Instagram Stories are vertical, full-screen photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours. They appear at the top of the app and last 15 seconds maximum.
500 million people already use stories daily and their popularity keeps increasing. This makes Instagram Stories a great tool for businesses to reach and engage larger audiences.
Given its potential, we think it will be interesting for your brand to learn how to create and optimise stories for better results.
How to Create an Instagram Story
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a story:
Step 1: Click the plus button at the top of the screen and choose “story” from the different options available or swipe left.
Step 2: Tap the switch-camera icon on the bottom right for a selfie shot.
Step 3: Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture or press and hold it to record a video. There may be smaller circles to the right and left of the white circle. Those circles are some of the filters that you can use for your shoot.
Step 4: Click the blue plus button to use photos or videos from your camera roll.
Step 5: Tap the sticker icon that appears at the top of the screen to add GIFs, polls, questions, reactions slides or location, and hashtag stickers within others. Tap the music icon if you would like to add music too. Finally, if you would like to add a link to an external website, click the link icon.
Step 6: Choose a typography and add text (if needed).
Step 7: Once the story is finished, click the “your story” button.
Tips to Optimise Your Stories
Now that you already know how to create Instagram stories, let’s dive into the best practices to optimise them. Make sure you follow these tips for an increase in your overall sales.
Plan the content. Posting stories regularly is key to keeping your audience engaged, but you will waste a lot of time if you create one story at a time. To be able to be consistent and see results, brainstorm and prepare the content in advance.
Shoot vertically. Shoot all your content in vertical format (9:16) right from the beginning for better results. Be mindful of the file size too. Instagram will only accept up to 30MB for images and 250MB for videos. Lastly, do not add text or stickers at the top or bottom of the screen as your username or the reply button may prevent users from seeing it.
Keep branding consistent. Consistent visuals help followers identify your brand and strengthen brand recall. Therefore, consider using brand colours and fonts on your stories to help followers recognise your brand as they scroll through their stories without reading the username. People are always in a rush and they usually do not pay attention to who has published what.
Add captions. 40% of people watch Instagram Stories without sound. Adding captions to stories is a great way to leverage your messages to this 40%. Besides, captions make the content accessible to a larger audience. Hearing-impaired people, for example, will only be able to understand your stories if they have captions. Although it only works for video, there is an Instagram feature to generate captions. To add them, click on the sticker icon located at the top of the screen and tap the captions sticker. Once added, check if they are correct and make changes if needed. You can also change the caption font and colour and relocate and resize the text by pinching and dragging.
Add animation. On average, images last 5 seconds while videos last up to 15. But the truth is none of your followers have ever watched images for 5 seconds. Something you can do to hold your viewer’s attention for longer is to add animation. For example, consider using GIFs, reaction slides, or animated texts.
Encourage audience interactions with polls, questions, and reaction slides. Poll, question and reaction slide stickers are key to drive engagement and increase a brand’s visibility. Besides, they are really useful to get insights into your audience and to assess what interests them.
Include a call to action (CTA). When you create a story, you have to clearly indicate to viewers what you want them to do afterward. What most brands do is drive users to their website. Those who have more than 10K followers usually add a link to their stories along with a “swipe up” sticker at the bottom of the screen while those who have less than 10,000 followers drive people to the link in their bio as in a normal post.
Create highlights. Instagram Stories do not have to disappear after 24 hours. You can pin them at the top of your profile under the highlights section to extend your bio information. Try to create a highlight per theme to present the information clearly and add brand-related visuals as covers. These highlights will be key for those users interested in your brand and that want to learn more about your values, products or services.
Go live. Instagram Lives are another way to drive engagement. Besides, Instagram is currently trying to push them as the next big thing, so each time you go live, all your followers will receive a notification that will help you increase your brand’s visibility.
Track your success with Instagram Stories Analytics. Assessing what is working and what is not is key to improve your overall performance. Therefore, switch to business mode, view the analytics for your Instagram Stories, and tailor your strategy accordingly. To see the Insights for your Instagram Stories, head to your profile and select the Insights icon in the top right corner. Next, scroll down and tap “Get Started” in the Stories section.
Instagram Stories’ popularity is increasing every year. Creating content for this platform is then key for a business to keep up-to-date and reach and engage larger audiences. Thus, if you are a business owner, consider following the previous step-by-step guide and tips to increase overall performance or sales.
Leaving things half undone always equates to a bad experience. It is like living half a life! For instance, you ask a developer to code a piece for your eCommerce project, and he forgets to close the loops. That code would never run, and your trust and confidence in that employee would fade away in a jiffy. The same is the case with your customers. They are likely to lose trust and confidence in you, too, if your eCommerce checkout page misses the mark.
Why would you lead someone on a path where the bridge is broken after about ten miles or so. Coming straight to the point, why would you let your visitors/customers browse and add products to the cart if they can’t proceed with navigating through the cart & checkout page?
The latest example of this scenario is that of Adidas. A frustrated customer rightly asked the Adidas team onReddit, “Why won’t you take my money.” This is the worst scenario where a customer is ready to pay, but the interface creates issues. It is similar to striking an ax on your feet, quite literally.
But, it isn’t just Adidas that unknowingly created such bad experiences. This is a common scenario in the eCommerce business arena, and everyone has been there at some point in time. And, thus designing a seamless checkout page when proceeding with an eCommerce development project should be a priority.
Urgency Behind Building a Workabale eCommerce Checkout Page?
Again it narrows down to halfway experiences, which is a complete no-no if you are concerned about higher ROIs. Perfection should be your favorite buzzword when checkout page optimization is in question. This is an initiative that you need to take for creating a shopping experience that will result in making a data-informed decision.
Here are some eye-opening stats of which your business needs to be aware.
Why fall into the trap of these never-ending customer plights, when there is always a second chance to make things better.
Highlighting the Need to Cope with Customer Expectations
According to the Salesforce reportState of the Connected Customer, “84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.” That is, customized and flawless experiences across multiple touchpoints need to be in place in the online space where various disruptive businesses are already setting standards in the market.
Other takeaways from this report that can’t be overlooked include:
So, the question is – What can you do to improve the user experience that would count? Here are some unprecedented tips to help you kick-start eCommerce checkout page optimization.
How to Create the Best eCommerce Checkout Page
Follow these seven tips to help you get ahead of the pack in this era of online business.
1. Single Page Checkout
The traditional eCommerce checkout flow that almost every eCommerce business follows – Review the cart, enter the shipping details, select the payment method, and finally make the payment. There are separate pages to go through each of the steps, right? But, that needs to change.
The need for a single page checkout is on the rise, i.e., all the steps involved in placing the order are consolidated on a single page. The customers get the convenience to choose which step they need to complete first, and also the order gets placed in about one to two clicks. Thus, a low rate of shopping cart abandonment becomes achievable.
2. Reduce Manual Workload
The greatest salespeople in the world are good listeners; they do not ask much from their prospective clients. This is the same logic you need to apply when making sales online. From reducing the number of form fields to saving the billing details for later, everything adds up to create an enjoyable checkout experience.
An outstanding example of this is of course, Amazon. They save the billing and shipping information so that they do not have to fetch cards to feed information time and again.
A study byBaymard Institute, says that an average checkout flow has around 15 form fields. If that is the case with your UX design, customers are likely to leave. Talk to a reliable user experience agency that can help you cut this intimidating process by about 60% percent to help create a minimalistic checkout design.
How Net Solutions Helped Legend Footwear Improve Checkout Performance
Legend Footwear is an eCommerce brand that sells shoes across the world. Their platform is built on Magento 2, and when they approached us, the checkout process was broken that led to low conversion rates.
The checkout page loading speed was pretty slow, and lack of payment options was the major challenge. We went ahead with embedding the instant checkout process, and integrated payment gateways that were popular in the market.
Better customer engagement
Smooth and fast checkout process
Checkout time reduced by up to 80%
3. Visual Progress Bars
If you still insist on sticking to the multi-page checkout process, try maintaining transparency by keeping customers informed about where they are on the journey to order completion. It is a simplepsychological trick that will work in your favor.
Let’s say you are running a marathon and you get exhausted on the way. Just when you are about to give up, you look at the billboard ahead that says, “One Lap Left.” Your brain signals you to collect all the energy you are left with to complete the race because you are almost 90% done. The last lap is just like around the corner, and that hope leads to a win.
If there were no signals, giving up would dominate the urge to proceed. The same is the case with your customers who are trying to make a purchase. That is why you need to pay heed and include progress bars, which makes for a great UX design practice when working on an eCommerce checkout page.
4. Promote Membership Subscriptions
Amazon has “Prime,” which makes it one of the top disruptors in the market in terms of innovation. Be it their “one-day shipping” plan or “free delivery,” Amazon continues to entice and attract users like a pro. Consumers are more than willing to place orders on Amazon even forlow-cost items such as toiletries. Here is an insight by eMarketer that says so.
That is why your eCommerce checkout page design should include an option to subscribe to such privileged memberships. In this way, you’ll make money from subscriptions along with building trust among the peers, and order placement probabilities will escalate too. It is indeed a win-win situation.
5. Multiple Payment Options
Embedding all the popular payment options result in getting your customers to the end of the funnel. And, do not miss out on the latest ones such as “Apple Pay.” It is slowly garnering attention for the extravagant security it offers. It is only available for the Safari browser on iPhone, iPad, or Mac for now, but is expected to become a mainstream payment option soon.
As for other globally popular payment options, do not give a miss to cash payments, credit cards and debit cards, and wallet-induced payments. For instance, according toeMarketer, 41% of US internet buyers prefer making payments through credit cards when buying online, while 28% of smartphone users prefer using a mobile wallet.
The lesson is that you cannot let fate take charge. Embrace this payment-oriented checkout page strategy and see a direct upsurge in expected ROIs. If you have a Magento store, you can easily integrate popular payment options and apply them to your store.
6. Spot-On Recommendations
If someone buys a smartphone, it is quite likely that they’ll need a back cover too. Or, if someone buys a study table, they are likely to buy a chair too. Such suggestions can be automated by building a robust recommendation engine and embedding it on the checkout page.
Amazon again takes the brownie points for its recommendation engine.35% of Prime Day shoppers bought something they hadn’t planned to buy at all. Where half the credit can be given to the amazing deals, the other half is a contribution by its recommendation engine.
Thus, try and make space for such recommendations on the eCommerce checkout page along with available offers. Your checkout page conversions will surely sky-rocket all because you empowered your customers.
7. Promo Codes with Distinctive CTA Buttons
Offering discounts on the cart page can be a game-changer for your business. Almost every eCommerce business is doing it today because consumers love it. Even a 10% discount becomes a reason to complete transactions.
Nearly two-thirds of US internet users said they were ready to trade their location-based data in return for discounts & rewards – Forrester Consulting
Seasonal discounts are obvious, but offering applicable promo codes on a particular cart value or through a specific payment method should be promoted. And, do not forget to make the promo code field identifiable. This is because sometimes customers complain that they did not spot the field and proceed with canceling the already placed order only to repeat the ordering loop.
8. BOPUS is Gaining Traction
Another valuable aspect of the eCommerce market that has been making news for good reason is – BOPUS, i.e., Buy Online, Pick Up in Store. If your eCommerce business has a stronghold in the online space, you can consider moving to brick-and-mortar stores similar to what Amazon does.
Adding BOPUS to your eCommerce checkout page design can make things a lot better for your business. In 2018,81.4% of shoppers placed orders online and scheduled a pick-up from stores. Don’t miss this opportunity, whether you are a brick-and-mortar or thinking to establish one.
BOPUS provides tangible benefits to both consumers and retailers. Consumers get convenience, instant gratification, and avoid shipping costs. Retailers reduce operational costs, and it gives them the opportunity to bring customers back to physical stores for additional purchase opportunities – Martín Utreras
9. Secure Checkout Badges
“I did not trust the site with my credit card information.” This is one of the prominent reasons for checkout abandonments, which makes it essential to eliminate this kind of hesitation. Consumers are smart these days. They have certain pictures in their heads that equate to trust and assurance. Something like “Ok, Tested” or “Assured.”
One of the best eCommerce checkout tips highlights the need for building trust. And, a simple strategy is to insert trust seals or what they call “security badges” on the eCommerce checkout page. Also, make sure that these symbols are recognizable.
Here is a study by ConversionXL that shows which security badges add what level of security to checkout pages.
10. Test, Check, Test, Repeat
Some users complain that they were ready to make a payment, but their credit card got declined. Like what this Adidas customer reported, “Why wouldn’t you take my money.” This is a common scenario that creates a distasteful experience and leads to lost revenue.
You need to take the bull by the horns when this happens. The trick is to test the entire cart and checkout flow and see for yourself. Tell your back-end team to make payments through every payment option available. These self-run purchases can quickly help detect what is wrong with payments and where you need to focus your efforts.
Put in the necessary effort to ensure the customer experience does not suffer.
Be relevant to your customers 365 days of the year and see how your business thrives in the eCommerce market. If someone is willing to add products to the cart that means you already sell what they need. But, if you let them proceed through the eCommerce checkout page flawlessly and securely, they will be back for sure without you having to approach them.
The best approach is to keep going and never stop innovating and improving.