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  • 1. 1 IDEAS FOR INTERNET BASED BUSINESS, or ECOMMERCE (E-TRADE) (*) How to Leverage Promotion Codes “Make sure your promotion codes require customers to buy at least two or more items. Then display your cross-sell offerings on the promotions code page. This gives customers incentive to increase their purchase amount, and helps them find additional products with which to do Offer a Prize to Entice New Subscribers “Anyone who signs up for our email newsletter is automatically entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a free toy or gift certificate from our website. Drawings are held at the end of each month, and all active subscribers are eligible to win. This campaign is currently featured on our store’s home page, and we've seen a huge increase in the number of Streamline Your Shopping Cart “Each new page a shopper has to load to complete another step in the checkout process is a chance for them to fall out of the funnel. You can minimize fallout by combining pages, and Empower Employees to Offer Special Incentives "Empower your employees to offer incentives to help take online shoppers from simply browsing to actually purchasing. Arm phone, email and live chat agents with a cadre of special promotions, discounts and other inducements only they can offer. Consider driving communications by advertising the offers on site, i.e., “Call now for special discounting,” or “Chat now and get free shipping.” Merchandise Products Both In-Store and Online “Retail sites and search engines are consistently the first or second stop in the shopping continuum, with the end purchase location being split fairly evenly between the online and offline retail channel. If you buy shelf space, eye-level kiosks or other brick-and-mortar merchandising options and don’t merchandise on retail websites, you’re missing almost half of your potential customers.” Test Placement of Anxiety-Reducing Content “Test placement of anxiety-reducing content, including security icons, returns policy, and satisfaction points. It's often best to separate emotive content from transactional considerations.” Product Feeds Lead to Success “Proactively sending out product information is a secret to success. Product feeds to locations like Google Base, Shopzilla and Shopping.com give customers more opportunities to find what you have to offer. Search engines want to provide relevant information when searchers look for items you have described in your feeds.” Follow User Paths with Clickstream Tool “Use Alexa Clickstream to learn from which sites users come to your competitors’ sites, and where they go afterward. You can also use it to see where visitors come from and where they Add a Handwritten Note to Shipped Items “Empower your packers to add a handwritten thank you note to the enclosed invoice or packing slip. If possible, use the customer’s first name, i.e., ‘Dear Helen, Thank you for your order. We appreciate your business. Regards, Rob.’ It doesn’t take much effort, but it
  • 2. 2 significantly improves how the customer perceives and feels about your company.” Test Small Before a Full-Site Rollout “Experiment with new ideas. There are tons of ideas out there to try, from chat to video to social networking. Develop small, quick, cheap tests to see which are most effective before investing in a full site rollout.” Correctly Evaluate Your Conversion Rate “The conversion rate is the ratio between the number of visitors who are likely to perform an action you desire and the ones that actually do. It's not related to the whole website traffic. Eliminate from your analysis those visitors who don’t have the slightest intention to convert, but can skew your reports. For instance, when calculating your sales conversion rate, exclude all visitors who are referred by organic search keywords that are not related to your offer. You’ll be able to focus conversion optimization actions on the segments that truly matter to your business goals.” Deep Links Lead to Deeper Value “Getting links to your site isn’t a new concept, but links should point to your most relevant pages. Home page links aren’t usually relevant for searches. Look to gain links to specific category or product pages. This will pass link value deep into your site and drive rankings for specific long-tail keywords.” Mommy Bloggers Love to Do Reviews “Mommy Bloggers love to write reviews about products. Search for Mommy Bloggers and then contact them. Tell them how much you like their site, why your product is great, and offer to send them a free product to review. As an added bonus allow them to do a giveaway of your product to their readers. This is not only good for driving sales to your site but is great for SEO [search engine optimization].” Mobile: A Critical Ecommerce Channel “Mobile is not just another customer communications medium, it is rapidly evolving into an effective and critical ecommerce channel--one that creates a link between existing commerce channels, helping to converge them. And, consumers aren’t just using high-end phone browsers, they are using a wide range of phones to browse the web. When developing mobile websites and applications, businesses should focus on content delivery across different types of devices, as well as ease of navigation, design, usability and context. For example, small displays create usability challenges, and cumbersome processes that can cause customers to abandon their purchases.” Impress Your Customers “Impress your customers after their first order with a shipping upgrade, a special discount or store credit for future purchases. This encourages them to come back for more, and the return on investment can be much higher than traditional advertising.” Provide Customization and Personalization Whenever Possible “Online product customization is becoming an increasingly popular feature for merchants keen to distinguish themselves from their competition. The magic lies in customers being able to instantly see the customized products, so they don't have to imagine what the watch, for example, looks like with a blue band as opposed to a green one, or a silver dial versus a gold one. Letting customers personalize their purchase provides the ultimate touch (assuming of course, that you are actually able to actually produce the end result). Customization can make a huge difference in
  • 3. 3 the customer's buying experience; however, utilizing this power requires merchants to expertly prepare their images.” Two Great Conversion Tips “Cart abandonment may not reflect a cart problem. New info crushes momentum. Make sure visitors can access the complete cost from any page and your cart abandonment problem may magically disappear. Also, test a one-page checkout. We've seen it increase conversion rates 'in some cases.” Appeal to Coupon Hunters “Make sure you regularly publish your coupon codes and special deals on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the words ‘save’ or ‘deal.’ These are often grabbed by third parties and coupon hunters and then republished on various coupons sites, giving you a wider distribution list at no cost.” Protect Your Brand’s Reputation Online “As the online retail sales channel continues to grow, a company's greatest challenge is defending its brand from being devalued by discounters. Ensure your company’s ecommerce success by monitoring and enforcing pricing violations to keep online retailers on a level playing field.” 'One-Day Only' Sale Can Boost Social Presence “We now do a "Wild Wednesdays" promotion where we announce one product for $10 (usually retails for $25), or $10 off a particular item. We announce it on Tuesday via Twitter with a coupon code that is good only on that Wednesday. We limit the offer to one discounted product per customer, and it could be offered only ‘while supplies last’ for those with a big customer list. We are currently using this campaign to grow our social media presence.” Create Unique Descriptions for Best Results “Search engines want to provide the most relevant results possible when people search. The original content rule applies to storefronts if they want to succeed. Best practices for natural search engine ranking is to create your own unique product descriptions and avoid copying descriptions from manufacturers.” Cut Down on Clutter “Shoppers don’t want clutter! Ideally there should be only 10 to15 products on a page, no pop-ups or advertising, and a comparison feature to view more product details.” Consolidate Your Community “Publish exclusive offers and discounts in the social networks (like Twitter, Facebook or Google Orkut). It will consolidate your community and will keep it active.” Increase Foot Traffic “If you welcome customers to collect purchases in person, or if you have a bricks-and-mortar store, make sure you are listed on Google Places. It will help you get found by potential customers looking for your products in and around your local area.” Develop Pure Content “Content is still king. Dedicate a portion of your web team’s time and budget to developing pure content that is compelling and relevant for your users. Finding the right idea is key – it can be informational and help your users make a more educated choice, or it can be simply for entertainment. Compelling content will generate free traffic and links that your product pages never will.”
  • 4. 4 Tips for Global Ecommerce “Know your global audience. Americans may want a quick and easy checkout process, but consumers in Japan and Europe prefer to see more details and options when shopping online. Eighty-five percent of the local German market uses bank transfers as the primary means of payment, not credit cards. And, discounted products are often perceived in Japan as being faulty instead of simply a good deal.” Consider Payment Provider Added Services “Consider the cost of added services when choosing your payment provider. For instance, you may use PayPal to checkout customers from your store or on a selling channel like Etsy or eBay, but did you know PayPal can also get your accounting done? Various added services offered by payment providers can make it less costly and simpler to run your business.” Make a Better Category Tree “Don't make product lists too long. Everything that goes ‘beyond the fold’ is too long. Spend more time to make a better category tree. If it's impossible in your case, make page navigation very obvious and easy for a visitor.” Display In-store Promotions on Your Website “Since the research cycle is typically much longer for consumers considering a big ticket purchase online, the impact of relevant and compelling promotions can often be the driving factor in getting them into the store or online to make their final purchase. To make this process seamless for the customer, use ecommerce tools to align your site with your promotional calendars, and display on your website your in- store events, promotions, sales, coupons and finance offers. When optimized, these tools will create a better customer experience online, extending the value of materials created for in- store customers.” Try Incentives to Reduce Cart Abandonment “Online merchants typically concentrate on attracting new customers, but research shows that the industry has a very high rate of shopping cart abandonment, and this has not improved over the past years. Try offering incentives for consumers to complete their purchases, and reward them for doing so. Rewarding customers creates loyalty and drives more sales and revenue.” Don’t Rush Your Product Listings “When first setting up your ecommerce site it can be tempting to just get the basics of the products uploaded first and add details later, but don’t rush. Take time to get the title tags and descriptions right for each product, including relevant key words and a USP [unique selling proposition). Also write the description tags to sell and include relevant keywords.” Conversion Optimization Testing is Important “Run controlled A/B/n tests of your site-wide templates, and concentrate on statistically significant results. In many cases, a 10 to 30 percent increase in sales can happen by testing variations in design layout." Make Use of Free Surveys “Many shopping search engines (like Shopzilla) have free sales confirmation surveys, and the feedback can be invaluable. Survey your customers regularly, and be sure to route the feedback to the appropriate departments – customer service, webmaster, product development, or other.” Up-sell Only What Makes Sense “Whenever possible, up-sell accessories and items that make sense and compliment a customer’s purchase. These items will
  • 5. 5 encourage customers to buy more and enhance their overall experience with the core product.” Set Workflow Rules to Automate and Innovate “Workflow rule engines provide vital flexibility when processing orders, shipping, segmenting traffic, and giving discounts. Jump ahead of the competition by setting workflow rules to automate and innovate. For example: Set a 10 percent discount for customers coming from 'Google only' on 'orders over $50.' Then, set it to 'send them an email' and 'set a tracking code'... the uses are endless.” Use Free Tools to Track SEO Efforts “Find the top searched-for terms related to your industry with the free Google AdWords keyword tool. Then use the free Rank Checker from SeoBook.com to determine where your site ranks for each term across the major search engines. Organize all the information in a spreadsheet and recalculate rankings often. This is a great way to keep track of SEO efforts and to discover keyword terms to target through link building and on-page optimization.” Link Your Blog to Internal Product Pages “Create a helpful, industry-specific blog, and make sure each of your principle team members has access to create entries regularly. Your corporate blog linked to internal product pages is your single best way to obtain long tailed keyword relevance in the search engines. “ Find Out Why the Cart Was Abandoned “Contact those visitors who passed almost the entire checkout in your shop but didn't pay. There could be a technical problem that caused the customer to abandon the cart. Send a follow up email to find out why they didn’t complete the sale.” Create an Easier Order Form “Testing confirms that simpler and easier order forms convert better. So, make your order form as short, and with the fewest fields, as possible. Save information so that customers don’t have to start from scratch if they come back later. And, use either check boxes or radial buttons, but not both.” Get Shoppers Back with Retargeting “When visitors leave your site without making a purchase, display ad retargeting can help get those shoppers back to your site and motivate them to buy. Retargeted ads can promote the products each shopper is most likely to be in- market for next. It is always better to target shoppers with a known affinity for your brand, rather than prospecting for new shoppers.” Use a Thank You Page “An order confirmation is good, but a ‘thank you’ is even better. More than just good manners, a thank you page is an opportunity to reinforce your relationship with your customers, reward them with discounts on future purchases, and up-sell and cross-sell your products.” Close More Sales Through Personalization “Converting browsers to buyers is tough. For most ecommerce sites, as many as 97 percent of visitors leave without making a purchase, and this is often attributed to shoppers just not finding merchandise that interests them. You can improve conversions by presenting relevant, personalized product recommendations on your product detail pages, category pages, and cart page.”
  • 6. 6 Engage Multi-channel Consumers with Relevant Online Content “Retailers must use their web presence to intercept consumers online—with relevant content—before they get their information elsewhere or make a purchase from a competitor. By providing more relevant online information, retailers can successfully use the Internet to seamlessly deliver products and promotions to consumers in conjunction with the store experience.” Check Reputation Before You Deal “If you are about to strike a deal with another company, check its reputation before making any decisions. Take time to Google its company name and search for reviews.” Shipping Can Be a Profit Center “You can make shipping into a profit center. If you have accounts with UPS or FedEx, ask them to give you a discount based on your history. (The FedEx discount can run up to 47 percent.) Then, advertise discounted shipping rates to customers, but only give half the discount.” Build Virtual Relationships “Segment your customers and re-market to them via email, based on what they have purchased from you in the past. Build virtual relationships with your customers based on their buying behavior and preferences. The stronger your customers feel a brand affinity with your company, the more likely they are to do repeat business with you.” PPC: Test Multiple Pages “Test multiple landing pages for your pay-per- click ads. It’s easy to run multiple creatives in Google and point one to a category page, one to a product listing page, and one to a product detail page. Most websites have a few pages that will work for a given keyword, and this is an easy way to get more ROI out of your PPC campaigns.” Use Unique Content to Increase Conversions “Original content is critical to building a successful online business. When you regularly update your websites and sales pages with unique, search-relevant content, you not only increase organic rankings, but also provide added value to the consumer, resulting in higher conversions and a larger number of repeat shoppers over the long term.” Provide a Toll-free Number “Place a toll-free phone number in a large font in the header of your website. You will get a few more phone calls, and that is a good thing. Answering your business phone is your ticket to increasing the average revenue per sale, as the phone is one of the best places a merchant can up-sell.” Basic Security Tips "These are basic website security tips: Keep your operating systems and installed applications up-to-date with the latest security patches. And, don’t run unnecessary network services on servers and workstations." Study Your Competitors’ SEO “Study and learn why your direct competitors rank above you on search engines by looking at their code. Using your browser’s ‘View Source’ function, determine what puts them on top for specific keywords, then you can beat them at their own game on your website.” Focus on Your Key Message "Don't use lengthy product descriptions in general lists of products, like categories or search results. Web visitors will simply scan
  • 7. 7 over long sections of text and can miss your value proposition. Better to focus on your key message for product lists." Aim for Quality Backlinks “Getting many links to your site is key when it comes to ranking well in the search engines, but quality counts. Aim for backlinks from related sites, from pages that don't have a lot of other links, and ask for anchor text that includes your keywords rather than just your company name.” Give Localized Delivery Information “Give customers localized information about delivery and shipping times for their particular location, which can be the deciding factor in making a sale. To make this process accurate, inventory levels should be updated in real-time, with localized delivery dates based on stock and incoming purchases.” Put Your Phone Number in the Title Tag “If you make sales by phone, include your telephone number in the main title tag of your home page. This way, someone can call you without visiting your home page, because the phone number will also appear, in bold-face, in Google search results. Featuring your telephone number prominently is also a signal of honesty and transparency.” Good, Better, Best “Consumers love to be told what to do. In a day when information overload is the norm, keeping things simple and direct is key. Telling a customer what is a good choice, a better choice, and finally the best choice, is a very good way to increase conversion rate and help your customers find what they want quickly.” Make Web Pages Load Faster “The faster your page loads the more Google likes your site [and users, too]. Take a look at implementing things like gzip compression, which can usually be done with a few lines of code. Suitable code can be easily found by a quick search on the Internet.” Warn Consumers of Scams “Search and monitor social media networks and other Web 2.0 platforms for new scams on a regular basis. If you find your company is being victimized by a scam, warn consumers through various mediums, including the company page on your social networks, your corporate website, an official tweet on Twitter, and the official company fan site.” Have a Great Newsletter “Make your newsletters fun and/or insightful. The vast majority of newsletters in the world are boring and one-sided. Use your newsletter to show your customers what your company is doing to help them. Give them a reason to open it, read it, and look forward to it.” Make User Guides Available “Shoppers like to be able to view or print product user guides or manuals, particularly when looking at consumer electronics products. User guides not only help shoppers select the right product, but can also prevent returns. These documents are commonly available as PDF files included in the product content made available by your vendors via hosted content links.” Drive Short-term Sales "To drive short-term sales volumes, try these marketing techniques: Offer 24-hour deep discounts on selected products for one day only. Or, offer free shipping over a limited time
  • 8. 8 period, such as 'Place an order this weekend and get free shipping.' Repeat at intervals to drive traffic to your site." Learn HTML, Save on Design Fees "Make sure at least one of your core team members learns and understands HTML very well. You can potentially save a bundle in web design fees by being able to make easy and quick updates yourselves." Squeeze Images to Web-friendly Size "When looking for ways to speed up your site's performance, be sure you have squeezed your images down to the most web-friendly size. Free online services, such as Smush.it from Yahoo!, are great for compressing your images without losing any visible detail." Don’t Get Hung Up on Cool Tricks or Gimmickry "There are a lot of great web tools that promise to do big things for your online business. Look into them if they interest you, but remember the core values that drive your business, and find ways to infuse those into your ecommerce site for long-term growth and revenue." Put Text in Bite-sized "Chunks" "Web pages that present a wall of solid text and information are intimidating to shoppers—it seems like too much work to slog through. So separate text into short, discrete paragraphs separated by white space, and use bullets when you can." Make the Most of Free Shipping “One of the most significant draws to a product listing is free shipping. When you offer free shipping, be sure to populate the shipping field with a zero (0) for all eligible products in all your data feeds on comparison sites and other product databases (such as Google Base).” Use Advanced Analytics to Maximize Conversions "Optimize your site at its full potential to convert visits to sales by using advanced traffic and sales analytics tools, such as Google Analytics. By tracking patterns during visitors' shopping experiences, you can determine which pages should be most advertised, and which pages need adjustments." Return Policy "Place your return policy link immediately under the checkout button. You need to give users comfort that they can return without risk. If you can accept returns without penalties and fees, you will find yourself in even better shape." Use All the Free Tools at Your Disposal "Use all the available free tools to market and maintain your website, such as Google Product Search, Xenu's Link Sleuth, Twitter and Google Webmaster Tools. And, use that other great free tool, the Internet, to find more available tools." The Power Of Online Video "Using video to promote products and services online is one of the most underused, ecommerce strategies today. Video is highly viral. YouTube is now the number one search engine behind Google, and Americans watch double the number of videos compared to the number of online searches conducted. This gives video the potential to make your ecommerce campaigns incredibly successful." "Add to Cart" vs. "Buy" "Use phrases like 'Add to Cart' on your buttons rather than phrases like 'Buy.' Consumers don’t like commitment. It is like saying 'Will you go on a date with me?' versus 'Will you marry me?'
  • 9. 9 You are more likely to say yes to the date because less commitment is required." Watch PPC Metrics Weekly "If pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is part of your marketing strategy, establish a set of core performance indicators and pay attention to those metrics on at least a weekly basis." Free SEO Information for Beginners "A great source of free information for beginners can be found at SearchEngineBook.com. It will provide you with the 'ABC’s' of SEO. Sign up for the free beginners SEO course and you will receive an easy to understand email once a day for a week on the basics of search engine marketing." Lead the Eye to the Action "Want people to click that 'buy' button? Design your web pages to lead the eye to it. Take advantage of the fact that people read from left to right. Use arrows to point, and color your order button to stand out." Comparison Tool Helps Reduce Returns "If your products are technical with many features or detailed specifications, make sure your ecommerce software has a comparison tool that allows shoppers to view detailed feature breakdown for a number of products side by side for easy comparison. This improves usability and can reduce returns." Some Free Comparison Sites "Take advantage of the free comparison shopping sites that are out there, including Google Product Search (a staple of any shopping channel strategy), theFind (it has a great, free 'up-front' program to enhance merchant visibility), Sortprice (it has a Facebook store application for online retailers), and Oodle (for merchants who also have a physical store)." Basic Social Marketing Tips "Social marketing is important and time consuming. Make a specific plan, commit to being regularly active on the social site, and make your profile dynamic. If you can’t perform social marketing well yourself, hire an expert or delegate it to someone who can." Success Metrics for A/B Tests "When performing A/B tests you should make sure especially of two things: to have statistically significant results and to choose the right success metric for your campaign (which can be revenue, profit, orders, average order value, CTR, or other important metrics)." Ease the Pain of Tax Season with Online Incentives "March is the height of tax season, which makes it the perfect time for financial services marketers to target consumers filing their taxes online with great deals and special promotions. During tax season, people are looking for online incentives that help them get over the pain of filing their taxes." Keep Information Consistent Across All Selling Channels "To ensure cross-channel consistency, SKUs, prices and product information should be the same online and in-store so they can be treated exactly the same from a fulfillment and service perspective. The result is less work, higher customer satisfaction and a reduced need to develop separate staff or procedures for online sales."
  • 10. 10 Identify the Source of Inquiries "Measure your marketing effectiveness with lead tracking software. By identifying where your inquiries come from (e.g., online or via the telephone), what sources are working and how much they are costing, you can get closer to the ‘holy grail’ of marketing: $x Marketing Spend = $y Sales Return." Shop Payment Gateways "Shop around to find the best deal in credit card processing gateways. Even a penny more per transaction will eventually add up to big bucks over the life of your shop." Copy Your Foreign Competitors “When entering foreign markets for the first time, make sure you offer customers the same value as your foreign competition. Copy your competitors' payment solutions, business terms and business partners; and match their delivery costs and delivery times. If you cannot meet or beat your foreign competitors, then don’t enter foreign markets.” Use Tags to Label Images "Label all images with alt tags and image tags to provide another way for customers to find you. Imagine if you were reading a description of your product without photos. Could you visualize it from the description? Include image tags and alt tags that describe what’s in the image to help visitors who are vision impaired. " Learn to Delegate "A business owner does not have the time to be an expert in everything or to micro-manage every business detail. Learn to delegate responsibilities, hire good employees or service providers, and allow yourself time to focus on the big picture." Calculate the Discount That Brings the Biggest Profit "It's important to double check the math behind your online promotions. A 60 percent discount will bring you more customers than a 40 percent discount, but keep in mind that the 40 percent discount might actually bring you more profit and even better customer retention." Adjust Plans Based on Metrics "Traffic, conversion rate, and average order value are three numbers that significantly impact the bottom line. With 2009 as your baseline, create your 2010 goals, then map your on-page and off-page tactics to positively influence these key ecommerce metrics. Produce monthly scorecard reports and quickly adjust plans if you’re not seeing the results.” Use a Favicon to Promote Your Brand "Promote your brand with a favorite icon (or, "Favicon"), a square 16 pixel graphic that appears next to your website address in the address bar, next to the web page’s title in the web browser favorites, in tabs, and desktop shortcuts. To implement, place the favicon.ico graphic file in the root of your URL, and then link to it with: <link REL="SHORTCUT ICON" HREF="http://www.thenameofyourwebsite.co m/favicon.ico">." Watch this tutorial for help in creating your own favicon. Offer Additional Payment Methods "When you offer additional payment methods (e.g., PayPal, Amazon and Google Checkout) you can lock in customers that may be worried about trusting your online store. Millions of customers that already have accounts with these secure payment methods know and trust their checkout systems and buying experience."
  • 11. 11 Take Advantage of Free Online Education "Take advantage of free education on the Internet. No one knows everything, so learn more about topics you need to stay current on. Most tech sites have sponsored seminars, and since they are free, you have nothing to lose." Shop First, Ask For Registration Later “Allow shoppers to check out before asking them to register with your website. The information learned at check out, such as name, address and email, can be used to create customer accounts. Eliminating this extra step in the online shopping process gets you one step closer to a completed order.” Offer a Branded DIY Gift Wrapping Kit "Many shoppers don't use gift wrapping services because they prefer to save the money, or they might want to check what they bought before it is wrapped. Try offering a DIY gift-wrapping kit with your branded gift-wrap, ribbon, and card for a nominal fee. You won't need to use staff resources wrapping products, plus your customer gets to inspect the gift before he or she presents it. It's a win-win solution." Never Argue, Try Persuasion "Never argue with a customer. Even if you are right, it's useless waste of time. You'll lose as soon as you start arguing with the customer. Try to persuade him or her instead." Adjust Your Spend Caps During the Holidays “If you have caps on your spend at various comparison shopping engines, be sure to go in and adjust your budgets throughout the holiday season. Traffic and costs will rise steadily so be ready and visible for all opportunities.” Keep Social Media Strategy Relevant to Your Business "Connect to customers through social media outlets, but develop your own strategy relevant to your particular business. Just because Dell, Best Buy or other large corporations are using a particular site or a particular strategy doesn't mean it is relevant or feasible for your business." The Advantage of Up-selling "Up-sells increase average earnings per sale, and a properly executed up-sell can even increase your conversion rates. Compelling up- sell offers should cost no more than 30 percent of the price of your primary product. And, when choosing your up-sell offers, always select products that complement your primary product offer." Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket "Try not to rely too heavily on one supplier. Although it's more difficult to manage multiple suppliers, diversifying will help shield you if your primary supplier should run into trouble." Offer Telephone Sales on Your Site "Offer telephone orders on your site as an alternative to online orders. A message such as 'Order by telephone and speak to one of our Product Experts' can increase sales. And, conversions are typically higher over the telephone." Embed Ecommerce Into Your Overall Retail Strategy "Launch your ecommerce operation as a coordinated, multi-channel selling effort, ideally with the head of ecommerce seated at the management table. This structure allows ecommerce to become what it should be in
  • 12. 12 retail--a force multiplier for chain-wide initiatives, and it optimizes online results." Keep Shoppers on the Cart Page "When cross selling or up-selling products in the shopping cart, make sure you allow shoppers to easily add the recommended products to the cart without leaving the shopping cart page." Localize Site Content "Your ecommerce site should be as localized as your physical stores. Some retailers have hundreds of localized, micro-branded sites with content that resonates with local consumers. You can also use IP mapping to localize prices, offers and product selection. Make sure your website platform embraces this complexity -- when done correctly, it's a powerful sales tool for your online and local stores." Keep Your Message Above the Fold "If it is important, keep it 'above the fold' [middle of screen]. Email or newsletter sign ups, special offers, reviews, and navigation are better served 'above the fold' where a visitor is more likely to engage them." Include Expert Testimonials "Customer testimonials and user-generated product reviews are great to provide reassurance for your online store. But, if you can, go one step further and put up any 'expert' testimonials or product reviews. An example might be, 'The head groundsman at Wimbledon recommends this lawn mower...' and include actual quotes from the expert." Help Non-Profits and They Help You "Things are tight for everyone right now, including non-profits. For a donation, many local groups, especially team sports, will help you with time-consuming projects such as taking online inventory, washing windows, or cleaning company vehicles. If they don’t ask, you can suggest it. It is a great solution for both organizations because everyone wins." Use Ning to Target Customers "Ning is a web service that hosts thousands of social networks and it is a great place to target niche customer segments. For example, if you were selling embroidered pet collars, the best place to promote your products would be a Ning network for dog lovers. Find out the networks your customers are likely to belong to and connect with them on Ning." Create a FAQ Page "Create a FAQ [frequently asked questions] page that educates customers about your products or services in a concise matter. It should cover a wide range of questions and answers to help customers make more informed decisions on purchases. Customers will be more comfortable shopping with your company and have a better understanding of the way you operate, creating a foundation for repeat customers and referrals." Define Your Business Objectives "Approach ecommerce as an all-encompassing marketing discipline from the outset. Clearly define your business objectives, make them achievable and measurable. Once this has been defined you can then make intelligent decisions and select appropriate partners to assist you." Detailed Images Appeal to Sophisticated Shoppers "As the Internet matures so does the sophistication of online shoppers. Studies indicate that today's shoppers expect retailers to provide not only textual product information, but also detailed, zoomable images, videos, and alternate product views. A
  • 13. 13 superior customer experience separates the best-of-breed retailers from the rest of the pack." Use Creative Commons for SEO Value "If you have old imagery such as model or product shots which you are no longer using, consider submitting them to image-sharing sites under a Creative Commons license. Oftentimes users will credit your company for the image and provide SEO value by linking to your site." Improve Your Onsite Search “Help shoppers find the products they’re searching for more quickly. If you sell merchandise across a range of product categories, consider adding a category drop- down [menu] next to your search box to allow shoppers to narrow their search ahead of time (e.g., women’s apparel vs. men’s apparel vs. kid’s apparel).” The Power of Product Reviews "Use the power of product reviews and motivate your team to do their best work. Instruct your employees to route satisfied customers to the most important online sites for leaving feedback, and give your people a bonus if a referred customer writes a review about your company there." Only Ask For Information You Absolutely Need "Ask your customers only for the information you absolutely need. If you are selling digital products, do you need the customer's full address? What about the phone number? Most customers dislike giving their precious personal information away until they get to know your company better." Grab Your Market Share Now "A recession is no time to reduce your marketing and advertising budgets. Manage expenses according to ROI, but this is a good time to grab additional market share." Improve Rankings With Press Releases "Press releases provide an opportunity to provide high-quality content within your press- related pages. Many merchants disassociate the importance of marketing activity from their websites. But each press release allows the opportunity to increase your keyword density and improve your rankings." Deploy Decision-making Widgets "When selling big ticket items or products that require research, deploy merchandising widgets to aid in the decision-making process. Customers who interact with online merchandising widgets will generally view more products per session and are more likely to add a product to their shopping cart, increasing conversions, repeat visits and customer satisfaction." Add Unique Content to Improve Product Descriptions "Improve your product descriptions by adding informative and unique content. The more descriptive and unique you are in your product descriptions, the better the chance that someone will buy from you. Figure out a way to make your product descriptions unique to differentiate you from the competition." Hire Interns With Advanced Skills "Utilize local high school and college student’s talent for jobs whenever possible, including paid internships. You will be amazed at the talent you can find, such as advanced skills in programming, photography, blogging etc. And
  • 14. 14 the interns can gain necessary experience in a practical environment." Step Up Security Accreditation "Go one step further than SSL or 'McAfee Hacker Safe' certifications on your site. Try to get industry-endorsed accreditations such as the 'Good Web Shopping Guide' or 'Governed by the Internet Shopping Code of Practice.'" Earn Trust By Keeping Your Promises "Be honest with your customers and never promise anything that cannot be accomplished. Once you make a promise you must keep it. Earning a customer's trust is the best way to get a lifelong partner." Spread the Word on Facebook "A Facebook page is a great way to promote your online store. Not only does it give you customized presence and branding, it also gives your customers a channel to interact with you. And, it provides great SEO value, too. Set up a Facebook page now and spread the word among your friends and customers." Help Customers Interact With Your Site "Invest in features that will help customers interact with your site or understand your products better. This could be product reviews, expandable interactive images, video, or chat. Watch your competition -- what features are they adding?" Turn Shopping Cart Abandons Into Future Customers "Never underestimate the profit opportunity that comes with undecided or 'freebies hunting' customers. Do your prospects want your merchandise for free? Get creative! Join forces with advertisers and other merchants around the world and use the 'Get it for free' model to turn shopping cart abandons into sales." Targeted Email Can Increase ROI "Your customers have different purchasing patterns and interests. Segmentation allows you to send targeted email campaigns to subgroups within your list based on subscribers' behavior or demographics. Since competition for the attention of your newsletter subscribers is rising, sending relevant email is vital to a successful email marketing campaign." Use Google Alerts to Stay on Top of Your Industry "Use Google Alerts to stay abreast on what's happening in your industry, you'll be surprised how much they keep your 'finger on the pulse' of news items that are important to you. Make sure to include keywords like your company's name and your line of business, as well as important industry keywords and buzzwords." Establish Good Inbound Links "Links are the currency of the web. Not only do they drive traffic in their own right, but they also are essential to high search engine rankings. Without good inbound links to your web site, your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts will be limited." Present Your Products in the Best Possible Way "Image is everything and online shoppers need to come as close to touching and feeling a product as possible. You need to overcome the obstacle of customers not being able to experience your product, like they can in a retail store. Take time to present your products in the best possible way with clear and vibrant images and accurate descriptions."
  • 15. 15 Customer Testimonials Add Trust "Customer reviews and testimonials are great ways to help visitors to feel more confident in their purchase, resulting in lower shopping cart abandonment and higher overall revenue. When contemplating a purchase, peer feedback is very powerful and adds a new dimension of trust." Look Further Afield for Inventory Sources "With an unrivaled manufacturing infrastructure, sourcing direct from Chinese suppliers can greatly increase profit margins for small online businesses. By using a transactional marketplace rather than a supplier directory, buyers can select and purchase small volumes at a high frequency while utilizing inbuilt security systems – mitigating risk and maximizing cost- efficiencies." Take Advantage of Existing SEO Services "Before contracting for any SEO services at all, be sure you are taking maximum advantage of SEO services you already possess, such as those built into your web hosting account, or those built into your shopping cart. You should be using them. Some are highly effective and will continue to build page authority and page rank for you day-by-day, every day." Don't Wait to Promote Top-rated Sellers "Leading retailers have recognized the value of premium position and are offering it as part of their top-rated program. But why wait until October (like eBay does) to promote top-rated sellers? Offering cost-per-click bidding now to attain premium position helps advertisers/suppliers improve sales while helping you generate incremental revenue in hours." Google Alerts Provide an Extra Set of Eyes and Ears "Set up Google Alerts on your company’s high- converting keyword phrases. When these phrases appear in a blog post, video, website update, or news release, Google will send a relevant email update. This instantaneous feedback is a great information resource for new blog posts, latest product ideas, link exchanges and even short-term PPC campaigns." Seek Quality and Affordable Advertising "It is important not to overlook paid search engine advertising for your online business. Many of the leading search providers, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, offer paid advertising at rates that are affordable to businesses of any size. This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website which could lead to potential sales." Use Long Tail Phrases to Describe Products "Most people think of keywords as individual words. While these are important it is also important to think about the phrases that consumers use to describe your products. These phrases are referred to as 'long tail keywords.' For many websites, more than half of traffic comes with long tail keywords than from shorter one- or two-keyword phrases." Fundamental Security Tips "It's critical to become a stickler for security when it comes to your customer's data. Some fundamental tips are to use strong passwords and change them frequently, become PCI compliant, never store sensitive information in plain-text at any point, use digital certificates, store transaction IDs/subscription IDs over credit card data, and above all do not store any more customer data than is necessary."
  • 16. 16 Work Together to Build Strong Links "To make the most of out your SEO linking strategy, make sure that the rest of your marketing team understands what keywords and pages you’re targeting. Some of the best natural links come from work you’re already doing elsewhere, from press releases to social media." Diversify Online Marketing Tactics "Online merchants should diversify tactics to reach customers through targeted advertising on sites like Shopzilla, Bing cashback, and Google Product Search; timely email promotions; and most importantly, by providing relevant, quality site content and high-quality images that foster a better online shopping experience." Put Your Best Image Forward “Compared to traditional store rent and utilities, ecommerce has built-in advantages with already cheap start-up costs. Resist skimping further on aesthetics and appearance; these things strongly represent you, your vision, and your business. Spend the dollars in design, proper functionality, and support to ensure your image is represented correctly.” Audit Search Queries Often “Regularly audit your search queries. These are the actual words a searcher types, not the keywords you buy. If you buy paid search advertising using broad match and phrase match, you could be wasting money.” Start Planning for Holiday Season Now "To succeed during the holiday season, make sure your website and its underlying technology can support your marketing plans now. Online retailers should be prepared to quickly and accurately process large quantities of orders during the holiday season. And, integrate social media, wish lists, and page promotions now to have a successful holiday shopping season." Use A Site Search That Incorporates Guided Navigation "Shoppers often begin their search using vague and general terms, and then abandon the search in frustration and leave the website altogether because too many choices are returned in an unstructured manner. Guided navigation helps solve this problem by allowing the visitor to easily and rapidly narrow the search in a highly structured fashion." Focus on Upsell Products "To succeed with your ecommerce solution, it is extremely important to focus on having the customer picking an upsell product with better profit, or adding accessories together with the product they are purchasing. This is no more than a time commitment, but well worth it. Find products that you can add as accessories, not only to a few of your products but to all of them." Automation is Not a Substitute for Outstanding Support "It is critically important to have user friendly automated tools, dynamic and well-designed web pages, and clear communication processes. But don’t forget the importance of coupling this with easy access to an outstanding, knowledgeable and helpful support representative to create positive, long lasting, impressions of your company." Tap Location Online to Drive Offline Sales "The consumer’s expectation of 'research anywhere, buy anywhere' means merchants must bring offline decision-making to online commerce. And, location plays an integral role. With geolocation technologies, online enterprises can proactively drive offline sales
  • 17. 17 by highlighting the nearest retail locations or presenting coupons for in-store use based on shoppers’ geographic locations." A/B Split Testing "Do A/B split testing of landing pages using Google Website Optimizer. It's free and you'll be pleasantly surprised at your conversion's improvement." Find Related Forums and Blogs "Targeted marketing is the most effective way to drive potential customers to your site. Use the search engines to find related forums and blogs, and sign up for as many you find. Participate by adding useful information, comments and advice, and be sure to include a link to your website." Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment "Diversifying your product range is an excellent way to expand your existing business and reach new customers. You can add value to your online store and increase your margins by introducing new complementary products. This will also allow you to test new suppliers for quality and reliability." Maximize Your Profit on Every Item Sold "Setting the right price for items is key to maximizing profit, but it can take experimentation and may vary based on who the actual shopper is. Understanding how your shoppers respond to pricing and promotions and making fine adjustments will deliver large returns. Leveraging new vendor solutions that are low risk will simplify this complex process." More Trust Equals More Revenue "With all that consumers are hearing in the media about identity theft, hacking, and fraud, they are understandably more concerned than ever about transacting business online. Merchants need to be sensitive to these concerns and reinforce the trustworthiness of their site wherever possible." Add a Video Play Button "The benefits of product video on ecommerce is well established, but how it is triggered by shoppers is critical. Take a cue from YouTube and news sites - use a superimposed ‘play button’ in the immediate vicinity of the primary product image. Shoppers know immediately what this means, and your conversion rates will be maximized." See Things From a Customer's Viewpoint "Understanding complete customer experience requires monitoring from the customer's viewpoint (not an internal one) through the entire order lifecycle. How easy is it to order and how long does it take to receive it? It’s also important to analyze how technology enables or hampers the customer experience." Set Yourself Apart with Visual Security "Making your commitment to security known by your customers can be the difference between abandonment and a conversion. Strong visual indicators, such as Extended Validation certificates (green address bar) and trustmarks, greatly increase shopper confidence." Start a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise in China "Hangzhou, China is the B2B [business to business] mecca for IT. With a strong dollar, you can leverage the force of a very tech-savvy development team and pick up a global presence instantly. Superior product development is what sets apart one company
  • 18. 18 from another. This will let you focus on sales and marketing while your offices overseas focus on the website product management." Speed Up Page Loads "Optimize your site with fast-loading pages for customers who are ready to buy. Start testing load times during the design phase, and keep them under two seconds for better conversions and an improved bottom line. Otherwise, users you just paid to attract will give up and buy from the competition." Help Customers Find Exactly What They Want "Advanced filtering by product attributes, tags and advanced searching helps customers find exactly what they want by driving into the product catalog in a natural, fluid way instead of forcing the customer down a deep and rigid hierarchical category structure." Use Multivariate Testing On Your Shopping Site "Use multivariate testing to enhance the on-site shopping experience by determining which combination of on-page variables increase your conversion rates. A/B splits are very limited, but with multivariate testing you can test multiple features at once and contemplate the user's full experience at your site." Don't Hide Behind Your Site "Try not to treat your ecommerce platform as a 24/7 faceless store. Interact with your customers through images, video and live help as if they were in the room with you. Not only will this build empathy and trust with the shopper but you will also increase conversions." Self Insure USPS Shipments "If you sell many of the same item, self insure instead of buying USPS insurance. Charge an insurance fee and assume the risk. USPS rarely looses packages. If they do, your customer will be happy when you simply and quickly replace the item. Insurance becomes a profit center." The Key to Free Freight Offers "A key to free freight offers is the fact that shipping cost per pound drops quickly as total package weight increases. Typical UPS or FedEx cost for zone 5 residential delivery is approximately $7 for a one pound package, but only $.60 per pound for a twenty pound package--yet revenue per pound remains unchanged." Provide Contact Details "Provide your customers with visible contact details on every page of your site. Whether it’s a visible phone number and email in your header graphics or a live chat tool on your website. Nothing makes a customer feel more comfortable about buying from you than being able to contact." Differentiate Yourself From the Competition "Create a niche by offering customers your knowledge and expertise. Daily tips, newsletters, or instructional videos on media such as YouTube are ways to offer customers more than just the products you sell. It’s a cost- effective way to promote your brand and separates you from the competition." Optimize Comparison Shopping Engine Feeds "Start inexpensively with Google Base. When the feed is optimized well, the results can show up on the first page of Google within hours (over months with SEO) and conversions are easier since the traffic is qualified for ‘shopping’."
  • 19. 19 The Evolution of the Payment Provider "With the status of the financial market, the standard payment service provider tries to provide innovative solutions. A preferred option is to combine their services with affiliate, marketing and alternative payment methods. Today’s providers are elevating to complete ecommerce service providers offering the merchants what they require." The Human Face on Your Website "Make simple product videos, upload them to YouTube, and then embed the video on your product page. Just standing in front of the camera and demonstrating your product will set you apart from 99 percent of other online retailers. Demonstrating on video shows that you really know your product, and it puts a human face behind your website." Eliminate Guesswork “Track, measure, and test to eliminate guesswork. Evaluating traffic patterns reveals ideal places for cross-sell and up-sell. Identifying points of abandonment exposes weaknesses in your system. Conducting A/B split tests on everything from emails to landing pages to checkout steps allows your customers to show you exactly what they want.” Manage Deliverability “Use E-mail marketing tools to effectively manage your deliverability and monitor the performance of your campaigns. Focus on the customers that are more receptive to your E- mails to reduce the costs of campaigns and improve your return on investment.” Discount Coupons for Affiliates "Especially in these tough times, the discount coupons will be the most convincing argument an affiliate could have. Give 'classical' coupons to affiliates or offer them tools to make their own coupons, from the commission they already have." Maximize Revenue by Offering Value Added Services to Your Existing Clients "By offering value added services through strategic partners you can strengthen existing client relationships, increase loyalty and generate additional revenue. Solid partners should offer recurring revenue to you, truly competitive pricing and automated tools to make it easy for you and as seamless as possible for your clients to enroll in their 3rd party service offering." Build Rapport "Merchants often underestimate the value of relationship management in regards to eCommerce. If you build great rapport with your customers, suppliers, credit card processor, etc., I assure you that your Internet retail business will be better off." Take Total Control "Take total control of customer interactions instead of outsourcing critical operations such as customer service and shipping. It may be easier and cheaper to hire a call center to answer phones, or to have a manufacturer drop ship orders, but customers will not feel the personalized and expert service that can be offered in house." Explorers and Hunters "Your biggest pool of prospective customers may be people who are 'exploring' for ideas or 'hunting' for options. Anything you can do to help them find and choose products will set you apart from your competition and open up a large and untapped area of revenue."
  • 20. 20 Rich Consumer Experiences Dominate "Focus on immersive branding and marketing techniques that create unexpectedly fast, fun, and easy shopping experiences. Are your budgets caught up on technology or are you investing in creating that visceral connection to the consumer? What amazes us the most is that very few e-stores provide that connection." Segment Audiences, Then Localize Messages "Online retailers need to better segment online audiences. Once marketers understand an audience’s make-up and behavior, they can determine which online segments are useful, viable and profitable. They can start “localizing” their messages. Segmenting an audience into smaller groups ensures each receives the most relevant, personalized experience, information and offers." Provide Engaging Content “You invest heavily to get shoppers to your product page, now focus on sales conversions. Product videos and other engaging content are proven to increase sales, and it’s not just for large merchants. They are available from many of your vendors at no charge to you. Ask them about it!” Remove Disturbing Elements "Remove any disturbing elements that could make any potential customer leave your site, like blinking banners and annoying flash-animations. Also make sure there's not too much information on your site. Keep in mind most people only read the headlines." Engage Visitors With Video "Video engages the user by providing demonstrations about your products or services. Show how your product works, different views, features and how it will benefit the user. Providing video is fairly easy and can be a major boost to your sales when done correctly. Search engines also like quality video." Create Simple and Fun Initiatives "Great websites employ three main elements: content, community and commerce. Site owners need a meaningful metric for user participation on their sites. So create simple and fun initiatives for users and reward users that participate. It’s a great way to develop an audience for your site." Try USPS For International Shipping "The fall of the dollar against foreign currencies is opening up a huge new export market for U.S. ecommerce merchants. United States Postal Service first class mail international and priority mail international delivery are a reliable and inexpensive way to ship export orders. Rates and how-to information are posted online at http://www.usps.com/business/international/ welcome.htm." Target International Searches "Increase your website targeted traffic with targeted localized search engine marketing campaigns in both natural and paid search efforts. Promote your product, service and business on domestic search engines, such as Google.fr, Google.de, Google.it, Baidu, Rambler, and others. Localize your product description, FAQs, tutorials, website, public relations and advertising campaigns." Use Your Social Smarts "Make product pages more social. Offer prizes to past customers who post the best reviews. Allow "track backs" to product pages that are linked to from blogs. Make it easy for users to share products on Facebook and Twitter. And
  • 21. 21 have a public (though moderated) comment section for each product." Implement a Life Cycle Email Messaging Strategy "Email marketing is much more effective when managed with a marketing strategy. An email life cycle plan will improve conversions, increase revenue spent per customer and help discover opportunities that are often missed due to failed communications. There is a little cost in setting this up and the rewards keep paying." Determine Valuable Variables "Doing multivariate testing used to require some in-house programming expertise or expensive third-party software. Thankfully, Google Website Optimizer has provided us with a free alternative. You don’t need to have the right answer, your customer will." Don’t Fail To Plan "Having been through the personal experience of becoming involved with a young business, and trying to slide a foundation under the building, after it has begun construction, has taught me the importance of planning. Take the time to plan your site. The end result will pay you Don’t Filter Feedback "Merchants cannot control their credibility — they can only influence it. If a customer leaves a bad, yet constructive review for one of your products, leave it up. Prospective customers trust other customers more than they trust you. Filtering that feedback can tarnish your credibility with the reviewer and the visitor." A Toll-Free Number "Get a toll-free number and use it in your Google AdWords. It’s one of the last search engines to let you show your contact information in the ad — you’ll get calls from people just looking to order over the phone because they are busy or they don’t trust the web." Persuasion Through Web Personalization "Successful ecommerce firms understand the correlation between sales and positive customer experience management. Offering easy returns and free shipping are expected. Leveraging customer behaviors/attributes so you can serve persuasive offers that change in real-time goes a step further. To promote the right product/service at the right time, think web personalization." Use Video "Start creating short videos on a regular basis that solve a problem for your target audience. Keep the videos at two minutes or so, include B-roll, upload to multiple sites via Tubemogul.com, and archive uncompressed, high quality versions of the videos for future use. Create a Magnify.net channel, too." Syndicate Content Via Widgets "Adding a syndication widget enables ecommerce sites to easily syndicate and distribute dynamic content from a knowledge base, such as frequently asked questions, product specifications and warranty information — across multiple websites." Talk With Your Customers "Websites, emails and forums are great for getting out your message, but talking with your customers about their needs and how you can provide solutions or products is the best way to build a long-term relationship and customer satisfaction. Remember your customers are not just another row in your database."
  • 22. 22 Back To The Future "I revolutionized my time management by abandoning my PDA for an old-fashioned Franklin Covey Planner. Now my mission, values, and most important goals are in front of me daily, and I’m getting done what really matters. I’m more efficient and focused." Align Consumer Strategies To Increase Conversion "Before spending your limited online marketing and web development dollars on rich media merchandising, get to know your customers. Uncover their critical decision-making needs, and align your online brand and user experience strategies with them for increased purchase conversion." Check Your Impression Share “Take a long, hard look at the Impression Share of your paid search campaigns. It’s possible that your ads are not running as often as you think, which is deadly if the campaign is profitable.” Widgets Can Expand Your Reach "Push your marketing to the edge by using a widget to display your products for purchase on other websites. Whether implemented on social networks or through your affiliate programs, widgets can create natural link popularity and help expand your reach without having to drive users directly to your website." Add Alternative Payment Options "It is possible to increase revenue and sell globally without risk. Adding new alternative payment options such as inpay allows customers to use their online bank to pay instantly and worldwide. You can sell to customers with no credit cards and get orders even when a card transaction is rejected." Develop Banking Relationships “It is vital to develop banking relationships as well as financial jurisdictions, especially in the midst of this recession. This will provide a merchant with the means to expand an e- business globally, as well as improve his customer base.” Develop a Strong Marketplace Strategy "Customers will always compare prices online before making a decision. Develop a strategy to list products on marketplaces like Amazon.com. Your products will be presented to millions of viewers, and you pay only when there is a sale. Also, don't forget to list your products on Google Base, a great source for free traffic." Contact Customers by Phone "Include an optional field in your "Contact Us" form where customers can leave a phone number and request that you call them. You will be able to close more sales over the phone than over email.” Offer More Payment Methods "Maximize closing sales by offering more payment acceptance methods because many people do not wish to pay via credit cards or debit cards. With methods like PayPal and WorldPay becoming increasingly popular it makes good business sense to not reject the end user based on their payment method." Recurring Payment Plans "One emerging and profitable trend is recurring payment plans. The best use is to understand the life of your product. If you sell homemade soap that lasts about a month, enable your customers to join a plan where you will ship them a new product monthly. This moved you from one sale to twelve."
  • 23. 23 Review User Sessions "Knowing which pages your users visit can help you understand what people are looking for so you can make it easier for them to get it. You can get this information from website logs, but my favorite new way is using Clicktale, which plays back each user session in a video." Build Credibility "Regardless of increasing consumer confidence in online retail, people buy from people they can trust. Build credibility with security audits of your website, and in turn include security accreditation logos in strategic points on your site. Client testimonials also add value.” Implement Product Descriptions "Use relevant and informative product descriptions. Not only will those descriptions help the shopper in their buying process but the content of that description will also be indexed by search engines, increasing the visibility of your website." Research And Exclude Negative Keywords "Invest at least one hour every week to research negative keywords for your pay-per-click campaign. Be sure to exclude keywords such as free, no charge, no cost, problems, trouble, negative, bad, worst, rebate and similar keywords that you don’t want your ads showing up for." Use Article Directories "Write articles and submit them weekly to Ezinearticles.com and other article directories. Search Google for article directories to find a top 50 list. If you don't have time to write them, hire someone at Elance.com, Guru.com or Getafreelancer.com for $5 to $10 each. This will get you traffic and backlinks." Build An Ecommerce Facebook Application "One of the best ways for an ecommerce site to get into the social media game and gain lots of new interest is though Facebook.com. Facebook’s open source policy is designed as an active invitation for creating applications, which has secondarily given birth to widget platforms like Clearspring.com." Incorporate Regular PCI Verification "Leverage your PCI compliance efforts every quarter as a benchmark for your overall security posture. When you go through compliance exercises, compare your previous scores and look for consistent reduction in type and number of problems you have to resolve." Use Simple Tools To Lower Abandonment "More than half of online shoppers abandon the checkout process before completing their purchase. Counter abandonment by adding simple tools like security certificates, progress bars and live chat to allay customer confusion, fears or frustrations." Inventory Management Is Key To Success "One database means less hassle and less manpower required to keep track of inventory from multiple locations. The right database can also handle inventory from multiple locations. With the right software to manage it, there is no need to go beyond one program to add, remove and track products." Online Chat Service Can Increase Sales "We now have two years experience using online chat services and have just moved to our third vendor. It does not provide the same level of conversion to sales as prospects that phone into our sales department, but it has increased our sales by 10-12 percent."
  • 24. 24 Make Trustmarks Prevalent Place trustmarks on your home page and all catalog pages; don’t bury them in the shopping cart. The millions of security conscious shoppers who respond positively to trustmarks frequently abandon websites before they even get to the cart." Be Sure To Offer Flexibility "E-tailers face a huge challenge in the commoditization of brand-name products, facilitated by comparison shopping sites and other channels that sort products by price only. To survive, smaller e-tailers must offer payment flexibility, fast order handling, and outstanding customer support. Focus on best sellers and initiate quick-ship programs. Customers may pay more if they can get it fast." (*) The document is prepared by using various sources including especially http://www.practicalecommerce.com

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