When you sell products on your website, you are no longer restricted to customers and clients that live near your business.
You have an opportunity to sell to anyone anywhere in the world. Your online store gives you a chance to create a national or even global market for your products.
So it makes sense to want to expand your business and sell products through your website. But simply adding products to your website isn’t enough to build an online store that will generate sales. There are a few ecommerce website essentials your online store needs in order to sell products.
1. Direct and Effective Product Descriptions
All of your online offerings should be supported by copy that describes the product.
Product descriptions serve two primary purposes.
They explain the benefits and features of your products in order to help consumers make purchasing decisions.
They help search engines identify what you sell on your site in order to help lead consumers to your online store through search.
To use copy to effectively sell products on your website, you need to follow a few best practices.
Be Conversational. Write the product descriptions in the same way you would talk to you customer about your product and explain why they should buy it. Use words like “you” and “we.”
List the Features. Be sure to include all of the features that make the product unique or special.
Explain the Benefits of the Features. It isn’t enough to just list the features of your product. You need to tell the reader how those features will make their life easier and explain why each feature is important.
Say “So What?” If you are struggling with writing features as benefits, ask yourself “so what?” as you write each feature. (i.e. This blog posts explains how to write product descriptions SO readers can make more sales on their website.)
Don’t Overuse Adjectives. When you are excited about a product, it can be easy to inflate the description with flowery language and long strings of adjectives. Use adjectives to describe your project, but don’t go overboard. Stick to no more than one adjective per noun.
Be Casual, But Remain Professional. You can certainly use your copy to show the style and personality of your brand. But don’t be so casual that you forget about being professional. Stick to major grammatical conventions and avoid too much slang.
Format for Readers. You product may be so great that you want to scream about it from the mountain tops, but that doesn’t mean you should fill your copy with strings of exclamation points, capital letters, and excessive bolding. Use formatting to help highlight a few of the major elements of your copy, but don’t overuse it so much that it distracts the reader.
use bullet points
only bold the words that really matter or need to stand out
keep text color consistent
keep text size consistent in paragraphs
Cut, Cut, Edit. Repeat. After you have written out all you want to say about your products, go back and cut out all of the words and phrases that aren’t needed. Cut out redundancies or unnecessary adjectives. Get the point and keep your descriptions as concise as possible. Then, edit for grammar and spelling errors.
This example by TOMS shows how you can describe the unique elements of a product in an easy-to-read format that highlights benefits.
2. Professional Product Photos
If you want to be serious about selling products online. You should be serious about your product photos.
People are visual and heavily rely on the way your products looks when making a purchasing decision. Without the proper positioning, packaging, and photos, people will overlook your products — even if the products themselves are amazing.
Consider paying someone to take high-quality photos of your products or set up your own mini-studio in order to capture your products in the best light.
Use a White Background. Don’t let your products blend into the background. Use a contrasting background that will make your product stand out and clearly show its best features.
Make It All About the Product. Don’t distract customers away from the product by filling the frame with unnecessary elements. Only include items that relate directly to the product.
Show Different Angles. Online customers can’t pick up and inspect the product. So help them see all angles by including photos that show different sides or perspectives of the product.
Consider Having Your Photos Retouched. In Shopify’s Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography, they recommend using a service to retouch your photos to add an extra professional touch. In the photo below, you can see what a product photo looks like after being retouched. The background has been completely whited out and a shadow as been added to add depth.
3. A Powerful Discount Incentive
If you sell a product on your site, you should include at least one discount incentive that will encourage a sale from website visitors.
This is especially true if you are selling a new product or a product that customers have never experienced before. (Plus, it can help you build your email list.)
You can consider the following incentives.
Free Shipping — If you don’t already offer free shipping, consider giving it if a buyer spends a certain amount of money or makes their first purchase.
Bonus Items — Add a free gift to go with purchases. This could be just a small complimentary gift that will go well with any item purchased from your store. If you give the same gift to every customer, make sure that it is a gift that everyone will enjoy and matches the needs and wants of your entire target audience.
Buy One, Get One — This is a little different than a bonus item because this usually implies that if you buy one product, you get two of the product instead of one.
Percentage Discount — Offer a percentage off of the purchase. (10% Off)
Flat Rate Discount — Offer a flat rate off of a product. ($10 Off)
In this example, you can see how Avon immediately offers a discount to their customers by using a pop up box with a percentage discount which encourages purchasing (and spending over $40) and signing up for their newsletter.
4. A Clear Return Policy
Online customers take a risk when they purchase a product online as they have not seen the product in person. This makes customers more hesitant to purchase a product.
So alleviate that fear by have a clear return policy that allows customers to return a product in the event that they are unsatisfied.
First off, make it clear that you offer returns. Highlight it somewhere on your site so that it is easy to see.
Online retailer Nasty Gal highlights their “Easy Returns” (and shipping discount incentive) at the top of every page.
Then, make sure all of the guidelines of your return policy are clearly stated. Setting these expectations early will help you when customer come back with questions or returns.
Nasty Gal has a detailed list of their exchange and return policies. They also clearly state their international return and store credit policy. Include your stance on each of these on a detailed policy page.
Selling products on your website can be a lucrative endeavor as your online store is open to customers across the world 24 hours a day.
But your store will only succeed if you are using the right elements to highlight and position your products in a way that will make customers excited and eager to make a purchase.