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I was recently joined on my Bring Your Product Ideas to Life Podcast by Elle Williamson, The Ecommerce Assistant, for a chat about the best ways to optimize your e-commerce website. Elle is an expert on all things Shopify, and she gave lots of great advice on getting the most out of it, so I thought I’d share some of her top tips here. 

1 Make sure Shopify is the right e-commerce platform for your brand

If you’re just starting out, there are many platforms available online aimed at helping you to build your website and start selling products. The advantage of choosing Shopify is that it’s affordable and easy, enabling you to build your website yourself and quickly start selling your products. At the same time, Shopify will grow with your business, and there are a number of larger businesses that use Shopify too. 

With that said, it’s worth investigating other options, as you want to be sure you’chosen the right platform for your brand. For example, Elle and I agreed that while Amazon is not as user-friendly a platform as Shopify, if you already have ecommerce experience and you think your product would be a good fit with the Amazon marketplace, you could do well there. Read my Free Guide to Launching a Product on Amazon to find out more. 

2 Get the best out of Shopify’s free ‘Themes’ function 

If budget is a factor, Shopify has a multitude of free ‘themes’ which are design templates that you can select when building your site. If you want your site to be memorable for all the right reasons, features and functionality are equally as important here as the look and feel of the design.

It’s advisable to demo a theme that you like the look of, so you can be sure that it has the functions you’re looking for, such as a left justified logo, or a pop-up informing buyers they’ve now qualified for free delivery as they fill up their basket. 

Customising your chosen theme to reflect your brand is also a must.

  • If you browse the settings, you’ll find you can change the font to your own, make it bigger (at least 17 points to make it easily readable!), and swap out the colour, navigation and layout.
  • Don’t forget to customise the footer too; this is often where buyers go first to get their questions answered.
  • Make sure you take out the default links to social media and replace them with your own.
  • The other thing you should do is replace any generic language with text that feels more like you. For instance, Shopify themes tend to use ‘add to cart’ on their buy button, but if your buyers are UK based, ‘add to basket’ is far more relatable. 

3 Best practices that will enhance your Shopify site

When building your site, it helps to always have in the back of your mind that you want it to be a pleasant customer experience, and easy to buy from. 

Something Elle advises is that you need to keep repeating your message. If you’ve advertised a promotion on your home page, but a buyer lands on your site via a link to your product page they won’t have seen it. So having an explanation of your brand, together with your key selling points across your site is essential. 

Also think about the information that a buyer might want to access from your products page. For many customers, it’s not enough to click on a product that they like the look off and instantly add it to their basket; they might want to read product reviews, check dimensions or returns policies before they buy.

You can never include too much information! In fact, many more sites are now adding this level of detail to their products pages, instead of creating an FAQ page. 

4 Look at other brands for inspiration

Some brands are doing amazing work with their ecommerce sites. One brand that gets a mention from Elle is Beauty Pie, which sells beauty products online. They manage to include all the necessary information for every single product without compromising on a beautiful layout. 

Taking inspiration from ecommerce sites you often use yourself is a good way to start thinking like an ecommerce retailer.

  • If you have a favourite clothing site, what do you like about it?
  • Maybe, it’s the advice you get about the fit of a certain item of clothing?
  • Or if you have a preferred online homeware brand that you buy from, what do they do well on their product pages that makes you want to buy their wares? 

5 The magic ingredient that will elevate your Shopify site

There’s no single thing you can do to make your Shopify site stand out but make a start by ensuring you have clearly applied your brand to your website. Elevate it from that Shopify template to an attractively branded customer experience that showcases your products. This will take some time, and it will be something you will need to continue developing as your business grows. If you feel you’re too close to the site to look at it from a customer’s perspective, it will really help to have another person give feedback, so that you can apply the changes. 

Providing exceptional customer service on your site from day one is also vital if you want customers to return.

Definitely take time to think about how you can realistically do that.

For more advice on selling your products online, read my blog on Creating Products That Sell

For more advice on Shopify and information about Elle’s Ecommerce Courses, see here.