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Would you like to see your online sales numbers increase, but you’re not quite certain what hurdles are holding you back? Believe it or not, your website itself may be creating unnecessary resistance. There are a few features that have been proven to be part of the most successful Ecommerce sites out there; falling short on any of them can create hurdles to reaching your Ecomm sales goals.
Put yourself for a moment in the place of a consumer who has landed on your Ecomm site for the first time. Look at your home page. Is it immediately apparent what you sell? Fancy animation and interactive widgets are all well and good, but if someone can’t figure out what you’re selling, how can they purchase from you? To be successful, a first time visitor should be able to know what your company does within three to five seconds of landing on your homepage.
If it is pretty obvious what your product line consists of, there’s another question to ask: Why should someone buy from you? What do you offer that sets you apart from a thousand other websites selling the same thing? Why does it benefit the customer to purchase from you rather than from one of the giant sites like Amazon or Overstock.com? Clearly stating your UVP (unique value proposition) is critical to successfully differentiating your company on the web.
An online store has one great disadvantage: your customer cannot physically see or touch the item before purchasing. The job of your product description is to put that item in your customer’s hands, virtually. The tools at your disposal are words, videos and images. In almost every case, a combination of the three is needed, but the ratio may change depending on the product.
When someone is looking to purchase a microwave oven, for example, the image is valuable but may not be what’s going to sell that microwave. Everyone pretty much knows what a microwave looks like. What a purchaser is looking for are the specs: How big is it? How powerful? What are the presets, if any? On the other hand, someone shopping for a new shirt certainly needs to know the specs for size, material, etc., but the image does the bulk of the selling work. What that shirt looks like is the important thing. And, if your product is complex or offers benefits that are difficult to explain fully in words, a short video overview may do the job better than images and text alone.
Consider what your site sells and what is important to your typical customer, and then make sure your product descriptions, images and videos fit the bill. Your product page is your salesman, so make sure you create content that supports your product.
Nothing will cause more frustration for a prospective Ecomm customer than a website with navigation so involved or confusing that it feels as if you have to conquer an intricate maze to find what you are looking for. It should take no more than two or three clicks to arrive on a product page. The best navigations are the simplest: intuitively designed “category > product” structures work best. A well-designed onsite search function should be used to allow a customer to jump immediately to the item they want.
Still, you’re going to have folks who want to browse your site’s wares, and you need to make it simple for them to maneuver from page to page, category to category and product to product. Drop down menus, left navigation sidebars, filtered menus, recommended products and other Ecomm navigation approaches should all be considered during your site’s design phase.
This ties in with the previous point about navigation. Keep your product pages easy to digest. Not everyone enjoys trying to make sense of a grid of 150 products that requires scrolling, clicking and two sets of eyeballs to take in.
Paginate your product galleries. Give your customer the option of looking at just a few, several or an entire product run all at once, but default to no more than about half a dozen items per page. Remember always: the easier you make it for you customer to find what they are looking for, the more likely they are to buy.
People buy from companies they trust. In today’s world with news reports about companies’ databases being hacked and personally-identifying the information being stolen, that’s even more in the Ecomm world. You might have the best products at the best prices with free shipping and a lifetime money-back guarantee, but if folks do not feel comfortable entering their personal credit card information on your website, they are not going to buy from you.
Make sure your site is secure, and then proudly display that fact with digital certification, called trust seals, from one or more SSL certification sites. Just like seeking certified contractors or auto repairmen, if a customer sees your website has the right certifications, they will feel much more at ease.
An even stronger level of trust can be attained by simply allowing customer comments and reviews. Let those who have already made use of your service tell others of their experiences.
These steps will go a long way toward helping keep your Ecomm sales numbers where you want them. If you are looking at revamping your Ecomm site or building your first, start a conversation with the experts here at Synapse. Let us start you on the road to Ecomm success!