Whether you’re a new e-commerce business or have been operating for several years, it’s time to re-evaluate your website. Internet Retailer reports that e-commerce sales in 2012 reached $225.5 billion, a 15.8 percent increase from 2011. Get your share of this revenue stream by making your website a place where consumers want to spend their money.
Start by Selling Socks (Figuratively Speaking)
If you are a new business, Venture Beat suggests you specialize in a few items and build a reputation before you expand. FastCoCreate.com demonstrated how smaller can be better when they profiled the e-commerce company Happy Socks, which sells socks. Just socks. Between its launch in 2008 and the end of 2011, sock sales brought in $4.4 million Euros (roughly $5.87 million USD). They have learned how to sell socks really well.
Keep It Simple
Your goal is to capture visitors’ interest, guide them to the product they are looking for quickly and move them through the conversion process to become a paying customer. Of most importance is the process that gets them from having an item in their shopping cart through check-out. Customers can abandon their cart at any step in the process, so make it as easy as possible for them to get through the process.
The customer should only have to go through five steps to complete the checkout:
- View and adjust shopping cart
- Bill-to information
- Ship-to information
- Payment method
- Order confirmation
If the process is any more cumbersome than this, you are at a higher risk of having customers get frustrated and bail from the transaction.
Make the Customer Feel Secure
Customers want to know their personal information is secure when they enter it into your website. When researching what a Web host is and the best one for your site’s needs, look for those that offer security options such as SSL and data encryption. WebHostingBluebook.com will help you understand such things as SSL and why you need them on your site for security.
Track Your Performance
While designing your site, it’s easy to lose track of how well it’s running. Performance is important to keeping visitors on your site. Every two seconds that it takes your website to load has a potential eight percent abandonment rate, according to Mashable. Anything your site does that is not directly related to motivating visitors to make a purchase or facilitating that purchase is not essential, and can be a detriment. Get rid of it.
Offer Free Shipping
If you want to compete with other successful online retailers, offer free shipping. It is one thing people look for when they shop online. Mashable quotes a Forrester Research analyst saying that if you charge more than 10 percent, you’re killing your sales. People don’t want to feel as if you’ve tacked on high shipping and handling costs to make up for lower product pricing.
Don’t Annoy Customers With Irrelevant Offers
It’s tempting to pop up the “other customers who bought this item also purchased the following” message to drive further sales. Two things to keep in mind:
- Know when to do it, so you don’t disrupt the check-out process and risk cart abandonment
- Collect enough personal data to make intelligent suggestions
People know you are there to sell them something. Keep the experience positive for the customer. When you do this, they will be back again and buy more. Annoy them, and they’ll never step across your virtual threshold again.
Photo credit: Fosforix