All of us have accessed an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page at some point during the ecommerce shopping journey. It’s a section of your website that’s dedicated to answering common questions that crop up during the buying process. But when designed strategically, your FAQ page can accomplish far more than that.
FAQs represent a critical point in the customer journey where someone is looking at moving to the next stage; actively considering you for their next purchase. If your FAQs are optimized to create a positive user experience, you can instill confidence in prospective customers and persuade them to move forward in their journey.
If not, your FAQs could have the opposite effect – by pushing them towards a competitor.
In this guide, we’re going to cover how ecommerce merchants can build the perfect FAQ page for their online store, with top tips and FAQ page examples to give you a head start.
Customers want more self-service options. Consumers are showing a growing preference to troubleshoot issues without turning to a customer support team for help. According to Nuance Enterprise, 75% of consumers say that self-service is the most convenient way to solve problems. FAQs offer your customers an easy and actionable method for getting the answers they need, without needing to contact you directly.
Keeping customers on your website. Your ecommerce FAQ page is likely to be the first port of call for prospective customers during the information search. Fast, affordable delivery and generous return windows are common criteria in ecommerce, meaning that FAQs on ecommerce return policies and shipping timeframes can help to sway shoppers in your favor. This makes FAQs an effective tool for prolonging interactions with your website.
Easing the volume of service requests. Customer care teams are often bogged down with requests for basic information. Consolidating these requests into an accessible FAQ page helps to reduce traffic volumes and frees up more bandwidth for your team to focus on more complex issues.
Most ecommerce websites will have some form of an FAQ page, as ecommerce platforms like Shopify offer a variety of plugins for this purpose. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s adding value to the customer experience.
The majority of ecommerce websites use a basic template, adding a separate page to their website containing a list of FAQs. This is sufficient for most retailers to answer specific questions. But it isn’t going to support your lead nurturing activities.
Why? Because an average FAQ page does just that; it answers frequently asked questions. A great FAQ page:
So, how can you go about creating the perfect FAQ page? Read on!
The location of FAQs on your website may feel more like an afterthought, but it’s a decision with a lot of strategic importance.
If your FAQ page is too difficult for potential customers to find, they’re likely to navigate away from your website to find a competitor. Moreover, it’s a good idea to plan for the future growth of your FAQ section to avoid having to make design changes later.
Ideally, your FAQs should have their own page that can be linked to from multiple locations. This creates clarity for your customers and makes it easy to direct them to further information. The website footer is the most common place to find FAQs, so it makes sense to cater to consumer expectations by placing a link here. Other locations to consider include product descriptions, your checkout, and payment gateways, as these represent touchpoints in the shopping journey that may spark additional questions.
Menswear brand Rodd & Gunn has made their FAQs easy to navigate by adding common question categories such as returns and shipping to the bottom of their product pages. This user-friendly approach helps to build brand trust and encourage further interaction with their online store.
Providing an endless list of questions on your FAQ page is likely to overwhelm customers. Instead, ensure that you have the necessary functionality for customers to filter and search through your FAQs efficiently.
One of the best ways to do this is by dividing your FAQ section into categories that correspond with common queries. There are certain ecommerce topics that you’ll need to cover as an online merchant, so this is a good place to start:
It’s also a good idea to add ‘popular FAQs’ as a question category, as this will speed up the information search for many customers.
Using dropdown menus is a great way to make navigating FAQs more seamless. Another option is to provide customers with an extract so they can through FAQs quickly, as shown here by Colourpop Cosmetics. They’ve also included a search bar to assist customers with finding the relevant query.
FAQs aren’t always thought of as a form of search engine optimization, but they can add massively to your visibility on Google – if you design your FAQ page in a way that matches search intent.
When consumers make Google searches, they’re doing it to help solve a problem or query. To be search engine friendly, you should design your FAQs with the same goal in mind:
Use multiple FAQ pages. Trying to cram a list of FAQs onto one page without navigation tools creates a poor user experience and is likely to drive potential customers away from your site. Setting up dedicated pages for each answer makes it much easier for customers to navigate your FAQs, creating a knowledge base format that looks far more polished. This also allows you to optimize each page with the correct keywords to help individual pages rank.
Optimize the Title Tag and Meta Descriptions. These two structural elements play a major role in helping search engines to read your site and consumers understand what a page is about. By ensuring that these are optimized, you can boost click-through rates and SERP rankings.
Internal linking. Internal links are a valuable tool not just for guiding visitors around your site, but for turning your FAQs into a site map. This gives Google a better understanding of how you drive site visitors towards relevant content.
Before you start writing your FAQs, you need to know what questions are being asked.
As we mentioned above, there are some frequently asked questions that every ecommerce business should cover as a matter of course. But there will be other FAQs that are more specific to your brand or product.
One of the best ways to approach FAQs is through reverse engineering. Rather than trying to come up with an exhaustive list of questions, focus on the key things that you want prospective customers to know about you and your product. You can then work backward to construct questions that draw attention to your strengths and help to foster brand affinity.
In this FAQ page example from Frank and Oak, we can see how product-specific FAQs add value to the brand experience during the post-purchase phase. Providing detailed instructions for aftercare helps to prevent adverse situations that could damage the brand’s reputation.
Despite your best efforts, your customers will likely have questions that you haven’t thought to cover. That’s why it’s important to consistently look for trends in what your customers are asking about. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as:
Writing effective FAQs might be an art form, but you shouldn’t approach it like creating an essay. Long and wordy answers are likely to put customers off from reading, especially if they stray off-topic.
While some FAQs might require lengthier answers, others can help customers in just a few words. Below is a great FAQ example from Dollar Shave Club, which answers a query about beard grooming products simply by directing customers to the relevant product page.
It might look sparse, but the FAQ accomplishes exactly what it needs to by assisting customers in advancing to the next stage of their shopping journey. You should also consider adding images to videos to help illustrate your answer, which helps to increase engagement.
FAQs should always be constructive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as a tool to promote your business.
Common questions surrounding your return policy or product information are prime real estate to share your key selling points with a captive audience. Best of all, these present opportunities to link to further touchpoints such as product pages or even social media accounts. This makes FAQs one of the best strategies to nurture prospective customers along the path to purchasing.
Beauty brand Glossier does a great job of promoting the ethos of the brand while also providing answers to aid potential customers:
In addition to addressing more common concerns, their FAQ page also includes broader brand information aimed at enticing customers to choose Glossier over competitors. Questions like ‘How are Glossier products different from other beauty brands?’ create a valuable space to make their very best marketing pitch.
But it’s also important to consider that FAQs need to answer questions on difficult topics. Customers receiving damaged products or experiencing late deliveries are scenarios best avoided. But in ecommerce, they’ll inevitably happen at some point.
Naturally, it’s difficult to put a positive spin on a negative situation. However, you should still aim to inspire confidence in your customer by telling them how you’ll take action to solve the problem.
Online stores are constantly changing as product offerings are added/removed and policies adjusted. This means that for every change introduced, your FAQs will need to be consulted.
Making sure that FAQs are up to date is arguably the most challenging part of running an ecommerce FAQ page. If outdated policies are left on-site, it can add a lot of friction to the customer experience due to conflicting information. Situations like this are also a major headache for customer care teams, as old policies may have to be upheld to placate frustrated customers.
This can be avoided by ensuring that FAQs are reviewed regularly. Once every six months will be sufficient for some ecommerce stores, while others may need to do this more regularly.
When Nordstrom introduced a merger of Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack customer accounts, it added a dedicated FAQ section so customers can easily information relating to this change:
Branding probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when creating ecommerce FAQs, but they play an important role in creating a cohesive brand experience. Consistency across different parts of your website helps to build brand familiarity for new website visitors, which in turn enhances trust in your offerings.
Branded FAQs don’t just mean include colors or fonts, but the voice you use when talking to your customer. If this differs markedly from the rest of the shopping experience, customers may feel confused or even alienated from your brand.
Lingerie brand ThirdLove offers a great FAQ page example of how to carry your brand identity from the homepage to your FAQs. The pink header and graphic icons are a perfect match for their style, while the copy helps to inject personality by referencing their product offerings. This also makes it a great landing page in the case that consumers are accessing FAQs straight from the search results:
While FAQs present customers with a great self-service option, this isn’t going to be sufficient for every situation. If your customer has a more complex request or concern that isn’t covered by your FAQs, you should direct them to the appropriate contact information so they can talk to a service representative directly.
When this happens, you shouldn’t consider it to be a failing of your FAQ page. Even if your FAQs are very comprehensive, you can’t account for every possible question your customers may ask. After all, that’s why they’re called frequently asked questions!
By providing a call to action for where customers can go for more information, you’ll improve the user experience and save customers from having to hunt around your ecommerce site. Ulta Beauty’s knowledge base offers a variety of communication options to cater to customer preferences, including live chat, phone, and email.
Just about every ecommerce business will agree that FAQs are an essential part of their site, but few are using FAQ pages to their full potential. When optimized correctly, your FAQ page is a highly effective tool for advancing the customer journey, easing the burden on your customer team, and building trust in your brand.
By following the steps above, you can create the perfect FAQ page that enhances the customer experience and boosts conversions.