E-Commerce Sales Tips

Your Sites Design

e-commerceIt's no good paying a lot of money to get your e-commerce website well placed in the major search engines if your site puts people off when they arrive to buy your products or services.

You may well have the best product or service in the world but if your site isn't specifically designed to convert visitors to sales, you will be wasting a lot of money to bring traffic to a dead site. All your marketing efforts and advertising campaigns will be pointless.

Before you begin to employ an SEO, social networking or external link building company, or continue marketing your site using other methods, be sure you are ready to get your customers through your ordering process with absolute ease. Also do a double check to ensure that your site can instil trust in your visitors. A good way of checking these things out is to run a usability test on all your sites content.

Usability testing helps you replicate the experience of the average website user and correct problems before online visitors find them. It also gives you valuable answers to other questions:

  • Do visitors enjoy using the site?
  • Do visitors find it easy to buy?
  • Do they understand the purpose of the site?
  • Is there any incentive to return after the first visit?
  • Can they recover from errors?

Usability testing is the best way to test how well your site search, site map, forms, shopping carts and custom error pages function. They should all work together to guide visitors through your site and help them to get where they want to be. Frustrated visitors aren't likely to return.

If your website conforms to user expectations it will make them feel more comfortable and more inclined to visit your site again. They will also recommend your website to their friends and acquaintances.

There is no doubt that good usability is critical to your website's overall success.

So what else do you need to do in order to dramatically increase conversions and hence sales? There are a few things you can do right now that could pay off big time!

Make it Easy to Find Information

Instead of creating rigid pathways through your site, build in search functionality and a dynamic database that lets customers find exactly what they want. Similarly, make sure your customers can get quick answers to their questions about your products or services.

A March 2007 survey of nearly 3,000 online customers found that 44 percent abandoned a shopping cart because they couldn't get the answer to a question (according to Harris Interactive).

A prominent FAQ page or Live Chat function can easily respond to questions and problems like these, which means your customers can have a happy time when visiting your website.

Reduce the Number of Clicks to Purchase

Make it really easy for your potential customers to find the information they need by implementing the three-click rule. Generally, it should take no more than three clicks for your customers to get from your site's index page or landing page to the checkout page. Visitors to your site will not hunt for a way to spend their money. If they cannot quickly find what they are looking for they will simply leave.

Collect Customer information

Collect enough customer information so you can deliver your product or service and stay in touch with your customer using email. However, if you force customers to register too much personal information before they check out, you'll lose the sale - either because it takes too much time or because the customer is annoyed by your information demands.

You may wish to give customers an incentive to share their personal information. For instance, you could offer a discount coupon or free shipping in exchange for registering their full details.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Giving your customers payment choices is always a good idea. This lets them feel as though they are in control. So as a minimum, you will want to offer a choice of at least three major credit card options and perhaps a PayPal account as well.

Provide Multiple Sales Channels

Use every possible sales channel, including phone orders, shopping cart orders, mail-order catalogues, social networking channels and discount offers emailed to your customers.

Set Attractive Delivery Policies

The advantages of Internet shopping for buyers include that they can easily and quickly compare products and prices by using a comparison based search engine. That also includes shipping charges. So do your homework before setting your delivery charges and even consider offering free delivery by setting your prices so that they include these costs.

Make your Privacy Policy Obvious

With all the spam and scams these days, customers are getting more and more tired of giving out personal information. They want to know exactly what you intend to do with it. So tell them! Make sure your privacy policy is up-front and easy to read. Make sure that a link to this privacy policy appears on every page of your website.

Provide Great Customer Support

Make sure your website provides easy access to a Frequently Asked Questions page and have a good search tool so your site visitors can easily find what they are looking for.

Give an email address and physical address and even a phone number on your site. Let the visitors know that if they have a question or problem you'll be there to help them.

In this Internet age, make use of the Internet to provide additional customer support channels and marketing opportunities. These will include the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter.

Build a Relationship with your Customers

Don't overlook opportunities to treat your customers well, such as greeting them by name when they return to your site, remembering their preferences, and offering to keep their shipping information on file so it doesn't need to be entered again.

Use a Content Management System

Using a Content Management System will not only make it much easier to post crisp and clear product descriptions, but will also allow you to quickly update prices and product information. Such systems, which used to be costly and geared to large retailers, are now much more affordable and in some case even free!

Why not check out a few of these mostly free content management systems that can be used for all sorts of websites, including a full e-commerce site complete with shopping carts, payment options and delivery solutions.

Alfresco

Drupal

Joomla

Wordpress

Regularly Test Your Site

To successfully manage an online store you have to pay as much attention to detail and customer service as in the conventional world of bricks and mortar.

Take the time to frequently test all your links and features. If a link to your check out or payment page is broken, you might be missing out on sales!

The Power of the Major Search Engines

When visitors input the product you sell or your brand name on search engines, make sure the link connects to your landing or product page, not your company home page. This enables customers who don't know your company or who forget its name to still find you and make a purchase.

Regularly Track Site Results

Set up a good system to capture traffic information. QBS PC Help like to recommend Google Analytics but your own web host may well provide a good statistical package such as AWStats so that you can easily track your sites progress.

Both these methods of tracking your sites performance can tell you, among other things, the sites and search engines that refer your best customers as well as which pages draw the heaviest traffic. Such tools also enable you to identify return customers, new prospects, and understand how users typically navigate through your site - where and what they clicked. You can then adjust your design or products accordingly.

Once you have your site tidied-up and ready to convert - then you can begin driving traffic to it. You should then see a dramatic increase in your sales income.

Finally have an SEO Campaign

SEO will drive qualified traffic to your website. Before people buy they will first research the net to see what is the best product or service. SEO should, in time, have you ranking highly on the search engines.

Before you select an SEO company its best to find out what search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about, and what can and cannot be done do to make your website successful.

Take a look at some of our SEO articles as these will equip you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

SEO - How long to get results?
SEO - Pay Per Click Advertising Tips
SEO - Search Engine Optimisation Guidelines

This step needs to be taken as a simple search "seo companies UK" using Google will reveal over 300,000 UK sites offering SEO services. How do you choose which one to use?

QBS PC Help do not recommend any particular SEO company as we believe in letting our readers decide for themselves about the company they wish to use.

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