Welcome to Ask Nik, an advice column by me, Nik Sharma, on all-things entrepreneurship. I’ve spent the majority of my career focused on launching, scaling, and operating direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands like Hint, JuneShine, Caraway, Black Wolf Nation, Spritz Society, and Poo~Pourri. Today, I run Sharma Brands, a consulting firm and growth partner to some of the most admired startup brands as well as the largest CPG companies that we all know, love, and use daily.
My online store is my main sales channel; it’s where the majority of my sales happen. What are some low-hanging fruit tactics I could implement to increase conversions on it? Without doing anything too costly, complicated, or time-consuming, are there some quick and easy hacks I could do to leverage my existing site?
I love an efficient entrepreneur who’s looking to optimize their time and cash!
They say first impressions are lasting impressions, and your product pages are exactly that: a way to get customers to value your brand, learn about your products’ value-add, and get enticed to add it to their cart. Optimizing your website’s product display pages (PDPs) for conversion is key to getting the most from your visitors.
When I work with brands to increase their revenue, I prioritize three things for the biggest impact:
- Targeting: Where do you place your ads or drive traffic from, and what audience segments are you focused on?
- Creative & Messaging: What are you saying, how are you showing the product to new customers, and how are you explaining it?
- Website: Where is the destination you want to point people to that has anything and everything to convince them to purchase?
For the purposes of this column, we’ll focus on the website—and especially the PDPs within it. Here are a few simple ingredients for a PDP that is ready to boost cha-ching notifications on your Shopify store.
Optimize for mobile
In most cases, the overwhelming majority of site traffic comes from mobile devices, so as a rule of thumb, you always want to design the PDP experience to be mobile-first. When you or others tag your products on Instagram, or an influencer adds a clickable link in their stories, those clicks all lead to your website PDPs, too.
Prioritize above the fold
Eighty-five per cent of site visitors will not go below the fold. What’s the fold? It’s a newspaper term for everything you see above where the newspaper folds in half. In this case, I’m talking about the content that is visible on your website without having to scroll. You want to make sure that all of the important pieces of your PDP are easily accessible to the viewer, no scrolling necessary. The less work they need to do, the better.
Focus on keeping three things above the fold: what you're selling, what the customer will get out of it, and how they can get it.
Here are some elements that should live above the fold on a product page:
1. Clear first image: Make sure it’s high quality with a non-distracting background.
2. A carousel of images and/or videos: These should tell a story, show the product in action, and explain how it works.
Pro-tip: Your product images should update when a shopper selects a different variant (flavor, scent, shade, color, etc.).
3. Product name: Include a concise product name, with a 5-10 word description that follows it below. The additional description will help contextualize your product for those who end up on your page from an external source, like an Instagram product tag. Product descriptions could also help persuade a reluctant buyer.
Pro-tip: Always include any applicable measurements for your products. Examples include size, weight, or how many cans fit in a case.
4. Customer reviews: These should live near the top to show new customers that the products you're selling are valuable, useful, and popular with buyers. You can add the number of reviews you have as well. Consumers love social proof from other customers, not just hearing from the brand.
5. A clearly listed price tag: Don’t leave people guessing how much your product will cost them. If you're showing a discounted price, show the original price with a strike-through to highlight the savings.
6. A prominent and easily identifiable add-to-cart button: If applicable, this button should highlight BNPL (buy now, pay later) providers, like ShopPay by Affirm.
Going below the fold
What comes below the fold is valuable to the browser-not-yet-buyer who is curious to learn more. It’s a great way to convince an already enticed customer who likes what they see. This is your chance to educate further and seal the deal. Tell the customer why you chose to build this brand and product.
Here are some below-the-fold elements that will make your offering standout:
1. A sticky navigation bar: This bar should follow a site visitor down the page, along with a clickable button allowing them to buy the product or add it to their cart no matter where on your site they’re currently located.
2. In-depth product description: This should go far beyond the one under the title, above the fold. Ideally, it answers questions like: What is the product? Why is it special, or different from competitors? And how does it work, or how can you use it?
3. Iconography to visually describe attributes or values associated with your product: Be loud and proud about the qualities and certifications that differentiate your products. For example, if you're vegan, put the PETA leaping bunny.
4. All your customer reviews: Not just the 5-star ones. Allow people to get an all-encompassing view of your product, not only the highlight reel.
5. Brand description: This is where you tell your story beyond the product and its benefits. It’s your chance to tell a customer why they should shop from you, what community they will become part of, and what it means to be part of your brand.
6. Suggested products section: If you can, highlight other products from the same category, or cross-sell visitors into other categories.
Off to the races
Between all these tips and tricks, your website conversion rate should go up and so should your average order value or basket size. Remember to keep all the important information about what you are selling above the fold (reviews, social proof, pricing, and a concise description), and everything else that would help answer customer questions below the fold (in-depth descriptions, suggested products, what the brand stands for, and easy-to-understand iconography).
Until next time!