Anna Heneback is an E-commerce Consultant working with SMEs to sell more online, with 15 years of industry experience from Net-a-Porter and H&M who shares her top tips and strategies for getting the best performance from your E-Commerce store.

EPISODE NOTES

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Today on the podcast I’m talking to Anna Heneback, an e-commerce consultant about how to set up and boost your e-commerce store.

We cover everything from which platforms to use, what to consider, the functionalities you need to include, and how to improve your online sales performance. It includes a fantastic tip, about how to keep your site updated and relevant. It is so simple and something I would never have even considered doing!

Listen in to hear Anna share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:17)
  • The best platforms to build your e-commerce store (01:40)
  • Why Shopify is often underrated by Web Designers (03:08)
  • The features you need on an e-commerce store as a pose to a website (07:01)
  • Some great extras to consider including on your e-commerce store (11:04)
  • The best ways to present your products (including THAT tip!) (17:50)
  • How to improve your conversion rate (27:38)
  • Common problems and how to avoid them (36:36)
  • Her number one piece of advice for product creators (40:19)
  • Ways that you can work with Anna (44:26)

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Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg. Hi today on the podcast I'm talking to Anna Heneback. Anna is an e-commerce consultant working with SMEs to sell more online with 15 years industry experience from Net-a-Porter and H and M. So we talked specifically today about e-commerce store. You might recall. We had an episode a little while ago talking about websites. Um, so this is actually a little bit more than that. We're talking today more about stores and the functionality of a, of a store that's designed to sell products. Um, what that needs to look like, what features it needs to have, and some great tips to increase conversions to your site, as well as, um, And I had a fantastic tip. I never would even would thought of about how to keep your site updated and relevant. That was actually so simple and something I would never have even considered doing. So listen in for that. Um, and so now I would love to introduce you to Anna. Hi Anna. Thank you so much for being here.

Anna Heneback:

Hi Vicky. Thanks so much for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, you're so welcome. So can we start please by you giving us an introduction to yourself and what it is that you do?

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, sure. Um, so my name's Anna Hanna back. Um, I'm an e-commerce consultant and I help small to medium sized businesses to sell more online. And I do that by, um, creating, optimizing and managing e-commerce websites.

Vicki Weinberg:

Perfect. Thank you. Um, so let's, let's start, um, Anna with, so is it, um, do you think it's vital to use, to have an actual E commerce site if you're selling products or, you know, or can you sort of add a payment option to an existing site? What do you think makes the most sense if you're, if you're someone you're listening to this and you're thinking, oh, I'm about to start selling products and I just don't know where to start.

Anna Heneback:

Um, so I think that that really, um, depends on if you're, uh, if you're a new business and you know that your business is selling products, um, and you want to sell products through those sites, then I think it really makes sense to have an e-commerce website from the outset, um, because they are set up to, um, th that they're designed and built in order to be able to sell products. That's their kind sole purpose. Um, And otherwise, um, if you have, if you already have a website and you have maybe you have a services business and, um, and you decide that you want to sell products as well, then it makes that's the time where it makes sense to, to add a, um, a payment methods, your site, and be able to sell products on your site. Um, but I would say that if your business is primarily a product business and you want to sell products, then, then yeah. You need the e-commerce functionality. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay. And thank you. So I've invited you on today to talk about e-commerce sites because I know that's what your expertise is in. So, um, let's start with you if you're starting a business from scratch selling products. What are some really good e-commerce site options that you can be thinking about?

Anna Heneback:

Um, so, um, there's quite a wide range of, um, e-commerce website providers out there. Um, I, um, my favorite one is Shopify, because I think that that has, um, has really got everything that you need to be able to sell products on the site. Um, Built and designed, um, to sell products and nothing else. They didn't have any of the other function of, maybe you wouldn't use Shopify if you were just setting up a service based website or informational website or so that's really all they're geared up to do. Um, there are, there are others out there as well. Um, so for example, you've got big commerce, um, and you've got a couple of other other options, but I think that, um, I think Shopify is the one. Um, that, I tend to recommend, so I think it's got everything that you need. Um, there are other options as well. So, um, any. Um, payment functionality and, um, selling functionalities to any websites. So for example, Wordpress, you can add WooCommerce, um, Squarespace and Wix website builders, such as, um, like those also have, uh, you can also now sell through those websites as well. Um, but I tend to tend to find that, um, they ended up being websites with the ability to accept sales rather than. Being a, um, a store with the functionality to sell online so it has a website on the front.

Vicki Weinberg:

No, I know exactly what you mean. I use Shopify myself actually from my own store. And I remember when I, when I started out, it was really easy to set up and I also quite like the peace of mind that it was an e-commerce piece of software and that it would do all the things I needed it to do. So I didn't even have to really think about what I needed it to do because that backend stuff was taken care of.

Anna Heneback:

Exactly exactly. It's got, I mean, it's not just a website that you're, that you need, what you need is an online store. So you need all of the backend functionality. So like stock management and order management and customer management and, um, sending out emails to, you know, transactional emails to say, thank you for your order and shipping confirmations and all of this kind of thing. I think that, um, sometimes I think that Shopify can be slightly underrated, especially by. Um, designers and developers, um, because, because it has, they don't really see that side of things. They're more focused on the frontend website. And, um, and, um, the downside of Shopify is that the website functionality is, it is slightly limited, like compared to something like WordPress, where you can design absolutely anything that you want to, um, you have like effectively, get blank, blank, slate. Whereas, um, Shopify has, it has a more limited capacity, but I think that's quite a good thing because you don't necessarily want to be reinventing the wheel every time. Um, there are certain things that you need to need to have in your e-commerce store and, and those are all going to be there. Um, and then you don't necessarily want to have a website that's completely you know, out there, nobody really understands how to use.

Vicki Weinberg:

I see what you mean. And actually I do, I mean, in my experience with Shopify, you can still make a site that looks really nice. Um, I think it is obviously because of the way it's set up, if you haven't got loads of flexibility, but you can still have something that looks really nice and really professional. and I guess. You know, that's one of the most important things, as well as obviously, you know, maybe being branded, et cetera, but I think the fact that it looks professional when it works, it's probably a good start.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I agree. Particularly if you're just starting out, um, really what you need is something that works, um,

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, absolutely. And you touched on something really interesting there, but I hadn't actually thought of was that you don't, it's not a website. Well, it is a website, but it's not a website you need is a store. And I thought that was really interesting. So would you mind just talking us through, um, you were talking about the fact that Shopify obviously does everything you need. So what are some of those features that you need on an e-commerce store versus a website.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. So, um, there are things like, so obviously you need to be able to accept payments. Um, you need to have a secure checkout and you need to be able to connect payment gateways. Um, and so, so accepting payments is one thing. Um, there are, um, a number of like security issues that you need to think about. So, um, as well as the secure payment gateways, also, you need to have an SSL certificates, um, which is where you have the HTTPS. At the beginning of your website instead of HTTP, um, that's now a requirement. Um, you need to have, um, another, really another thing that Shopify does out of the box is they have a mobile responsive site. So you know, that anything you create in Shopify is going to look good on both desktop and mobile. And that's really, really important these days because, um, Mo most, um, most of your customers in all likelihood are going to be, um, browsing your site on mobile. So actually your mobile site is even more important than your desktop sites, um, because that's where your customer's going to be. And there are a few other legal things that you need as well. Like, um, you need to have, um, you need to have a refund policy. Um, you need to have terms of service. It needs you to set out how you're going to be, um, how you operate the site and, um, and billing. Um, and then you need to have this and then you need to have, uh, um, the, uh, uh, super annoying EU cookie pop-up bar as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

And there are those features, are they things like the policies and the cookies, and are they things that are built into the e-commerce site or things that you have to go away and create yourself?

Anna Heneback:

So if you're using Shopify, they're all included. Um, especially if you're using the new functionality for the pop-up bar, the cookie pop-up, it hasn't been included, um, in the old functionality, but Shopify had just released some new functionality called. Online Store 2.0, which has got loads more features and that's that that's included there. Um, if you're using, um, uh, website builder, like if, well, if you're using WordPress and you can, um, enable WooCommerce, which will do a lot of these things for you. Um, and if you're using one of the website builders, then, um, then a lot of these things will be included, but possibly not everything.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. And I suppose even if you're using Shopify and it's sort of generating these policies for you, it's still probably a good idea to have a read through and just make sure they do reflect, you know, what you're happy with, like the returns policy, for example, and I'm sure they provide a template, but it's probably good to review yourself.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, with the refund policy in particular, they will provide something standard, but you might not want to do exactly the same things they are offering, as they have on their template. So you can really decide, um, like if you, if you want to offer them 30 days is standard or if you want to offer something else. Um, or if you, um, if there were certain product exceptions, for example, for example. Um, so, so yeah, it's always best to take this template, but adapt it for your own needs.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's perfect. Thank you. And you may or may not like, know this Anna, so if I'm putting you on the spot, but is 30 days, the minimum that you can offer, I think that might be right.

Anna Heneback:

But, um, I don't think that it used to be, it did use to be, but I don't think that it is anymore. And it also depends on different countries. Um, so I believe in the UK, um, it's, it's not a legal requirement that it must be 30 days.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay, well, that's definitely something, someone can go and check when they're writing their, their policy. It's probably just good to be aware of that. Um, so we've talked about the features that an e-commerce website definitely needs. Um, but then you touched on a few other things earlier that I guess might be considered things. Uh, nice to have. So you were talking about, you know, emails, updating the customer and their order status, for example. So can you talk through some of those additional things that people might want to, you know, they might not be necessary, but people might want to think about including on their site.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, yeah, of course. So, um, there's yeah, there's a number of things that I think would be classed as nice to have, or certainly don't come as standard they will build trust on your website is, um, I would say, um, almost, um, it's very, it's nice to have, but it's almost essential. So I'm adding reviews from customers, customers that have bought your products. Um, having those on the site can, can really help to build trust. And, and I'm not just talking about testimonials where you have a few peoples giving glowing reviews, but also, um, having, having the customer view, the reviews functionality on all of the products can really help to, um, to build trust. And also you can have user generated content. Um, as another form of what we call social proof, and that is where you get people to use your products. And, um, you can put a say for example, you can have an Instagram feed where you've got real people using your products and ideally raving about them. That will, that will really help.

Vicki Weinberg:

Right. And of course you can link to that from your website.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. Yes, exactly. Um, and then there's other, um, there's a few other things that I would say are really good to have. So anything that will, um, so any sort of marketing functions, so, um, like being able to, you need to connect your, your email, um, maybe having a blog, um, to, to bring in, um, organic traffic, social media, adding site sales channels, such as Google, Facebook Intertrust anything that gets your products to a wide. And then I'm on top of that. If you've got any sort of retargeting, um, functionality. So for example, um, abandoned cart emails would be good for that. Um, and, uh, things like, um, if you have reviews functionality that will email your customers, um, a couple of weeks after they've received their product and then ask for review, then that's a good way of, um, getting, getting your customers to return to your website, because if they return to your website to leave reviews and there might also be browsing and finding something else that they, um, that they know, because that was a good way of, of getting people to return. Um, and then also one really important thing is to connect to some analytics functionality like Google analytics, um, cause that will help you to, um, measure and monitor your, um, your success. Um, it you'll be able to see it. It just gets you an extra layer of information on top of your, your sales data that you would be getting anyway. So you can see, um, really how your site's performing and how people are finding you and where they are landing and you can see a lot more about the customer journey that way.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really helpful. Thank you. And just coming back to some of the automation, so sort of email and customer updates and abandoned checkout, that all sounds really necessary, but it also sounds quite, you know, it might sound quite complicated are these things that are built into tools such as Shopify, so things that are relatively simple to set up.

Anna Heneback:

Um, some of these are standard, so abandoned cart, emails, uh, all set up as standard. Um, and then everything else you can, add an app it's like go to the app store and then there's loads and loads of apps that you can then that you can, um, that will kind of do this functionality for you, um, that you just connect in. And it's quite simple to, to add them in. I say the hardest thing is actually knowing which app to go for in the first place. Cause there are quite, there are so many, so it's good to get recommendation.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think I use Mailchimp with my shopify store from memory. I know that when someone buys from me, they do get a nice email saying thank you. And then they do get an email saying it's on the way it was all set up such a long time ago. I'll be honest. I've almost forgotten that it happens. Um, okay. Works well.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. So I'm actually, those transactionally emails the ones to say thank you for your purchase. And, um, and, and it's on the way. Um, so any, any, um, emails that related to an actual order, those are transactional emails that come through, um, through Shopify, um, MailChimp will only be doing your, um, your, if you're doing newsletters, we did regular neweletters to your, to your subscribers. Um, it will be doing newsletters and those kinds of marketing emails that you will be that you're probably probably sending them.

Vicki Weinberg:

Ah, perfect. Well, yeah, I mean, that does prove, the fact that I did set it and forget about it. Speaking of those emails, I do remember sort of all this time ago when I did it, what I do remember sort of, you know, writing a nice email thanking customers for their purchase. Do you have any advice for those sort of the transactional emails, because I know Shopify does give you the option to personalize them. Um, do you have any tips or advice on what. You know, on what you can include in those, or, you know, how's it make that a nice experience for the customer to get an email from you?

Anna Heneback:

Um, yeah, so, so first of all, I think it really depends on the state of your business. If your, if you're just starting out, leave them as is, don't worry about it. They will they'll they'll say, you know, what your purpose, I feel like when you're setting up a site, when you're a brand new business, there's so many things to, to, um, to look out and it's quite a steep learning curve. So, um, so I think that's something that you don't really need to worry about too much. I would, I would say, add your branding to them. I'd say that's essential, but, um, but if you're just starting out, I would leave, leave them as is. Um, but if you're, um, if you're a more established business, then you can I've seen some, um, some companies, some businesses, um, tweak the copy so that it sounds a lot more, um, the copy sounds a lot more on brand. Um, and you can, you know, you can say, you can say fun things in there and make them make them more. Um, maybe a bit more interesting, um, and the other thing is, um, the subject line is really, really important with emails. So if you're going to change anything, then, um, then I would go for the subject. Cause that's probably the thing that will make the most difference. Um, but I think when it comes to email, Probably, um, I would say focus more of your efforts on your, um, when you're marketing emails and on your, um, so that, you're where you're trying to, because that's where you're trying to bring in that really wide audience them to your site.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good advice. Thank you. I really liked the fact. You said if you're starting out, don't even worry about this initially, because you're right. There is just so much to do isn't there when you're first getting your site set up. So it was really nice to have permission to leave something a bit later.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, it can be a bit overwhelming. I know when the, when you're first setting one up, so, um, so yeah. Yeah, there are things that you can just, you can just leave to start with.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's really good to know. Thank you. Um, so let's talk a little bit about when you're setting your sites up. Do you have any tips and advice? You do. You, I'm sure you do. Um, in terms of how to best present your products online, do you have any advice about, you know, how. Show them at their best.

Anna Heneback:

Yes. Yeah. So, um, so if we're thinking about merchandising products, um, I think the key here is relevance. So, um, think about what are the most relevant for your customers right now? So you can look at, be looking at seasonality, um, We go, if we're going into winter and you're selling clothing and people are going to be wanting wants, and coats and jumpers and scarves and warm things, that's what you, that's what you want it to be presenting to customers. Um, um, alternatively, um, anything that's kind of newsworthy. Um, if you have some new lines that have come in, um, or something that's been really popular and it's just coming back in stock, that's, that's, um, that's good to present to your customers, um, or something, anything that's selling particularly well. Um, that's also something that you can, that is kind of interesting for your customers to see. Um, and I would, um, and I would say as well, that. Um, I would say as well. It's quite important to remerchandise your site fairly, fairly, very regularly. Like I would say at least for a small business, I think is doing at least once a month is, um, is, is, is a good idea because then you're capturing, um, you're capturing the, the differences in the seasons and you're, it's, it's a good idea to have something, something new and fresh for your customers to feel returning customers to look at. If you have the same, the same homepage and the same sites all the time. Um, people don't really have a reason to come back. So you want to think about getting people. Yeah. Getting people to be, to be returning to a customer that returning to your site to have a look, um, like fairly regularly,

Vicki Weinberg:

It doesn't mean. Um, so when you say remerchandising, does that mean of just providing something new, whether that's a visual or a blog post or just something to keep the site fresh?

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Um, so. Yeah. So just, just having something, something, just something new, something to hook people in. Um, if you have exactly, if you've got a product business, anybody exactly the same, um, you're presented with the same images all the time. Then first of all, they're going to start looking a bit stale and secondary. Um, that it's not going to hook the customers in and you want to, you want to get them browsing. So it needs to be something that kind of peaks their interest, um, to get them to, to, to, to, to continue on the site. Otherwise, otherwise the risk is that they, they see it. So I've seen that before.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really interesting. I've never actually thought about doing that. And could that just be as simple as changing the main image on your homepage, for example, I'm assuming it doesn't have to be a big overhaul.

Anna Heneback:

Exactly. That. So that's a really good start is to just change the change of the image on the home page. Um, think about it as well, where, um, Yeah. I mean, every, every site is different. So, um, most often the homepage is going to be the most, um, the, sort of the most common landing page. So yes, that's the one that I would say, um, pay most attention to, but yeah, changing the image. Um, I, maybe you can re rank products really easily. So by ranking, I mean, sort of sorting so that you've got, um, And maybe you've got some new products at the top of the, of your product lists, or maybe you've got like best-sellers or just kind of changing the order of things that it's just slightly different that tends to do well to kind of entreat customers to browse around further

Vicki Weinberg:

thank you. And what about if you only have one product at the moment, which some people starting out well, um, is there any advice on what you can do to keep that as a site with a single product looking fresh and getting people back.

Anna Heneback:

That is a really good question. Um, I guess the same rules kind of apply by. You can kind of just mix it up a little bit. Maybe, maybe switch up the imagery, maybe kind of change around the order of things. Um, there are other really, um, Um, so as a small business, I know that you don't necessarily have that much time on your hands to be going in and changing the updates to the website all the time. Um, but so there are, there are like there know quick fixes and you can do a little cheats that you can do to, to make it updated. One really good one is to link your Instagram feed to your store, to your sites, um, because you'd probably be posting on Instagram quite regularly. If that's also on your website, that's a really good way of making of keeping your, your sites update is that there's something fresh on that. So you can make use of the content that you're already producing and just kind of move that up, that moves around. So that's also, um, showing on the homepage of your site.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's a great idea. So sort of pulling posts from Instagram free to your home page?

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's a great tip. Thank you. That's really nice one.. Sorry, Anna.

Anna Heneback:

That's okay, go ahead.

Vicki Weinberg:

I was going to say, ask us, well, what about the actual products pages? So the page with all the products information, um, where hopefully people are going to go in and make the purchase, is that if you got any tips on how to best present your products on the page,

Anna Heneback:

Um, yeah, so the, so first of all, you're going to need, um, really good imagery, um, on your, on your site. So, and by good, I mean, it needs to be really clear, um, what the product is, ideally, especially if you're selling clothing, but even if you're not taking, taking lots of images from different angles, so you can see the front and the back, for example, um, um, so really good imagery, um, And, um, and then a good kind of selling description is also really important. Um, so think about describing not only what the product is, but also really hooking in with it. Some really good copy that will, that will them, um, really good sales copy that will really sell the product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. And you may or may not be able to answer this I completely appreciate that, but I'm just wondering if there's like an optimum length for that copy. And the reason I ask is I see a lot of sites. Um, so day-to-day in what I do. And sometimes, you know, sometimes you can go to a website and there's literally like two lines of text on the products page, which in my opinion, isn't anywhere near enough. Oh, there's the opposite where they're sort of reams of it and you're scrolling down and there's lots of technical information is there a middle ground. Is that something people should be aiming for? Quite right.

Anna Heneback:

So I think there is a middle ground, but there isn't like, I couldn't say to you that there's a set number of characters that you should always use with a product. And also because every business is different. So sometimes, sometimes there's a lot to get across in the product description. Um, I mean, you, you, you're going to need, um, it's hard to describe exactly what the, what the kind of right length is going to be. Cause I think there is a just right kind of, um, it's something is going to be just right, but it's going to be slightly different for different businesses. So not too short, not too long. Absolutely. Um, but I don't think there's a hard and fast rule. Um, I've seen, um, sites with, um, with, with very lengthy product descriptions, um, with a really high conversion rates, um, and, and equally other businesses with. With very short product descriptions with a high conversion rate. So it's really hard to say. What I would say though is, um, you can always, you can always test, test it out if you're, if you think your conversion rates a bit low. And, um, particularly in that stage from when somebody is looking at a product page to them, adding to cart, what you can do is just try different tests out different versions. So you can, you can try extending the, the, the, the description and see if that makes a difference um, it might be the thing that, um, that really the really tweaks it, um, or it might not, but until you test it, you never know.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that makes sense. I think as well, when you were talking, I was thinking, it probably depends a lot on the type of product you're setting as well, because if you're buying clothes, for example, there's only so much, you need to know, you know, you want to know what it's made of. You want to know maybe a bit about the fits. If there's a model it's quite useful to know sort of, you know, how tall they are. So, you know, she getting an idea of how it would feel and you may be washing instructions, but you wouldn't really expect reams of text. If you're buying a jumper, let's say, would you, whereas if you were buying a computer. That's it, as on the other end of the spectrum would expect, you know, you wouldn't want just a paragraph. So I guess it probably really does depends. Um,

Anna Heneback:

I think, and I think, and I think you've hit on something there as well is, is, um, is how important the visual aspect is and how important the functionality of pieces. So, um, because obviously with, uh, with, uh, with the jumper, you could explain in words, So you can't get across in words how that jumper looks. And that's almost the most important thing where it was with a computer. Just a picture of the computer is not going to tell you how good it is.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yes. And I think way perhaps to tell if something's missing from your product page, wherever it's visual or text is, if you know, people are asking you questions. Cause I think if you're getting asked lots of similar, so I've seen sometimes on someone's Instagram post where someone said, how long is this? Or, you know, or what size is it go up to? Or, and I think if someone's asking you the same question over and over, it probably means it is missing and you might want to add it in.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, absolutely. That's direct feedback. Isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay. So let's talk a little bit about, um, conversions. We touched on that earlier. Do you have any tips or they do you, I know you do. And what tips for improving conversions on your e-commerce site?

Anna Heneback:

So, um, yes, so I do have some tips. Um, first of all, I would say, make sure you're measuring it. Um, so enable it connects up with, um, Google analytics, make sure you're enabling, e-commerce tracking, including enhanced e-commerce. Cause that will give you so much data and so much information about, um, about not just what your conversion rate is, but why it's at that level. So you'll be able to break it down into lots of different areas. Um, and then, and then start to be able to look for clues as to what you can, what you can change and, and, you know, and the, the factors that affect it and which ones you might be able to impact. Um, and I would also say, um, track it regularly. So. And keep checking it. So, so can you, can, you can, um, test out different, um, different functions and see what effect they have on the conversion rate. Um, so one simple way to do that, for example, um, is, um, if you look at, for example, if you look at the different channels that you have, that your, um, The different traffic channels that people are using to visit your sites. You'll have things like, um, organic, traffic's the ones that find you from SEO and you'll have like Instagram and you'll have, um, Facebook and you'll be able to see where these people are coming from. And then you'll also be able to see what their conversion is. So you're, if you find that certain channels give you a much higher conversion rate, then you know that those are the ones that you should be investing, more marketing and budgeting into. Um, so that's a, that's a really simple and non-technical way of, um, increasing the conversion rate. Um, aside from that, there. Quite simple things that I would say, um, that you can do. So for example, one is, uh, again, these aren't technical things, but just make sure you have a really clear delivery and return policy because that's, that presents a barrier to purchase if it's not known by by customers. So just make sure that that's super, super clear so that that's, um, to remove that barrier, um, things like, uh, payment methods, making sure that PayPal, um, you've got different payment methods available on your site. So PayPal is one of them. Google pay Apple pay um, just make it really easy for people to, to, to buy on your site. Um, and then another one is very important to check your site on mobile. Um, make sure that it is, is that it's functioning well and that, um, um, and that the majority of your customers are going to be able to, to use your sites and browse. And, and then also, um, to buy,

Vicki Weinberg:

thank you so much. All of that is, um, and I think a lot of what you touched on, there was allabout creating like a really easy experience for the customer. Um, is there anything else that you want to mention around that sort of how to make like, you know, the journey for the customer as pleasant and as straightforward as possible?

Anna Heneback:

Um, yes. So I think with them, when you're thinking about the customer journey, um, you always also want to think about the sales funnel. So, um, so when, uh, first you want to be attracting people to your site. You just want them to, you just want us to visit your site. And then the next stage is that you want them to browse different products. And then, um, and then the stage after that is that you want them to be adding those products to cart and then the stage after that is checking out. Um, so this is, so if you think about the journey in that way, um, then you can think about how you can kind of, you can get as many people as possible to the next stage. Um, so for example, if you, um, if you have a lot of people finding you through, um, uh, uh, blog post. Then you want to make sure that, um, so you've got lots of people arriving which is brilliant. How are you going to hook them in and sets to also get them browsing? How, um, so you're going to need links back into your store, make sure that the blog post is optimized so that it's also then drawing. Um, the people that found that blog posts into further into the store, browsing your products that they can, like you can kind of guide them on this, on that journey. Um, you don't want them to, for example, distract them with. With pop-ups and I say, you've got them onto the, you've got them from the blog posts onto the product page. You don't want a popup at that point saying, hi, subscribe to my newsletter because they're looking at your product and you want them to be, um, following, uh, following on then to, to adding to cart and carrying on. So, um, so I think if you just kind of think about the customer journey in those terms, and it can, then it can really, really help.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really useful. Thank you. Um, and then a little bit earlier, you were touching on payment options and I didn't even think about this, but is there, um, are there other sorts of certain payment providers we should be adding to an e-commerce site or over sort of, of a number of options we should be given. I'm assuming that you shouldn't just make it so that everyone has to enter their card details. Um, cause I have a lots of other options available now. Um, how to you go about thinking about that stage?

Anna Heneback:

So, um, yeah, so I think, I mean, it depends on which country you're sending to. I'm assuming that most of your audience that can be selling, um, in the UK, um, then you need to look at the most popular payment provider does there, so in the UK, PayPal is, this is one of them. Um, it's, it's really high up on. Um, on the list of, if you look at like the statistics on the transactions that are made online, um, PayPal is, is one of the, the highest, one of the most popular payment methods. So it makes sense to have that on your site. I know that a lot of small business owners don't really like PayPal because the fees are relatively high. Um, but if you think of it in terms of, uh, of an investment, that if you, if you have it, you can increase your conversion rate in your sales that much more. It is, you need to kind of look at it as kind of. Yeah. And, and investment costs rather than a, an investment rather than a, than a cost. Um, and other than that, anything that just makes it really, really easy for people to buy. I think if you, if, if somebody has to go and get their credit card out and put all the details, then let me put in the yeah. And find all that there's, you know, there's a lot to type in. And I think that in itself is a bit of a barrier to purchase as well. So you really want to make that as easy, as simple as possible.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, thank you for that. And I know myself as a customer, um, I love using PayPal because all your details are saved and it also feels secure. If I have to actually sort of walk to the other room and get my purse out. I know it sounds silly. And I know it says also incredibly lazy, but there is that chance that I'll get waylaid on the, on the way. And, um, when that happens,

Anna Heneback:

it's nice to know that you're absolutely not alone in that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, good. So as I guess, adding PayPal is a good idea. And it's interesting, you mentioned the fee because I have had, um, I have heard lots of small businesses say that as you say, but I think that the fact that PayPal is something that customers trust. I guess we have to be thinking sometimes from the point of view of the customer rather than what we would prefer.

Anna Heneback:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. But if you have alternatives as well, then, um, then that will then, then maybe the. You use PayPal, maybe they'll use it. I mean, if they're shopping on a, on an iPhone and you have apple pay enabled and that's going to be the default payment method. So you can think about that as, as well. Um, if you have a range of different payment options, then, then, um, then hopefully they'll choose one of the ones with the lower fees. So if you can, you can try and sort of make it, make it easy for them in that way.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah. And I'm assuming that, um, Shopify go, she gives you all of these options either standard or as an add-on somewhere.

Anna Heneback:

Yes. Yeah, exactly. You just need to set it up in the, in the payments area.

Vicki Weinberg:

Perfect. And, and can you as a store owner get any insight on which paper methods people are using? I know of course you can't see their payment details. Um, but can you actually see how people are choosing to purchase? Is that something that is visible.

Anna Heneback:

It is visible. I'm not sure if it's available. That's one of the standard reports, but what you can do, and this is a bit long-winded, but you could export all of your orders and then, and then look at the data that way.

Vicki Weinberg:

Perfect. Yes. If someone really wanted to know, then, you know, they could go off and do that. Perfect. Well, thank you so much on that. Um, I've just got two more questions if that's okay. The first is that I know you've worked with lots of small business owners, um, on their sites. What are some of the common issues that you see? And, um, do you have any sort of tips so that we can avoid them?

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, so the, the top one that I see that, um, is not having a clear enough. Uh, delivery policy. So sometimes quite often I'll look at the delivery page and it says, and it starts by saying something like, oh, I, so I go to the post office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And, and, and as from, um, from a customer point of view, all you want to know is how much does delivery cost and how long would it take to get that here? That's that's really what they want to know. Um, and then you can, so if you put those at the, at the top, make that most important, most, um, most prominent, and then you can put with the information about which delivery service you use and how often you to dispatch deliveries and that kind of thing, but the afterwards. But if you think about, um, if you think about from the point of view of the customer, how much it's going to cost and how long it's going to take for the parcel to arrive, that's the, that's the main thing I think it's, um, it's important to say. And also I would put that, make it super clear. On your product pages. And if you can put it all over your site, that's ideal really put it in the footer, maybe. Um, so I think that makes, that makes a really big difference. Um, another, another thing related to that, The having a, not very customer friendly returns policy. So I know that a lot of small business owners have been, they've been stung by, um, like one or two or maybe more, um, sort of, um, uh, Uh, issues with customers, um, trying to, trying to return things that, you know, maybe they shouldn't, I mean, I get it returns are a hassle, nobody likes returns. And even, you know, nobody really wants to order things to send it back either from the customer point of view. Um, if you have a returns policy that is very kind of unfriendly and, and really gets across that, that kind of pain from the, from the small business point of view, um, I think what you need to do is kind of flip it over and think that the returns policy is actually, um, it's actually a sales. It's the sales policy, you want to, again, remove that barrier to purchase by saying that, you know, if you're not sure, um, buying it and then, um, And then if you don't like it, you can always return it to me. Um, that's you kind of customers want that reassurance that if it doesn't work out, then, then, then they haven't really lost anything. And if you think about the fact that the majority of people that buy something will actually not return it, what you're doing by having a really clear returns policy, a customer friendly returns policy is, um, is actually increasing the sales. Um, So that's yeah, that's those two things are very common. I see.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, that's really helpful. Thank you. Yeah, I can totally see what you're saying. Um, returns of a pain, but you're right. I think there's, I mean, I've got something sitting in my house now I have to return. I haven't, you know, it's coming up on the deadline just because it's such a pain to put the returns label on and take it to the post office, it shouldn't be but it is you're right. The customers don't like to return things, but yeah, it's, it's really hard, isn't it? I think sometimes, um, as a business owner, you almost have to put your customer, you have to think of as a customer as well, because you sort of, you can lose. I think it's really easy for all of us to lose sight of that. And I guess the way that we act as consumers and customers is probably similar to how other people act. I guess we just have to say thank you for reminding us to remind ourselves of that. Thank you so much for all you've shared, I've got one final question before we finish, if that's okay. I hope this isn't too tricky. Um, which is what was your number one advice piece of advice be for somebody looking to set up their e-commerce store or perhaps even to optimize a store they have now.

Anna Heneback:

Um, so, um, so my top piece of advice for somebody setting up their e-commerce store is done is better than perfect. Um, I see that, um, it's you always want to, especially if you're creating a site and it's kind of like, it's so important to you and you really want to get it absolutely perfect before you launch it. Um, and actually launching the site is. It's it can be, can feel really hard, even though it's just a case of kind of, you know, pushing the button to make it go live. It, you kind of want to just kind of tweak those last things and, you know, change, fiddle with some text here and, um, and it can take a really, really long time. Um, but I would say done is better than perfect. Just, just, just do it. Um, don't let the self doubt kick in. Just, just, um, just launch the sites. Um, Um, get over that hurdle and just, just, just do it, um, because at any commerce site is relatively fluid, so you can, you can iterate as you go. So what you, what you've launched that first time is not necessarily going to be what it's going to be like in say six months, two years time. So it's just, it's just, um, yeah, just, just getting over that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good advice. Thank you. And I have to say you blew my mind a little bit earlier when you said about constantly refreshing your site, because I'll be honest. I launched my Shopify site years ago and of course there've been changes. Um, but as for the last time it had any kind of homepage refresh. I couldn't even tell you. Um, so I think knowing that we should be doing that regularly, I think it probably makes it, hopefully it makes it easier for people to sort of press the button to make it go live, knowing that it's something that can and should be updated anyway. Cause you're right. It can, you know, it can really hold you back can't it wanting to get everything perfect.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, exactly.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yes. So thank you for that. I think that's fantastic advice. And what about, um, sorry I said, that was the last question. I've thought of one more. What about if someone has a site now? Um, is there anything really quick they could do, but just try to see if it makes a difference, um, to optimize it?

Anna Heneback:

Um, yeah. Well, I, I think, um, this goes back to looking at your analytics, um, working out what, you know, What your conversion rate is and trying to work out what factors are really affecting it. That's, that's going to be the first point of call work out what the factors are and then see how, how you can, you can change those. And it might, it might not be so Google analytics won't necessarily give you all the answers and say, you need to change this here and update this. And, um, but it will keep you clues. So. I think the first thing is to look at that. And then the second thing is just to test the different things out, test things out um, and then, um, and then check, check your numbers and see if it's making, making a difference with the numbers going the right way. If they are, you've got clear, a clear read on, um, on, on continuing and not being success. And if they're not, then you know, you need to try something else. So it's all just about testing, testing, and evaluating.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's great. Thank you. And I think, like you say, just looking at analytics and getting an idea is really helpful just to see sort of at what point people leave your site. Um, I think you can get a bit lost in actually there's so much content, but I think it's good to know because I think it's really easy. I mean, Shopify, if you use that does give you some data, but it's quite limited in terms of, you know, it's just, you know, how many people have visited today. How many bought something, but it is quite good to know. As you say, at what point are you losing people if they're not choosing to buy something? Cause I guess that would be the page maybe to focus on.

Anna Heneback:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, it's so helpful. Thank you so much for all that you've shared today. And I really do appreciate it.

Anna Heneback:

Oh, thank you. It's been a, it's been a pleasure

Vicki Weinberg:

and finally Anna I promise. This is the last question. Um, could you just talk us through some of the things you can do to help small business owners with their e-commerce sites?

Anna Heneback:

Yeah, of course. So, um, I offer, um, so my most popular package is, um, it's the business boost, which includes them a site audit, um, basically reviewing your, reviewing the customer facing sites and also the analytics data, and then working out, um, which areas um, could be improved and how you can then increase your conversion. Um, um, um, and then I also offer, uh, for, for small businesses that are just starting out. I also often power hours where I do, um, I can, I can. Looking at a range of different issues, if there's any sort of specific issue that you're facing. And I also do pre-launch site reviews so that, um, if you've created a Shopify sites by yourself and you're not quite sure if it's, if it's ready to go or if there's anything you just want to have a, um, next to extra pair of eyes, have a look at it and tell you that it's it's ready to launch. Um, I also, offer that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's perfect. Thank you so much, Anna and I, as I say, I will link to your website in the show notes so everyone can come and find you very easily. If they'd like to take a look at any of these services. So thank you again.

Anna Heneback:

Lovely. Thank you so much.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hi, thank you so much for listening as always. I would absolutely love to know what you thought of this episode. Please do remember to rate and review the show and also most importantly subscribe. So you don't miss out on any future episodes. And as a reminder, I release a new episode every single Friday. So take care and look forward to speaking to you again, then.