If you’ve got an online business selling products or services via a shopping cart, you’ll want to include the most current features known to achieve your goals as quickly as possible. One thing is for sure- the internet and your industry becomes more competitive every day. It is not always possible to afford a new site to accommodate every possible ‘weapon’ in the eCommerce arsenal. Here are some site components to consider to increase your site traffic, conversions, and to keep up with the competition:
1. An optimized website. Your customers cannot buy from you if they cannot find you. Be sure to have your website optimized via a customized search engine optimization campaign that is scalable, actionable, and accountable. This way your site will become visible on search engines and visitor traffic will be comprised of consumers actually interested in your goods/services. Other Digital Marketing services to consider include Pay Per Click advertising, Social Media, and Email Marketing. More on these later.
2. Once you have attracted consumers considering a purchase, make it easy for them to navigate your site. Ideally visitors should be able to find what they are looking for in 2-3 keystrokes. That means your site needs a great search function to take visitors exactly where they want to go- to the specific products/services they want as quickly as possible. The faster your site can connect visitors to desired products, the greater the likelihood that they will buy.
3. Simple, Clean design featuring the best quality images possible. No explanation needed!
4. Secure Sales: Since the goals is to get visitors to buy from you, having a secure socket (SSL certificate), quality site hosting (to deter hackers), as well as affiliations with firms such as the Better Business Bureau, and the best and most secure cart possible will contribute to increased consumer confidence and increased sales. These assurances will provide prospects with the peace of mind needed to convert to customers, as well as to become repeat customers, then loyal customers!
5. Simple navigation is paramount. Listing your products under structured categories, (i.e. list your waterskis selections under Water Sports Equipment) will not only make it easier for visitors to locate what they need, but also assists search engines to crawl and index your website more fully for higher keyword rankings.
6. Visitor-centric Content: eCommerce website content must provide the information site visitors are seeking to help them make that all-important buying decision as quickly as possible. This is known as creating a ‘good user experience’ and includes quality, original product descriptions to help visitors decide and to avoid duplicate content issues with search engines.
7. Ask for their business. Tell visitors why they should buy from your business by detailing your unique selling points. eCommerce is a well-populated field so any advantages you can offer your customers, such as a rewards program, citing a longer and more generous returns policy, even free shipping on orders above a certain price point, can influence browsers to pull the trigger and buy.
8. Related product suggestions. Some product descriptive content can be sparse. One great way to upsell, increase profits, and ensure search engines will index a product page is to include related product suggestions as well as a selection of ‘customers who viewed this page also bought’ listings.
9. Important information: Content that spells out your business’ Terms and Conditions, as well as Delivery and Returns information will influence additional sales.
10. Customer Support: A combination of email contact, an 800 number, even a Live Chat feature will go a long way to ensure that visitors feel cared about and that their concerns will be immediately addressed. Concern spells p.r.o.f.i.t.s.
11. Simple Checkout: The easier you make it for prospects to buy from you, the better. Checkout must be simple and executed quickly. Requiring customers to fill out lengthy forms will only see an increase in abandoned shopping carts. One way to to have first time customers fill out a brief form that auto-populates when they return and log in. It is also a good idea to offer a guest checkout as many a shopping cart has been abandoned because a would-be customer forgot their password or logins. The checkout is also a great place to underscore the processes your business has in place to protect customers’ transaction data.
12. Solid Payment Gateway: “Make it as easy as possible for visitors to buy from you” should be the eCommerce mantra. This means having as many payment options as possible, by accepting a range a credit cards, as well as PayPal, Amazon, and other gateways to increase the likelihood of making a sale.
13. Social Media, and 14. Email Marketing: These are low cost but highly effective means of promoting your brand and products. Both require a specialized knowledge of the demographic they target, but can swiftly engage their readers while extending your brand’s reach. Both are excellent vehicles for getting the word out about product sales and promotions.
15. Pay Per Click: If you have just launched a site and wish to increase key site metrics, consider a Pay Per Click campaign that is focused to accomplish just that. Organic results are residual and can take time to develop, however, a solid PPC campaign can reap benefits from day one.
In this blog we covered the features that inspire site visitors’ confidence leading to increased engagement, sales, and ROI. Some can be implemented right now to an existing site, or incorporated into a redesign for maximum effectiveness and higher profit. If your business goal is to remain competitive, implementing as many of these components as possible will yield lasting results.