Practical Ecommerce

New subcategories increase sales and signups

Ecommerce sites typically launch with a modest product range and, potentially, category names that will become redundant as the business grows.

I launched My Wedding Décor over two years ago with 80 wedding décor items, a few product categories, and eight themes — from beach to vintage.

Most of my products were balloons, centerpieces, lighting, signs, table decorations, and vases, plus unusual candy for the dessert buffet table.

Before I launched, I knew that product dimensions are a deciding factor for customers selecting wedding décor items.

The height of a décor product lets couples and wedding planners determine if it can fit on the bridal or guest tables; is appropriate for the floral display; is the right size visually for a room (for example, ballrooms demand tall centerpieces); or offers adequate “drama” for photo opportunities (such as 40-inch helium balloons).

In an extreme example last month, for example, one lady was searching for a particularly high wedding arch to clear the head of her husband-to-be, who stands 6 foot 8 inches.

When I launched the website, I thought I would save shoppers time by listing the height at the beginning of the product title.

And when I introduced rental products four months later, I retained the naming convention to list the item’s height at the beginning of the product title so visitors could compare the physical size of items as they scrolled down the page. I repeated this process when I launched My Event Décor in January 2017.

And I never thought to revisit the viability of this naming approach until recently.

Dimensions vs. similar products

Only a week ago I was live-chatting with a prospective customer. I was telling her about a taller vase that she hadn’t seen. As we chatted, we scrolled together through the “Buy Décor” collection, searching for the vase.

It was then the lightning bolt hit me: she wouldn’t have seen it because products were listed by dimension order. This meant a 40-inch high balloon was listed next to a 40-inch plinth, while a 6-inch tall vase was adjacent to a table number measuring 6 inches, and so on.

With multiple products measuring approximately the same, it meant shoppers saw dozens of disparate items on the same page, which made it confusing and frustrating to scroll through. A relevant product would be pages away.

One solution would be to use flyout subcategory menus. But I find them unwieldy on mobile phones.

So that day, after the live chat, I undertook the task of renaming the product titles for both websites, in most cases using the generic name for that item to begin the title.

For example, all candle items were preceded with the word “Candle.” Bowl-shaped centerpieces started with “Bowl.” Food service carts now began with “Drinks Sweets” to group them, and so on.

Instantly, it made it easier for would-be customers to scroll and see similar items grouped together. It has also saved me time.

The results?

And it has made a difference, in just one week. It seems shoppers can find what they want more easily and more quickly. And sales and signups have greatly improved.

For My Wedding Décor, comparing the week prior to the change (August 14-21) to the week after (August 23-30), the bounce rate dropped from 1.60 percent to 1.59 percent, the average time on page from 28 seconds to 23 seconds, and the unique page views fell from 3,644 to 2,733.

Importantly, sales for My Wedding Décor grew 1,069 percent week on week while newsletter signups have increased 36.4 percent.

And, for My Event Décor, comparing August 14-21 to August 23-30 reveals the bounce rate dropped from 65.9 percent to 58.7 percent, the average time on page fell from 70 seconds to 47 seconds, and the unique page views grew from 615 to 673.

Sales for My Event Décor doubled from August 14-21 to August 23-30, while newsletter signups grew 20 percent over the same period.

Have you changed the names of product categories? What difference did it make to your business?

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