• Basic Store Optimisation

Basic Store Optimisation: Part 1

In this article, we want to focus on your online store’s look and feel, and the experience your visitors have when they come to your site.

You can buy all the traffic in the world and get thousands of additional visitors, but if your site does not convert those visitors into customers, your ROI (Return On Investment) and your Conversion Rate will be pretty bad. There are some basic store optimisation methods that you can use to improve your ROI.

Before you invest money in Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) or Social Media Campaigns, you need to get your site structure and your home page right.

TURNING VISITORS INTO CUSTOMERS

So where do you start in your store optimisation plan? Turning visitors into customers (people that buy from you) starts on your homepage. And it starts with you experiencing your site the way a first time visitor would. This week we will be looking at Homepage Promotions and one of our favourite User eXperience (UX) tests: The Squint Test.

Next week, we will be completing the Basic Store Optimisation checklist by looking at another one of our other favourite tests:  The Three Second Test.

HOMEPAGE PROMOTIONS

A great way to get new visitors to buy from you, is to display a promotional offer on your homepage. Everybody loves a deal. And that percentage off or free shipping, might just be what your visitors need to give you a try. You need to (of course) back this up with amazing service and fantastic products. You want them to not only come back to buy more at full price, but also recommend you to all their friends.

THE UPSIDE OF CAROUSELS

Carousels are the most common implementation of homepage promotions, and for good reason. A carousel allows more than one piece of content to share the same piece of prime real estate on your homepage. Information generally appears near the top of the screen, so there is a good chance that your visitors will see it.

THE DOWNSIDE OF CAROUSELS

The biggest downside of a carousel is that you can’t count on people seeing the information. People often scroll past these large images and miss all of the content within them. This scrolling straight to the content, seems to happen on all display sizes, from a 30 inch widescreen monitor to a 3 inch mobile phone display.

The second downside of a carousel is that you, as the content designer, consider the carousel as a collection of images that tells a story – a set of images that collectively give an accurate impression of what you sell or what you do.

Your visitors often consider just the one image they see. But if they only see one image from the complete collection you designed, they may get an incorrect or incomplete idea about your business.

TIPS FOR BANNER DESIGN

Anyone can design a banner for a promotion. But designing a banner that gets results is not always that easy. Here are some quick tips to help to increase banner effectiveness:

  1. If you use a carousel, limit yourself to 3 banners
  2. Make sure that navigation controls are inside the carousel, not below it
  3. if you use photos, they should reflect the promotion and should have room to integrate headlines without making it difficult to read
  4. The banner should direct your visitor’s eye to the important elements within the banner, but not overwhelm them or confuse them. Keep it simple.

ALWAYS INCLUDE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION:
  • A primary heading that grabs attention and tells your visitor what your promotion is
  • Point out the benefits. What do your visitors get from the offer? This is often best completed in bullet points or a short description
  • Give your visitors a reason to click!

THE SQUINT TEST

The squint test is one of our favourite tools to optimise store pages. Open your homepage in your favourite browser, take a step back and squint. The page should become blurry and only large, basic shapes on the page should be recognisable. This allows you to get a high level view of the visual hierarchy of your site.

  • What elements stand out? Do they distract visitors?
  • Where is the primary focus to be, and is that where it should be?
  • Are there too many elements on the page, possibly confusing visitors?

The Squint Test helps you detach from your work and you get a glimpse of what your visitors see in the first few seconds they land on your site. When you put a lot of work into what you do it is easy to become personally attached and not be able to view it as a potential customer would.

As you step back from your work, patterns arise which will likely attract your visitors’ eyes. Make sure the page easily takes the customer’s attention where you want it, and that appropriate Calls to Action (CTA) are available in those areas.

With just a couple of hours work, you’ll make an impact on your conversion rate by using your homepage promotions effectively. The squint test will help you look at your site the way a new customer might so you can improve your visitor flow.

Take some of the work out of maintaining your Online Store and use Arpastart eCommerce. It’s packed with features to engage customers and make your job as an online retailer easier.

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