“Build it and they will come” is an adage often used in conjunction with e-commerce stores, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you’re selling a machine that converts politician’s promises into bitcoins, you’ll need to work hard to sell online. Here are some tips to put you on the path to success.
1 The Right Product
If you fall down at this hurdle, you’re done. You need a product that appeals. If you’re selling a product that lots of others also sell, you need to find a Unique Selling Point (USP) or at the very least a JDE (Just Different Enough) so you can differentiate yourself from competitors. This USP/JDE may be price, service, possibly location, or some other value add.
If you are selling your own unique product, it needs to be of high quality and solve a problem for your customers. This problem may be “I have debilitating rashes and need a natural skincare product” or it may be “I want to treat myself with something frivolous”. What problem does your product/service solve?
2 The Right Price
If you offer the same product as your competitors, then you’d better have a really good USP! Internet shoppers have little or no allegiance. They will go with the cheapest option unless there is a compelling reason not to.
If you’re offering a unique product, you need to do a lot of market research to understand the market’s perception of your product’s value. This will inevitably be a large range of values with a standard deviation where most points are (hopefully) close to the mean. With any luck, this market value still allows you to make a profit.
3 The Right Person
For many products, you need to identify your core demographic. This will assist you with how you present and market your products. Get this wrong, and you’re carving away slabs of your potential market.
4 Call to action
It may go against your nature to shout about what you do, but if you’re good at it, why be shy? The fact is that strong calls-to-action boost conversions. Take some time – get a graphic designed for the call to action. Preferably it will double as a “Buy Now” button, but if you can’t do that, it should at least have a phone number and/or link to a contact page.
5 Don’t Let Them Go!
What’s your conversions rate? 0.5%? 1? Maybe 2%? If you could easily boost those conversions how much would it be worth to your bottom line? Once you’ve done the hard part of getting targeted visitors to your site, it would be a shame if they left without buying anything. How about some software that detects if they are leaving the site, and offers them a small incentive (maybe a coupon) to stay? If they’ve put products in their baskets and subsequently abandoned the basket because they got distracted, you may still be able to win that sale. There’s software that will automatically email them and allow them to resume their purchase where they left off.
6 Know Your Stats
Google Analytics is amazing out-of-the-box, and it’s free! You can find all manner of information about visitors to your site. But did you know about its advanced e-commerce capabilities? It can track your purchases, you can create goals, and generate sales funnels to follow your customers through the purchasing process and see where they are dropping out. Without it, you’re simply not getting the full picture and are selling in the dark.
7 Don’t Forget Your Offline Channels
Even if you sell exclusively online, offline channels are great ways to build traffic. Get your brand out there, and have your website URL on all signage, stationary, email signatures, etc. Depending on your industry, newspaper, radio, TV and flyer drops may all prove worthwhile.
8 Be Social
Social media is hard work and there are only so many hours in the day, but it works. It builds brand awareness and ultimately sales, if done correctly. Pick the right networks for your business, decide on your goals, and stick with it.
9 Advertise Online
This is a tricky one. There are many advertising platforms, including Google Ads and Facebook ads. Most will charge on a cost per click (CPC) or a cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) basis. You need to figure out your average transaction value and repeat purchase rate. You then need to weigh this against the ad conversion rate and ad cost to get a cost per conversion. Finally you need to figure out what’s the highest cost per conversion that gets you new customers and allows you to make the profit you need to keep the doors open. You will have to run a few campaigns before you have accurate data on all of this, so expect your first campaign to be a learning exercise.
10 Keep On Trucking
E-commerce success doesn’t come easily. It’s an ongoing battle, but a rewarding one. Learn from your mistakes and build upon them. Constantly analyse, evolve and reiterate.