When you run a business online, your website is your 24/7 shop front. It’s the main way customers discover who you are, learn about your brand and shop your products.
It should also communicate vital information to your customers about your products, policies, and terms and conditions.
This means it’s important to get it right – to protect your business, to be compliant with Australian regulations and so your customers have the best possible experience (= more sales and brand loyalty).
With the websites I’ve reviewed to date, I found many were similar in terms of improvements that could be made to increase sales and compliance. Often these were easy fixes that could be implemented quickly and without the help of a developer, so I’ve summarised them for you below.
1. Add the right policies to protect your business and be compliant
It’s vital you clearly display the information required by law along with information to protect your business in the case of a dispute.
As a minimum this should include:
- Sales Terms and Conditions – to cover yourself against certain situations that may occur.
- Refunds/Returns Policy – this could either be part of your Sales Terms and Conditions or part of a separate Shipping and Returns Policy. It needs to comply with consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law – so you can’t make a blanket statement that “no refunds will be given”.
You can use templates if you’re starting out on a shoestring budget – in fact, if you do a Google search you’ll find a number of free templates that you can use. However, you run the risk that they are either too complex to understand, or too simple and don’t cover all of the situations that may arise in your business.
Alternatively, you can have these policies custom drafted by a lawyer to ensure they are tailored to your situation.
2. Remove any therapeutic claims
Remember, if you’re making cosmetics (rather than therapeutic goods) you can only make claims that relate to the definition of a cosmetic. This means you can’t say a product will prevent or treat a disease or illness, or affect the structure or functions of the body. For example, you can’t say your product heals eczema or controls sweat, as these are therapeutic claims that can only be made about products listed or registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
This means you can’t make therapeutic claims anywhere on your website, including your “About” page and product descriptions. It also means you need to be careful with customer testimonials as they are classified as advertising.
If you think a claim on your website might be therapeutic not cosmetic, remove it. As the saying goes, “if in doubt, leave it out.”
3. Make your ‘above the fold’ content count
‘Above the fold’ content is the prime real estate of your page – the content a website visitor sees when they land on your page, before they start scrolling. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention once they reach your homepage.
Things you can do to ensure they stay on your website include:
* Use a strong hero image, e.g. a styled image of your products (make sure it has good resolution so it’s not blurry)* Make images clickable, e.g. so when they click on the image it goes to your Shop page* Add a call-to-action e.g. a “Shop Now” button* Have an attention-grabbing headline that makes it clear what you’re selling* Include your brand’s tagline so they know what your Unique Selling Proposition is
Essentially, you want your homepage to instantly appeal to your target market and for them to be easily able to tell what you’re selling and what makes your products different.
4. Make sure your shipping information is easily visible
This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many websites don’t have easy-to-find shipping information. The last thing you want is for a customer to get to the end of the purchase process, see the shipping price and go “I’m not paying that” before leaving your website.
A couple of ways you can avoid this happening are:
* Have an announcement bar at the top of the page with shipping prices* Have a Shipping and Returns Policy – make sure it’s easy to find, e.g. in the footer menu.
By the way, customers LOVE free shipping – consider factoring shipping costs into your pricing so you can offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount.
5. Check you have enough calls-to-action
You don’t want ‘dead-end’ pages on your website – i.e. where a customer gets to the bottom of a page and there’s no call-to-action or link to another page. Instead, review your pages to see where you can add calls-to-action (CTAs):
* Homepage – as previously mentioned, make sure you have a “Shop Now” type CTA above the fold, and more CTAs below the fold where appropriate (e.g. under an introductory paragraph you could have “Explore our collection now” and/or a collection of your products displayed on the homepage)* About page – make sure you have a CTA at the bottom, e.g. “Explore our range now” with a link to the Shop page* Blog – if you have a blog, add a related CTA to the end of each blog (just like I’ve done with this one).
6. Add social proof
Social proof is becoming an increasingly effective way of boosting sales. Customers feel reassured seeing what other people think of a product which pushes them over the line to buy it themselves.
Ways to leverage social proof on your website are by adding:
* Product reviews and testimonials – ideally you want this to be an automated process (which is easy to do in Shopify with apps like Yotpo)* Customer before and after photos – particularly if you are making certain cosmetic claims about your products, e.g. reduces the appearance of redness* Examples of awards and media articles – if you’ve won any awards or been featured in any media, add details of these to your website.
Of course, these are only a few of the actions you can take to improve your website to make it more compliant, user-friendly and optimised for conversion.
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