Online sales are the key to economically surviving the hellscape that is Covid-19. Evan Connell tells us how to succeed online.
Let’s Get Started
Having an e-commerce website as well as a brick-and-mortar retailing site is a really good idea. The e-commerce site allows you to reach customers who are not in your immediate vicinity. Your online website can be open 24/7. Most bricks-and-mortar retail outlets cannot be open all day every day. Also, the operational costs of an e-commerce site are much lower.
Many customers are starting to prefer shopping online to actual shopping in-person. Despite this, so many online shopping websites utterly fail. This is due to several issues, and most have easy fixes.
Here are some things that you need to be aware of to ensure your ecommerce site is a winner.
Online sales: Have good quality images
Make sure you display the product from several viewpoints. Use excellent quality photos, that enables the customer to zoom in and really check the product out. Customers cannot pick up the product, so you need to provide the closest substitute to this as possible. If your photos are of poor quality, you will almost certainly lose the sale.
Have excellent product descriptions
Make sure your product descriptions are very detailed, and unique to that product. Don’t use generic descriptions, which have been supplied to you from the supplier. You need to draw in the customer with creative product detail. Put the effort in, it is worth it!
Missing contact information
Having clear, easy-to-find contact information makes customers trust you. Having it buried deep in the site is not a good idea. It will put a trust barrier up superfast and they may even just simply log out and never come back.
Customers need to know that they can contact you if a problem arises. If they get this peace of mind, they are much more likely to spend money with you. You need to show your location, your full contact details, and your phone number. If you don’t, then your customers won’t be breaking down their trust barriers any time soon.
The big, successful ecommerce websites all have simple purchasing processes. This is why they are so successful. Make sure you keep your payment process easy and clear. Once it gets too complicated, with too many steps, customers are likely to get spooked and click away from the purchasing process.
Online sales: Make registration optional
If customers have to register for their first product, they might not commit to the purchase. Let the customer go through the checkout process. Then give them an option to register their details at the end. If they come back for a second purchase, their details will be saved and the checkout process will be even easier. Otherwise, let them view products and buy as a guest, and use the checkout as a guest. It builds trust and is more likely to get that sale.
Don’t have hidden fees
People abandoning their cart is a massive problem for online retailers. A big part of this is surprise fees added at the end, like unexpected shipping costs. The shipping rates need to be clear from the very start of the purchase process. Show customers clearly how many items (or the spending threshold they need to cross) to get free shipping. Hiding them until the end is a big no-no. It is easy to give your customers a shipping calculator based on where they are in the world.
Most shoppers are moving away from bigger screens like laptops and tablets to their mobile phones. You need to make sure your website looks great on both types of screens. Make it a priority to be mobile responsive, so your customers don’t click away because your site doesn’t load properly.
Tell customers what to do
As soon as your customers log on, tell them what to do. If they get confused or cannot work out the next step, you’ll lose them. Pages that don’t have products for sale on them should steer the customer towards the products you want them to buy. Make sure they are guided through your website from start to finish.
Online sales: Marketing
Your products are ready. Your site is finished and looks snazzy. And now, you have arrived at the hard part – internet marketing. You might have the best ecommerce site in the world but if you don’t drive traffic towards it, then it’s not worth having.
You will need to create an inbound marketing strategy. Then implement it. You will need to collect leads from social media, Google organic and paid advertising. As you start to get sales traction, people will start rating you online and offline, and you’ll be able to grow your business. But you will need to get the initial marketing right.
Engage with your customers
Get into the minds of your customers. Talk to them if you can on social media by creating a discussion etc. If a customer is not satisfied with a product, or has returned it, try to find out why. This way, you can work out what went wrong and make the process better for future customers.
Make sure you are targeting the right market. You may have many online campaigns driving customers to your site. But if they get there and it is not what they are into, then your marketing efforts are wasted. You’ll need to research what your target market likes, and match that to your ad campaigns and how your website looks and sounds.
Get the pricing right
Pricing online is incredibly important. Online shoppers can check with other websites in just minutes. In physical stores, they have to walk from store to store. But online, you have to be smarter. If your price is too cheap, customers will think your products are rubbish. If the price is too high, then they will just go to an alternative supplier. Keep an eye on your competitors and work out your customers’ pricing ‘sweet spot.’
Online sales: Conclusion
You can build a business online with minimal overheads. But it does take some thought and work to make it a truly great selling machine. If you want more advice, you can contact the author from our contact page.
Need to sell a book online? Then check this out.
Evan has been working with computers and coding for 41 years (he’s 46!). His clients have ranged in profession – from actors, musicians, politicians, restaurateurs, beauticians, hairdressers, farmers, the good old blue-collar worker, and even other online marketers! If you want more advice, contact Evan through our contact page.