Strategies to Make Your E-Commerce Site Work for You
These days many businesses do all of their sales online in a virtual store. Small business owners usually find that expanding into online sales is an important step in growing their business. Even businesses that are primarily brick and mortar can benefit from an e-commerce presence that can establish their credibility, increase their exposure, and augment their sales.
Since the world of e-commerce can be difficult to navigate initially, the first step is to consider precisely what it is you are trying to accomplish in going this direction. While some marketing wisdom carries over from traditional marketing, e-commerce is a different niche. Some tech-savvy small business owners can do a lot on their own, but paying a professional to help get you off to the right start can maximize the benefits of an e-commerce site and help to increase sales faster. Here are some tips to guide you through the initial steps of planning an e-commerce site.
First Impressions Count.
Think of your e-commerce site as the front door of your business. You want to present your customers and potential customers with an immediate sense of who you are and what you can offer them. Your site should have a clear message that defines exactly what service you provide or what you sell. The common wisdom is that you have three seconds to grab the attention of a site visitor. Three seconds! That’s not much time, so your e-commerce site had better shout out what you do.
Design Is Important.
The beauty of online sales is that it is so easy for a customer to buy from you, but the flip side is that it is just as easy to jump to another site. Knowing some basic strategies of design can help keep your visitors on your site and convert them to customers.
Call to action buttons prominently displayed on each page can help keep the visitor clicking. Clicking on your site keeps them there and, more importantly, moves them along in the buying process. The Add to Cart button should be visible without having to look for it. It is easy for a buyer to just give up and move on to another site if they have to search for the button to take them to the next step.
Keep It Simple.
Keep it simple: don’t make it difficult for a visitor to register for your site. You can lose a lot of people if you force them to fill out a long form. You don’t really need an address and phone number—an email will do. In fact, not requiring customers to register at all can be the best strategy—especially skipping the requirement to register before buying.
It is much more effective to let customers make a purchase as a guest user and then ask if they want to register. You can point out that registering makes it easier to track orders and so forth. Psychologically it can be easier for people to register after they have made the purchase.
Leaving an order unfinished is a very common practice among online shoppers, so make sure your checkout process is straightforward, clear, and really really simple. Make the checkout function easy as pie and you will have fewer customers abandoning the cart at that point.
One addition that customers appreciate is having a clear idea of what point they are at as they are making a purchase. Using breadcrumb navigation in the checkout process helps encourage the customer to complete the purchase.
Make It Easy to Search Your Site.
A good search function can avoid many frustrations for your customers. It is especially helpful if you make sure your e-commerce site has a search function with category refinement, so that your potential buyers can target the item they want.
Of course there is much more to e-commerce marketing, but these tips should give you an introduction into the way you have to think when you are entering the world of e-commerce. To summarize, keep your message clear, make it easy for site visitors to find what they want, and make it a no-brainer to complete the purchase.