In 2021 one of our e-commerce store client hit a major milestone – it received its millionth order, which is definitely a cause for celebration!
But aside from this, it also generated a ton of interest online. In order to drum up as much interest as possible, we decided to write a blog post about the process of converting a traditional brick and mortar store into an e-commerce one.
What we found extremely interesting was not only did the blog post go viral (reaching over 29000 people in less than a day) but the initial order bookings also converted into a 7% increase in sales. Which is pretty incredible!
So if you’re looking to increase your own e-commerce sales, or just want to learn from our startegies, this article is for you.
E-commerce grew by 23% in 2021, according to Google Analytics research, with 77% of retail store owners planning to implement an e-commerce store in the next 12 months.
The main reason behind this is fairly obvious – customers want what they want when they want it. And thanks to the simplicity and convenience of online shopping, more people than ever are able to gain access to the products they want, when they want them. The only problem is, unless you are a tech-savvy business with a highly optimised website, this can be quite a challenge. Especially if you want to hit the ground running and grow your e-commerce sales quickly.
Why not just do it the old fashioned way and expose your customers to as many of your products as possible?
It’s all about marketing and retaining customers. With online shopping, all you need to do is browse through your favourite stores and products and place an order. So unless you want to hinder your own growth by maintaining a shop that is difficult for customers to use, why not consider upgrading to a fully functioning e-commerce store?
When we first began the process of converting our client’s shop into an e-commerce store, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to create a website that was functional, user-friendly, and most importantly – drove business.
Prior to making any major changes, we conducted an audit of our site to discover any potential problems. Once we had uncovered every one of them, we set about fixing them one by one.
Here are the six goals we set out to achieve:
1. Have a strong call to action
While we were aware that our website needed to pull in more traffic in order to earn more sales, it wasn’t until we began optimising our content that we saw remarkable results. After conducting a content audit and identifying areas for improvement, we rewrote content to make it more compelling. For instance, we identified that our blog articles didn’t seem to be pulling in any real traffic, so we decided to experiment with writing a series of compelling case studies on different industries and topics.
After publishing the first case study, which focused on the Australian market and sold over 500 copies in its first week, we knew we had something special on our hands. As a result of these case studies, our blog now gets over 400 unique visits a week, which generates around 2800 clicks and 100+ orders each month.
2. Make the site easy to navigate
Another crucial aspect of a good user experience is providing a straightforward and intuitive navigation scheme. After conducting a usability audit, we discovered that our site had 27 possible navigation paths – meaning our customers were likely feeling a little confused as to how to find what they were actually looking for. We then simplified our navigation, taking away the clutter and complexity.
We also employed a few other usability tricks that increased customer satisfaction and decreased the amount of time customers had to spend on our site, looking for information.
3. Have a clear destination for customers
When a customer lands on your website, you want them to have a clear idea of where they’re going and what they’re going to find once they get there. So, we set about creating a “landing page” for our website, which initially consisted of just a couple of sentences describing what our business offered. In hindsight, we definitely should have included more information – such as a pricing table or a call to action – however, this was largely a product of a lack of website experience on our part. Once we grew our traffic and began seeing a considerable amount of bounce backs, we knew we had a foothold in the market and began expanding our online store’s offerings to include more products. As a result, our landing page has since evolved to become one of our most popular blog posts, with more than 500 words of content and an embedded Instagram feed.
4. Have a mobile-friendly design
Another important consideration when designing a website is making sure it looks great on all devices. After all, not all devices are made equal. While we were aware that our site needed to look good on a desktop computer, we didn’t really put that much thought into making it work well on mobile phones. As a result, our site wasn’t performing well on mobile phones, which meant we were losing business to our competitors who were better optimized for mobile.
So we set about fixing this. Not only did we overhaul our website’s design to make it mobile-friendly, but we also conducted a full audit of our product pages, removing any unnecessary or confusing clutter. As a result, our product pages now feature just the essentials – such as a clear call to action and accurate specifications – and are optimised for both desktop and mobile use.
5. Have a good looking email sign-up form
An email sign-up form is a great way to capture a potential customer’s email address. However, the form on our website didn’t follow industry standards, rendering it pretty unappealing. Not to mention the fact that our popup window covering the form was bugging customers, making them want to exit the site immediately.
So, we set about fixing this. While we were aware that our email sign-up form needed to be revamped, we underestimated just how much work it would take. After hours of trial and error, we eventually came up with an email sign-up form that we felt was highly streamlined and appealing, not to mention functional. We also tested various styles and offers, leading us to conclude that a minimalist, yet bold aesthetic was the best approach.
6. Minimalism is vital
We mentioned minimalism earlier on in this article. It is certainly worth noting again, as too much going on in a place can cause customers to leave, never to return. While we were aware that our site needed to be streamlined and packed with value, we didn’t really put that much thought into making it minimalist. As a result, we had a mish-mash of styles and a design that was cluttered with information. Now, our site is sleek and minimalistic, boasting just the essentials – such as a call to action, image, and text.
Our takeaway from this is to ensure that whatever changes you make to your website or online store, you keep things simple and easy to understand. Doing this ensures that you are driving business, not distracting customers with unnecessary features or design elements.
How Did We Do It?
Now that we’ve covered the basic building blocks of an effective e-commerce store, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how we went about designing and implementing an e-commerce store for our business.
1. Firstly, we needed a platform
The first step was to choose a CMS (Content Management System) to build our website on. We initially tested Squarespace, which has an entire team of web designers and developers at the ready to help you build your website.
We then decided that since we already had a.com.au domain, we would use that to build our website on. As soon as we installed WordPress on our server, we began creating a custom-built template – featuring our company’s logo and colour scheme – for our website’s design.
2. Next, we needed to segment our audience
When designing a new website or online store, the first thing you need to do is identify your audience and segment it into distinct groups. In our case, we knew that our target audience was going to be existing and potential customers of ours, who were already generally familiar with what we offered and might be interested in purchasing it online.