An old article from http://www.retail-ecommerce.com that deserves some fresh attention.
So, you want to improve your online sales. But generating higher online sales this holiday season could be a tough task due to the sluggish economy. This time around, it will be a challenge to lure people to shop. Many online shoppers will be looking for better deals, better offers and other sound benefits before making purchases.
Out there in the Internet marketspace, many retailers persuade users and sell their products by offering convenient offers and affordable options. Online retailing is truly a dog eat dog world, online retailers have to provide a better and a favorable shopping experience during these tough times if they do not want fall out of the race.
Let me quickly walk you through some tips that could help your online store get more visibility, traffic and sales. But, all these tips and tricks are subject to testing, you never know which trick would result in conversion, unless you test it.
- Do a basic SEO
- Don’t Ignore PPC
- Get Listed in CSEs
- Offer Comprehensive Product Information
- Provide “The Touch Factor”
- Look and Feel with holiday flavor
- Product Reviews
- Work on Pricing Module
- Provide Offers and Benefits
- Cross Sell the Right Products
- Don’t forget Cross-Channel Shoppers
- Checkout Process
- Delivery Time Matters
- Provide Effective e-Communication Option
Do a Basic SEO:
Basic Search engine optimization can do wonders, as it would bring good amount of traffic to your online store. So, what’s included in Basic SEO? Page title, Meta description, unique product contents, heading, clear cut site navigation, static URL, image optimization, and Back link from relevant websites. I recommend you to follow these posts to understand more about ecommerce SEO. Don’t employ any black hat techniques to win over search engine placements.
Don’t Ignore PPC Marketing:
Pay per Click marketing is one of the surest ways to get targeted traffic to your web store. It is advisable to conduct PPC campaign for your new products, top selling products, gift items, promotional products and so on. You can start your PPC marketing campaign either with Google Ad words, or Yahoo Search marketing. There are number of free coupons for Google ad words that are available, you may consider getting them to test your campaign. Some web hosting companies may provide you with these coupons as promotional offers with their domain and hosting solutions.
Get Listed In Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs):
Getting your product catalog listed in shopping channel is one of the finest internet marketing strategies to pull in traffic to your web store. To start with CSE marketing campaign, you can list popular or top selling products to some of the free comparison engine websites like Google product search, live product search, etc. Before starting a full-fledged campaign, it is imperative to understand the complexities and data feed requirement formats of each CSE and prepare them accordingly.
Offer Comprehensive Product Information:
Online buyers don’t just buy products randomly through the Internet; they conduct careful online research about the product before making a final purchase. Since an online shopper does not get the opportunity to touch and feel the product; therefore the retailer has to compensate this by providing as much information as possible about the product with effective call-to-actions to persuade the shopper to buy. Lack of product information gives shoppers a chance to navigate to other sites, thereby decreasing the probability of returning to your site and hence resulting in a lost sale.
So, what constitutes a good online product catalog?
- Product Name
- Product Images…
- Product description (long and short description) with clear cut marketing message and call-to-actions
- Highlight product features and benefits,
- Product specifications,
Below is a good example of a product page…
Provide Product Reviews:
As a part of gathering more information about the product, online shoppers tend to look at user reviews to know the effectiveness of the product. And sometimes, these reviews influence online shoppers to purchase the product or not. Allow your online shoppers to review the products you sell.
Provide “The Touch Factor”:
One major disadvantage in online shopping is that buyers cannot touch or feel the product physically. The best way to overcome this drawback is to provide high quality product picture. A better idea is to provide multiple product pictures in different views and angles along with the context of use.
Below is a good example for your reference...
Also watch the video interview of conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg explains about the importance of product image and optimization techniques. Thanks to Sir Wilson of “Web Marketing Today” for conducting such a great interview.
Look and Feel with holiday flavor:
Retailers should be flexible enough to add new fresh holiday graphics/pictures in their web store. As an online retailer, you should be aware of each holiday occasions and re-design or add specific occasion pictures or graphics to enhance the overall site design and shopper’s shopping experience.
Work on Pricing Module:
Effective marketing and advertisements are not the only key mantra to improve your online sales. Pricing is one of the obvious factors which influence online buyers while making buying decisions. The strategy here is not to under price or over price the product you sell, but to offer a competitive and reasonable price for your products. It is advisable to analyze various online marketplaces to understand the prices quoted for your products and make adjustments accordingly.
Offer Unique Benefits:
Offer unique benefits to online buyers to grab their attention. Do not just offer the benefits in terms of product price. You should also include offers, like discounts, coupons, free gifts, free shipping, etc. These factors will entice online buyers to shop more. Here is a clear data for the term “Free Shipping” from Google search trend tool.
From the below graph you can identify that there has been a steady growth in the consumer expectation for the term “free shipping”.
Cross/Up sell smartly:
Cross/Up selling is one the best ways to make additional sales. You have to cross sell only those products that are more or less related to the products that a customer has already bought. It is wise to suggest a photo printer rather than an MP3 when a customer buys a digital camera. On the other hand, you can up-sell items that are not related to the product that the customer has bought, Example: Free Shipping on orders that exceed $200.
Don’t forget Cross-Channel Shoppers:
If you are a click and mortar retailer, you should consider serving cross channel shoppers. A cross channel shopper is the one who searches products through internet, reads its reviews, find better deals and makes the final purchase at a retail store.Take a look at the following chart by emarketer.com
Easy Checkout Process:
Most of the online retailers lose sale during the checkout process. If an online shopper is not comfortable with your store’s checkout process, then there is a high chance of shopping cart abandonment.
So, what are the reasons that could force an online shopper to ditch your shopping cart?
- Hidden Charges
- Capturing too much of information (lengthy process to complete)
- Register before buying
- High shipping cost, etc…
Delivery Time Matters:
Informing an online shopper about when he/she would be getting the product to his/her door step really matters a lot.
Provide Effective E-Communication Option:
One of the finest techniques to grow sales and serve online customers is to provide various forms of e-communication, such as Live Customer Support, FAQ, Phone Support, Email Option, etc… The more options you provide, the more are your chances of earning trust and closing sales.
These are just few great tips that would help a web store owner to improve traffic and sales. If you have tried and tested other tricks, then please feel free to discuss here.