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Expert Advice
For Success in Ecommerce
Our team of Ecommerce experts outline effective strategies for increasing and optimising your sales!
Conscious consumerism is growing. Food and drinks industries were early adopters but it’s no longer just about what we put in our bodies, the conscious consumer is looking for transparency in everything they buy. The Fairtrade Foundation found that the Fairtrade sector grew by 14% in 2013. Total ethical spending in the UK was worth £54 billion in 2012, more than what was spent on both cigarettes and alcohol and the conscious consumer market grew by more than 12% in 2012, despite the global recession (The Ethical Consumer Report 2013)!

According to a 2010 German study, at a distance of less than 8.6 miles, in-store shoppers expend slightly less carbon per transaction than online shoppers, about 73.8g CO2 versus 77.9g CO2. Beyond that distance, however, online shoppers’ footprints remain relatively constant, whereas in-store shoppers’ footprints can explode exponentially, to as much as 451.4g CO2 per transaction. As an e-merchant you are already doing your bit for the conscious consumer market but our experts will take it a step further and outline 3 top tips for developing your sales figures in this sector.
Keep in mind:
1. Conscious consumerism is growing and many consumers are willing to pay more to buy ethically
2. The ethical consumer market grew by more than 12% in 2012, despite the recession
3. Test your products and analyse your stats to optimise your business strategy and increase your profits
4. Optimising search and navigation of your catalogue will increase your conversion rate
5. Put your ethical foot forward and adapt your site design for Fair Trade Day
6. Make sure your trust elements are clearly displayed
7. Use Social Media to engage your customers

3 tips for success in the conscious consumer market

01 PRODUCTS: Test your products and analyse their performance
Fair Trade Day is the 9th of May, so, you have a good month to prepare for an event which celebrates responsible trade initiatives, organic, eco-friendly and local products.
> From now on, start organising your catalogue so that all your ethically sourced, organic and fairtrade products are together in a dedicated section.

> If you have a lot of varied products, define the categories you can add them to (organic, made locally, fair trade, food and gift boxes) and activate faceted search to allow your visitors to narrow their search, based on their key criteria. We will return to this in point 2.

> Highlight your best-selling and flagship products on your homepage and use all the analytical tools available in your back office to analyse essential data (tracking orders, source of orders, most ordered products, conversion rate) to measure your visitors interest in your products and the impact on your conversion rate. Then you can easily identify the most profitable and best selling products.

> Send emails with flash promotions to test which products are of interest and generate more sales. Again, analyse your statistics!

    « With the advanced analytics options, we can evaluate our performance and optimise our marketing actions: highlighting certain products, adjusting our promotional offers, email and SMS campaigns and our loyalty and referral programs. »
    Emilie Desportes - Candle Store
02 ORGANISATION & DESIGN: Adapt your site design in a few clicks to promote your ethical content
Prepare your "Fair Trade" theme now, so you are ready.
Organise your catalogue: 73% of visitors to ecommerce sites leave after two minutes if they can't find what they are looking for and 27% of e-shoppers start their visit at the search bar (Marketing Sherpa study)

> Predictive Search is a great tool that allows visitors to quickly find the items that correspond exactly to their needs. In order to get the most out of this intuitive search, there are a few rules to follow:

The predictive search engine initially suggests products from your estore’s catalogue that include keywords in the title. It will then display products that contain the terms in the short description of the article. So it’s essential to ensure that your product titles are detailed and accurate. For example, if you sell organic cotton shirts, Cootoon brand, call your article "Cootoon organic cotton shirt man" and not "Cootoon 013" because your visitors will be more likely to type "shirt ..." in your search bar.

The predictive search engine takes into account four key words to provide results. So ensure your product description is a text that corresponds with the product and what people may search. For example, "a great gift idea, organic and handmade, in the UK with local ingredients, by BRANDHERE company" so that the products will appear in a search for "gift", "local", "organic", "handmade" or even "BRANDHERE.”

> Activating faceted search is key to enhancing user experience and increasing your conversion rate!

With the faceted search it only takes a few minutes to add up to 5 extra characteristics to your products. You benefit from a catalogue that’s optimised for sales and highlights the value of your items.
This feature, inspired by Ecommerce leaders, like Amazon or La Redoute, meets your site visitors expectations allowing them to refine their searches by filtering according to their specific criteria (eg colour, size, material, price, fair trade, organic, etc.). The user immediately sees the products that correspond with what they’re looking for and then it’s a simple click to add to cart!

    "Since faceted search has been implemented on my product catalogue, I have noticed a 20% increase in my conversation rate. I am now getting orders for products I didn’t previously sell as they were difficult to find on my website. With the faceted search it's a win-win for everybody: the customer can easily find precisely what they are looking for and the e-merchant gets the most value from their product catalogue."
    Guillaume Desportes – GDBO Balcons
Actinic is the first Cloud based Ecommerce solution to offer a faceted search that's simple to set up and will direct your clients to the products that match their search criteria.

Design: You have 10 seconds to get your visitors interested in your products/services, reassure them that you are a credible merchant and get them to buy from your online store (Source NN Group)! To attract your visitors, clearly display your special offers by using a site design that is dedicated to Fair Trade. With the Actinic solution it’s simple:

> Create the advertising strip that you’re going to add to your slideshow to highlight your product origines, ingredients, etc.

> Duplicate your homepage and create a "ethical, conscious" version. Smartskins, Actinic’s intuitive graphic editor is easy to use and enables you to customise your e-commerce design in minutes! Activate your new home page in a click, when needed and just as easily return to your standard home page when the event is over.
  • To make the most of all opportunities for increasing sales through effective site design, reread our Expert Advice on the topic!

    • "The Actinic design studio created a high performing site design that increased our sales by almost 20%. Our online store showcases our strengths which differentiate us from our competition and is based on a site structure that allows for the strategic organisation of information."
      Madame Beneux, CEO

    If you don’t have the design skills, call the Actinic experts!

    We won’t stop repeating it as we want to be sure you're following - trust is crucial to making sales! Highlighting your contact information, payment and delivery methods are the vital necessities but you can also emphasise your company structure and approach.
    If you are involved in ethical trading, make it known, your site visitors will appreciate it!
    03 CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT: Use social media to engage your customers
    Organising events and competitions via social media is a great way of revitalising your online community, re-engaging and growing your following. With Actinic’s My Social Store feature you can publish your catalogue or part of your catalogue on Facebook, increasing the visibility of your products and company. You can also create a dedicated tab on your Facebook page to specifically promote all your ethical products and take followers directly this section/page on your estore. You can start identifying Facebook pages and groups that are dedicated to ethical commerce (fair trade, organic, locally sourced, co-operatives, etc.) and get involved with them, not only is there an opportunity to find potential customers but thought leaders and potential brand ambassadors too.

    Don't hesitate to reread our Expert Advice on creating a social media buzz.

    As with any sales event where you’d update your site and social media design (Christmas, Sales, Mother's/Fathers Day, etc.), it’s important to adapt your graphics to match the event and put your key products and offers at the forefront of your site. It’s also an opportunity to test new products but don’t wait until ‘D’ day to test your catalogue!
    Finally, keep in mind that if you are principally involved in ethical trade then it’s paramount that your SEO reflects this. Refresh yourself on best practices follow these steps to increase your organic traffic and don't forget that AdWords campaigns can achieve a high ROI when they are well managed.

    Over to you!