Cover banner featuring a laptop on a desk, with the blog's title Commerce, or the activity of large-scale buying and selling, has long been deeply ingrained in society. In today’s Internet Age and with the relatively younger and more tech-savvy generation becoming the buying class, present-day business owners and entrepreneurs find themselves asking themselves questions that seem to be very specific to these times, at least for now: how to sell online successfully, or how to increase sales steadily, among others.

Fortunately, there happens to be quite a lot of ways to increase sales in this digital age. One of them is dipping into e-commerce, which basically means doing most, if not all, of your selling online. If you ask around and look more closely, it’s easy to see that the best online sales strategy involves starting with building an e-commerce website.

When you’re running e-commerce sites, the goal is to be able to sell and sell some more. One of the main objectives of your site is to get visitors to whip out their credit cards and make a purchase on your store. As the web becomes a reliable place for consumers to shop, you want your online space to take advantage of the rising population of shoppers leveraging on the convenience of the internet. Strategically banking on that will gradually increase sales as time goes.

E-commerce websites are faced with two primary challenges: consumers should not only notice your brand, they should also believe in it enough to choose to purchase from your store.

You probably know by now that competition can be tough for online shops. Unless you’re offering a completely unique niche product, chances are you’re running the risk of getting your website diluted in a sea of websites offering the same thing.

So how do you build an effective e-commerce website that will surely survive the tough competition and increase online sales at the same time?

Well, we’ve got just the right tips to get you started!

1. Store design matters. A lot.

People are drawn to good design.

Consider the last time you visited your favorite online store. Design was probably the last thing on your mind because you were focused on completing your purchase.

When building an e-commerce website, good design means a design that is not disruptive or causing confusion. Users should be able to easily navigate around the website. They shouldn’t have to guess how to purchase your products or how to add to their wishlist.

At the same time, you would also want to exude an air of legitimacy, professionalism, and friendliness when designing your website. Depending on the product or service you’re selling, you might want to go for a witty or lively approach with your website copy or text layout. If you do, however, you have to make sure you’re not completely doing away with the formality that often comes with trusted brands. The same goes for the images that you put on your website and the colors that you choose.

This website that Runway Prints made with Strikingly is a great example of a decluttered e-commerce website that’s straightforward and easy to navigate. It features the brand’s product description in the middle of the screen, greeting potential customers first and immediately answering the question of whether or not they’re in the right place. The button that leads to where visitors can shop is right below it so they don’t have to go around looking for how they can buy the prints. The visible cart on the upper right corner of the screen also allows for a swift one-click when they want to check their cart or check out. The site is also designed to take consumers straight to the shop upon scrolling down.

Swift. Easy. Time-saving. This is one good example of an online store that’s built with the brand’s target consumers in mind.

Screen capture of website Runway Prints made with Strikingly Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

When choosing which elements should go on your website, you must be careful not to steer too far from the brand you’ve either already established or are looking to build. You should also prioritize site features that will boost your online sales, like product snippets or reviews (more on that later).

That may sound like a lot of things to consider, especially if you’re making your own online store for the first time (and we’re only on the first tip!), but there are a number of ways you can easily make sure your site’s layout is perfect for online selling.

Website builders such as Strikingly offer templates that you can play around with to match your product and branding so you still get to come up with a great e-commerce site without you having to be a technical genius.

2. Highlight the things that make you better than your competition.

Now, this tip is not something we haven’t heard before, but it’s an especially important pointer when learning how to sell your product online because unlike physical shopping where stopping at a store (whether to take a break from all the walking or to actually look around), browsing through stores online is as quick and easy as a flick of the finger. In other words, the average person’s already fleeting attention span is even shorter on the web.

In the vast world of interlaced websites offering the same products, yours could easily get obscured, overlooked, or even overtly ignored once visitors click into your site and not find anything of interest to them, essentially thinning out the chances of a permanent surge in your online sales.

In order to prevent that from happening, try coming up with qualities or gimmicks that your competitors don’t have or offer, and then make those your main selling point. You can start with answering questions like:

  • What is your brand’s unique selling proposition?
  • What special offers do you have?
  • Are you presenting a solution that your rivals are not?
  • Is your product innovative and original?

Once you’ve determined your competitive advantage, make sure it’s highlighted when you build your e-commerce website content. A no-questions-asked refund policy, free delivery service, or a best-price guarantee are some of the things that can sway a customer to complete the purchase. Add a feature list or a section dedicated to the reasons why it’s better for customers to buy from your site.

3. Use high quality images.

One of the limitations of purchasing online is customers not getting to touch or see the items in person before buying them. You can make it easy for them to decide by providing high quality photos of the products you’re selling.

Action shots or shots showing customers the item being used are also effective in attracting online sales conversions. See how FODI, a brand that created their website with Strikingly, showcases their product’s usability in a gallery of high-resolution images:

Screen capture of website FODI made with Strikingly Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Bad photography and blurry images do not only make the choice of finalizing a purchase difficult, they can also make your site seem unreliable and unprofessional. Investing in good photography will make for a great return in the long run.

4. Add customer reviews and testimonials.

Consumers tend to read reviews of an item before deciding on making a purchase. In the same way word-of-mouth recommendations and dissuasions can greatly influence a person’s choices, online product reviews are a weighty factor for consumers who are yet to make a final decision on their purchases.

Customers like making informed decisions about the products that will cost them money. Reviews and testimonials are actually more important than a sales pitch and are even more powerful drivers for sales conversions. Adding reviews on your product pages is one of the best tips for selling online. It helps future consumers make the right purchase decisions. What that means for you is an upward trend in online sales.

Pretty Olive Interiors is another business that created their website with Strikingly. On their site is a tab that’s dedicated to customer testimonials. Potential customers can simply click on it and see real feedback from customers who have previously availed of the service.

Screen capture of website Pretty Olive Interiors made with Strikingly Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

5. Your social media icons belong at the footer.

You are building e-commerce websites expecting visitors to purchase from your website and consistently increase sales as a result. Getting them to visit your social media pages, while good for your digital marketing campaign, is secondary to your goal of online sales conversions.

With that in mind, it’s best to keep your social media icons and links at the bottom of the page rather than put them on the sidebar or header.

Regardless of how well your e-commerce website is built, however, it’s a shame if there isn’t enough traffic to it. While we’re on the topic, here’s a bonus tip: drive people to your website by talking about it on your social media profiles (a lot, but not too much to drive them away!).

6. Position your newsletter signup CTA wisely.

Newsletters are a great way to keep your past, current, and future customers informed of whatever you have in store for them. You gradually dig your way into your consumers’ subconscious, without being overly imposing.

Besides, if they ever decide they want to stop hearing from you, they will always have the option to unsubscribe or opt out of receiving your newsletters.

When you create an e-commerce website, your newsletter signup should not distract your customer from completing his purchase. Serve the conversion stage of your marketing funnel first and encourage brand loyalty through a newsletter signup call to action, or CTA, by positioning it on your exit page. You can also add the same CTA at the bottom of the page.

The Henningsens is a band consisting of a father and his two children. On the website that they created with Strikingly, they put their newsletter signup form towards the bottom, just before previews of their updates on their social media profiles. This layout helps fans and listeners focus on the band’s content and merch first—potentially helping the band increase their online sales while at it—and then find the option to connect with the trio via other means later.

Screen capture of website The Henningsens made with Strikingly Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Conclusion

We’ve just seen the beginnings of high-technology, and at the exponential rate of its growth, we’re most likely ages away from reaching its peak. That means the flow of ideas will never cease, and e-commerce will evolve into ways we will never have imagined. But the thought shouldn’t scare you; it should instead get you inspired to be on the constant lookout for newer ways to up your sales game.

For now, if there’s one major takeaway from this blog, it’s that you must build your e-commerce website with the main goal of increasing your online sales, and then consistently work your way up with fresh perspectives and greater ideas. Start by creating your own website with Strikingly for free today!