Eight Ways You Can Improve Your eCommerce Website – Strategies from a Long Island Internet Marketing Consultant

“My eCommerce site is not selling enough, what should I do? Optimize my website? Drive more leads? With a Pay-Per-Click Campaign? etc.”

Search Engine Optimization is hot right now and it will continue to play a key role in your overall web strategy.  Certainly SEO can help bring targeted, prequalified prospects to your online storefront. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns can be successful as well, however they can be very costly and time consuming, and much attention needs to be given to return on investment. On top of that, if a site is not built well from the beginning, you can spend an arm and a leg advertising your site because Google and other engines will likely associate you with a low quality or relevance score which can significantly drive up costs per click and your advertising visibility.

The truth is, many of us get caught up on driving leads / driving traffic when the real issues are your website’s design, your marketing message, your sales funnel and your ability to convert sales. Here are some basic tips to help you look openly and honestly at your eCommerce website and ask yourself if there are improvements to be made there first. If you build it they will come…but they may not buy, so look within first.

Design: Professional. Modern. Makes a positive impression in first 10 seconds. Instills confidence that your brand identity fits with your target market. Colors should be appropriate to your audience. Look and feel should be appropriate to your industry.  Every image and design element should support your overall message.

Structure: If your purpose is to sell, ask yourself if the structure of the site supports that objective.  If you are trying to do too many things on one page at once (promote events, provide tips, link to social network sites etc.) your message can get diluted and lost.

Navigation: Should be simple, intuitive. Menu options should be clear. So should your message; instead of “products” try “Shop Our Products.” Are the most important parts of the site easy to identify? How many clicks deep are key pages? If you are looking to sell, sell, sell, ask yourself why there is a lone “products” link in your Nav. vs. an overt message weaved through all copy and site elements.

Appealing Products: Do customers care what your product is or what it does?  Make your product descriptions concise and prioritized based on what is important to the customer. Convey products and services in a way that shows the customer how they will solve a problem or benefit directly.

Shopping Cart: Which one to choose? Have you ever seen customers walk out of retail stores when the line was too long or when policies were not understood upfront? Now think online shopping carts. Your cart can make or break the sale so do your homework. Know the questions your customers will have and answer them proactively in FAQs, calculators, and on page information, for example, to avoid cart abandonment. Know what your competitors are using and make yours more useful to your customer.  Make the cart an integral part of your sale strategy to sell, cross-sell and up sell, not an afterthought.

Privacy Policy: Privacy and personal information are expected, especially when confidential billing information is being shared. Invest the small amount it takes to write up thoughtful, clear policies and post them on your site. Have a lawyer review them to be above reproach.

EZ Contact: With a virtual storefront and so many choices for online shoppers, it takes more work to humanize the online shopping experience and gain the trust in your brand. Obscuring phone numbers (as many large Corporations do) and contact info. can frustrate users and make you lose sales. Know what customer service level is needed for your customers and build a process and communication plan around that. Tell customers how long it will take to contact them after an inquiry. Give them contact options. Put phone numbers strategically around your site with a multitude of contact resources to show customers you are on the other end of the line.

Post Sale Contact: Is the sale the end of your dialogue with customers? Are your customers coming back to your site after their initial purpose? What is on your site that would entice customers to come back? Are you offering something unique to buyers to get them back? A thank you card, a gift, a discount, etc.? Many times, the most sales lost are potential sales from first time buyers who are never contacted again.

If you have any further questions, please send a note to Upside Business Consultants at info@upsidebusiness.com or give us a ring at 516-610-0922. We are happy to answer a question or just hear your thoughts.