First things first – if you’re not convinced your small or medium business could benefit from an online store, catch up on website benefits and online shopping trends first. Internet shopping continues to increase steadily, even in little old New Zealand. And small businesses with online stores can benefit from watching the marketing and sales tactics of internet shopping giants, such as Amazon.com.
We’ve put together a list of 11 key points that will help you make the online sale to your customer, from design elements to a few handy plug-ins you can add to your eCommerce website to help smooth the path to purchase. Our tips range from easy-to-implement, practical and common sense design, to the more technical and time-consuming, so don’t be put off – there’s something here for every eCommerce business owner.
- Have a well-designed website.
We’ll start off simple – customers need to be able to navigate easily around your site, find what they are looking for, and make a purchase! Go through your website as if you’re arriving there for the first time – or ask a friend to try it out if it’s too difficult to put on fresh eyes. Products should be clearly and neatly categorised on a top or side menu bar. If you’ve got tons of products, TradeMe had a good example of categorising products, starting broad and then getting more specific to help guide the visitor in the right direction. A search bar is a must, too. If you or your friend can’t follow through the steps of finding a product, purchasing and then getting back to shopping, consider a re-think of your website navigation.
- Standout call to action buttons
Another common sense design point. Make sure your call to action button – for an online store, that’s going to be an ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Purchase’ button – stands out from the page. It needs to be big, in a contract or accent colour, and very obvious to the customer.
- Consider a guest purchase option
If you make your customers login or create an account before they can purchase, consider adding a guest checkout option. You might be sending away some customers who either don’t want to or can’t be bothered to create an account right then. We’re concerned with making the purchase process as simple as possible online.
- Add user-generated content
That means reviews or testimonials of the products or services you sell online. Customers are more likely to buy products when they can read about others’ experience of the product and purchasing process. Featuring reviews establishes trust and encourages customers to purchase the item in question. Don’t worry – you can set this feature up so that new reviews are not published online until you have reviewed them yourself.
- Sale sale sale!
Entice your customers with a daily deal, special promotion or a good old fashioned sale/clearance area. This is also a great way to get rid of end of season stock, unpopular products or clear out the last few units to make way for new stock.
- Highlight your best features
Do you do free shipping? Provide a 14-day money back guarantee? Operate ethically and sustainably? Send your customers a little extra product for free? Tell them about it on the home page and your website header! Make sure you’re letting your customers know about your best features and why they should love shopping with you.
- Abandoned cart reminder
This plug-in is great for targeting those customers who added products into their cart but then went away without making a purchase, for whatever reason. Customers who hold an account with you can be sent customised emails reminding them of the items in their cart and encouraging them to complete the transaction. The emails are automated so all this be set and then left to run in the background.
- Attract the internet bargain hunters
If you have a physical retail store or you supply other retailers with your products, your online store is a great place to provide a special online discount on your products. Customers who enjoy shopping on the internet for bargains will love that they are getting a discount on the normal retail price. You’re not necessarily taking business away from your retail store – a customer who wants to shop online is after ease and convenience after all. They may well have given their business to another online retailer rather than come in store to see you.
- Abandoned cart discounts
Another plug-in that aims to convince the owners of abandoned carts to complete their purchase. With this plug-in, you can email customers with accounts and provide an incentive for going through with the purchase. Say that a customer put something into their cart but weren’t entirely sure about the purchase. A day later and they are reading your email offering 10% off that item for the next 30 hours. It might be the impetus they require to finalise the purchase.
- Don’t just give one option
It’s really important to display additional products around an item a customer is viewing. There are plenty of plug-ins and modules that will do this. For example, you can show customers related products, or what you think they might like based on their product preferences, or what other customers have recently purchased.
Add-on products are another important consideration. If you sell tech products, offer a warranty or a product case at checkout. Is the customer buying a pair of shoes? Suggest a leather care kit, or shoe inserts, or a matching accessory. Small extra products that complement the main purchase are an easy way to boost your sales.
- Use a rewards system
Reward loyal customers by offering cashback or discounts that can be applied to future purchases. You’ll encourage customers to keep returning for your products, plus provide an incentive to shop with you. FutureLab partners with Magento Sweet Tooth rewards program to help our clients with eCommerce sites offer a rewards points system to their loyal customers. Every time a customer with an account makes a purchase, they earn points that they can redeem to get future products for free or discounted. Every little helps!
As you can see, some tips for improving your online sales are just common sense, while some take a little more planning and careful thought about design, functionality and add-on features when developing your online store. If you have an online store, we can conduct a free review and make some suggestions about how to improve the website and boost your sales. If you’re thinking about opening an online store for your business, you can get in touch with us for a free consultation.