By Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes, YUU co-founders
Last Christmas we sold, from our website, a YUUbag every 12 minutes consistently over a four-week period.
So, how did we do it and what advice can we offer other online retailers?
We know that getting traffic to your website is only part of the equation, making them want to spend time and shop is often the more challenging part.
1. Make it look good
High quality product and lifestyle photography is essential for any online business as it's often the shoppers first interaction with your brand and it's essential to make that count.
We always ensure that we provide a full photography gallery of our products showcasing the multitude of features, after all nobody wants to buy something they can't properly see or understand. Shoppers don't have the luxury of touching, feeling and exploring the physical product before they buy so you have to go the extra mile to make this possible for them virtually. This shouldn't be limited to photography, we use video on our site to show our YUUbags in action and to provide that all important virtual experience.
2. Make it easy to browse
The goal here is all about making it easy for your shopper to find what they're looking for. We've conducted lots of shopper research with existing and potential customers to help inform our web navigation. Sometimes people hear the word 'research' and assume this is going to cost when in fact our research simply cost us our time of phoning and speaking with customers and prospects to hear their terminology and the decisions they made when buying their YUUbag.
For example, it was quickly clear to us that being able to shop by a child's age and then colour was important and this is reflected within our navigation. If you a have a broad product range it's important to have filters and a search facility to make life even easier.
Finally, some shoppers benefit from a helping hand. In the absence of a useful shop assistant asking "can I help you with anything today?" we've found implementing an online chat tool highly successful to drive web sales. Visitors will leave if they can't find what they're looking for or if they have questions which turn into barriers for not purchasing and all of this can easily be resolved with a simple chat functionality.
3. Provide useful content
So you've overcome managed to get the traffic to your site but whether they stay or not depends on how relevant they feel the content you're offering is to them. Like a lot of brands, we have a variety of prospects on our site and we also know that there are different reasons why people purchase our YUUbags. As a result, we have a clear customer segmentation and this was fundamental to our ability to develop our website with relevant, engaging content which makes the difference to shoppers browsing and shoppers spending.
For example, many of our shoppers find the ergonomic design of our YUUbags a highly motivating consideration for purchase which is why we have dedicated content showing exactly how our products provide comfort and support for growing spines.
Like a lot of brands, we have shoppers that are looking to purchase a YUUbag at the best possible price so clearly sign-posting our offers for these price conscious shoppers is also important.
Finally, as a children's brand our user and chooser are two different audiences and we understand the influence children have on many parents when it comes to buying a YUUbag. We therefore developed the YUUclub – a place online where children can explore and interact with the brand with fun games and competitions.
4. Make it mobile
You really cannot afford not to have a mobile-friendly website. If your shoppers have to squint, pinch and excessively scroll just to see your content they're clearly not going to want to spend time on your website. To have a successful website it's important to recognise that the way in which your web visitors view and consume data is very different on mobile vs desktop devices.
Mobile web users are often on the move facing more interruptions and of course are limited by a smaller screen so it's essential to make shopping your site as easy and enjoyable as possible for them with a very simplistic navigation and emphasis on more visual content. It's also worth noting that Google looks more favourably at mobile responsive websites so taking the time to make sure your website is optimised for mobile will payback in terms of improved google rankings.
5. Finally, take a test, learn and refine your approach
Websites are organic and should evolve over time as your brand grows and your consumer insight becomes richer. We often run AB tests on our key pages, including our homepage, to check that the content that we're offering is relevant, engaging and driving the desired outcome. We've also played around with some great technology tools such as heat maps to gain insight into the content driving the most action. When combined with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, it's possible to gain a huge amount of insight. We are constantly evaluating our traffic in terms of behaviour and taking these learnings to evolve our website to make it even more better.
We're not ones to rest on our laurels and we've been busy planning Christmas 2017. This year we're bringing to market our most existing product to date – a GPS enabled backpack, the YUUgo. We've been leveraging our website to engage our customers and fans to help us bring this new innovation to market and we're Crowdfunding the launch with Indiegogo which means that we're rewarding our supporters to order early with a whopping 40% discount. So where will YUUgo this Christmas? We're feeling confident that we'll be beating last year's record of a YUUbag sold every 12 minutes. Watch this space!
YUU was founded in 2010 by Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes with the launch of the first range of kid's activity backpacks offering an exciting, durable and portable solution to providing entertainment for children on-the-go in a caring, protective way.
Since then, YUUbags have been a storming success with sales exceeding 75,000 YUUbags from the website alone. YUUbags are also sold internationally in Australia & NZ, Russia, Benelux and Scandinavia.
In 2012, YUU appeared on Dragon's Den in 2012 and secured investment from Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden following a highly successful pitch which left all 5 Dragons wanting to invest.
The YUUgo is aimed at children aged 7-12 years.
Visit www.yuuworld.com for more information.