Surveys help brands and retailers realize the customer experience through their shoppers’ eyes. This type of insights from mystery shopping survey questions is essential for those wanting to drive more profits and meet the demands of their customers.

The problem is many businesses don’t have the appropriate mystery shopping program set in place to collect customer data. Consider how mystery shopping is supposed to work.

Undercover agents fan out to test corporate assumptions, employee customer service coaching and training and current CX initiatives. Over time, reliable, high-value insights lead to concrete steps to improve store conditions and service.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

Disruptive innovations follow.

Customers visit more and spend more, and the brand’s reputation and revenues grow. Reliable, high-value insights: this is where most programs break down.

Without enough of the right kind of data, retailers draw the wrong conclusions, overlook big problems, and make costly mistakes. Instead of creating a virtuous cycle of improvement, they spin their wheels and get nowhere.

To get the results you want out of your mystery shopping program, you need to know which questions to ask and the best way to ask them. You need the right people shopping your stores.

Here we’ll share 35 sample mystery shopping survey questions and explain the most brand-appropriate and cost-effective way to tackle these surveys:

Click on the jump links to skip ahead.

Designing an Actionable Mystery Shopping Survey: 3 Areas to Focus on In Store

Your mystery shopping survey questions should reflect the entire customer journey. This means you need to uncover even the smallest problems and opportunities to yield data, bucket and analyze over time to reveal subtler issues and growing trends.

Survey responses should be easily quantifiable, leaving little room for assumption. Yes/no or multiple choice questions are best. Open-ended questions can be used, but only to allow mystery shoppers to share observations in support of structured responses.

In-Store Cleanliness & Appearance Questions

None of these details will escape your customers’ notice. Any one of them could affect a customer’s decision to purchase and/or return to the store. Store managers should check these items during routine inspections.

However, mystery shoppers deployed to multiple locations over time help ensure all of your stores consistently meet brand standards.

  1. Was the parking lot generally clean?
  2. When you walked up to and through the store entrance, was it clean and well maintained?
  3. Did you notice any worn or damaged signs in the store?
  4. Did you notice any areas that needed attention?
  5. Was the restroom clean, well stocked, and working properly?
  6. Were the aisles clutter-free, with room for two or more carts to pass through?

Employee Behavior Questions

If employees aren’t meeting your brand standards in all locations and at all times, you haven’t achieved brand consistency—a key driver of customer loyalty. Recurring or widespread issues may suggest the need for training refreshers or updates.

  1. When you entered the store, did an associate acknowledge you within 30 seconds?
  2. Approximately how many other customers were in the store while you were shopping?
  3. When you were greeted, what was said?
  4. Did the associate/team member smile?
  5. Did the associate/team member ask what you were shopping for today?
  6. Did the associate/team member offer you help?
  7. Did the associate help you find the product by escorting you, or by giving you directions to find it on your own?
  8. Did the associate/team member recommend other products you might like?
  9. Did the associate/team member give you his/her undivided attention?
  10. Did the associate provide helpful information about the product?
  11. Was every associate you encountered upbeat and friendly?
  12. Were any associates/team members inconsiderate or rude?
  13. Did any associates/team members go above and beyond to serve you? If YES, what was his/her name and department, and how did he/she go above and beyond?
  14. Did all other associates/team members you encountered or passed smile and greet you?
  15. Did the associate/team member provide a pleasant closing comment (“Have a good day,” “Thanks for shopping with us,” “Thank you,” etc.)?
  16. Did the cashier greet/acknowledge you when you reached the counter?
  17. Did the cashier ask if you found everything you needed?
  18. Did the cashier mention the loyalty/rewards program by name during your transaction?
  19. If you’re not a member, did the cashier ask if you’d like to join?
  20. Did the cashier mention the invitation for the customer/guest satisfaction survey at the bottom of the receipt?
  21. Did the cashier thank you at the end of your transaction?
  22. If you had more than 2 bags, did someone offer to help carry them out?

Path to Purchase Questions

Are your products or procedures, or the pace of your operations, discouraging sales? Responses to questions like these will shed some light.

  1. Was every item you wanted to purchase available? If not, please list the unavailable item(s).
  2. Were you able to find the style and size you were looking for?
  3. Did all perishable foods (salads, sandwiches, etc.) appear fresh?
  4. How many registers were staffed when you got in line?
  5. Was there at least one (1) express lane open?
  6. Were there less than three (3) customers in line? If not, did anyone call for additional help (to manage the line or open another register)?
  7. Once you reached the counter, how long did it take to complete the transaction (get your receipt)?

The Most Important Question of All: Who Will Mystery Shop Your Stores?

Great customer experiences aren’t born in the C-suite. They’re built on feedback from customers—people who are genuinely invested in the brand.

The most unforgettable in-store experiences stay in lockstep with customer priorities and expectations, and they reaffirm and fulfill the brand promise. Traditional mystery shopping relies on input from dispassionate observers. But this approach has big downsides.

Not only is the traditional mystery shopping model cost-prohibitive and tough to scale, but professional mystery shoppers are easy to spot. These shoppers don’t have a stake in improving your brand.

That’s why no one is more qualified to mystery shop your stores than your own customers. They’re a perfect match for your ideal customer.

They observe and report on everything in the context of their own history with the brand. These shoppers also tell you what they see and how it impacts them (objective and subjective combined).

Not only do your shoppers love providing improvements to benefit them directly, but they will enjoy knowing their voice is heard by brands giving incentives and better in-store experiences.

Imagine getting a comprehensive, holistic view of the customer experience in one fell swoop. Scaling easily without draining your revenue.

Journey IQ customer checklist

Strengthen loyalty by empowering your own customers. It’s a practical solution to a longstanding problem and more brands are catching on.

Want to see a mystery shopping program that’s more affordable and more actionable than ever before? Learn about Journey IQ and contact our team today for demo!

Alex York

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Alex York is the Content and SEO Marketing Manager at PowerReviews. Catch him hunting down the perfect gin cocktail in Chicago or endlessly scrolling through Netflix. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjyork.

Everybody talks about how to improve their email marketing strategy, and to be honest, many have focused on this for some time.

Even for the most senior digital marketers out there working in ecommerce, you’ve probably read dozens of articles about email marketing–so, why read another one?

The scene of email marketing is constantly changing.

This shouldn’t surprise digital marketers, but instead, always make you hungry to learn more. Consumers are so used to email marketing strategies that they ignore branded emails in their inbox much more quickly.

In fact, Mail Chimp found the average email open rate for ecommerce businesses in March 2018 averaged around 15.66% in the U.S. Further, all industries owned a collective 20.81% open rate.

email open rates graph

But Epsilon data found the total industry average to be much higher just a few years ago in Q3 2016 with a 34.1% open rate.

What was once marketing channel powerhouse is now something many businesses struggle with in 2019.

Still, some brands are absolutely killing it with email marketing.

And to that point, we know email marketing still works. However, you have to put in the effort to stand out from your competition, which is why we’re here to help.

Here’s eight tips for ecommerce brands to improve their email marketing strategy in 2019:

1. Use Dynamic Content to Personalize Emails

In years past, personalizing an email with someone’s name was a big deal. Now, that’s the very least you could do with personalization marketing efforts.

Today, each of your emails should include personalization in more than one of the following places:

  • Subject line
  • Email copy
  • Images
  • Product offerings

Take Campaign Monitor as an example. In one of their promotional emails, they decided to test whether changing the images in their email to match the location of the recipient would make a difference. They created images for recipients in the U.S., U.K. and Australia and then tested these emails against a location-agnostic visual

campaign monitor location email example

As a result, their click-through rate increased by 29% with that simple of a personalization fix. You can also use dynamic content to personalize emails based on customer behavior and interests.

For example, a clothing brand could tailor their emails to the gender of the recipient or their past browsing history. If a subscriber browses your site for women’s clothing, don’t send them promotional emails highlighting men’s shoes.

This kind of dynamic personalization levels up your email marketing strategy and captures the attention of your audience.

2. Get Email Addresses Before the Checkout

In the past, the main place to get new subscriber email addresses was after a purchase.

Numerous ecommerce stores have opt-in email features right at checkout to get you add your email to their newsletter or promotional lists.

While this is still a viable email marketing strategy, what if you could get a potential customer’s email before the checkout process This would allow you to capture even more leads and to increase your potential for sales through email marketing. Here’s a few tips to try:

  • Offer Content: Provide content that’s relevant to your audience to easily collect email addresses for future promotions. For example, a company selling kayaks could offer a free guide to the best places to kayak. Your customers give up the email for the guide and you can now send promotional content.
  • Offer Discounts: Everybody loves a discount and many will give up their email to save. You’ve seen this strategy before in the sometimes comical: No, I don’t want to save money on my next order, pop up. This tactic has become very popular for ecommerce brands by offering a quick 20% off just for signing up through an email–mostly because it works.h&m email sign up
  • Interactive Pop Ups: Another way to offer incentives and spark engagement is through interactive sign ups. This pop up allows you to win over new customers (and get their email address) with the chance to spin the wheel and win some discounts.

interactive modal for a discount example

  • Product Availability Notifications: Get shoppers’ emails by allowing them to submit it when a product is out of stock or even running low on availability and want to be notified. This helps get more emails before checkout so potential shoppers turned away from unavailable items still can be involved.

casual product availability email

3. Use Transactional Emails to Win More Conversions

We all know that transactional emails (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, etc.) get opened more than your average marketing email.

Are you using these transactional emails to the full? Check out what Nordstrom does at the bottom of their order confirmation emails:

nordstrom be the first to know email

This upsell attempt is based on products that the user looked at but didn’t buy, and is a fantastic example of how to get more out of your transactional emails.

How can you do the same?

First, include more than just the transactional information in your email. Add some personality, and give the customer a chance to see your brand’s fun side.

Next, go for the upsell. Use dynamic content as discussed above to personalize recommendations for this particular customer. You know what they bought already, so you have a good head start in knowing what they might like to buy in the future.

Lastly, you could try for a referral. Skillshare does this with their transactional emails.

skillshare referral email example

By including some of these elements, you can win more conversions from your transactional emails.

4. Segment by Interests & Buyer Type

Segmenting by interests is a must nowadays. Almost every other ecommerce brand already does this, so you need to be on board.

But, what about segmenting by buyer type? Each customer is unique in the way they make purchase decisions. Here are some ideas of how to segment by type of shopper:

  • High Average Order Value: Do you have some customers whose average order value tends to be higher than others? Tempt them with product bundles and packaged discounts.
  • Discount Shopper: Some shoppers go weak in the knees for a good discount. If you see a pattern with some shoppers who only make purchases when your products are on sale, make sure you send them special offers or clearance sale updates.
  • Exclusivity: A sense of exclusivity is a powerful purchase motivator. If you have a limited-time product or a special V.I.P. offer, make sure you let these customers know first. Get them to sign up for a special mailing list that sends them exclusive offers before anyone else.

ann taylor exclusive email offer

5. Create Triggered Email Campaigns

Triggered emails win at the end of the day. In fact, a WebFX infographic stated they get 70% higher open rates than normal email marketing efforts.

webfx email infogaphic example

Here are two types of triggered emails that you can add to your email marketing strategy:

  • Loyalty Emails: Your customers love to be appreciated. So, why not remind them of a special milestone, such as the anniversary of their first purchase from you? Celebrate brand milestones with your customers like the sock brand Bombas.

bombas email offer

  • Promotions for Returning Shoppers: Imagine that a customer who made a purchase a while back has come back to browse on your site, but doesn’t buy anything. That could be an excellent trigger to send an email their way. You can remind them of the great products you’re offering, update them on new or featured products or give them a special discount.

6. Improve Your Abandoned Cart Emails With Visuals

Abandoned cart emails have been around since the beginning of time, which means it’s high time to spice yours up! One of the best ways to make your abandoned cart emails stand out is by including visuals.

After all, a customer may not remember exactly which product they had in their cart or why they wanted it in the first place. Tailor your abandoned cart email with pictures of the product they were planning to buy.

Fab abandoned cart email

Homeware brand Fab does this with their abandoned cart emails to get you interested again with a simple, but fun message.

Of course, the visuals in your abandoned cart emails can also be a way to show off your brand personality. For example, Black Milk Clothing does a fantastic job at sending abandoned emails to its customers to tug on their heart strings.

black milk email example

Where can you go wrong with cute puppies to win back customers?

7. Introduce Replenishment Emails

For some ecommerce brands, you know exactly when your customers are going to run out of the products they’ve purchased. This is the perfect time to send them an email to remind them it’s time to fill up on whatever they’re about to run out of.

For example, see how dog food brand Just Right by Purina created the perfect replenishment email:

email replenish example from purina

Besides being extremely precise as to how long you have left to replenish, this email is also personalized by using the name of the dog (because, let’s face it, they’re more important). Even the CTA button is personalized!

Creating replenishment emails is a great way to win back previous purchasers with your email marketing strategy.

8. Use Emails to Get Reviews & User-Generated Content

Another essential part of your email marketing strategy should include review collection. Using the right methods, these kinds of emails can get excellent results.

To add a little incentive, you could even offer a discount on their next purchase. Look at the way Tower Housewares does this with their review collection emails.

Tower Email Example

Another way to use post-purchase emails is by getting customers to post user-generated content on their social channels. This is exactly what cosmetics brand Lush did with their post-purchase emails.

lush email ugc

Again, adding a little incentive also helps motivate users to post those pictures for a chance to win.

At PowerReviews, we believe in making it as simple as possible for brands and retailers to collect as many reviews through a straightforward and easy post-purchase email. Our review collection abilities help businesses increase more authentic and valuable content by making processes short and sweet.

Ulta Post Purchase Email

Want to see how PowerReviews can help your business collect more reviews and help you with your email marketing strategy? Talk to our awesome team today!

Take Your Email Marketing Strategy to the Next Level This Year

It’s true, email marketing isn’t something new for ecommerce brands. However, times are changing. If you want to keep engaging your customers and winning their hearts with your emails, you’ll need to keep up with current trends.

Using these innovative email marketing strategies, you’ll stand out from the competition and earn the kind of ROI your brand deserves.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

With customer satisfaction falling in retail, it’s tempting to make sweeping changes in your stores. However, consistent minor improvements have as big an impact as substantial changes.

In this article, you’ll learn 15 ways to improve customer satisfaction.

There’s no need to completely revolutionize your stores, but instead, make consumers bigger fans of your brand. If you do this correctly, you’ll get customers coming back to your retail business.

Let’s dive in to these 15 tips to improve customer satisfaction in retail:

1. Justify the Sale With Social Proof

Recent research from Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman shows shoppers buy 95% of the time due to emotional reasons, not rational. After they have bought, they want to justify their purchase with logic.

They need to convince themselves and the important people in their lives that they’ve made a smart choice. Often testimonials get used in the sales process.

To take this to the next level and improve customer satisfaction, provide a printed sheet of testimonials or other social proof. Shoppers can then use this information to justify their decisions.

2. Give Shoppers a Gift & Surprise Them With Another One

When you give shoppers a gift, you activate their reciprocity reflex. This reflex was described in Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It is triggered when you give people something for free, and causes them to feel obligated to do something in return.

Giving gifts is a long-established way to boost sales. However, an experiment in restaurants has shown a way to get even better results.

For example: give shoppers a gift, then return a few minutes later with a second one. Waiters who gave diners a mint and then returned unannounced and gave a second mint saw a 23% increase in tips.

3. Take Notes

There’s a valuable lesson in the self-help classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Everybody is the hero of his or her story. In other words, everybody wants to feel important.

For example: your staff can make shoppers feel like they matter by valuing what they have to say. Staff show they think customers are important by paying attention and taking notes when shoppers are speaking.

4. Train Staff to Handle Disgruntled Customers

The key to handling upset customers comes from that same Dale Carnegie rule about people. People want to feel important.

Sometimes employees handling the initial complaint can make the customer feel valued and solve the problem. At other times, the only way your staff can do this is to escalate the issue to a senior employee.

When they do this, they should take care not to offend the customer further.

It’s not in human nature to be empathic toward someone when they attack us. That’s why you have to train staff to solve the problem for the customer even when under fire.

5Have Staff Treat Customers as the ‘Boss’

When employees see themselves as working for you, they might not feel that they owe you something other than the work they are paid to perform. Teach employees a new mindset: they are president of their company, a professional services firm.

They work for themselves. You are simply their first, best client. In that scenario, customers will benefit from excellent service and your employee will push to increase their quota.

The employee’s success in his company gets tied to the ability to improve your customer’s satisfaction.

6. Celebrate Customer Birthdays

Does remembering customer’s birthdays make a difference? A survey shows that this simple act leads to an 88% increase in brand loyalty.

You have three ways to acknowledge birthdays. Send them a birthday card signed by you and your team. Send them a gift to collect from your store. Alternatively, send them a birthday offer.

Test which method gets the greatest results and use it.

7Customization Satisfies Customers More Than Standardization

Customers seek out personalized experiences as the world becomes more homogenous.

On one hand, you want the experience customers have in your stores to be consistent. After all, you create your brand through these experiences.

However, you want to come up with ways to customize the customer experience. Target did just that recently, they deployed a beacon technology at their stores to engage customers personally while they browse the aisles.

8. Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey

The reason you want to create a customer satisfaction survey is that it gives you a benchmark. It says, this is where we are now.

Before you can get to where you want to be, you need to know your starting point. Surveys allow you to track your progress, identify problems and create a frictionless customer experience.

9. Teach Employees to Be More Service Oriented

Have you ever gone into a store and asked one of the staff to help only to have them tell you it is not their job?

Don’t make the same mistake in your stores. Train employees that everyone is in customer service. If they cannot solve the customer’s problem, they must walk the customer to the person who can.

10. Delight Indirect Purchasers

In many cases, buying decisions are influenced indirectly. When shoppers are in the toy aisle, the person who chooses what to buy is the child.

Are you engaging and delighting this sort of indirect buyer?

11Set Up SelfService Checkouts

Few things are more frustrating for shoppers than long lines. In many stores, several checkouts are often not even open.

Why not turn your manned checkouts into self-serve checkouts? Have a staff member available to help people when they purchase and let customers immerse themselves in a ‘wait free’ experience.

12Entertain Shoppers During Long Waiting Times

If your shoppers have to stand in line for a long time, why not engage them? Business is all about building relationships, not blasting people with marketing messages.

Why not hire a magician, a comedian or even a musician to provide some entertainment during this time? Just keep it consistent with your brand and entertaining for your customers.

Remember that emotions are responsible for purchasing decisions, a good experience while waiting can lift spirits and improve their overall customer experience.

13. Establish an Employee Mentorship Program

Why not set up an employee mentorship program?

Many retailers fail to tap into the knowledge and experience of their senior staff. Each week, a junior employee can meet up with a senior team member. In their time together, they can review performance and even bond.

Employee bonds are crucial for moral. It’s one of our most basic needs, we love to be a part of something and feel accepted.

14. Use Customer Relationship Management Software

I’m sure that you use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software in your store. There are many options ranging from the inexpensive Contactually to the enterprise-class Infusionsoft.

Did you know that your CRM can help you manage customer experiences, not only customer data? Consider this example:

Your CRM alerts you that a regular elderly shopper has not come to the store for a few weeks. Your employees call her and say, “Hi. I noticed you hadn’t been in our store for a couple of weeks. I wanted to offer you a ride.”

Listen to what she says before you respond. If she has not been in because she fell, you could send her a gift. If she’s in good health, you could offer her a coupon that will be valid in the next seven days.

What she will remember is that friendly store that cared enough about her to check on her.

15. Identify Potential Pitfalls

Here’s one final tip to improve customer satisfaction–use a mystery shopping company like Journey IQ. There’s a core benefit you get from hiring a mystery shopping company–an unbiased outsider’s view on how shoppers experience your store.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

Not only do you get unbiased opinions, but you push your current customers through better mystery shopping experiences. You essentially get your customers involved with the company so their efforts feel important toward your common goal.

Additionally, you’ll save a ton on these type of expenses with incentives versus paying mystery shoppers outright. Want to learn more? Contact our team today!

Is your Instagram marketing strategy actually resulting in sales?

If the answer is “no” and you’re in the ecommerce space, it’s time to do some soul-searching.

Because to say that business is booming on Instagram would be a massive understatement.

According to Instagram themselves, 60% of users rely on the platform to research and discover products. As a result, retailers and ecommerce brands alike are treating Instagram as a sort of extension of their existing storefronts.

Instagram’s status as a hub for ecommerce sales doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, either. Just look at the ‘gram’s new ad types and features such as checkout on Instagram as proof of that.

instagram checkout example

The good news? Given how much the platform has evolved and grown, now’s a prime time to rethink your Instagram marketing strategy. For brands primarily interested in scaling their sales from social media, we’ve highlighted eleven actionable Instagram marketing tips below.

1. Stick to a Product-Focused Content Calendar

First thing’s first: what the heck should you post?

As noted in our guide to social commerce, product-related posts are among the most popular types of content on Instagram.

Although brands obviously want to avoid spamming their followers, they also shouldn’t be shy about showing off their products.

As cliche as it may sound, it’s all about presentation. You’re not going to get much traction from simply posting bland, lifeless product photos.

Instead, consider how you can highlight what you’re selling in stylish settings. For example, IKEA showcases their products in a sort of real-world shopping window.

Beyond photos, videos should most definitely be part of your Instagram marketing strategy as well. Eye-catching and entertaining, anything from mini-commercials to loop-able, Boomerang-style videos are fair game.

Even massive brands such as Swatch publish playful, engaging video content to show off their products.

But the real key to killing it on Instagram is user-generated content. Sharing customer photos does double-duty of highlighting your followers and proving to prospects that people love your products.

Check out how Dr. Martens fills their content calendar with satisfied customers, including a call-to-action for followers to put their brand loyalty on display.

The takeaway here is that product-related posts should be central to your Instagram marketing strategy. Although they shouldn’t necessarily be the only type of content you publish, brand shouldn’t be afraid of self-promotion.

How to curate social content banner

2. Make Your Creativity & Voice Count

The sort of “gold rush” mentality of scoring sales on Instagram means that brands are often facing crowded competition.

To break through the noise, you need to use creativity to your advantage. Brands that are capable of carving out some sort of niche or trademark are often the ones that score significant follower counts.

And the more followers you have, the more opportunities to sell. There’s obviously no “right way to make an impression on your followers, but let’s look at a few examples.

skullcandy instagram marketing strategy example

Color is a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) way to grab someone’s attention on Instagram. The example above is a great instance of a color-specific collage from Skullcandy.

The brand cycles through different color schemes periodically, making for an aesthetically pleasing feed that keeps followers guessing.

Another popular tactic for making an impression on Instagram is humor. Whether it’s a meme or clever caption, people will generally appreciate funny content as a sort of “break” from traditional sales messages.

That said, it’s more than possible to combine humor with product-based posts. You don’t have to be comedian on your brand’s Instagram, but some clever content will go a far way.

Check out how Milk Makeup promotes their products with witty captions.

If humor isn’t your brand’s forte, don’t sweat it. Inspiration and motivation are also popular angles for brands to take on Instagram to connect with followers.

Fitbit regularly posts inspirational content to get you to care about what they care about.

Brands should strive to find their trademark and voice on the ‘gram sooner rather than later. For the sake of doing just that, here’s a quick sample of Instagram marketing tools to step up your creativity:

  • VSCO: the gold standard for Instagram editing, including a variety of filters and style options
  • In-Shot: perhaps the most popular video editor for Instagram, boasting features such as music and speed control
  • Canva: this free editor makes it a cinch to create image macros, memes and text-based posts tailor-made for social media

3. Couple Your Posts With the Right Hashtags

Hashtags and Instagram go hand in hand. That said, their function isn’t totally understood by brands who try to spam them.

Hashtags not only enable new followers to discover your content but also encourage others to share posts related to your brand. For example, a brand-specific hashtag is a must-have for ecommerce brands.

Look at how Rifle Paper Company uses their own #riflepaperco hashtag.

By promoting their hashtag via content and their Instagram bio, fans have an avenue to share their lasted Rifle-related purchases and creations.

riflepaper example on instagram

Branded hashtags aren’t the be-all, end-all for brands, though. There are dozens of community and industry-specific hashtags out there which are relevant to your target audience.

In the case of Rifle, you can find fabric fans using tags such as #bagineer and #sewcialist which have thousands of posts tied to them.

View this post on Instagram

Day 2 of #memademay2019 I’m just talking to my cat and asking her why she’s flicking food all over the skirting boards 😩 Dress is the @byhandlondon Anna bodice with the @ninaleelondon Kew skirt – I cut the front skirt on the fold and put in a concealed zip. It’s my current go-to because it’s perfect if you don’t have much fabric, and it also is a really nice everyday silhouette. I made a sash out of scraps and pretty much had nothing left of the 2m of @riflepaperco fabric that I bought from @sistermintaka. This dress is the reason I didn’t pledge to wear something different every day this year because I know I’ll want to wear it several times #memademay #memadeeveryday #riflepaperco #riflepapercofabric #sewcialists

A post shared by Kate Eva (@kateevadesigns) on

Although these tags are admittedly niche, they highlight an extremely specific audience that’s willing to engage with brands. Digging through these sorts of hashtags is a smart move for brands who want to narrow down who they should target and sell to.

  • Pro Tip: Instagram has over one billion users. Connecting with smaller communities is much more actionable than trying to dominate massive tags (#sewing or #haircare, for example).

Beyond looking at what tags your target audience is using, you can use free Instagram marketing tools such as All Hashtag to brainstorm even further.

all hashtag example

There’s some debate over how many hashtags is considered “ideal.” Although Instagram limits posts to 30, using that many tags can certainly feel akin to keyword stuffing which isn’t a good look for brands.

Generally speaking, you’ll notice that major brands tend to take a “less is more” mentality. Experiment with tags and make a point to take on at least one beyond your branded tag if possible.

4. Curate & Promote User-Generated Content

This is a big one.

Again, customer photos are pure gold from a marketing perspective. Filling up your content calendar with user-generated content is one of the best ways to sell your product and brand at large to Instagram’s audience.

Discovering these photos “by hand” is possible, albeit time-consuming. Digging through hashtag mentions and asking manually for permission for each and every piece of UGC isn’t exactly efficient, especially if you have followers posting customer photos on the regular.

If you want to feature UGC as part of your Instagram marketing strategy in a way that’s scalable, you’ll need a curation tool like the PowerReviews Social Collection.

Visual & Social Display Snippet

Our Social Collection abilities removes the legwork of spotting UGC in the wild and enables you to share it without asking for permission from individual accounts over and over again.

5. Sell With Instagram Stories

If there’s a type of content that’s dominating Instagram right now, it’s Stories.

With over 500 million daily users, Stories are no longer just a novelty for ecommerce brands and retailers.

Stories offer brands a ton of creative freedom in terms of promoting products. Want to post an off-the-cuff selfie? A polished product photos with a specific call-to-action? Stories allow you to do both, all the while putting your brand front-and-center in your followers’ Instagram feeds.

shop disney example 2shopdisney instagram example

For example, ShopDisney encourages followers to swipe up via Stories “see more” feature which takes users directly to a product page.

Meanwhile, MeUndies has a dedicated Stories feed for showing off their user-generated content.

meundies instagram example

Bear in mind that there are tons of new features and stickers consistently being rolled out for Stories. It’s smart to stay up to date with these new features so you can be fresh with your client base.

Check out how Hot Topic uses the open-ended question sticker to ask followers what they liked best from a recent fashion showcase.

hot topic instagram example

On the other hand, look at how Stok uses a quiz sticker to pick their followers’ brains on what they like about their products. This not only drives engagement, but shows you’re all about community, conversation and learning about what your customers want.

stok cold brew instagramEvolving your Instagram marketing strategy means keeping up with these features to come up with more compelling Stories in the future.

6. Create Instagram-Specific Landing Pages

Instagram only offers brands a single, precious bio link to funnel traffic directly from the platform to your website.

Don’t let this real estate go to waste.

For example, don’t just publish a general homepage link in your Instagram bio. Doing so limits your ability to assess the behavior or your social traffic or the ROI of your Instagram marketing strategy. Oh, and you’ll want to make sure that your destination pages are optimized for Instagram’s mostly mobile user base.

This is exactly why many brands promote Instagram-specific landing pages or, at the very least, mobile-optimized landing pages. The benefit here is two-fold: you create a seamless shopping experience for visitors and have an opportunity to measure how well your Instagram followers convert.

puravida instagram bio

puravida instagram scroll

 

For example, Pura Vida’s Instagram bio link promotes a page dedicated to new arrivals. When we click through, we’re introduced to a landing page that’s scrollable with easy-to-click buttons.

Here’s another example from the Container Store, with large, clickable images and scroll-friendly interface.

container store instagram bio

container store instagram landing page

If nothing else, make a point to track the clicks and conversions rated to your Instagram bio link. Notice that both brands above use Bitly links which can help you understand the behavior of your Instagram traffic in addition to Instagram’s native analytics.

7. Promote Your Most Popular Products Via Instagram Ads

Once you’ve gotten a handle on your organic Instagram marketing strategy, paid ads shouldn’t be too far behind.

Allowing you to target specific audiences and scale your promotions, Instagram’s ad platform is worth exploring for ecommerce and retail brands in particular.

  • We highly recommend our Instagram sizes guide to learn the proper dimensions for all formats–organic or paid. 

One brand who is using Instagram Stories ads really well is Saint Chic. The company does a wonderful job showcasing the power of Stories ads and their ability to reel users in with great content.

saint chic instagram stories ad

Additionally, you can use your top-performing Instagram posts or products as the basis for an ad to ensure that it performs well. Here’s an example from Milly which uses a product carousel, consisting of photos that actually came from their Instagram feed.

milly instagram carousel ad example

8. Foster Relationships With Influencers

A more authentic form of paid promotion, Instagram influencer marketing is surging in popularity for a reason.

Working with influencers allows brands to put a human face to their brand while also introducing themselves to totally new audiences. Check out even big brands like Skechers rely on influencer relationships to promote their products.

Brands are working with influencers of all shapes and sizes to engage with customers. To streamline and scale your ability to foster influencer relationships, consider how the PowerReviews Influencer and Sampling Suite could help.

We have a massive network of shoppers, advocates and influencers to help you launch a product sampling campaign that will not only boost product awareness across Instagram, but also generate more reviews or even visuals for your product pages.

influencer and sampling suite advanced targeting example

We help uncover relevant influencers to shout-out your product without requiring extensive outreach on your part.

9. Rethink Your Posting Frequency

To maximize your potential sales from Instagram, it’s important for brands to post on a regular basis.

This means posting at least daily rather than treating Instagram as a sort of secondary platform. Additionally, staying in the good graces of the Instagram algorithm means publishing when your audience is most engaged.

While engagement rates differ based on your business’ location and industry, this data from Sprout Social can give you a general idea of the “ideal” times to publish content.

best times to post on instagram sprout social

And yes, the process of posting daily might seem daunting. This is especially true if you’re regularly trying to cover ground on Instagram Stories too.

Rather than scramble for new content, it’s common practice to brands to stick to particular themes for the sake of organizing their content calendar. Here’s a sample content calendar for inspiration:

  • Monday: Post a meme
  • Tuesday: Regram a customer photo
  • Wednesday: Promote your latest story
  • Thursday: Regram a customer photo
  • Friday: Post about your upcoming sale
  • Saturday: Ask followers how they’re spending their weekend
  • Sunday: Post a product photo

This snapshot of ModCloth’s feed highlights what a diverse content calendar looks like in action. This also serves as an example of the creative freedom you have in terms of your Instagram marketing strategy.

modcloth instagram board

10. Promote Your Instagram Anywhere & Everywhere

Rather than hide your Instagram from potential customers, you should make your presence loud and clear.

For example, let’s say you already have a sizable Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest following. Cross-posting your content and tailoring it for other networks is totally fair game. For example, here’s an Instagram post from Urban Decay.

And here is the same exact post, edited ever-so-slightly for Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/UrbanDecayCosmetics/photos/a.71295988199/10157332519283200/?type=3&theater

Your brand’s website is also a place to promote your Instagram through social buttons, hashtags and customer look-books. ThinkGeek’s Instagram showcase is a great example, and again highlights the importance of curating user-generated content.

think geek user-generated content

If you have an engaged email list, sending out Instagram-specific newsletters or promos can help grow your following.

lemlem promo example

And if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, don’t neglect promoting your Instagram to customers in-person. These business cards from Vistaprint showcase are a great example of that.

11. Listen to Your Customers

This might seem glaringly obvious, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

As you grow your Instagram presence, you’ll find more and more customers sounding off with questions and suggestions.

And hey, that’s a good thing.

For example, Instagram can be used as a customer support channel to answer your followers’ questions to help them decide on a particular purchase.

garmin watch instagram example

As a result, Instagram is yet another platform to gather feedback and understand what people want from your brand. These valuable insights can help improve your products and fine-tune your Instagram marketing strategy at large.

On the flip side, you can also use your customers’ favorite features and product details to your advantage on Instagram. One of our features was built just for this reason.

Product Pulse gives brands and retailers a look at the common words, adjectives and sentiment at the product level by analyzing your review content.

product pulse carry-all backpack shapshot

Does your new line of backpacks fit a laptop well even without a compartment for it? Does the strap tend to break after heavy use? Use these insights to improve products and take the common promoters to use for marketing material.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

What Does Your Instagram Marketing Strategy Look Like?

Selling through Instagram is arguably easier than ever for brands.

Granted you understand the landscape of the platform.

Hopefully these Instagram marketing tips provided some insight and much-needed inspiration on what it takes to use Instagram to drive sales. Following these steps along with the help of tools like PowerReviews, you will build a strategy to acquire new customers and show love to the ones you already have.

Brent Barnhart

Avatar

Brent Barnhart is a professional writer and content critic. When he’s not battling the latest buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar. Feel free to bug him on Twitter or check out his website brentwrites.com.

Ecommerce has quickly become one of the most lucrative and prospective industries for aspiring business owners around the world. But as ability to sell products to a global consumer base makes it easier to drive sales, the challenge of creating customer loyalty increases.

One of the recent online shopping statistics shows just how enormous the ecommerce world is as each business tries to acquire a portion of the 2.48 trillion-dollar cake. And to build a world-renowned brand from the comfort of your home is one of those modern-day perks that wannabe entrepreneurs are quickly trying to capitalize.

But yet again, you’d be mistaken to think the road to ecommerce success is not laden with obstacles and pitfalls.

At the center of long-term ecommerce success lies in your ability to generate repeat business through smarter customer retention strategies. After all, that’s how you inspire customers to come back to your site by creating emotional relationships customers have established with your brand.

And as you already know, acquiring a new customer costs a lot more than nurturing an existing one. I It’s smart to focus on keeping your current customers happy and satisfied so it’s easier to find new ones.

To give you better insights on how to do this, here are the six most-effective ways to build customer loyalty and propel your ecommerce business forward:

1. Never Compromise on Product Quality

First and foremost, there’s no compromise when it comes to product quality.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a drop-shipper or if you’re manufacturing and selling the products–today’s modern customers expect nothing but stellar quality for the money they’re dishing out.

zendesk brand loyalty example

In fact, a huge survey by Zendesk concluded that as much as 88% of online shoppers consider product quality to be the foundation of brand loyalty.

For you, this not only means that you need to be clear and transparent about your products and features. Instead, you need to deliver the specified item in the condition it was advertised every single time.

Fail to do this and you will lose shoppers forever. Even worse, the news of the subpar quality of your products will spread like wildfire across through industry word of mouth, alienating potential customers in the process.

Increase your product quality through the help of analysis tools like Product Pulse. Not only can you get product-specific insights, but Product Pulse allows you to find issues with your items that are mentioned regularly throughout your reviews content.

Intelligence Suite Product Insights

If your customers tell you there’s something wrong, make sure you listen. Use their insights from reviews to get a better understanding of where you can improve.

2. Welcome Every Customer With a Friendly Message

There’s nothing like a friendly greeting and a small discount to put a smile on the face of your shoppers. And to get people coming back for more, it’s smart to consider a personalized marketing strategy to speak directly to your individual customers.

Welcome emails and popups are excellent at achieving this and much more, but only if you offer something of true value to the customer. This is your opportunity reel in new customers with deals and discounts.

TopShop Happy Birthday Message

But this also gives you the chance to surprise repeat customers with tailored promotions and special loyalty bonuses. Remember that shoppers love being a part of a tribe and a customer loyalty group where they know the brand cares about them,

You need to have a special incentive for every type of shopper–new, old, loyal and the customers that only drop by once a year. Incentivize people to keep coming back and to become your brand advocates by getting them to subscribe to your email list.

Here you make the promise of future discounts and special deals that will allow them to save money. That said, keep in mind that the key to email marketing success lies in personalization.

Be sure to tailor your email copy to the customer rather than sending out template messages nobody will want to read.

3. Monitor the Online Chatter & Act Accordingly

One of the most important elements–if not the most important–of long-term success in the competitive ecommerce landscape is knowledge.

Knowledge equals power, and for a number of reasons. First off, knowing everything about your target demographic as well as your competitors gives you the edge to make cost-effective decisions.

Secondly, monitoring online chatter in real time gives you the power to tailor your approach on the go and capitalize on the latest trends. This is why successful brands in the ecommerce industry use in-depth social media monitoring tools to track brand mentions, engagement and all other statistics vital to their long-term success.

You can use this information to create detailed reports about your shop’s standing in the industry. Then tailor your offering to the exact requirements of your demographic.

Today’s social monitoring doesn’t even need the ability to mention or tag a brand. Instead, businesses are finding opportunities to engage playfully just by monitoring the use of their company name.

Imagine how your customer loyalty rates will skyrocket if you knew exactly what people were talking about, giving you the tools to surpass your competitors in the process.

4. Emphasize User-generated Content

Another tried-and-tested method that builds customer loyalty is user-generated content. People trust other people. In other words, they are much more open to buying from brands that have passed social proof than those trying to push hard sales or ads.

The truth is that nobody will ever believe the stories you’re telling if there isn’t a substantial number of satisfied customers to back them up. With that in mind, it’s time you started prioritizing user-generated content in order to boost transparency and trust.

Create a solution to all of the essential customer needs and be sure to post user-generated images, stories and product reviews to improve the reputation and credibility of your brand.

This will help inspire customers on the fence to make the decision to buy your product. Complement these content types with an engaging tone of voice and strive to maintain regular communication with your audience.

Customer loyalty starts with a brand who wants to and is willing to show off their awesome shoppers.

5. Make It Easy for People to Communicate With You

Brand-consumer communication is one of the pillars of good ecommerce nowadays. As modern customers’ expectations grow, many want their favorite brands to be easily reachable at all times.

Some customers might not be in a hurry, and wouldn’t mind waiting a few hours for you to respond to their emails. Other customers want to get in touch with you right now via chat (website and social media). This means that you need to be online and ready to respond in a matter of seconds.

Additionally, shoppers have questions about your products. And for the most part, unanswered questions lead to more cart abandonment.

Bissell q&a example

Make sure your reviews provider offers questions and answers software that not only takes up minimal space on your product pages, but also quickly shows shoppers answers to common questions.

But also don’t forget about the customers that want to talk to a customer service agent in real time. This has companies increasingly integrating comprehensive chat systems into their processes.

Creating such an omni-channel communication strategy might be a bit taxing on your customer service department, but it will nonetheless prove instrumental in building a customer loyalty relationship between you and your shoppers.

6. Be the Brand People Know & Love

Finally, keep in mind that good branding always wins the day. The ecommerce industry is a saturated playing field.

In fact, this market accommodates to as many as 24 million stores around the world. So for the growth-oriented businesses, double your branding efforts to separate from the competition.

View this post on Instagram

Do it for the graham. 🔥

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

How else will people remember if you don’t have a unique visual identity and a memorable brand persona? Always try to make a compelling and trustworthy connection with your customers to win their trust.

At the same time, invest in quality visuals, content and storytelling. Then you’ll give customers something to hold on to and become your loyal brand followers. Do this to become an inextricable part of their lifestyle.

In Closing

In the modern Ecommerce world, success is built on the foundation of recurring business. Instead of spending a fortune trying to replace the customers that leave you, focus on maximizing customer lifetime value through these solutions.

Throughout the process, you should have no problem future-proofing your ecommerce brand for years to come.

David Webb

David Webb

David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant, marketing analyst and a writer. With a decade of experience in a business sphere and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is an Editor in Chief at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Effective product page designs are essential to the success of your ecommerce business.

Here’s a fun fact: Statista data predicts by 2020, over 2 billion people worldwide will be purchasing goods and services online.

The numbers are increasing exponentially, up from just 1.5 billion digital shoppers in 2016.

digital buyers in billions graphicAt the same time, this rise in demand has caused an increase in competition, and a decrease in conversion.

In fact, research from Invespcro shows that the average website conversion rate has decreased from 3.4% in 2014 to 2.8% in 2018.

The same study found that product pages have an average effectiveness of 10.4%. In other words, 1 out of every 10 people that visit a product page will add the product to their cart.

Add to Cart Rates in U.S. and U.K. graph

How does your ecommerce website stand up to these online shopping statistics?

If you feel that your product page designs aren’t living up to their potential, you’ve come to the right place.

Ultimately, your product page designs will have a huge impact on your conversion rates. So, let’s make them as effective as possible.

8 Elements Your Product Page Designs Must Have (Including Examples)

There are certain elements that your product page designs must have.

A picture, a description, and product prices are all examples of necessary items your product pages already have.

But you need to go above and beyond if you want to stand out as different.

We’re going to discuss some obvious and some not-so-obvious design elements, and how you can use each of these to make your product pages live up to their potential. Let’s get started!

PowerReviews Demo Banner

1. Pictures & Videos That Sell the Story

People love shopping online.

In one study, it was found that the main reason why people shop online is for the convenience of shopping whenever they feel like it.

However, the same study found that more than half of people who prefer to shop in-store do so because they want to see, touch or try on the product before purchasing.

reasons shoppers shop in stores graphic

Since people can’t be in physical contact with your products before purchasing, your product page needs to get them as close as possible.

That’s why you need to include clear, up close visuals for your products.

On average, people want to see between 5 to 8 pictures per product. This allows you to give different views of the product and show off important features.

Check out how bag and clothing brand Kaft does this with the images for one of their messenger bags ideal for daily use.

kaft bag visual example

The fact that the bag is water resistant is a very important feature. This picture highlights that feature, and also allows zoom so that users can get a full view.

Another way to make people feel like they’re getting a complete view of your product is by including a video.

Check out how Glossier does this with the video that appears on their Lash Stick page.

By showing real people using their product, Glossier lets users feel like they’ve been able to try the product themselves. This is critical for a driving a moving and authentic feel to the product page design.

2. A True Size & Fit

Especially for apparel brands, it’s important that people feel secure in their purchase. They need to know whether or not this product is going to fit them, without being able to try it on.

To improve conversions on your product page–and significantly limit product returns of wrong size orders–it’s important to include product page designs that clearly show the true fit of your products.

Let’s see three ways that The North Face does this with their product pages.

First, they include the measurements of the model in the pictures and give the size jacket that she’s wearing. It might not seem like much, but it gives the extra details needed when making a purchasing decision.

the northface true fit product page

Next, they include a helpful pop up that allows users to find their perfect size for this particular type of product. This chart allows shoppers to pin point exactly the size and fit to nail down the right jacket.

northface sizing graphic

Lastly, as part of their review section, they include other customers’ ratings on the fit and the sleeve length of the jacket. Everyone knows brands all have various sizes and fits, and in apparel, you have to be exact for your online shoppers.

The Review Snapshot from PowerReviews gives customers more confidence in their buying decisions and helps limit the dreaded, costly returns.

review snapshot of the northface

By including detailed pictures with the model’s measurements, an accurate sizing chart, and a rating system for fit and feel, you can give your customers the confidence to purchase your products knowing that they’ll fit right the first time.

3. Questions & Answers to Remove Doubts

No matter how good your product descriptions are, people will probably have some questions.

If you find that people are frequently asking the same or similar questions, why not include a Q&A section for your product page designs?

This will help remove any doubts that people have before they purchase. It also makes it easier for people to get answers, since they won’t even have to leave your product page to do so.

leesa FAQs example

The mattress brand Leesa does this with the FAQ on their product page. Everyone has questions, so why not use your community of shoppers and your own customer service team to provide the answers to purchase-blocking questions?

4. Keyword-Optimized Text

Including keywords in your product page helps users find what they’re looking for quickly, and also helps your product pages rank on search engines. Following the best practices with SEO for ecommerce is essential to get pages to appear in the rankings.

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for long-tail keyword phrases that include various words. For example, instead of Men’s Sneaker, aim for a more specific keyword like Men’s Trail Running Sneaker.

Once you’ve chosen the right keywords, here’s three places you should put them:

  • URL: The product page URL should have just your main keyword.
  • Title (H1): The name of your product should be optimized to your keywords and your H1 should include it.
  • Description: Within your product description, include your main keyword and even try to add related keywords for context.

All this being said, remember not to stuff your product page with keywords. Never add them where they don’t sound right, since this could lead to problems for your website down the road.

product details broken down

See how shoe brand Manitobah Mukluks uses keywords skillfully through their product description? This helps their brand rank organically and also uses unique content that the search engines look for when ranking products.

5. Navigation Tabs to Keep Your Pages Clean

While it’s important to have the right amount of information on your product pages, it’s just as important that your product page designs remain clean and visually appealing.

In other words, don’t clutter your page with text and buttons.

A great way to remove clutter from your product pages is by using navigation tabs. That way, people can click to open a tab and read more, but the page still stays clean.

knix product navigation tabs

The women’s underwear brand Knix does this with their product pages really well. There’s not a ton of text at arrival that makes it overbearing to read and buy. However, their navigation tabs allow those who want more product information to easily click and find it.

Some of the most important information to include here is the fit, care instructions and even product quality so shoppers know your materials. The best part is the clutter is removed by clean navigation tabs at the bottom right.

6. Clear & Trustworthy Ratings & Reviews

Another essential element of your product page design are authentic ratings and reviews.

These customer reviews need to be displayed prominently in the product page. One retailer doing this well is Zappos, which showcases the reviews clearly at the top.

zappos clear ratings and reviews example

Next, you’ll need to display real reviews that specify what your users are looking for in the product. For example, Zappos takes their reviews and displays the most helpful positive review alongside the most helpful negative review.

We already know that 85% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews and even typically don’t trust companies with only 5-star rated products. Here we can see Zappos use their reviews to include separate star ratings for comfort and style.

zappos customer reviews overview

Since shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews, take a lesson from Zappos and display both sides. This actually helps build buyer confidence in your reviews and avoids the “too perfect” product review, which always comes off inauthentic.

Another way to take your reviews one step further is to organize them by topic, like Leesa does in their reviews. This helps people find exactly what they need and right away.

leesa reviews by type

7. User-Generated Visuals for Ultimate Social Proof

While displaying reviews is a great way to build trust in your products (and improve your product page conversion rate), including pictures and videos from real users has an even bigger impact.

In fact, 88% of online shoppers specifically look for visuals submitted by fellow users. The result? After finding user-submitted photos and videos, 65% of shoppers will be more likely to trust in the product.

Check out how furniture brand Wayfair does this by featuring reviews that include real-life user-generated content to drive trust and authenticity in their product page designs.

wayfair product page user-generated content

Need help collecting more visuals for your reviews? PowerReviews’ Visual and Social Suite allows you to add a content gallery of real-life visuals posted by your users either on your website or on social media.

This collection ability could collected by encouraging a branded hashtag to use for your products on social or even by running a product sampling campaign. Whatever your needs, PowerReviews can help–big or small.

Get in touch with our team today to learn about the power of user-generated content on your product pages!

8. Product Suggestions

So, why are product suggestions considered an essential product page design element?

It’s not just because everyone else is doing it.

Product suggestions help you increase the total amount spent per purchase by giving people great ideas for what to buy. But they also help move shoppers along with the product they’re already looking at to encourage the buy.

fitbit product page example

Fitbit skillfully includes suggestions in the product page design and is a great example of how to get buyers to add more to the cart. When looking at the product page for the Fitbit Versa, you’ll find suggestions for accessories towards the end of the page.

This is useful to the customer, since not everyone likes the band that the Fitbit comes with and will be eager to spice things up with a new band.

Then, below the recommended accessories, there is a “You might also like:” section, which includes products that can be used in conjunction with the original product.

You can do the same by pairing products that work well together, or by including items that are frequently purchased together on the same product page.

May the Best Product Page Designs Win

Ecommerce is a growing world, and you’re a part of it. If you ace the design on your product pages, constantly adapt to new customer needs and put value on authenticity, you’ll be able to take an even bigger piece of the pie home.

While people love the convenience of shopping online, they also see the disadvantages. That’s why you need to make your online shopping experience just as good (if not better) than shopping in store.

To that end, apply to above tips to create truly fantastic product page designs that capture people’s attention, give them the information they need without overwhelming them and help them put real trust in your products.

Then, your product page design will live up to its full potential.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

While every section of your website needs to be optimized, your product pages deserve extra love and attention. Why? Because these pages, along with well-written product descriptions, are the parts of your online store that actually drive sales.

In fact, research from Monetate found product detail pages (PDPs) account for a quarter of all ecommerce landing pages. This means your product pages are increasingly becoming the first touchpoint shoppers have with your brand.

So, if you haven’t spruced them up in a while, it’s high time to do so. We recommend starting with your product descriptions because they play a pivotal role in generating both traffic and conversions.

Well-crafted product descriptions do more than just describe your merchandise. When done right, your descriptions convey your unique voice, get people excited and even help you rank on Google.

In this post, we cover the 11 critical elements to help you create winning product descriptions. Check them out and see what applies to your store!

1. A Distinct & Relatable Voice

Product description writing tip No 1: Inject your copy with a unique voice and tone that speaks to your target audience. If you’re a quirky company that caters to millennials, then you’ll want to adopt a casual tone and maybe throw in a bit of humor.

But If the plan is to target executives at large enterprises, your copy would should feel more serious and professional. It all depends on your voice and who you’re talking to.

Zero Gravity Product Description Example

Check out this example from iPhone accessories store Zero Gravity. Each of their product descriptions are written in a casual and fun tone, which is great because Zero Gravity specializes in bold and distinctive phone cases.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross uses a different voice and tone to sell items like instructor kits to teach first aid, CPR and how to use an AED in emergencies. The Red Cross uses a more straightforward tone that appeals to importance of information and newest measures to teach.

american red cross product description example of instructor kit

So why would you go through all the trouble of sprucing up your copy?

For starters, adopting a distinctive voice—especially one that caters to your audience—strengthens the connection they have with your brand. Speaking the language of your customers makes you relatable, builds trust and increases the chances of conversions.

As a bonus, this practice also enables you to come up with unique content, which helps you with SEO for ecommerce. And this brings us to our next point:

2. The Right Keywords

It’s important for your descriptions to contain the search terms that shoppers would use when looking for your merchandise. This gives you a better chance for your product pages to show up on search engines, which in turn drives traffic and sales.

To first step in optimizing your product pages for SEO is conducting keywords research. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to search for keywords and identify other terms that your customers frequently use.

google keyword planner search terms example

Let’s say you’re selling journals, planners and notebooks. A quick search of those terms on Google’s Keyword planner uncovers a variety of other search terms, including “ruled notebook,” “unique writing journals,” “lined notebook paper” and more.

Depending on your merchandise, you can incorporate some of the keywords you find in your product descriptions.

Google Planner Example of More Keywords

For example, notice how in their description of an 80 Page Lined Journal Notebook, AnyPromo makes it a point to pepper in relevant search terms into the text.

anypromo product description with keywords

Do the same thing for your product pages. Research the keywords that consumers use when searching for your products, then incorporate those terms into your descriptions. Now, this isn’t to say that you should stuff your description with keywords. Instead, sprinkle a healthy amount of search terms in your copy, while still making it readable and engaging.

Luckily with the help of PowerReviews, we help add structure data to your product pages to get critical and unique review content to be indexed by Google. This means you get more ranking content with the additional reviews you produce.

ratings and reviews SEO search graphic

Want to see how PowerReviews helps brands and retailers increase their reviews SEO efforts? Talk to our team today

3. Showcases Features & Benefits

One of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to focus on benefits over features when describing what you’re selling. People who give this advice make an excellent point.

It really is more effective to tell shoppers how something would benefit them versus just giving them a laundry list of features or capabilities. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore features completely when describing your products. After all, your customers still need to know what a product does and what it’s capable of.

Your product descriptions should have the right balance of features and benefits. They should describe your items and clearly display its specifications, while at the same time, spell out the deeper advantages that each feature brings to the table.

Moleskin classic backpack product description

Have a look at Moleskine’s product description for their Classic Backpack. The left column is very benefits-centric.

It talks about how the product helps you “organize your mobile workspace” and how the backpack enables you to “store and organize everything you need as you navigate your day and connect with the people, places and passions that populate the city unfolding before you.”

The right column, on the other hand, is a straightforward list of features. Adopt a similar approach with your descriptions.

Strive to communicate a product’s features AND benefits effectively, while make them easy to find at the same time.

How to beat amazon banner

4. Visual Product Variations

Do you sell multiple products with different variations like color, size or print?

You’re not alone. A lot of businesses have various similar products, but don’t show buyers every single option. Some ecommerce folks might think it’s easier to simply show a single image of a variant product and provide more detailed visuals with a specific or high-selling item.

Instead, take the time to get great visual content for every single product you have. There’s no reason to provide fewer images or even videos of a variant product.

variant images product description example

No one likes to shop on line and come across this–a small display of images showing the various colors of a sheets for a queen size bed. Before you know it, you’re zooming in and trying to make out what kind of blue is “Lake Blue.”

One of the more important online shopping statistics shows within the next two years, mobile ecommerce is projected make up almost 73% of total ecommerce sales. That means you need to think about the mobile experience and if your customers can see the variant products up close.

samsonite ijet gif

For example, iJet does a fantastic job showcasing the various colors for its Samsonite suitcase. It would be easy to mistake certain colors or see if variant products have different features. But the zoomable and various images give shoppers more confidence to buy.

5. A Good Story

Want your product descriptions to make a bigger impact? Tell a better story. Scientific studies have shown that human brains become more active when stories are told, and people are highly receptive to thoughts, ideas and emotions when they understand a particular narrative.

Depending on your products, it may be helpful to incorporate narratives into your descriptions. Stories make your product descriptions stick. They also help people understand your items better, which ultimately prods them to hit the buy button.

Consider sharing a quick anecdote describing how you came up with a product. Lin Manuel-Miranda does just that in the product description of the “Mr. Write” t-shirt on TeeRico:

teerico t shirt product example

See if you can do something similar for your products. Find a tidbit or anecdote to describe an item and incorporate it in your copy. It could be just the thing that makes you stand out.

6. Easy to Scan the Page & Copy

Part of ensuring your product descriptions are easy to digest is by making them scannable. Scannable text looks more appealing and encourages people to give it a read.
Here are some of the things that can help shoppers easily scan your copy:

  • Short paragraphs: Walls of text make your copy look lengthy, which often bores people away. You’ll want to keep your paragraphs short (i.e., 4 lines or fewer) and succinct.
  • Headers: People on their phone or computer tend to scan product descriptions to find information relevant to them. Help them do that by using headers that break up your content into sections.
  • Bullet points: Lists and bullet points make text easier to read, particularly if you’re communicating product specs and features.

Adidas does all three in its Ultraboost product description, with one tab focusing on features and benefits and a second tab listing the shoe’s specifications.

adidas ultraboost product description example

The specifications tab, we get down to the nitty gritty details of the product, which might not be as relevant for some shoppers, but still important to display.

adidas product details for ultraboost shoes

This helps consumers know more about the product quality and the materials you chose. As more shoppers focus on organic and sustainable products, it’s essential to keep these details available on product pages, but obstructing the description with too long of text.

7. Social Proof

The importance of social proof (i.e., ratings and reviews, customer photos and endorsements) in your product descriptions cannot be understated. Our own research at PowerReviews discovered around 97% of consumers factor in ratings and reviews when making a purchase and 88% specifically look for photos and videos from other consumers.

Clearly, social proof is critical to creating compelling descriptions, which is why you should incorporate them into your product pages whenever possible. Consider the following:

Ratings & Reviews

We’ve already established that ratings and reviews influence consumer decisions to make a purchase, but did you know having them on your product descriptions also lowers your return rates? Based on 10 years of working with over a thousand brands and retailers, we’ve found that companies see a 20% reduction in product returns for items with ratings and reviews.

So, how do you get more of them on your product pages? Start by actively encouraging customers to rate and review their purchases. Send a post-purchase email asking them to provide feedback, and if possible, throw in an incentive for them to do so.

Nordstrom, for instance, encourages shoppers to review their purchases by giving them a chance to win a $1,000 gift card.

nordstrom post-purchase email example

Once you have those ratings and reviews, display them prominently on your product page. Have the star rating as one of the first things people see when they’re on the page, and make sure your ratings and reviews section is prominent and easy to find.

Take the clothing company SCOTTeVEST. In addition to displaying an item’s star rating at the top part of the page, SCOTTeVEST shows the star rating again right above the written reviews section.

scottevest product ratings visual

scottevest reviews display on product pages

What about you? Do you display your ratings loudly and proudly? If not, take a leaf out of SCOTTeVEST’s playbook and make your product’s star ratings more prominent.

Customer Images

The rise of user-generated content (UGC) has changed consumer expectations when it comes to retail visuals. Professional product photos are still essential, but if you want to build trust and convey authenticity, you need to go a step further by including images from other consumers. A study by Olapic found that 63% of U.S. consumers trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos.

You can easily promote UGC by adding a feature on your product page that lets customers upload photos of themselves using your products. One retailer that’s doing this well is SheIn, which has an upload feature that allows customers to include photos with their reviews.

shein user-generated content reviews

Try to do the same thing with your product pages. Encourage your customers to snap and share photos of themselves while using your products. With PowerReviews, we provide user-generated content visuals for products that help shoppers understand the product more thoroughly.

visual and social collection for user generated content

In fact, our Snapshot of Ecommerce report found 58% of those between the ages of 18-29 find user-generated content important or very important in their purchasing decisions.

Why limit what your shoppers need to make better decisions? See how our Visual and Social Suite helps you generate more authentic content.

8. Excellent Visuals

Fact: human beings are visual creatures who process image data better and faster than text. For this reason, it’s important to include several visual elements in your product descriptions. Aside from your official product photos and the user-generated content mentioned above, consider adding the following visual elements:

Videos

Videos are great when you want to show your products in action, and as it turns out, they can also drive sales. In the fashion industry, it’s been found that video increases conversions by 134%.

SCOTTeVEST, once again, is doing a great job here. All of their product pages have video descriptions that demonstrate the unique features of each item.

scottevest video product descriptions

Diagrams

Diagrams serve as effective visual aids for conveying the size and scale of an item. On Giant Hugs, for example, they have size charts that you can access right from the product page to get a better idea of the size and fit of each piece.

size and fit example on a product page

9. Trust Signals

Consumers are certainly more comfortable when making purchases online, but many still experience fear or hesitation when it comes to buying something they can’t physically see and touch.

While things like great copy and customer photos certainly build trust, you’ll want to go a step further by throwing in additional trust signals in your descriptions. Money-back guarantees or certificates of authenticity alleviate any misgivings that people have about purchasing your products, so include them whenever you can.

This company, which sells pre-loved luxury goods, Fashionphile, does this on all of their product pages. Fashionphile’s descriptions always spell out their money-guarantee to quell any concerns shoppers may have about purchasing from them.

fashionphile promise in product description

See if you can do the same thing with your product descriptions. If you offer any guarantees, communicate them clearly in your text to alleviate trust issues and be on your way toward building brand loyalty within customers that will come back and rely on you in the future.

10. Relevant Offerings

Advertising your promotions on the homepage is great. But make sure you include those sale and offer details in your product descriptions as well.

Check out what Guess Factory is doing. In addition to prominently display the sale price and discount on the top of the product page, Guess’ product descriptions also have a line reminding shoppers of their new arrivals promotion.

guess factory product description showing offerings

Remember, a good chunk of shoppers are likely bypassing your homepage and going straight to your product pages. You want to make these users aware of any offers available that might’ve been missed on another page.

Follow in the footsteps of GUESS by spelling out your offers in your product descriptions.

11. Provide Answers to Your Product’s Most Pressing Questions

See to it that your product descriptions answer any questions that shoppers may have. Failing to do so could lead to site abandonment. According to Forrester, approximately 55% of shoppers in the U.S. abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their product question.

Yikes.

When writing your descriptions, go beyond simply telling people about your products. Consider any questions or concerns people have about your product, and then address those in the copy.

You can also consider adding a Question and Answers or FAQ section on the product page itself so shoppers find the answers they need easily. PowerReviews offers Q&A software to do just that.

questions and answers engaging display graphic with powerreviews

Make it easy for your customers to access important product questions and see who is actually writing the answer with review badges. And for all the brands out there, it’s essential to make sure your customers are getting the appropriate answers on your retailer sites.

That’s why we created Brand Engage, a tool for brands to answer directly to customers on retailer sites that participate in the Open Network.

For example, PING Golf sells plenty of equipment and accessories across retailer sites like the PGA Tour Superstore. But what if someone has a question about a driver that maybe only the brand would know?

ping PGA superstore product page

With Brand Engage, PING can answer questions directly on PGA Tour Superstore’s retailer site to give buyers the confidence to click buy.

Take Your Product Descriptions to the Next Level

Great product descriptions go beyond stating facts about your merchandise. Much like a high-performing retail store associate, your descriptions should engage shoppers, build trust and ultimately sell your products.

Are you happy with your product descriptions and ready to take it to the next level? How are you planning to improve them?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Francesca Nicasio

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Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

As an ecommerce business, you always look to get more website traffic, new shoppers, better customer feedback and obviously, ways to earn more revenue.

The good news–you have numerous ways to generate traffic and sales. From search and social media to email and referrals, there’s no shortage of marketing strategies to implement and test.

But the bad news? There are numerous ways to generic traffic and sales.

Without a coherent and up to date ecommerce marketing strategy, you risk falling into the trap of trying too many things without knowing what works. Before jumping into traffic-generating tactics, you first have to iron out your ecommerce marketing strategy so it’s able to connect to the modern shopper.

Think of the perfect ecommerce marketing strategy having a roadmap to show you who to target, how to engage your audience and how to measure your efforts so you only invest ROI tactics. On top of that, you need to know the recent market changes and what it takes to succeed in online sales for 2019.

To help you get closer to your objectives, check out our five step ecommerce marketing strategy for 2019:

Step 1: Know Your Audience & Their Problems You Solve

You can’t have a successful ecommerce marketing strategy if you don’t know who to market. That’s why the first step is to get to know your target audience.

Who do you want to reach with your marketing? What messaging resonates them?

Figuring all that out requires creating buyer personas or avatars of your target customers. Begin by asking questions like “Who do we want to attract to our site?” and “Who are our typical buyers?”

The answers to these questions should give you an initial picture of what your target customer looks like. For example, if you’re a fashion boutique that sells high-end vintage clothing, then one of your ideal audiences could be women in their 30s with disposable income.

Once you have a general idea of who to target, you’ll need to flesh out your personas and make them more real. You can do that by sticking to a few rules.

Focus on a Single Person for a Persona

Each persona should consist of a single individual. This means when you’re building the profile of your avatar, the details entered should apply to just one person.

Instead of saying your persona includes women who are 30-35 years old, the persona should be a 33-year-old woman earning $75,000+ annually.

Of course this seems counterintuitive since you’re trying to sell to many people. However, focusing on a single customer allows you to uncover more useful and specific characteristics about the key shoppers that you want to reach.

Doing so makes your message more relevant and compelling.

Give Your Persona a Name & Photo

Naming your persona and adding a visual component makes them tangible. It also helps your entire marketing team understand the demographic more clearly.

The realer an avatar is to you and your team, the easier it is know the potential customer such as their likes, dislikes, hobbies and overall buying process.

Ratings and reviews banner

Get Very Specific With Your Persona Details

Through audience research, you should uncover demographic and psychographic details about your persona. Use the info you gather to develop a rich profile that answers questions like:

  • How old is your persona?
  • Where do they live?
  • How much do they make per year?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What do they spend time doing?
  • What problems or issues puts them in your store?

Here’s an example of what a persona page might look like:

customer persona for ecommerce strategy

Consider doing something similar with your persona profile. Create a page for them, give them a name and populate their profile with specific details. This will allow you to get a more accurate target audience.

Step 2: Limit Purchase-Blocking Obstacles on Your Website

One of the key objectives of every ecommerce marketing strategy is to drive traffic to the website. As an online retailer or even brand, you want your audience to go to the exact spot where they can buy your products.

That’s why your website has to be easy to navigate and limits the hurdles to get checked out. The last thing you want is to have a smashing marketing campaign that persuades people to check out your brand, only for them to bounce when they reach your website.

mack weldon quick buy

Check out this example from Mack Weldon, a mens direct to consumer online clothing store. Their site’s “Quick Buy” functionality lets you choose a color, size and presents the checkout cart all on one window before even getting into the product page.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for creating a winning site, but it always helps to make it easy and simple to checkout. And to help you improve your website, here are some general best practices:

Make Sure Your Site Speaks to Your Audience

At this point, you’ve done a lot of research on your target customers. Put all the information into good use by making sure that all the elements of your webpages—from the design and layout to the copy and images—speak to your key audience.

Doing that means using content and imagery with which your target customers can identify. For example, Forever 21, which caters to young girls looking for great deals, uses web copy and imagery to appeal to its audience.

forever 21 one dollar shop

Forever 21’s website has a big, bold design that promotes deals like its One Dollar Shop. The brand also hires models that reflect the types of customers it wants to reach.

The company is constantly trying to connect with its audience by promoting brand advocates and its biggest fans. This helps build a better community between the shopper and retailer.

Promote Trust

Shoppers today are certainly more comfortable buying stuff online, but some still experience uncertainty when making an ecommerce purchase. That’s why it’s important to create a site that instills trust and credibility.

Your site should make customers feel confident about their purchase decisions. You can do that through authentic product reviews and user-generated content that shows shoppers what real customers are saying about your items.

Vans social media post

Invest in a Mobile-Friendly Site

Mobile has overtook desktop when it comes to sites visits. A study by Perficient Digital found that in 2018, 58% of site visits came from mobile devices, and mobile made up 42% of total time spent online.

perficient digital mobile desktop graphic

People clearly love browsing on their mobile devices, so if your site doesn’t look or function well on the small screen, you’re in trouble.

Take the necessary steps to ensure that your site is mobile friendly. At the very least, see to it that you’re using a responsive mobile design. And if you have the resources to do so, consider implementing a mobile-first site experience.

There’s also the issue of speed. Mobile site load times are generally slower than desktop, so you’ll need to make mobile-specific adjustments to ensure that smartphone and tablet users can load your site quickly.

Speaking of speed…

Always Find Ways to Speed Up Your Website

Poor website load times is one of the top reasons that visitors leave an ecommerce site. According to data from Google, when a page’s load time goes from 1 to 10 seconds, the likelihood of a mobile user bouncing increases by a whopping 123%.

Google Page Load Speed graphic

For your ecommerce marketing strategy, you have to include ways to improve site speeds. As Neil Patel points out, 40% of users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 52% of online shoppers said that speedy load times are important to their loyalty to a site.

page load speeds graph neil patel

One way brands and retailers are improving their site speeds is by moving to ratings and reviews providers that use 100% Javascript software on their pages. PowerReviews worked hard to ensure our software was as fast as possible and would not alter page load times being on ecommerce sites.

In fact, we reduced our JavaScript size by up to 26% on product detail pages, which makes PowerReviews more than 40% smaller than some of our major competitors!

How to Improve Page Load Speeds

Speed is paramount in online commerce, so here’s a few other ways to improve your page load times:

  • Avoid Overly-Large Visuals & Files: Visuals are essential in ecommerce, but using images with large file sizes can slow down a website. Avoid using larger-than-necessary images by shrinking their file size through a tool like Resize Image.
  • Choose a More Optimal File Type: Additionally when it comes to image files, converting an image file from PNG to JPG compresses the image without compromising a lot in terms of quality.
  • Prevent Excessive Redirects or 301s: Redirects tell a browser that the webpage you’re trying to visit now goes to another URL. This happens often and seamlessly without customers knowing. However, loading redirect URLs adds another step, which slows down sites. It also makes it more difficult for search engines to rank or read your page.
  • Limit Unnecessary Plugins or Tools: Plugins can add to your site’s load time, so remove anything that isn’t necessary to each page. Again, it’s critical to know what platforms take up the most and least amount of space on your site.
  • Know What Slows You Down: Each web property is different, so analyze the performance of your website to identify the issues slowing you down. Google’s own Page Insights tool is a good place to start. It gives your site a speed score, runs diagnostics and surfaces opportunities to speed it up.

Google Page Speed Test Example

Step 3: Determine Your Marketing Channels & Tactics

Is your website in top shape? Good. Now, let’s talk about the marketing channels and tactics you can use to drive traffic to it.

Social Media

People spend hours on social media daily, which makes social networks effective platforms for getting in front of your potential shoppers. There are plenty of ways to implement social media marketing, but in general, your efforts would fall into one of two buckets:

Organic Social Media Marketing

Organic social media marketing is all about growing your following and reach through natural ways. You do this by posting likeable and share-worthy content that appeals to your audience.

Taking advantage of features like hashtags and mentions to get your content in front of a wider audience. Check out this post from Fatty Sundays.

fatty sundays instagram post

Aside from being witty and timely, the post contains popular hashtags. Fatty Sundays also tagged and mentioned the source of the quote.

Paid Social Media Marketing

Want to pay for more engagement? Paid social media marketing campaigns allow you to extend the reach of your content. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have native tools that get your posts in feeds of users who aren’t already following your brand.

Whether you want to promote a new product or retarget previous users, there are several social ad tools to check out. For instance, promote a specific product page or offer a deal like Firstleaf in this ad.

firstleaf facebook sponsored post example

Or, you can promote a collection of products by using a carousel ad. Side note: it’s smart to know the various Facebook or Instagram sizes for its carousel images and videos. It’s all about ensuring your content is promoted at the highest quality possible  so it fits perfectly into the ad or organic post.

walmart carousel image ad example

No matter what type of tools you decide to use, keep in mind that the best social media marketing campaigns usually have a mix of organic and paid components. Organic brand reach has decreased significantly over the last few years. So as you continue creating engaging content for your followers, you also need to put money behind your efforts to reach more people.

Email Marketing

Social media marketing can do wonders, but don’t rely on it alone to reach your audience. Here’s why: social platforms essentially control the reach and distribution of your posts. A single algorithmic change can diminish the performance of your content.

With email marketing, you have more control over the distribution of your content. The email addresses of your subscribers live in your database, which means you have a better handle of when and how to get in touch with them.

Any good email marketing strategy starts with a compelling offer to get people to hand over the email address. Here’s one from Amika, which gives people a 15% discount in exchange for their email.

Amika email signup discount example

From there, you can craft an email marketing calendar that has a healthy mix of engaging content (i.e., promotions, company news, editorial content) that drives traffic back to your site.

Influencer Marketing

According to MuseFind, a whopping 92% of consumers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Influencers clearly have a lot of pull with consumers, which is why it makes sense for brands to engage them.

Influencer marketing comes in many forms but it typically involves building relationships with social media personalities who can influence your target audience.

Think about the people your customers follow on social media. Aside from their friends and family, who are the individuals that they look up to? Whose content do they enjoy consuming?

Once you’ve identified the right people, reach out and see if you can sponsor their content. In some cases, doing this means letting the influencer publish posts featuring your products. Have a look at this example from Wil De Beast, a GNC Canada Ambassador:

GNC influencer instagram example

In other instances, brands co-create content with the influencer. Rather than an obvious ad, the brand’s product appears as a natural part of the influencer’s story.

You can see this in action the following short film by YouTube stars Wong Fu Productions, which they did in collaboration with homeware retailer Simplehuman.

The nature of your relationship depends on the influencer. Whoever you decide to work with, though, choose to align yourself with individuals who fit your brand’s values.

Affiliate Marketing

Already have an active customer base? Set up an affiliate agreement where they’re rewarded every time they successfully refer someone to your brand.

That reward be a commission, free products, or a discount. There’s no one best way to do it, as the best affiliate marketing structure depends on your business model.

Meal prep company Freshly, for instance, implements a “Give $40, Get $40” referral program to encourage its members to share the service with their friends.

freshy affiliate marketing

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a wide topic and it covers a variety of tasks including:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Site mapping
  • Website performance optimization
  • URL optimization

It’s incredibly powerful to get your brand in front of people who are actively searching for products you sell. That’s why when implemented correctly, SEO for ecommerce is profitable marketing strategy.

Do note that the keyword here is “correctly.” Engaging in unethical or black hat SEO tactics can lead to penalties from search engines, completely derailing your ecommerce site.

Be sure to stay on Google’s good graces when running an SEO strategy or better yet, hire an experienced professional or agency with a proven track record.

Search Ads

SEO is effective, but it takes time and continuous effort to make it to the top of search engine results pages. If you’re looking for a shortcut to the top of SERPs, search ads are the way to go.

The most popular types of search ads in ecommerce are Google AdWords and Google Shopping ads, or Product Listing Ads.

  • Google Adwords: These are text-based ads that appear on top of organic search results. Unlike social media ads which target users based on their demographics AdWords target search queries. So, if you’re an online retailer that sells teas and tea accessories, you could use AdWords to target users searching for things like “tea infusers” or “loose tea leaves.”

Paid Search results example

  • Google Shopping Ads: Like AdWords, Google Shopping Ads appear above the organic search results. Unlike AdWords, Shopping ads are image-based and they pull from the advertiser’s online inventory. Sign up for a Merchant Center account and upload your products into a feed. Then start creating shopping campaigns to get products appearing in relevant searches.

google shopping PLA for tea

Content Marketing

Marketing doesn’t always have to involve plugging your products. In many cases, creating high-quality content can attract the right traffic—and ultimately, the right customers.

A great example of a brand investing in content marketing is Dollar Shave Club. DSC regularly publishes informative and entertaining content about grooming and lifestyle, which perfectly aligns with its brand.

dollar shave club blog

Offline Marketing

It may be against your instincts to have an offline marketing strategy if you try to drive online traffic. However, a strong physical presence benefits your brand in a number of ways.

For starters, it gives you more credibility. Anyone can build an ecommerce store, but nothing builds your “retail cred” more than having a shop in the real world.

An offline ecommerce marketing strategy also boosts online sales. Research by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found opening retail stores increases an ecommerce business’s site traffic by 37%.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to build fully-fledged brick-and-mortar stores to have an offline presence. Many ecommerce brands are starting small by establishing pop-up shops in select markets.

The online pure play Brandless did just that last year. The company opened a pop-up shop in Los Angeles, where people get to know the brand and its products. What’s cool about the initiative is that Brandless used it to drive online sales.

brandless credit email

A few days after the pop-up event, Brandless emailed attendees with a $9 credit that they can use towards their first purchase on the site.

Step 4: Execute Your Campaigns & Stay Focused on Goals

You’ve done your audience research, tightened up your website and identified the best marketing channels and tactics for your business. The next step is executing your campaigns.

The specific best practices around campaign execution will depend on your marketing channels, but here are some general things to consider:

Keep Your Team in Sync

If your campaign has several moving parts, you need to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page. You can do this by:

  • Appointing a Project Owner: Have one person “own” the campaign. They will oversee its various components and will serve as the go-to person for the campaign. When there’s a project owner, those working on the campaign know immediately who to turn to for questions and concerns, leading to fewer miscommunications.
  • Use an Efficient Communication Channel: One of the best ways to keep your team in sync is to have a shared platform on which people can post updates or raise issues. A project-specific forum or chat room (e.g. Slack channel) where all the stakeholders are present can serve as an effective solution for this.

Set Your KPIs & Metrics

Remember the famous John Wanamaker quote?

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

This line gets passed around in advertising and marketing circles But to this day, countless marketers fall into the trap of trying new ecommerce marketing strategies and tactics without properly measuring and attributing results.

Avoid this with clear campaigns KPIs. Ask yourself what success looks like and determine the metrics by which your campaign’s performance will be measured.

Get the Timing Right

Even the best campaigns fall flat if they’re executed at the wrong time. Make timing an important consideration for your marketing campaigns to maximize their impact.

Keep a marketing calendar that lists all important events and occasions throughout the year. Go beyond the big holidays and pay attention to big pop culture events.

alex and ani game of thrones marketing

Need inspiration on how to do this right? Check out this campaign from Alex + Ani. Launched in May 2019, the campaign centered on two hot and timely themes: Mother’s Day and Game of Thrones.

Step 5: Measure & Analyze Your Results (Success & Failures)

Analytics is a critical component of any ecommerce marketing strategy. With the right data, you determine which components of your strategy work and what doesn’t. This lets you replicate the positive results and improve on things that not going well.

The key to nailing the analytics side of things is proper attribution. By assigning a tracking component to each initiative, you can trace the results to specific campaigns or efforts.

The right tracking methods depend on what you do. If you market on Facebook, take advantage of Facebook’s ad pixel. If you’re running affiliate campaigns, set up your referral links correctly you can attribute sales to the right sources.

Analyze Your Product Insights Thoroughly

You likely have a mecca of product insights in front you–but are you even using this content to make better product decisions?

Ratings and reviews content helps brands and retailers investigate, detail and improve product launches or faulty occurrences with items in general. That’s why we made Product Pulse.

powerreviews top topics product pulse

With the help of Product Pulse, you can dig into the hundreds or thousands of reviews to find common customer sentiment analysis data. For example, it’s easy to see the most popular adjectives for an item at the product level.

You might think it’d be just as easy to dig through reviews and find this data, but we’ve done it, and it’s just not true. It takes a ton of manpower and hours to dig, pull commonalities and even avoid unintended biases with your results.

Or you could use Product Pulse to pull reports on individual products in minutes.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Want to see it in action? Request a demo today to test drive Product Pulse yourself!

Get a Qualitative View of Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

It’s important to note that measuring and analyzing your activities isn’t just about the numbers. Produce a more qualitative view of how your ecommerce marketing strategy operates and works.

You can do this catching up with your team on a regular and per-project basis. Let’s say you just finished running a major marketing campaign.

After wrapping up, get the project’s stakeholders together and discuss the results. What went right? What didn’t? How can you improve going forward?

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview Example

Combined with web analytics data, qualitative insights will give you the full picture, which in turn can help you take your ecommerce marketing strategy to the next level.

And there you have it! The ultimate guide to running a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. We’ve covered a lot of ground in this piece and we hope it gives you a clear picture of how to best market you store.

Good luck!

Francesca Nicasio

Avatar

Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

How well are you actually listening to your customers? Do you know when new complaints arise and when previous issues resurface?

This why so many retail brands rely on customer satisfaction survey questions to identify problems, reevaluate service priorities, and adapt to changing customer demands. Simply put, customer feedback is crucial for brand health.

Survey design can make or break the entire effort. The questions you ask, and how and when you ask them, determine both the value of the data and the amount of brand equity you win or lose.

A well-crafted, well-timed customer satisfaction survey deepens your customers’ emotional investment by motivating them to respond and rewarding them for doing so. So how do you build and deploy a survey that elicits the reaction you want and the insights you need?

Here’s our list of 35 sample customer satisfaction survey questions to get you started and how to go about asking the questions in the first place:

Click on the jump links to skip ahead.

Mastering the Art of the Customer Satisfaction Survey: 3 Key Elements

A customer satisfaction survey is like a blank canvas. The richer the detail, the better the result. Your customers should be able to express themselves using a variety of techniques.

Fine Line Questions

Pointed, close-ended questions create a profile of the shopper and provide context for other survey responses.

  1. What is your age/gender?
  2. How long have you been a [brand] customer?
  3. What was the total purchase amount on your receipt today?
  4. How often do you visit this store?
  5. Did you visit the store based on a promotion or sale?
  6. Based on this experience, would you return to this store for [product/service]?
  7. Would you like someone to contact you?

Tints & Shades Questions

Scale questions are designed to register how positively or negatively your customer reacted to the overall shopping experience and to various touchpoints along the way. While a neutral response might indicate the need for strategic adjustments, responses at either end of the spectrum reveal the most impactful moments in the customer journey.

It’s important to keep these questions as simple as possible for your customers. This is essential for those who struggle to rate experiences on the classic 1-10 scale. A scale of 1-4 makes surveys less burdensome and produces more reliable results.

In-Store Customer Service Questions

Example 1: Coffee shop customers might be asked to rate the particulars below via degree of satisfaction: (1: Completely dissatisfied and 4: Extremely satisfied).

  1. How do you feel about your overall experience at this store?
  2. Was the coffee warm enough?
  3. How well was the coffee counter/area stocked?
  4. How did your beverage taste?
  5. Was your food order accurate?
  6. Were the restrooms generally clean?

In-Store Shopping Experience Questions

Example 2: An apparel retailer might ask the following questions using a different scale: (1: Completely disagree and 4: Completely agree).

  1. Were you made to feel welcome during your visit (greeted and/or thanked by one or more associates)?
  2. Were the outfitted mannequins helpful in building an ensemble?
  3. Were the items appropriately priced?
  4. Did one or more associates offer to help you?
  5. Were the associates friendly?
  6. Were the associates knowledgeable?
  7. Was the merchandise high quality?
  8. Were the items you looked for in stock?
  9. Were the items you looked for easy to find?
  10. Did the store have a wide selection?
  11. Was it easy to find items in your size?
  12. Was the store visually appealing?
  13. Was the wait time at checkout reasonable?
  14. Did the cashier process the transaction quickly and effectively?
  15. Did the store have a reasonable return and exchange policy?

Retention Questions

Example 3: These reflective questions are designed to gauge probability of a future action: (1: Not at all likely and 4: Very likely).

  1. How likely are you to return to this store?
  2. How likely are you to recommend this store to others?

Broad Stroke Questions

Open-ended questions, which can be triggered by negative feedback and/or appear at the end of the survey, give customers the floor. Responses often yield surprising insights.

This upends long-held assumptions about what customers want and how well the brand delivers. It occasionally works as a wake-up call as every brand needs to stay aligned with its customer base.

  1. Why did you choose this rating?
  2. If the item you were looking for wasn’t available, what item(s) would you like to see?
  3. What did you like best about shopping at our store?
  4. How could we have made this experience better for you?
  5. What suggestions do you have for improving the shopping experience?

Make Your Csat Survey Timely & Rewarding

To know the touchpoints performing best and what might be sabotaging sales, it’s important to ask the right questions. It’s also necessary to ask while the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind.

If a survey arrives days (even hours) after an in-store visit, they’re likely to forget key details or lose interest in sharing them. This is also true when customers are asked to log in to complete a survey.

Most survey responses will come from customers who are either extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied, thus skewing the results. And you’ll never hear from people who left the store without buying.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

The most enticing, effective way to survey your customers is to enlist them as secret shoppers. Give them the means to answer questions about the customer journey in real time, regardless of whether they make a purchase.

They can detail their visit in an objective way while offering their subjective take on what was good, bad and unimportant. With this objective/subjective data mix, you’ll know at once how well brand protocols are being followed, which protocols matter and what’s working against you.

How to Reward Shoppers & Build Brand Equity

Unlike traditional CSATs, which are a chore to complete (hence the typical 2% response rate), real-time in-store CSATs make the shopping experience fun. Your “secret agent” customers become agents of change with an important purpose: contributing to a better brand experience going forward.

mission screenshot

The moment you invite a customer to go undercover, you’ll inspire a degree of loyalty most brands can only hope to earn. Forget costly mystery shopping and low-response CSATs.

Managing the in-store customer experience has never been easier. Use Journey IQ to uncover actionable insights into your in-store experience.

Want to learn about our innovative platform leading brands use to monitor and improve their stores and drive foot traffic and loyalty? Request a demo of Journey IQ today!

Alex York

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Alex York is the Content and SEO Marketing Manager at PowerReviews. Catch him hunting down the perfect gin cocktail in Chicago or endlessly scrolling through Netflix. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjyork.

Identifying and meeting customer needs is the best way your brand boosts its game.

You know how it feels when you have a great idea for a product. Maybe you’ve spent some time developing the idea, refining it and you’re really sure it’s going to work.

After all, you would buy it, so why wouldn’t your customers?

But as you know, some of the best ideas end up being the biggest flops.

We all know the big brands that worked on a major product launch strategy, but never seemed to hold the attention of their audience. This tends to happen when the company isn’t focused on customer needs.

Just think of the Ford Edsel: at a time when Americans were looking to buy smaller, more efficient cars, Ford released a gas guzzler that lost them $350 million in the three years it was being produced.

ford edsel vintage ad

Hopefully, you’ll never have such a costly flop. But what can you do to make sure your products are meeting the needs of your customers?

First, you need to be aware of the most common customer needs. Then, you’ll need to figure out how to identify which particular needs your customers have right now.

Are you ready to match your brand to the needs of your customers?

8 Common Customer Needs You Should Always Know

While not a complete list, these eight points are some of the most common needs. As we discuss them, we’ll see how different brands have risen to the challenge of meeting their customers’ needs.

1. Price

Customers are more concerned than ever about price. Are they getting the best deal? Is this comparable to a competitor? Are you paying for convenience or are you getting the highest product quality available?

In fact, 60% of customers consider price before anything else, and 81% say that it’s essential to compare prices between different sellers.

prisync consumer pricing graphic

Especially if you’re competing against companies with similar products, price could be a big factor in a customer’s purchase decision.

Does this mean you must immediately slash your prices? Not necessarily.

However, offering the right kind of discount to customers who are cost-conscious could help you win more business. Think about where you offer price advantages for customers. For example, you could offer a discount on a product bundle or for orders over a certain amount of money.

Check out how Beardbrand does this with their beard product kits:

beardbrand growing kits example

Ultimately, buying the whole kit means the customer is saving money since buying the products individually would cost them more. However, the total cart value ends up being more, which means better revenue for the company.

2. Reliability & Sustainability

People need to trust that the product they’re getting will last. They need to rely on its ability to function properly for a reasonable amount of time.

Another aspect that is essential for many customers nowadays is sustainability. Big companies are rolling out new products that promise a much smaller impact on the environment, nailing the needs of their customers (and the planet).

Check out how Hyundai does this with the brand new (and beautiful) Ioniq:

hyundai Ioniq customer needs example

This completely electric car is one of the best of its kind and it comes from a car company focused on its customer needs with an ability to adapt.

3. Risk Reduction

Even if your products are super reliable, people still want to know they’re not at risk of losing their money or time.

That’s why your product return policy and guarantees are so important. This is an essential factor that you’ll need to cover if you want to meet your customers’ needs.

To calm the fears of your customers and show them that they’re not at risk, try doing what sunglass company Sunski did with their guarantee page:

https://vimeo.com/273985860

4. Usability & Convenience

For your products to meet people’s needs, they must be useful and convenient.

It’s up to you to find out exactly what your customers use your products for and why they like them (we’ll talk more about how to do that below). Once you understand the different uses that customers have for your products, you’ll need to adapt to better fit their needs.

This is what Microsoft has done with the recently released Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit.

While the 365 package has been used by remote workers for years, this toolkit is especially made for large companies that have a mostly freelance workforce. By producing this toolkit alongside freelance marketplace Upwork, Microsoft adapted to the needs of their users.

5. Transparency

People need to know exactly what they’re paying up front and without hidden fees. That’s why companies need to be transparent about what customers are actually going to pay at the checkout.

Transparency can also apply to the ingredients in foods, the supply chain of a retailer or the true size and fit of a product. If you feel like you need to hide information from your customers, this is a big red flag.

Business secrets are hard to keep: sooner or later, they’ll come back to bite you. And in an industry known for its hidden fees and exorbitant costs, Southwest took a stand for transparency in their #Transfarency campaign.

This campaign focused on eliminating fees for checked luggage and changes, which are typically charges that other airlines like to hide until the last second.

This kind of transparency started a trend that continues to generate conversation online and create more brand loyal customers.

Another brands and retailers promote transparency is through the voice of the customer. By enabling customer feedback through ratings and reviews, question and answers and visual content, businesses leave less room for consumers to second guess buying decisions.

mac ratings and reviews pros and cons

This is why some of the largest brands and retailers trust PowerReviews to not only unify customer feedback, but also connect shoppers to one another to tell better and more authentic stories. Having more product details shows true transparency into your catalog and helps push the needle on acquisition.

Want to see how PowerReviews could help you collect and display more authentic content? Request a demo with our helpful team today!

6. Control

Another common customer need is having some control over the product.

This could mean a number of different things. For example, subscription-based brands can offer control over the terms or the length of the subscription. Ecommerce brands can offer different options for shipping, especially during busy holiday seasons.

Also, control could mean customization of the product itself. Check out how bag brand Timbuk2 does this with their fully customizable bags.

timbuk2 customization example

Letting the customer take the wheel on creation is just another way you could meet their needs.

7. Empathy & Friendliness

When it comes to customer service, people need to feel that a brand understands and cares about them. In fact, 51% of people who are faced with a bad customer service experience say they’ll never do business with that company again.

On the other hand, customers in the U.S. are willing to pay 17% more for a company that offers excellent customer service.

The takeaway? You need fantastic customer service if you want to meet your customer’s needs.

Starbucks is a brand that’s known for its great customer service on social channels. They reply to hundreds (if not thousands) of Tweets per day, giving customers the help they need (or just celebrating their love of coffee).

8. Information

Another important customer need has to do with information. Whether you sell physical products like clothes, food and makeup, or if you sell digital products like books or software, people may be unsure of what suits their particular needs.

In this case, they need guidance. They need the right information to make an informed purchase and end up happy.

How can you provide this information?

First, make sure you’re available to answer people’s questions. This connects nicely with our last point, and involves running a smooth and friendly customer service operation. You could also include a live chat on your website to answer people’s questions as they shop.

Next, produce informational content. Try to include knowledge bases for software, instructional blog content or video content. Check out how Wayfair does this with their extremely useful buying guides.

wayfair buyer guides

Wayfair understands the struggles of picking out the best product. And while their catalog can seem endless, the retailer does an amazing job of giving customers detailed options and scenarios where they might need help making a decision.

Additionally, Wayfair has great video content to help the do-it-yourself designers, who might need a little help knowing how to pick out the best rug for their room. Their YouTube channel frequently posts helpful video content about how to select the right furniture for your home or how to pick specific items in every room.

wayfair youtube diy channel

Furnishing a house isn’t always easy, but these guides help shoppers to make informed choices that will meet their needs. You can do the same by producing informative content for your customers.

Now that we’ve talked about some common customer needs, let’s discuss how you identify what your customers want:

How to Identify Customer Needs

Getting information from your customers shouldn’t be daunting or a troublesome task. In fact, there’s generally two ways to learn about what your customers need:

Method 1: Create a Survey

Surveys help you find out more about your customer base and your target audience. They allow you to get into people’s minds and discover the reasons why they buy from you.

If you’re looking to see how your products can meet people’s needs, you get set up something like what Birchbox has done with their Beauty Profile quiz.

birchbox signup example

When you sign up for their service, you go through this quiz so that Birchbox can send you the products that best suit your needs.

However, a more detailed survey will also be necessary to really dive into all the needs of your customers, including needs related to customer service and information.

So, don’t shy away from setting up a customer analysis survey. This can easily be done using survey tools such as SurveyMonkey. Ask questions that help you see the attitude people have toward different aspects of your brand, such as:

  • Individual products
  • Customer service experiences
  • Purchase or shipping
  • Information
  • Guarantees

For example, set a list of positive and negative adjectives and ask customers to select all that they feel apply to either your individual products or your customer service. You could also include statements about your brand and ask people whether or not they agree.

survey report example

Include questions that compare your products or services to that of a competitor, and try to understand why your customers have chosen you over other similar products offered by other brands. Use surveys to understand the usage trends of customers.

For example, is there a time of the year when customers purchase a certain product more? Are customers using your products in the way you were expecting or are they using some products to accomplish other goals?

These surveys will allow you to get into the minds of your customers and see exactly what their needs are.

Method 2: Use Social Media & Review Data to Discover Sentiment

Customers and potential buyers know the power of social media and will not hesitate to use these networks to talk about your brand or retailer. That’s why it’s smart to use a social listening tool, such as Hootsuite, in order to monitor conversations and see what people really think of you.

hootsuite team assignment product

Social listening allows you to monitor online conversations about your products or brand by following certain hashtags or even searching posts by keywords. That way, even when people don’t tag you in their comments, you still see what they’re saying about you.

Collect the data. See what adjectives people use to describe your brand, and the ratio of positive to negative comments. This will help you see where your brand is doing well, but also where you need to put in some extra effort.

Additionally, analyzing your reviews is another way to gain insights into people’s attitude toward your brand. That’s why PowerReviews offers product insights through review analysis.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Our powerful Intelligence Engine breaks down sentiment by individual products, not your entire catalog, so you get actionable insights right away. This takes all the reviews a product has and analyzes the adjectives used to describe certain parts of the product.

You make more informed decisions based on what your customers are telling you through review content. This helps you address your customer needs more effectively and accurately.

Develop a Customer-First Culture

We’ve discussed eight common customer needs, as well as two different methods to identify them. However, your work doesn’t stop here.

Once you learn how to identify your customer needs, you need to apply those insights to your business. Your brand can only grow if you meet your customer’s needs in all areas, from the design and functionality of your products to the way you handle complaints to your guarantees and more!

When you’ve analyzed the survey results, the social chatter and review content, it’s time to put those ideas into action. It’s your job to develop a culture that is based on pleasing customers.

After all, happy customers are the key to brand success.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

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