Why Isn't It Selling?
Many people who have set up an ecommerce solution become disillusioned when their inbox is not immediately filled with "payment received " emails from Paypal. We've talked before about the unlikelyhood of an overnight success in ecommerce but I think it's important to explore some of the potentials pitfalls that might be stopping those would be customers from converting to actual sales.
Painful Payment Processes
Do your customers have to jump through hoops and stand on one foot to purchase your items? If they do you've already lost money. Only require information that is immediately necessary to make the purchase. For example, if you are selling a downloadable item you only need the customers email address. If the item will be shipped you will need a shipping address as well. But be careful not to require information that is not necessary. The result will be frustration and loss of interest. With online shopping, as with any other medium, buyers look for quick and easy. Cater to this and you will see more conversions.
You can always collect additional information from your customers later. Incentives like discounts or free shipping can be the carrot that entices the customer to fill out a survey or questionnaire, providing you more information about them and ultimately resulting in more sales when they use the discount.
Shipping Rates and Times
Speaking of instant gratification, when a buyer purchases your product online they are no longer okay with waiting 4-6 weeks to receive your product. They also don't want to pay an exorbitant fee in "shipping and handling". Work with your product shipper to find the best possible turnaround and packaging options to save you money resulting in savings for your customers.
See what your competition is doing and do it better. Your competition may already be established, but in order to become successful you must be willing to differentiate yourself. How? That's the million dollar question! On a basic level find where the competition is weak and fulfill that need. Think like a shopper and see what would benefit the consumer most. The old adage rings true: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. For lack of a better analogy apply this to your competition. Learn the market you are in and strive to rise to the top.
Search Engine Optimization
Many of you may have rolled your eyes when you saw SEO listed. The good news is today, SEO does not apply as it used to. No longer is it strictly metadata and keywords. Real SEO for the 21st century is based primarily on your inbound links. (Links created by other people linking to your site). If you have not created "roads" to your site online how will anyone find you? Creating inbound links might be easier than you think. Social media is perhaps the fastest way to accomplish this. The list of outlets is practically never ending: Twitter, Facebook, LimkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Remember that links from sites that are relevant to your's more valuable. A simple example might be if you had a site to sell a cookbook. A link to your site from a popular cooking site would help you more than a home improvement site linking to your site.
Applying these four strategies will get you one step closer to ecommerce success. Your bank account will thank you.