So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start selling online. Follow our top tips and make your ecommerce site has the ‘wow’ factor
1 Spend time on design
Your website is the face of your brand, so make sure it creates an outstanding first impression. Even if you’ve chosen an all-inclusive provider for your site, you should be able to customise certain elements of it to create a modern, user-friendly design. And if you’re building your ecommerce site from scratch remember these golden rules:
- Usability is key. Navigation should be intuitive, making it easy to search for products and complete transactions.
- Make it mobile friendly. No one wants to be scrolling around on their phone to find the shopping cart – it could mean missing out on a sale.
- Optimise your pages. Use clear headings and use sites such as Google AdWords to find out which keywords will boost your visibility in search results.
2 Stay in control
It’s natural to breathe a huge sigh of relief when you’ve finished your website, but in fact, this is just the start. Regular updates are an essential part of ecommerce, whether you’re changing your product range, introducing a new offer or just mixing things up a bit to keep your customers interested. Make sure you choose a platform that makes editing easy.
3 Focus on photography
When you’re selling online, it’s essential that your products are shown in the very best light. Don’t be tempted to save time or money on photography – after all, the images your put on your website are all your customers have to refer to. Hire a professional photographer to do the job, or if you have a talent (and a decent camera) invest a decent number of hours to get the images right. And always include a zoom feature in your images if you can. It takes a lot of the guess work out of the shopping experience.
4 Reward Loyalty
It’s easy to make a connection with customers when you interact with them in person, but quite a challenge when you’re making sales online. Loyalty schemes are a great way to show your appreciation and keep customers coming back for more so consider introducing one. Take any opportunity you can to make the shopping experience special, too – if your order fulfilment is done in house, consider adding a personal note to say thank you.
5 Offer discounts
Everyone loves a bargain, so make sure your ecommerce site offers regular discounts. Standard savings will encourage customers to come back to your site, but try ‘upselling’ or ‘cross selling’ too. Offering money off to customers who buy more or higher value products boosts average order values and overall sales. If you’re using frequently changing discount codes, remember to set them as ‘active’ or ‘inactive’ to avoid confusion and costly mistakes.
6 Get the postage right
It’s important to make sure you cover your postage costs and use a reliable delivery firm, but overcharge and you’ll start losing customers. Free postage is always a draw, but it makes sense to link this to a minimum order amount (encouraging extra sales). For simplicity, most ecommerce sites have a fixed-price for postage, so calculate an average cost of the parcels you send. You should also speak to a few delivery firms to get a competitive price.
7 Think scalability
You may be starting out as a small-scale operation, but be prepared for success. If everything goes according to plan and you start selling larger quantities of your product/service, you need a plan. Make sure your ecommerce platform can cope with a larger volume of orders or an increase in the type of things you offer. It’s essential to keep an eye on stock too and be prepared for speedy fulfilment of orders if and when things really take off.
8 Sell via social media
Use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to shout about your latest products or promotions. And remember to connect everything to your ecommerce site so people don’t waste time trying to find you.
9 Close the sale
Plenty of websites attract interest but ultimately fail. The ‘abandoned cart’ is a clear sign that somethings going wrong, so keep an eye on unfinished sales. Be prepared to send a friendly email to customers who don’t complete their order and have another look at your check-out to make sure it’s as simple as possible. Offering a range of payment options, including PayPal, can also help. Remember, however beautiful your ecommerce website looks, if you want to succeed the focus should always be on sales. Then reward yourself with a good night’s sleep.