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Reverse Engineering Ecommerce Products to Improve Conversion Rates

Reverse Enginnering E-Commerce Conversions

LeadG2 defines reverse engineering as “the process of working backwards from the conclusion of something to understand how that end point was reached.”

Applied to ecommerce, reverse engineering can mean starting with your end goals (ex., improve conversion rates and increase profits), then figuring out how to choose products that will allow you to reach these targets.

Why You Must Carefully Choose Your Ecommerce Products

Your product line up influences every aspect of your online business, from branding and marketing to fulfillment.

  • Branding: The products you sell will influence the colors and visuals you choose to represent your brand.
  • Marketing: Your choice of advertising channels, the design and messaging in your marketing materials also depends on your target customers and products.
  • Ecommerce fulfillment: Your packaging, storage, and shipping options and costs will vary depending on what you’re selling. Heavier, bulkier items, for instance, will skyrocket shipping and warehousing costs. Products with shorter shelf lives like perishable foods may also have specific storage requirements.
  • Other considerations: Some products may have shipping restrictions, legal requirements, and additional taxes that can affect how you market, handle, or price your products.

All these can make or break your online business’s profitability.

If you already have a successful online store, reverse engineering helps you pick the right products that:

  • have a sizable market or demand,
  • are profitable,
  • suitable for your target buyer or niche, and
  • fit your preferred fulfillment strategy.

Reverse engineering can improve conversion rates, as you are able to offer new products that cater to the needs or preferences of your current audience. Since existing customers already trust your brand and like your products, they are more likely to try your new offers. They may even decide to order these new items on top of their current subscriptions.

But how do you reverse engineer excellent ecommerce products? Below are 15 questions you should ask when screening potential items for your online store.

Reverse Engineering the Best Ecommerce Products for Your Online Store

1. What is its potential market size?

Pick products that have a significant market size in your target location. You can pick items that cater to people within a specific age bracket, income, gender, or niche.

Make sure that your target audience actually buys the product, i.e., there is an actual market demand for it. You can use tools like sales estimators to get more information on an item’s monthly sales volume. From here you can already decide if you need to drop the product (if it doesn’t generate enough sales) or study it further.

2. Is it sustainable?

It’s tempting to offer trending items, but if you’re after long-term growth, skip the fads. Focus on products that have seen increasing demand over the years. Google Trends, SEO tools, and social media are excellent places for checking whether searches for a popular product are increasing (indicating a growing market) or dropping.

3. How do you position yourself against your main competitors?

Having strong competition can be a good thing. It can indicate that there’s a significant demand for your chosen product.

But to carve out a share of the market, you must carefully position yourself against your main competitors. Analyze their strengths, weaknesses, marketing strategy, and target buyers. Find ways to stand out and differentiate your brand and offers.

4. Does it match your store’s target buyers?

When screening potential products, focus on items within your niche or those that appeal to your existing buyers. Aside from potentially increasing your conversions and sales, this helps simplify your marketing plans. You can use the same tone and advertising channels to promote your new products.

In contrast, offering new items to a different demographic requires you to adapt a different writing tone and promotional strategy. For example, if you’re marketing to seniors, you need to use language and images they can relate with. Since they’re not always online, you need multi-channel marketing to ensure you’re targeting them both online and offline.

Meanwhile, marketing to millennials requires a different strategy, given their digital habits and busy schedules. To catch their attention, you must be present on different social media platforms and leverage video marketing. You must adopt a mobile-first strategy too, as 93% of millennials own smartphones, with 19% being smartphone-only internet users.

5. Does the product have limited local availability?

Skip products which buyers can easily find in local physical stores. Instead, identify specialty items that have significant demand across different locations. Some examples are doll clothing, specialty oils, handmade pottery, and costume stores.

By selling specialty products online, you are making these easily available to buyers who may otherwise have to travel further to purchase these items. At the same time, you’re able to reach more customers than if you’re only running one or a few physical stores.

6. Can you begin with a few stock keeping units (SKUs)?

Whether you’re targeting the same demographics or a new market segment, you want to be able to test a product’s viability while keeping outlay costs to a minimum. Choosing a product with over 30 varied sizes and designs will only increase your initial investments on stocks and storage. This puts you in a risky position, since you are spending a lot for a product you’re not yet sure will generate profits.

Adding items with less SKUs have other long-term advantages. It keeps inventory management simple and you are able to stock more items of each variation instead of ordering a few of several units.

It also minimizes mistakes during fulfillment. With limited product SKUs, your clients are less likely to receive wrong sizes or variations. This saves you from dealing with more product returns and exchanges, buyer complaints, and poor reviews and customer experience.

Offering limited SKUs can also increase your sales. Remember that giving buyers too many options can work against you. Trying to pick from many variations can overwhelm your audience, and cause them to leave your site without buying anything. So simplify your customers’ buying process by offering less product variations.

7. Can you get a good markup?

Look for items which offer an attractive markup. To do this, compare its market price with the total costs you may incur, including:

  • manufacturing (or dropshipping) costs
  • packaging
  • order fulfillment (such as storage and shipping)
  • domain, marketing, customer support, and other fees to run an ecommerce business.

Some recommend going for products with at least five times markup; others recommend an average 50% markup.

8. How long is its shelf life?

Look for products that remain salable for a long time. This spares you from the cost of obsolete inventory or having to buy then re-market new variations.

Better yet, find potential products that are both consumable and have a long storage life. Selling consumables, coupled with great customer experience, enables you to have clients who will keep ordering from you whenever they need to replace or replenish an item.

9. What is its selling price?

Selling low-cost items means you need to reach more clients and move more stocks each month to reach your target profit. On the other hand, selling high-ticket items may mean you need to move less products to earn profits. However, customers may have more questions before buying expensive items. This may require you to put in more time answering inquiries and building your brand to win your target market’s trust.

Ideally, you want to find products you can sell for less than $150, or within the average online shopping order value. This way, you don’t have to move too many items just to generate some profit. At the same time, your items are not priced beyond what customers may be comfortable spending online.

10. What are the fulfillment requirements?

Selling perishable items requires more fulfillment considerations. These may need special packaging, handling, storage, and transportation requirements.

Before adding perishables to your inventory, calculate these additional warehousing and shipping fees. If you need to increase the selling price, be sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market.

11. Can it encourage subscriptions?

It’s a lot easier and cheaper to market to existing customers than to acquire new buyers. And one way to leverage your existing clients or increase recurring sales is through subscriptions.

Subscriptions often come in the form of replenishments, wherein clients buy products they’ve already consumed or need to replace. Some products that fit replenishment subscriptions are razors and groceries.

Another subscription model you can consider are discovery boxes. Discovery subscriptions include new items or samples of different products. These allow buyers to receive fresh items regularly, or try out products before buying full-size or higher quantities. Discovery subscriptions can work on toys, coffee, wine, and beauty products.

12. How fragile is it?

Evaluate the risks and costs of adding fragile items to your catalogs. Fragile products may require special packaging and more care during transport. You can also incur higher costs due to breakage and replacements. Aside from lowering your profits, these factors can hurt your customers’ experience and product ratings.

13. What is the product’s size and weight?

Adding bulky, heavy products to your online store increases your expenses. Aside from higher warehousing costs, these are also more expensive to ship. You need to factor these in when computing your selling price and markup, especially if you’re offering free shipping.

Note that high shipping costs can also hurt your conversion rates. The Baymard Institute found that 50% of respondents abandoned their shopping carts due to high additional costs like shipping, taxes, and other fees.

14. Does it have a seasonal market?

Selling products with seasonal demand such as winter or summer wear has implications on your online store’s viability. So you need to plan ahead for both peak demand and drops in your sales.

One solution is to identify products that sell well each season. You can also maintain core products that generate sales throughout the year, then offer seasonal items. For instance, your online store may focus on casual clothing, but offer winter or Christmas clothes toward the end of each year.

15. Is it subject to legal restrictions?

Legal regulations and shipping restrictions affect how you promote, transport, and store your products. These can increase your outlay, delay fulfillment, and even limit your target market. For example, perfumes with alcohol and certain types of glue and nail polish can only be shipped via ground transportation.

So carefully research your potential product. Consult relevant government offices, your fulfillment company, and suppliers so you can factor in these restrictions’ financial and logistical implications.

Improve Your Conversion Rates with the Right Ecommerce Products

Reverse engineering can help you identify the best products for your online store. Use the questions above as a guide for finding lucrative items that appeal to your target market and fit your current fulfillment process.

It may be tedious to look into all these factors each time you add a new product. But the time and effort you put in can cut your financial losses and spare you from unexpected issues down the line.

Do you have questions on fulfillment for your target product? Do you have other tips on finding the best products to sell online? Share your thoughts below.

11 Tips to Improve Website Content for Screen Readers

Screen ReadersAccording to the latest estimates, more than 4 million people just in the US use screen readers. However, like any developing technology, they’re not perfect. They find it hard to read different types of web pages which aren’t either descriptive enough or well-designed enough.

Disorganized blocks of text, images devoid of description, and non-descriptive links are all tricky to figure out. They do more harm than good. As a result, those visually impaired or blind are very much at a disadvantage even with the screen readers.

What are Screen Readers?

Screen readers are programs that are used to enable the visually impaired to read on computers. They can use these readers to scan through pages, search for content, or to simply have pages read aloud.

Screen readers usually work closely with the OS that the person uses. They provide information about icons, menus, dialogue boxes, folders, etc. In essence, the entire OS works with the device. However, the internet, since it’s available to all OS’ is trickier. There can’t be one specific type of web page that the screen reader can be programmed to read. Instead, it has to be adaptable to wide variety of web pages.

How Does a Screen Reader work?

Screen Readers work by relaying information in one of two ways. They can either translate the information on a page to speech, or to braille. The former is done through a TTS (Text-to-speech) engine which translates on screen information to speech. This can be heard through headphones or speakers.

The program for TTS can come bundled with the screen reader device or be an add on. In the present day, software TTS is preferable to hardware TTS due to high levels of variance in device models.

For braille, the TTS is connected to a braille display. That’s an external device which has more rows of cells. Each cell can be formed into a braille character depending on the text on display. The dots formed are very similar to dots in their layout. The braille output is often paired with speech output.

Screen readers use either external devices, or keyboards to interact with the users. Using the latter, they can’t just

Why is Web Accessibility Important?

The internet is now the access portal for the average person to everything from entertainment to news. It’s important to give everyone equal opportunity to access it without discrimination. People rely on the internet to apply for their jobs, pay their bills, communicate with their loved ones, etc. Hence, it’s not a luxury, but a basic human right now.

Accessibility to the internet is now essential. Hence, we should do everything in our power to make it possible.

11 Tips to Improve Web Content for Screen Readers

1.   Use a CMS Which Supports Accessibility

There are several content management systems out there that can build your website for accessibility. Common ones like WordPress and Drupal also support it. Choosing a CMS for accessibility is so important because you won’t have to do much of the work when it comes to design. You won’t have to start from scratch and code most of the functionality yourself. You can simply make the content you want and just optimize it for screen readers.

This is a small, but crucial first step. Skipping or ignoring this can mean myriad problems in the future.

2.   Organize Content With Headers

Organization is a key aspect of web design as it is. Structuring your content helps search engines identify specific answers to queries by users. However, it also works equally well for screen readers. It helps them zoom in on specific headings to help their users.

Hence, segment content as much as you can and add headings and sub-headings. Also make sure that sub-topics are at least contained in separate paragraphs. This way, jumping between them; no one will miss out on crucial information about a specific topic.

3.   Label Media with Tags and Links

Whenever you’re inserting any media in your content, be it images, video, gifs, or even links; label them. This will assist those visually impaired to understand them. Screen readers will be able to relay exactly what the media entails. You’ll not only save their time, but lessen their confusion.

Use Meta Titles for Images and Video

Images and videos are the most common forms of media used on the internet. Static images, gifs, videos, etc. should all come with meta titles, alt texts, and descriptions. This is a good practice for SEO as well as for improving accessibility.

Describe Functional Images

While websites usually use images for illustration and aesthetic, they can use them for functional purposes. Images can be used as links and buttons. In that case, a text alternative should be used to describe the functionality. The alt text for a submit button can be “button to submit this form”.

Describe any Infographics

If you include an infographic on your web page, make sure to add a detailed explanation with it. It should describe what is shown in the infographic as well as the insights it presents. If it’s a graph, make sure to outline the measurement types and units as well as the trends.

Directly label the data instead of using color coded legends to reduce the burden on users. This decreases the human reader’s need to scan back and forth. If you want to regularly product such content, then hire content writing services for a more consistent posting schedule.

Use Descriptive Tags for Links

If you’re using any hyperlinks in your web page, make sure that they’re well placed and descriptive. Screen readers can be used to scan for links just like sighted users scroll through content. However, screen readers don’t usually read the link within the context of the page. They simply read out the text “click here”.

To improve accessibility, try phrasing the hyperlinked text more descriptively. Instead of just saying, “click here”, say, “Check out this post for this topic”. Site visitors will know whether the link is for them or not. Also, descriptive links make it easier for search engines to find content as well.

4.   Use Colors Carefully

Roughly 8% of the population is colorblind. Red-green color deficiency is especially common for them. Using colors like these including dark green, maroon, etc. can confuse them. Hence, using a wide variety of colors for your audience is better. If you must use green or red, pick one.

If you’re using colors to label and discern information in a graph, try labeling the trends instead.

5.   Use Tables for Tabular Data

If you’re planning on using tables on your webpage, to ensure accessibility for the visually impaired, do it for functionality. If you’re just inserting tables to improve the aesthetic, that may confuse screen readers. Hence, create tables to organize data. That will actually help screen readers relay smaller, bite sized information to their users.

When a data table is necessary, use headers for rows and columns. This will help explain the relationship between cells. Also, if you’re planning to create a complex table, use the scope attribute in HTML. That can help establish relationships between cells. Table captions in HTML5 will also help give additional information to users about the tables.

6.   Include Site Navigation via Keyboard

A huge part of navigating the web through screen readers is skimming the web pages through the keyboard. Since using a mouse isn’t as intuitive, a keyboard provides a lot of functionality. Hence, all your website content that is optimized for screen readers should be navigable through keyboards. There are a few keys you should focus on including the Tab key, the arrow keys. You should also include the mouth stick or the single switch input.

7.   Avoid Grammatical Errors and Abbreviations

Proper grammar is an absolute must for screen reader accessibility. You can improve this simply by adding an extension like Grammarly. You can even use a spellchecker in your word processor. You should also avoid abbreviations in your content. This doesn’t count for words like “won’t” or “I’ll”. Instead, it counts for abbreviations like “IUPAC” (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry). Instead, use periods to separate out the individual letters like “I.U.P.A.C.” This way, the screen reader will sound out the entire acronym letter by letter instead of reading it at once.

Don’t Use Emojis

Translating emojis is tricky for screen readers. If you must use them, put them at the end of a sentence. Putting them in the middle of sentences or paragraphs can create a muddled mess and interfere with speech interpretation. It can make it infuriating for those visually impaired to understand and string together coherent sentences.

Use PascalCase and camelCase for Hashtags

Screen readers make use of PascalCase and camelCase when they want to read hashtags. With the former, the first letter of every word is capitalized. With the latter, the first letter of every word after the first is capitalized.

For example, PascalCase is #YesPlease, and camelCase is #yesPlease. Using this technique will help screen reader users make better sense of hashtags that are particularly long.

8.   Make Sure Dynamic Content is Accessible

Dynamic content refers to any videos or gifs that are embedded within your website. That content possibly relays a lot of important visual information to the reader. Hence, as with static images and infographics, there needs to be a detailed explanation attached to dynamic content.

If you feel the need to add closed captions and text alternatives to anything, do so. This will help those with either visual or hearing impairments as well. ARIA properties can be used here to update content on a web page as well. This will ensure screen readers don’t leave out any important details or skip over anything. You should consider hiring web content writers to create descriptive labels for dynamic media.

9.   Validate Web Accessibility

After you’ve implemented web accessibility for screen readers, it’s very important to test it in real life scenarios. This is called accessibility testing or validation. This allows designers to identify flaws, or bugs in the design. These bugs may end up causing a lot of problems for the visually impaired if left unresolved.

The bugs could be compatibility issues with certain browsers or with certain OSes. They could also be problems related to certain web extensions.

10. Design Forms for Accessibility

Forms are a very common element of web pages today. If you’re buying something online or requesting a subscription, or even emailing someone, form filling is inevitable. Hence, using symbols that are frequently in use is a great way to improve accessibility for screen readers.

Using symbols like asterisks is great for required fields. It shows screen readers what is absolutely necessary. Hence, it makes it easier for the visually impaired to get through the forms quickly. Another way to do this is to add “required” to the coding. Screen readers will pick up on this and relay the message.

For non-essential fields, you can either label them “optional” or delete them entirely.

11. Use ARIA roles and Landmarks

ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) is a complex, and technical specification for adding accessibility information to elements which aren’t natively accessible. The solution isn’t to always use ARIA. In fact, using ARIA is often considered the last resort. Luckily, ARIA implementations are now frequently found in HTML5.

These include:

  • Native HTML button tag in place of the ARIA button
  • HTML label tag in place of ARIA label or ARIA labeledby
  • HTML5 nav tag in place of ARIA role of navigation

ARIA attributes can be inserted into HTML code using classes in HTML. These can be used to load attributes from ARIA the same way CSS attributes were loading into HTML. Not that adding ARIA attributes isn’t the end of the process. It’s not sufficient to make complex widgets accessible to screen readers.

ARIA doesn’t have any functionality for keyboard users. It only affects people that use assistive technology. Since there are far more people without assistive technology than with, JavaScript behaviors and interactions are needed.

ARIA usage however, can impart the following functionality for the visually impaired:

  • Making complex, but interactive widgets like date pickers accessible for screen reader users
  • Adding notifications for dynamic page changes like stock tickers and search filters

Using these 11 tips will cover the basics of improving web accessibility. However, as you design more web pages and produce more content, be sure to add more skills to your quiver.

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