E-commerce is all the rage nowadays, with online stores striving to sell as much as they can on this heavily accessed portal. While this is the primary goal, the way each store approaches e-commerce differs based on the products they sell, the market they are reaching out to, their design and format etc. All of these criteria are based on the profile and character of the business. Of these influencing factors, one important category that dictates the structure of an online store is the number of products on their shelf. A big clothes retailer will design their online store quite differently from the way a chandler or hand-made goods artisan may display their wares online. While there are plenty of ways to organise mass products on a website, it’s a whole other ball game when it comes to making a website for a limited number of products without it seeming empty or incomplete. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth having a website for the latter. And that’s what we’ll be discussing this blog.
How to create a smashing e-commerce site with very few products to display:
- Excellent product shots: Generally speaking, all online retailers need to invest in their product photos. But for retailers with a limited product base it becomes even more imperative to invest in professional product photography. This displays your product at its best, highlighting it’s features nicely, so that it draws the attention of the viewer directly to it. It’s also good to have a picture of the product shot in a set-up. For instance, let’s say you sell hand carved tables. So your picture shows the wooden table in a nicely done-up room, with curtains, upholstery, crockery and a vase of flowers all matched in a way to accentuate the beauty of the table and show shoppers how it can look in a dining room setting. This allows them to visualise it in their own home and as part of their lifestyle. Take care not to overwhelm the picture and draw attention away from the table itself. Tis kind of set-up is also useful when you sell services and not products – you show a session of you in action with the customers. Good photography improves your overall site design, too.
- Use the negative space wisely: The negative space is the empty white space left around your content. The tendency is to fill up the space with big everything – big pictures, big CTAs, big headers, big titles, big text. But avoid this urge. Choose instead to use this space cleverly. You already have the upper-hand when it comes to space – you have plenty of it! So don’t clutter the page. Instead let it employ the roominess to create breathing space on the site, taking care only to remove gaping holes or spaces. If you plan your layout well this can be achieved. Use large text or images to draw the attention, place text and images in a way that the messaging flows without confusing, and don’t throttle the page by stuffing everything and more into it.
- Let each product command its own page: Unlike a larger store with lots of products, a store with a smaller selection of wares won’t need to be organised by categories and filters. Instead, you could create a sub-label for each product and devote a page to it. Let’s say you sell hand-made bath and body products. You have three simple categories – soaps, bath salts and perfume oil. To organise the products under this without having to mention every single flavour, put them instead under sub-categories. So instead of creating individual pages for the bath salts activated charcoal, jade fragrance and cedar clove, put it under the sub-category revitalizing or rejuvenating, then dedicate that page to promoting those products.
- Bring it to life with the details: Again, you aren’t suffering for space. You have the luxury of adding intricate details about the products – zoomed in pictures from different angles, details about the material, where they were sourced from, what is special about it, the craftspeople who make it, the manufacturing process, the history of the tradition, product customisations (colour, size, material) etc. etc. Make the shopper feel privy to your world, and make them familiar with it. Let them want to feel a part of the story. By offering them such details, you also reinforce your credibility in your industry, let it reflect on your quality rather than quantity, emphasise your trustworthiness, and demonstrate your exclusivity as well as how your product has more value than meets the eye.
- Show the utilitarian and the beauty aspect of the product together. We already spoke of taking product shots in natural settings to help shoppers visualise the products as part of their way of life. Additionally, you could make videos demonstrating or instructing users on how it can be used, offering tips and recommendations. Think of the pictures and descriptions used by Ayurvedic massage spas. They don’t simply show you inanimate pictures of the various oils or equipment they use. They show you the feeling of being in that spa. So the highlight is not the product or service itself – although those are also captured in the images – but of the calm, relaxation and rejuvenation from ancient traditions kept alive, and of de-stressing associated with holidays and me-time. It makes the person want to do it!
- As with any website, allow your customers to bear witness: Don’t prevent customers from leaving reviews or feedback because you fear negative Reviews are a good sign and an imperative criteria of the website’s product page checklist. People are taking the time to leave their feedback about your store, and this is free and very valuable information to help you understand where you’re going right and where you went wrong. You just have to follow the kickass way in taking online reviews in your stride. Besides there are so many good reviews people leave and that’s what other shoppers will be looking at when they make decisions to buy. Good reviews are as good as trust seals, verifying the product, proving the authenticity of it, and giving other shoppers peace of mind and assurance when they decide to buy from you. You could either create a testimonial page separately, or let testimonials be added to the relevant product page. And for those who want to comment but can’t be bothered to write up a testimonial, don’t forget to use social media networking links such as Facebook shares and likes, Pinterest pins etc. to give them a chance to express what they want and also to boost your social visibility.
So you see, it really isn’t so outlandish an idea to have an e-commerce website with a limited product base. Now get doing it the clever way!