As an essential component of your overall business strategy, you need to ensure that your eCommerce website is earning your organisation as much money as possible. Whether you've had your online sales platform for a while, or you're making your first foray into the exciting world of internet commerce, you need to make sure that you understand your industry online.
Online retail sites can be a major advantage to any kind of business, but if your solution isn't designed correctly, it can be more damaging to your company than beneficial. Before you consider applying our great tips for eCommerce success to your online solution, make sure that you:
- Understand Your Business' Structure;
- Identify Your USP;
- Build Relationships;
- Choose The Right Website;
- Don't Assume eCommerce Is Easy;
- Create A Marketing Plan;
- Build Your Online Business Around Your Strength;
- Don't Rely On One Marketing Method;
- Capture Customer Data;
Prepare Your eCommerce Solution For Success!
Your Business Structure
You need to understand, first and foremost, what kind of eCommerce business you want to be. It might surprise you to hear that not all online businesses operate in the same way, and there are several different kinds of B2B and B2C organisations; each one with their own demands.
- Online Only – The only way for customers to see and purchase your products/services is online, through your own dedicated website or App. This is particularly common for smaller companies, or those offering digital downloads.
- Mail Order – A transactional website with a printed catalogue. This kind of business is normally supported by a few physical stores.
- Big Bricks; Big Clicks – This tends to be larger franchises and businesses with several large brick-and-mortar stores and a website.
- Boutique Bricks And Clicks – Most businesses with few, or smaller, physical locations supported by the website fall under this category.
- Mainstream Piggyback – With no website to call their own, these kinds of businesses use eCommerce marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon to market and sell their products across the internet.
- Niche Piggyback – This is when various different sellers of similar products work together to market their products all the easier, typically associated with their own blog or site elsewhere.
- Comprehensive Multichannel – Using a diverse range of marketing strategies and offering their products through a range of different avenues, these are the businesses which tend to enjoy huge profits and really make an impact on their customers' lives. Despite the huge potential profits, these are also the most complex and difficult types of business to run.
Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
You need to be aware of what sets your business apart from your competitors and ensure that you're presenting it to your customers! If you don't know what makes you different, then how are your consumers ever going to know? Differentiate yourself from the competition and make sure that you're sticking in your customers' minds!
Take The Time To Build Relationships
Building relationships with your customers is the best way to make your online presence a success. Remember that you are only there to service yourconsumers – if you aren't interested in their particular needs and requirements, then the chances are they'll find some other business that is. Social media and customer service are both extremely important for modern online retail and you can't afford to ignore them.
The Right Website
You need to ensure that the website you are using is suitable for your requirements. Whilst it can be tempting to immediately jump for the most expensive online presence with features that you are never really going to use, try to keep your excitement under control. As many online retailers are fond of saying, “Don't buy a five-figure website if you're only selling four-figures".
eCommerce Isn't Easy For Businesses
You've probably heard all kinds of success stories about small businesses creating a website and, practically overnight, becoming millionaires thanks to their online success. Don't assume that eCommerce is easy or quick – it will take work in order to make your business a success online. Remember that the techniques you might have used offline won't necessarily transfer to the internet.
Your Online Marketing Plan
Even if your marketing strategies are only short-term, lasting a month or two, it is always better to have something to head towards. Outlining your marketing plan can really help to keep your efforts focused and give you time to make the most of any opportunities which might develop.
Build Around Your Strengths
Don't forget that you are coming into your online business with your own particular strengths. If you have any experience in PR, remember what you learned when it comes to your marketing efforts. If you love writing, photography or any other creative pursuit, use that to make your products look fantastic or create a great blog to add some real personality to your brand.
Diversify Your Marketing
You need to make sure that your marketing is composed of several different strategies in order to succeed. Include SEO, PPC, PR, email, video and more for the very best results.
Capture Customer Info
Whenever you get a chance, make sure you get a hold of your customers' contact information. Email addresses are more valuable than almost any kind of transaction, and your users' goodwill can offer fantastic returns in the long term.
Make More Money From Your Online Presence
Once you've got your eCommerce website up and running and you've started to make the most of the best marketing strategies for your particular business, you can start to improve your online presence and optimise it to make more money for your business.
By performing a series of tests on your online presence and keeping a close eye on the results, you can discover which of these tips are the most rewarding for your business.
1. Offer A Single Product Or Service On Your Home Page;
If you offer a diverse range of products or services, one great idea might be to choose your most popular product and dedicate your homepage to it. In our experience, offering fewer products, but with a more detailed look at each of them in terms of images and convincing copy, always translates to more sales.
A lot of the time, it comes down to focus. Instead of trying to desperately please everyone who arrives at your homepage with a huge range of products, offer specific items or services and talk about the benefits that they can provide.
Of course, we're not saying that you can't offer a diverse range of products, but do so on dedicated category pages rather than your homepage. This can help your online presence to appear much more focused and drive interested customers through a carefully considered transaction process.
2. Reposition Your Opt-In Offers;
As we said a moment ago, gaining your customers' email addresses and building your email list is extremely important. It allows you to keep in touch with your subscribers, build longer-lasting relationships and encourage the development of a community around your brand.
You should always give your customers the opportunity to sign up to receive notifications from your business, and placing this opt-in offer high on the page can cause a great deal of your customers to join your subscription list.
If your web design relies on a long sales letter, position your opt-in offer just below the fold of the webpage. That way, once you've grabbed their attention and offered them a way to solve their problem, you are giving them the chance to subscribe for even more useful information.
You should try to position your opt-in offers on every page of your site, or make the most of “hover ads", which can allow your user to ignore them if they'd prefer. This is extremely important when it comes to user experience.
3. Hover Ads!
Unfortunately, everyone is familiar with pop up ads; those small windows which are more commonly associated with a virus or an unsafe website than great eCommerce practice. In the past, they have been a very useful marketing tool, but after years of Pop Up abuse, they are a quick way to turn customers away from your online presence.
Hover ads, however, are far less annoying. They don't open in a new browser but, instead, hover above the webpage within your already open browser. In the past, using hover ads to present promotions and special offers has been able to increase sales by as much as 162%!
4. Suggest Different Benefits In A Headline
The headline of a page has a huge impact on your sales. In fact, they are often the first thing that visitors to a website see. It needs to be able to grab their attention, represent your brand and encourage your visitor to continue reading.
You want your headline to highlight a particular problem of your viewers and make sure that it suggests that your product/service can help to solve their problem. You need to give your readers a reason to continue reading, and overcome the fickle nature of internet users.
5. Establish And Solve A Problem In Your Copy
You need to make sure that all of your on-page copy is written to appeal to your users. The most effective way of doing this is to point out a problem that your viewer may be having and how your products or services can solve it. Remember to relate to your audience and guide them from their original problem all the way to your checkout. If you present a solution to your customer's problem, then you are guaranteed to enjoy a boost in sales.
6. Add Credibility And Trust To Your Site
Your sales copy is essential when it comes to establishing your credibility. It's through this process that your visitors come to trust you and your business. They need to feel comfortable enough to buy from you. There are a range of different techniques which you can use, but one of the most effective is the inclusion of customer testimonials in your content.
These always need to be genuine reviews, excerpts from emails and social media comments. A testimonial that goes into detail is much more effective than a generic “your product is great" style review and can be a hugely rewarding way of building trust for your business.
7. Focus On Your Site's Visitors
One major problem for eCommerce is that many businesses focus the copy on themselves and what they are able to offer. Instead, try focusing all your content on the benefits that your products and services can provide to your customers. Instead of using first-person language like “I", “Me" and “Our", focus on second-person terms like “you", “you're" and “your".
8. Create A Sense Of Urgency
For the best results, you need to include a sense of urgency in your call to action (CTA). There are a range of different ways to do this, including:
- Offer a limited-time discount for certain products;
- Offer additional bonuses and free gifts for visitors buying within a certain time scale;
- Offer only a limited quantity of your products;
- Enforce a limited quantity order size;
Any of these features can really help to make your content much more urgent and exciting.
9. Don't Try To Sell Too Early
Within the first few paragraphs, and certainly above the top fold, never mention the idea of buying or selling anything. People tend to go online when looking for free information, and they rarely want to be sold to.
Get your customers interested in what you have to say before trying to sell anything. Use the first few paragraphs to outline the problem, offer advice and build trust with your user.
10. Include Images!
Images and visual content can be a great way to make products and services seem much more tangible. Revealing the product too early, however, can kill the sale even before you've suggested it.
Try to include your product images close to your CTA, which can be a great way to make the product seem real to your visitors.
11. Optimise Your Page Format And Appearance For “Scanners"
People's attention spans are much shorter than ever before, and more of us prefer to scan webpages to judge their usefulness before we really start to engage. Most will only catch certain words and phrases of your copy which jump out at them. By using intelligent formatting strategies, you can actually use this kind of skim-reading to your advantage.
Some great formatting techniques can include:
- Use bold, italics and other forms of highlighting to emphasise the most important parts of your content;
- Vary the length of paragraphs (shorter is normally better);
- Include sub-heading (which can be great for SEO as well);
- Leave the right-hand of your text jagged to break up your copy;
- Use bullet points to emphasise key points;
12. Fine Tune Your Follow Up Process
Remember to follow up about specific transactions with your customers. Even just automated emails can help your users to feel valued and encourage them to remain engaged with your brand. Following up is crucial to generating repeat orders and making more money through your online solution.
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Make More Money From Your eCommerce System
By following these great tips, and not being afraid to try new things, you can enjoy a much higher conversion rate and make more money from youreCommerce website. For the best results, don't hesitate to get in touch with the professional team of eCommerce specialists at Advansys today.
Advansys have helped businesses all over the world to make the most of their online retail platforms. They regularly design industry-leading retail websites to ensure that companies can enjoy the full benefits of the online world.
For more information on the best eCommerce strategies, contact their team today on email@example.com.