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I'm in the final phases of designing and implementing my online store selling items for a specific niche. I'm scratching my head whether i should implement the below features, or, if they may take away and draw attention away from actually purchasing the said items:
On product pages:
1. Product Rating (Star Rating)
2. Customer Reviews on Product Page (can review the product in question).
On Main Page:
1. Newsletter Signup
2. A brief Paragraph about the store (i.e..// free shipping, direct from manufcatur, quality guaranteed..etc).
Curious to here opinions.
Overall, customer ratings on an item page (star ratings) are only worth the space if the user can read the rating comments. Also, the comments should read as if they are from an actual customer ;). If the comments come across as made-up and don't convince the prospective shopper, you might loose the sale.
Your newsletter sign up option is most certainly a must do. It may take a while to build up your email mailing list but your repeat sales through an email offer will prove less costly than your acquisition cost via PPC or other paid online advertising.
All-in-all testing each option for a set period of time under the same conditions (i.e same ads, non-seasonal time, same offer) will give you the exact answer you are looking for. As you are still constructing simply create those elements into your page template and post each option up for a 1-2 week period each and see how you fare.
newsletter signup very important, I didn't have this on for over a year, then put it on and got loads of sign-ups, makes me wonder how many i've missed
Main page - get in as many links, text, headers and key words as possible. Optimise it well for the search engines, a link to a good sitemap will do no harm!