Where do you stand currently?
Firstly, do you know how your customers are currently interacting with your site? Have you been studying your analytics on a weekly basis? Have you asked your customers what they want? Market research, Google analytics and usability studies are all very simple ways of determining what’s working on your site and what’s not. Often internal opinions can cloud judgement on what the best solutions are. Your customers make that choice, quickly and brutally, either by continuing to purchase on your site or by leaving to shop elsewhere.
Two other good sources for establishing browser usage on your site are:
- you can set tasks and have real users analyse the process on your site and provide feedback.
- work out what sections of web pages customers are drawn to through heat maps, etc.
For a small investment you will get an extraordinary amount of insight into customer usage and habits on your site and will establish errors, omissions and problems that can all be resolved to increase user experience. Customers (usually 30-40%) will happily provide this information if it’s kept simple for them.
Adding a survey to your site, even on the order confirmation page, can quickly provide feedback directly from your customers. You can use survey sites such as https://www.surveymonkey.com to create your online questionnaire. Keep it short and sweet. Do not ask more than three questions, but make these questions count.
By following these options, you will constantly be on top of what your customers want, when they want it and how much they want to pay.
Building your customer base
Newsletter marketing is the simplest, most cost effective and best way of building your customer base. These are people who already know your brand, who have subscribed to receive updates from you, and are already predisposed to buying your product or service. How hard can the sale be? Incentive led, informative weekly newsletters can significantly increase your traffic and convert these visits to sales.
Make sure your SEO is up to date, correct and targeted. Spend time on your meta data, getting your page titling, targeted keywords and sitemap correct. Keep it updated to coincide with content changes and ensure the body content includes your keywords. But most importantly, get busy on link building. This is without doubt the most important factor in SEO. The more links you have directed to your site, the higher the organic listings you’ll climb. The following are examples of how you can achieve this:
1. Directory submissions.
2. See who is linking to your competitor sites and approach them.
3. Offer discounts to large groups (schools, universities, institutes, large companies, etc) and request that a link to your site be provided on their site and any newsletters, etc that are sent out.
4. Blog posting.
5. Write targeted articles for publication websites in exchange for a byline and link to your site.
6. Press releases - let everyone know when you’ve got something interesting to say.
7. Social Media - get active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, etc and constantly link back to your site.
8. Write testimonials for suppliers and ask them to return the favour (including a link of course).
Study where your customers are coming your site and track where they’re going to next. Users will not always land on your homepage, but could be directed to an internal page from a search engine or external link (25-50% of user enter on a category page) and need to be able to gauge quickly where they are and how they should proceed.
Language usage is very important. Do not use industry jargon or company titling. Go for simple words or statements that are easily understood. New, Products, Sale, etc are all good terms to use as the customer can quickly ascertain where they want to go.
Regularly use promotions to shift product. All customers love an incentive led campaign and this is a very profitable method of clearing end of line or seasonal items. Promotions should vary to continually engage and entice user to buy into them. If it’s always a 105 discount, it will not intrigue a customer to buy into it.
Photography is an absolutely vital element to the success of any eCommerce website. Good product shots, taken at various angles, will encourage users to buy. Make sure images are large and that zoom options are provided. The internet is a very visual medium and imagery is often more important that written content as users will make an instant decision on a product based on the imagery. Equate it to in-store merchandising in a bricks and mortar store - there’s a reason why shops spend so much time and money on displays.
Navigation and category classification should be intuitive, simple and obvious. Make sure the terms you’re using match the search terms that customers are using. Main navigation should include detailed multi-layered drop downs where possible, providing instant access to required product. There should also be more than one route to all products and cross-promotion and up-sell should be used liberally to promote increased sales.
Encourage them to make a purchase
Make sure your site is aspirational for your target market. They either already like your brand and want to continue to purchase your goods or they’ve come across your site and you’ve got seconds to ensure they buy into your site, your brand and your product.
Provide adequate product detail. Companies often assume that users do not read content, but if they’re parting with their hard earned cash, they’ll often want to know exactly what they’re buying. Matched with great photography that can be zoomed into for detailed views and product reviews, you’re beginning to create an emotional, aspirational response in your customer that is directing them towards a purchase.
Fulfilment is vital to repeat purchasing. Clearly stating your procedures on your site will encourage purchasing from new customers. Delivery, returns, packaging, time scales, reviews, customer service, etc instantly install a sense of security in a website. The one-to-one experience a customer receives in a shop cannot be replicated online, but can be equalled by ensuring that all of these steps are best practice and designed with customer satisfaction in mind.
Making transactions simple
From site entry to payment the user should find the purchasing process simple and straightforward. They should have access to their basket at all times to review their selections. Large buttons and clear calls-to-action should lead them easily to the next step. Delivery costs should be displayed obviously. Security procedures should be communicated instantly to establish trust. Undeniably obvious steps these may be, but you’d be surprised how many online stores get it wrong.
Integrate your payment process so that your customer is not led to an external site. Try to make the checkout process a one-page only step, as this will increase conversion rates. Get the language and tone right - it’s important to build trust early.
Getting them to come back
It’s all related to the experience they had in the steps above. If you’ve got these right, they’ll absolutely come back for repeat purchasing. not only that but they will become a brand advocate and promote your brand/product through word of mouth - and we all know how important that is to the success of any company.
If you would like to discuss how Framework Design can help you to increase your online sales, contact us
now to arrange a meeting.