E-commerce competition is becoming fiercer every year. In 2016, global e-commerce sales neared $2 trillion, making up 8.7 percent of total retail spending, according to eMarketer data. By 2020, this will top $4 trillion and 14.6 percent of total retail spending. This market growth means more companies than ever are competing for online customers. On the other hand, the growth of competition also provides more opportunities to study what successful companies are doing, and to emulate their methods. Here are three things you can learn from other companies’ websites that can boost your traffic, improve your customer engagement and conversion rates, and grow your sales.
Search engine optimization is one of the keys to boosting your website traffic. You can pick up a lot of useful SEO tips by studying industry leaders who are ranking high on their target keywords.
For instance, Amazon is one of today’s most successful e-commerce sites, and one of their current top products is the Echo Dot. If you look at the URL for the sales page for the Echo Dot, it contains several important target keywords: “Amazon-Echo-Dot-Portable-Bluetooth-Speaker-with-Alexa-Black.” Including all these keywords in the URL helps attract customers who are searching on terms that encompass not only the Echo Dot itself, but related phrases such as “portable Bluetooth speaker” or “Alexa.”
Amazon similarly includes important search terms in its title tag, which, like a page’s URL, is a high SEO priority. The Echo Dot page’s title tag uses the phrase “Amazon Echo Dot – Add Alexa to any room,” incorporating the product’s brand name and associated keywords, which is an SEO best practice for product pages. Likewise, the H1 tag at the top of the page reads, “Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – Black.” Strategically placing keywords in these important SEO spots helps ensure optimized page rankings.
You can also gather ideas for sales copy by studying competitors’ websites. Copywriting professionals compile “swipe files” by collecting other copywriters’ work in order to use them for templates and inspiration.
For example, if you were promoting a smartphone, you might take a look at Apple’s sales page for the iPhone 7 to study which sales points it emphasizes. The page draws attention to the most important selling points of the iPhone, emphasizing the phone’s advanced new camera systems, performance, battery life, stereo speakers, brightly-colored display, water resistance and design look. From this, you can infer that Apple’s market research department has identified these as the things consumers are most seeking in a smartphone.
Competitor sales pages can also give you design strategy pointers. Today’s successful web designs are oriented toward mobile users who view pages on smaller screens than desktop users. To look good on mobile screens, web designers organize their layouts around large images and icons and headlines with lots of white space. This approach minimizes the use of small text and deploys simplified navigational elements such as hamburger menu icons, rather than navigational features such as drop-down hover menus and sidebars that are geared toward desktop screens. However, these features may still be used for desktop displays by incorporating responsive design code that detects which type of device and browser the user is viewing the page on.
You can see this successful responsive design approach at work on Amway’s blog. The mobile version of the blog uses a hamburger menu and large images and text to highlight featured posts, with a simple color design and lots of white space to make reading easy on the eyes. The desktop version of the site follows essentially the same approach, but makes use of the extra space by displaying a small number of text navigation items, as well as placing a rotating image carousel above the fold to highlight featured posts.