We create a website because we want a home for our customers to discover you and your product range. Also though, to discover your why. Answering the question: why does this brand exist? Why should I not just buy from this brand, but buy into this brand?
Within my Mountain Strategy I refer to brand touchpoints.
Every time a customer or prospect interacts with your brand is a touchpoint.
You are responsible for building a connection with them with each touchpoint. Invoking an emotion each time.
On Amazon you have two major touchpoints. They are major because they drive the flywheel. The flywheel is driven by conversion rate and volume. Along with other things.
Your primary touchpoint is the listing. I’ve done an A+ deep dive that examines this.
Your secondary touchpoint is the storefront.
I’ve put them in this order because at the point of writing/speaking, most transactions happen on the detail page. Although we now can convert customers right on a store page. They are, therefore, becoming even more important.
Storefronts can drive conversion rates. They can drive order values up. They can drive your flywheel, pushing products up the sales rankings.
As the product rankings improve, you increase your organic visibility. You get more page views for top keywords. Your sales go up.
So, it’s valuable to think about how we can optimise your storefront. If we optimise this touchpoint, it has a direct impact on all your products sales.
How can we optimise the storefront?
Your storefront should feel like your website. Similar to when a customer moves from your Instagram to your website, they know they’re on YOUR site.
If they search you on Google and find your website, they should immediately be able to see the similar tone and feel as your storefront. Same same but different.
This builds trust. It removes friction. It adds legitimacy to you as a brand.
This is particularly important on Amazon now with the large number of Chinese brands driving fake review scandals, who don’t have websites, and ultimately have fake brands in my opinion.
We want to differentiate from them.
This is where I see most fail or make no effort. In fact, as a rule of thumb, most brands put very little effort into their storefront and it’s such a wasted opportunity.
A common mistake is throwing all your products onto one page. This is the worst thing you can possibly do. It’s a terrible customer experience, because we’re not helping them.
It’s like going into TK Max, where you’ve got heaps of good stuff mixed with shit. It’s not a fun experience when this happens so we want to avoid it.
That isn’t to say you sell shit stuff and good stuff, it’s just to say that you must strive to make the customer journey as easy as possible. This itself is a touchpoint, and one that invokes more positive emotion than negative.
Many of you have shopped with parents before, Mother’s tend to be more content with a bad experience, whereas I know I’ve been with my Dad in TK Maxx and he’s just going “fuck this, I’m out of here”. Perhaps with less expletives.
So you need to create a virtual shop assistant. When a prospect lands on your page you must think “how can I make this easier?”
The answer is to simply categorise. You can categorise by all manner of things, but one way I like is to think of the different customer types you’ve got coming to you. Perhaps they are categorised by pain point, or by problems.
Ultimately, we’re usually shopping because we’ve got a problem and are looking for a solution.
What common traits do your customers have.
For example, a dentist product (not sure what these are called despite having a client in this niche), a dentist product brand may have prospects with bad breath, as well as prospects with sensitive teeth.
Two paint points. So, you’d direct storefront traffic accordingly. Structuring the homepage so on one level you have pain points, then beneath it you stipulate bad breath and sensitive teeth.
You see how this makes the shopping experience more buttery for your customers. Removing friction. Having this at the forefront of your mind when building a structure is paramount.
We want the customers to flow through your storefront.
Also, I mentioned having different levels on that homepage. We could have pain point on one level, but we could also have another filter level, such as age, or product type. This really depends on your niche, but the key is to have these levels, whatever they may be.
Our ultimate aim is for the customer to enjoy the experience. My Mum will wonder round John Lewis for years if she could. Because she likes the experience. Although more recently she has said she prefers Jarrold’s department store in Norwich more. Which I guess reinforces how it can always be better.
Many brands assume it’s obvious what the benefits of their products are. But that isn’t always the case.
For example, with natural deodorant you won’t experience any benefit for the first 3 days. It will get worse. This is because it takes time for your pours to unblock from when you were using other products. This unblocking period isn’t very nice, but it’s necessary.
If a customer were to start on natural deodorant without knowing this, they’d think the product is rubbish. 3 days in and they have never smelt so bad.
But through education we can negate this risk, increasing the likelihood of a positive experience and helping our customers on their way to become brand advocates.
Dedicating content on our storefront to educate our customers is, therefore, very powerful.
We can also educate our customers based on their pain points, or problems. With pain points we can refer to solutions, similar to how we do on our detail page.
But with storefronts we have a lot more flexibility, much more than A+, so we want to capitalise.
Videos educate more efficiently than images, so ensure you’re including them for each product in your range. Or for your whole range if one video describes your “process” well.
We can educate on problems too.
We must always invoke an emotion. Across every touchpoint. The storefront is no different. We have more opportunity on the store to do this, than anywhere else on amazon. Because of the flexibility gifted to us that we don’t have on A+ or the listing.
This ties back to the navigation piece, where I said they need to enjoy being on your page. Videos certainly help with this, but you can also do an excellent job with rich graphics and a compelling story.
Types of customers
Also discussed in the navigation section. Really think about the different customers you have, then create an experience accordingly. PowerBar, for example, cater to cyclists and runners. They segment up their visitors accordingly. They have a sub-page for each.
They create content that speaks to a cyclist on one page, then to a runner on another. The products are very similar on each page, but the messaging and education is different.
Every storefront should have an about or a why page. Customers want to find out more about you. Robbing them of this is a disservice. Telling them why deepens your relationship from day 1 and increases the likelihood of conversions, advocates, higher lifetime value, amongst many other things.
In addition to this, with Amazon rolling out brands left right and centre it’s paramount that you differentiate by having a soul. The same goes with your competition from China.
You’re unlikely to win on price in the long-term. Amazon, China, or aggregators will win on price because of the depth of their pockets.
Your advantage is your soul, your why.
24% of shoppers preferred to shop on mobile (CPC Strategy , 2018) which is smaller than the 67% that prefer desktop. But this data is 3 years old.
Regardless of this ratio we still have a quarter of customers looking to buy on mobile, probably more, so we need to build a store that reacts accordingly.
A good rule of thumb is just opening the store on your phone and seeing how it feels. Even better would be to ask your audience for reviews of it, either through a Facebook group, a segment of your top email subscribers, or customers you interact closely with.
You should treat each sub-page like an A+ page. I previously spoke about how to structure an A+ page, so I’ll try not to repeat too much on this, you can go listen to that podcast episode.
But by following the same macro and micro guidelines as I outlined for A+ with your storefront page you’re able to create a strong experience. Which translates to higher conversion rates and average order value.
This is certainly easier with a smaller range, as you can create a sub-page for each ASIN. As the range gets bigger you may look to create one for each of your ranges or categories. Or you may look to create sections which focus on top sellers, then for those top sellers you can repurpose your a+ content in a different size.
Modules with the product benefits, features, lifestyle shots, and obviously getting videos in wherever possible. Perhaps bookending each sub-page with an intro to your why, which encourages them to read more on your why on a particular why page.
If you have less than 20 products though, I’d be encouraging you to create 20 sub-pages for each one. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but it’s a rich experience that will compel the customer to buy in fewer clicks. As they don’t need to visit your ASIN page to get the information.
It also may increase your conversion rate, in comparison to the ASIN page, because there is no competition on your store pages right now. No ads running.
Combine this with richer content equals higher conversions. It’s worth the effort.
You can have videos, so use videos. Conversion rate on video is 20-30% higher.
Consider using bulk video tools to product moving images with text overlays. This means you can use existing content to make the video, rather than getting something shot.
Ensure we bring USP’s and product benefits to the front of the sub-pages. Mainly within the A+ style content. Don’t leave it for the listing. You can and should aim to convert them early.
Now you do not have any competitors on your storefront. This is great because it gives you an opportunity to drive up conversion rates if you’ve got enough product-related content there.
This may change in the future though as Amazon introduces new ad placements every month
Problem solve for different customers
As mentioned earlier, categorising all the problems your customers face and create content that speaks specifically to that.
A rule of thumb across the board is to have impeccably high content. This really comes down to the investment you make into the process, both time and money wise.
I’ve worked on some content pieces recently and the best results always come from both parties investing time in, rather than brand owners that can’t be bothered to put any effort in.
As an example, we ask each new client to fill out a 15-minute-long form before we start. This gives us a good foundation for what they like, don’t like, amongst other things, which leads to much strong results.
Allow customers to buy in as few clicks as possible. This is a great rule to follow. Rather than forcing them to go onto a detail page to buy, allow them to purchase directly from an image that they’ve enjoyed. This is a new-ish feature. Buyable modules. You upload an image and then place pins on it, which represent a particular product.
They work great with lifestyle images, e.g. a kitchen setup that looks beautiful. Then each item in it has a pin, when you hover on the pin you get some info and an add to basket. Sell them on the whole lifestyle, future pace them to that life right in front of them, then enjoy as they hopefully buy the lot.