E-Commerce UX Tips for the Holiday Season
The prized gem of the e-commerce world is the last few months of the calendar year – the holiday season. From Black Friday (or Thanksgiving morning in the US nowadays), through Chinese New Year, the opportunities abound for you to sell your wares.
The following are four tips for making sure your peak season goes without a hitch.
1) Optimize Keywords for Search Engine Results
For smaller operations, it’s tempting to speed through setting up your products in a store – especially if you offer handmade goods that are unique. It can seem difficult to come up with unique, descriptive text and names for variations on products, but it’s important that you do. Not all of your product information needs to be unique (for instance all your products are made of the same material, same size, weight, etc.), but you should work to come up with educational and persuasive text that doesn’t just describe the technical aspects of what you’re selling but helps your customers see themselves using it.
It may be fun to come up with a super unique and interesting name for your product, but from a keyword optimization aspect, you should know that if the primary use or category of your product isn’t mentioned somewhere in the name, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
For example, I personally make and sell shaving brushes (yes, people still use them). I could call it “The Face Lather Whipper” or something like that and have a product description full of hyperbolic narrative that puts you in a place or time where that only loosely ties into the product. Or, I could call it a “26mm Two-Band Finest Badger Cocobolo Shaving Brush”. It’s less flashy, but guess what? Google doesn’t care about flashy (at least, not when it doesn’t directly have to do with a product they’re selling). They care about relevance.
If you’re a bigger operation and you’re selling larger volumes of products you have in stock, it’s even more important that you take the necessary time to get noticed. You know those fields in the back end of your website labeled “Meta Information” (or something close to it)? Yeah. Fill those out. Completely. The more relevant information you can enter, the better (to an extent, of course).
In fact, it would be worth your time to do some research into your competition using a tool like SpyFoo or SEMRush to see what kind of keywords they’re showing up for. Most searchers are lazy, especially for commodity-like products, and unless they’re looking for something super specific, they’re not going to spend a ton of time searching with different keywords. This means you have to spend more time coming up with different ways they might search. Another great tool, if you have access to it, is Google Ads “Keyword Planner” that will let you enter a few keywords you know and then give you ideas that might be relevant.
2) Add More Images
One of the best things you can do for your product line from a sales and marketing standpoint is provide a variety of images to give your customers a good idea of what they’re getting.
Do your best to include not only pictures that show the details of the product but also showing it in use by real people. Ideally, you should work to acquire User Generated Content (UGC) from people showing it on Instagram or Facebook (using a service like Tack is a great option for doing so). This is applicable whether you’re selling on anything from Shopify to Amazon.
Here are a few tips for taking effective pictures:
- For detailed photos, take pictures on a blank background (white, light gray, etc.).
- For small products, use everyday household items for reference points on size (i.e. a coin, a deck of playing cards, a cell phone, etc.).
- Take pictures from multiple angles. Does it have an ingredient or component label? Include a picture of it.
3) Show with Videos
Another great thing you can do to enhance your customer’s experience is provide a video on the product page that not only educates them on the “why”, but also shows the “how”. Now, this may not be necessary on everyday products like combs or shoelaces, but if there’s any sort of “trick” for a customer getting the most out of their purchase, you may want to demonstrate.
The real purpose behind an engaging video is to keep the customer on your page longer. Here’s why:
- Increased time on your website (session duration) registers with Google and other search engines that the search results they gave your customer were relevant and that you’re a trustworthy site
- The more information you’re able to give a customer, the higher the likelihood of them making a purchase
- In today’s “attention-deficient” marketplace, website visitors love watching instead of reading. Even if the audio for your video is someone (please make it a real person) reading the information that’s already written on the page, you’ll likely have more people watch the video than scroll and read your content all the way to the bottom
- *Special Note* If you’re going to do a video, make sure to have quality sound. People are usually willing to compromise a bit on video quality (because of streaming speeds), but are less forgiving of poor sound
4) Be Mobile-Friendly
I could write an entire series of articles on how to make sure your UX/UI is optimized for mobile traffic. In 2016, 62% of smartphone users reported using their device to shop online within the last six months.
The nice thing is, most updated e-commerce platforms already provide a good, mobile-friendly version of your site. If you’re unsure about how your site shows up on a mobile device, you probably know what to do – TEST IT. Go to your store on your phone, or use a developer trick to get an idea of what it looks like. In Google Chrome, if you secondary click (or right-click) anywhere on your site, you should get a menu with “Inspect” at the bottom.
Clicking on “Inspect” will shrink your screen down so you see a pane of code at the top (or side, depending on how you have it configured).
Then, you can either work with the screen in “Responsive” mode and adjust the view portal (window size) to whatever size you’d like, or use some pre-selected popular screen sizes. You can now interact with your site as if you’re using an iPhone X, or Galaxy 9, etc.
Not only should you test how to navigate the site on a mobile device, but you should also ensure the most important part of your site works seamlessly – the checkout.
For a mobile-optimized checkout experience, make sure you allow payments from services like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. While many people have payment information stored in their phones, some do not and it’s a pain to have to dig out your credit card because the store doesn’t work with your preferred service.
Summary: At the end of the day, your success as a business depends on sales. You can’t get sales if people can’t find your products. And once they find your store, they have to be willing to walk through the steps to make a purchase. If some of these common roadblocks get in the way, your business will suffer and the holidays will no longer be “full of cheer.”