The little [online] shop of horrors

02 Mar 2017

The little [online] shop of horrors

Is your ecommerce store putting off customers before they can even reach the checkout? We compare the online vs the in-store experience – and reveal the common content mistakes that put a serious dent in online conversions and search visibility.

The location

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Would a store tucked away from the high street, with no window display or signage, tempt you inside? Probably not.

These elements are critical to driving footfall – and online, SEO serves the equivalent function by driving organic traffic through a retailer’s digital “doors”.

As Page 1 results on Google capture 95% of all search traffic, it’s absolutely critical for e-tailers to rank highly for valuable short and long-tail category terms.

That means optimising category pages for maximum visibility, with the correct metadata (such as meta titles, descriptions and <H1> tags) and relevant, unique, high-quality on-page content too.

Despite this, over 85% of online retailers don’t have fully optimised category description content for SEO* – missing a big window of opportunity to net organic traffic.

The fitting room

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The reality of shopping for clothing online is that there’s no fitting room – and therefore no way for customers to touch the garments in question, or to try them on for size.

So it’s no surprise that 98% of consumers say they consider it ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important to read about how the item fits in an online product description before buying, while 94% confer the same importance to reading about how the garment ‘feels’.

Despite this clear imperative, over 71% of online apparel retailers don’t satisfactorily describe garment fit in product descriptions, while 89% don’t describe garment feel adequately*, leaving customers with little to go on and reducing the likelihood of conversion – an uncomfortable truth.

This failure is reflected in consumer opinion, with 86% considering it a ‘gamble’ to find the right fit while shopping online, while 43% state that they have returned an item due to ‘poor fit’ – making it the single biggest driver of online clothing returns, and an aspect of the online shopping experience that fashion retailers can’t afford to neglect.

The sales assistant

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Imagine a high-street store with no sales assistants. Who would you ask for help?

The idea of a shop without any sales staff seems far-fetched, but that’s exactly the predicament that consumers face when shopping online – especially when e-tailers fail to provide content that aids purchase decision-making, like buying and how-to guides.quill-lsoh-05dictionary-373x250

After customer reviews, retailers’ websites are the second most popular pre-purchase research source for consumers – with 55% stating that they visit retailer sites for information before buying – meaning it’s crucial that brands provide this sought-after content.

However, only 18% of online retailers currently offer a broad range of high-quality guides to their customers*.

The visual merchandising

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Masses of effort goes into ensuring physical stores are visually appealing and show off key products effectively – from endcaps through to mannequins and vignette displays.

However, when it comes to online shopping, inspirational visual content is typically in shorter supply, with 72% of retailers failing to fully optimise content pages (e.g. blog, guide & editorial pages) with imagery and video*.

But with 4x as many consumers saying they would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, the case for investing in visual content is clear.

Cosmetics retailer Lush provides a great example of how doubling down on visual content can pay off.

18 months after revamping their website in 2014 to include product demonstration videos – showing how their famously aromatic products work out of the box – they reported a 64% increase in digital orders, 75% hike in web sessions, and a 16% decrease in abandoned shopping carts.

How does your store measure up?

As all of the above makes clear, Primary Content assets – such as product and category descriptions, buying and how-to guides – although frequently overlooked, are an absolutely critical driver of revenue, reputation and ROI for online retailers, helping to:

– Increase conversion rates & AOVs
– Increase search rankings & traffic
– Reduce product return rates
– Maintain brand integrity & a positive customer experience

Is your ecommerce website’s Primary Content up to scratch? To find out, request a free Quill Quality Score audit of your site below.

*Based on Quill Quality Score audits of retailer websites conducted to date.

Lauren Johnson-Ginn @ Quill ContentContent Marketing Manager at Quill, passionate about all things content and digital.

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