Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baker’s Dozen For Better E-Commerce

1) Put some pop into your merchandising. Online merchandising must be sure to have your content in place completely to make up for the fact that your products are not actually in front of a person for them to touch and feel. You need to make a connection with the prospect/customer. Start slow if you need to adding one product at a time and making the necessary content complete. If that means you only post 25 products out of a possible 10,000 so be it but if you do it right maybe you can do better than online conversion rates that sit at 2%-3%.
2) Opening the doors! When you open up your online store it is similar to opening up a new location to a Brick and Mortar store. When you roll out new products or a special sale it is the same as you do in a physical location. If you done marketing it out to people they will not find you. As a “store” owner you would not just sit back and hope people to walk in your doors. You would do a little research, develop a plan to reach customers through a variety of marketing and advertising channels available, the same is needed for your online store. You need to get the word out, build awareness and attract your customers with targeted on and off line media that pulls them into your online store, you know things like search and social media marketing efforts.
3) Pay the price to win. Getting paid has gotten more interesting over the last few years. Talk about options? Lol. It is no longer a credit card only world. Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover card, then add in PayPal, an online check payment and with all this you need to have a secure site so your customer’s information does not get stolen. Fun, huh? If you don’t do what is necessary on the back end you will lose customers faster than you will ever believe, and with the advent of Social Media your reputation will bottom out faster that ever imaginable.
4) E-Mail? Yes? E-Mail can and should be sued to send out your market messages, your coupons your specials, your introduction of new products all helping to build a loyal online customer base. E-Mail can run from attracting shoppers and customers with timely relevant offers keeping them informed on other possible other products that fit in with what they have already purchased. Use it as a marketing channel to connect, attract, engage, and serve your customers, not pushing them away.
5) Integrate your data. Blend your data from online and offline together. Your goal is to get to know your customer and be able to communicate with them across all channels of attack be it social media, direct mail, email to coupons. If you are listening to what your customers are saying and watching what they are dong you have a better chance to communicate in a way they want to hear from you. You become a valued service provider rather than a marketing blaster.
6) Tag thoroughly. If you use them properly ALT tags will tell the search engines what is in the content of your phones and or video and this is very effective and important. If your are selling bread makers and you just say “bread machine” your just another bread machine on line, but is you go the distance and put in an ALT tag describing the model number you will be more successful. The more specific you are the better off you are
7) Paid Search can work. A customer looking for a specific product or service will start with a search so you need to meet them where they are looking. Now I will grant you that some people will not look at you just because you did a paid search. (Google, Yahoo and Bing have an idea for you on that problem if you want to talk to me) but still in and of itself a paid search can reach your targeted audience with pinpoint accuracy that you can’t get another way.
8) Getting URL’s that are search friendly. I don’t care what you sell or do, if you have a URL that is search friendly you can drive up your web page big time. Search engines tend to have difficulties with longer, complicated URL’s that simple short ones. Likewise getting a URL with your product or service name can booster your chances of a higher ranking.
9) Make your site easy to navigate and search. If your site is easy to use, this can be one of your greatest assets and tools. More sales and abandoned shopping carts happen because of poorly designed web site that any other reason. And if you’re not sure about your site, go on it and buy something. If you can’t navigate it, you can bet your bottom dollar your customers can’t either.
10) Put Social Media into place. Social Media is there to help you if you help others. It brings you closer to your potential customers than you might (really) what to be. If you’re out there, listening to what people are saying about not only you but about your (kind) of product of service you can circumnavigate the conversation and work with it to bring you new customers. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle, Nings etc. they are all there for you to use so sit down and become a major player not a player.
11) Reviews. Review can and do have a major impact on sales. They can be good or bad and they can change overnight. If someone goes and says this bread machine burnt my bread you need to explain but at the same time if you get a review that says this bread machine lets me wake up every morning to the smell and taste of wonderful fresh bread. Run with it!
12) Stop shopping cart abandonment. Sometimes customers put things in a shopping cart to just consider them for purchase. You need to keep marketing in the shopping cart, Do something like putting a picture in the cart so they can “see” what they are buying. You can trigger a follow up email on what they put in their cart, of offer a live chat option as they wonder down the aisle for customers that have things sitting in a cart. The idea is to keep connected at all times
13) Use analytic tools. You need to know what is going on. Use the tools that are out there for you. Who, What, When and How. Web analytics are the difference between knowing and guessing whet to put your marketing dollars. Only 1 out of 5 companies have a strategy in using web analytics. Try this, of all the items you can be monitoring, measure only a couple critical parts of the metrics. Don’t go nuts with over analyzing.

Larson Notes & Satire: Now sit back and take a deep breath. Heck why not sit back and have a cup of coffee with that deep breath. I know that is how I like to take my deep breaths. You don’t need to put all this into place today, even if you might feel you should have done it yesterday. Every day I think of things and want to be doing finding ways to be making improvements to my own marketing plan. Don’t think I’m doing all this stuff or that I am doing it right. In writing this blog today I as usual found areas that I need to improve on and put into place. I mean REALLY need to put into place and improve on. Marketing and more so web marketing is a process, it’s the great experiment of you verse your competition and yes winner does take “all” the sales but you can get better the more you’re in the game.
And if you need help, heck, you could even call a company like mine. I’ll be happy to take your money to do things that from the most part you could be doing for yourself, if you have the time to do them. I’ll even buy you a cup of coffee as you breathe a sigh of relief.
Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better
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howard@larsonassociates.ws
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P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.
P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.

1 comment:

Marne said...

Great article thanks for sharing. We've found through many years of working with shopping cart abandonment there are several reasons for people to abandon a page or their cart. Nearly 60% of people abandon for some reason. The reasons range from shipping costs being too high to they were confused and had a question. So, you are correct. The more clarity you can provide upfront the lower your abandonment rate is. Marne Strickland, CEO, Customercatch.net