classic style for a reason. Then, go the extra mile by showing your products in action.
For example, if you sell apparel, find some people to model the clothing. If you sell skateboards, images of the wheels spinning or decks flying through the air will catch a customer’s eye. Add some lifestyle imagery so your customers can see not only what you’re selling, but also how it will improve their lives.
If you have to hire a professional to get the kind of images that will sell, then do it; now is not the time to rely on grainy shots from your iPhone.
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