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Thursday 05th May 2011 Top 10 Ecommerce Tips Your Store Should Not Be Without

We've bee in the ecommerce industry a long time, and there is a lot of great information out there on the internet about ecommerce and how you can make your ecommerce store as successful as possible. That being the case, it's amazing how so many stores can get it so wrong when it comes to the basics for helping their store succeed.
We're here to attend to that desperate situation by offer our top 10 ecommerce tips for making your store a better place. Follow these simple tips and your store really will never be the same again, in a good way!
1. Have a Best Sellers List
This seems like a really simple thing to do, and it is, yet lots of stores don't seems to show a best sellers list. A best sellers list has numerous functions on any store. Firstly, it gives people a quick overview of the products that are on your store, as well as showing which of those are most popular. 
Aside from this, it gives potential customers confidence that other people are actually buying from your store. In an industry where confidence is everything, it's vital that you can show that you are able to provide a satisfactory service to anyone that visits your website. A best sellers list can be one way to show that. 
2. Display Customer Testimonials
In the same vein as number 1, customer testimonials show other website users that you are active in the online retail world, and that you have managed to make other buyers happy. This boosts confidence and offers a chance for you to boast about your past successes. 
3. Be Generous with Information
There are a few areas of your site where it's incredibly important to be generous with the information that you have, in order for your ecommerce website to be successful. 
The first area is where your products are concerned. No matter what you sell, make sure that you give your viewers every bit of information that you can about the product - size, weight, colour, fabric type and so on. The more information available to buyers, the more they are able to make an informed decision when they purchase. Lots of information about a product can put a buyers mind at ease, ensuring that they're buying the correct item online. 
The other area where information is important is in regards to shipping and returns. These are big factors when it comes to operating online, both for you and your customers, so the more information there is available, the easier it is going to be for you and your customers to get along seamlessly. 
4. Make Good Use of Offers
People often shop online, as opposed to on the high street, because they think that they can get a better deal. Well, it's time that you were proving them right. Make good use of your website as a place to make special offers, or perhaps bundle products together for discount buys. 
Obviously you still have to make a living from your store, so be careful, but do what you can to offer your customers a good deal. They'll likely thank you in the long run by coming back to buy more from your store. 
5. Learn from Past Orders
Making money on a certain product on your website? Well don't keep it hidden in the depths of your product catalogue! Get that product on your homepage, create a banner advertising it, do what it takes to let more people know that you're selling it. Half of the time, ecommerce success is going to come from recognising opportunities when they're presented to you
Also, make sure that you generally build your site around your most popular products, rather than having them randomly scattered around. These will provide a strong backbone for your overall business. 
6. Your Checkout Will Make or Break You
You can spend all the time that you like making your store look great, but if your checkout process isn't up to much, you'll lose customers quickly once they get that far. The shorter the checkout, the better. It should be really straightforward to use, have nothing to distract your customers causing them to leave the process, and you should offer an express option if possible. 
All of these things will ensure that your checkout has a higher chance of converting website visitors to paying customers. 
7. Get to Grips with Blogging
Some people have a fear of entering the blogosphere, but really, it's not as scary as it first may seem. There are millions of blogs out there, and everyone uses them in their own way, to their own advantage. Decide what you want to use your blog for, then commit to being consistent in your efforts. As an ecommerce store you can post news about new products and offers and you can speak to your customer base on a far more personal level. 
8. Track Searches on Your Website
If people are coming to your website and using your search function to find products that they would like to buy, make sure you're tracking this. If people are taking the time to search, there's high chance that they'll buy those items if they find them, so it pays to know what people are searching for, and altering your product catalogue accordingly. 
9. Get the Best Website URL Possible
Ensure that your website URL (Your gives some indication of what your site does, or sells. Not only will this help you in the search engines, but it lets people know what sort of site they are visiting if they see your link anywhere. 
People may also be able to more easily remember your website if they've seen it somewhere, if the URL is intrinsically linked to the content of your website. 
10. Get Social!
Not exactly a direct update for your ecommerce site, but nevertheless important. Set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page. It's not just the kids, everyone is using these social media platforms these days, so it pays to keep up with your customers in the places that they tend to hang out. 

Posted on May 05th 2011 at 05:23pm

Thursday 27th January 2011 Understand Your Customers With Google Analytics

To understand your web traffic is to understand your customers. The information you can glean from your web traffic allows you to improve your conversion rate, your marketing efforts, and your search engine optimisation.
While many e-commerce systems will tell you about the level of web traffic coming to your website, there are often additional benefits to using a web analytics service like Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service, so there is no excuse not to be tracking your web visitors, and much more.
Here is a selection of the things the Google Analytics will tell you about your website visitors.
Visitor Sources
Google Analytics provides detailed information about the source of your visitors. For example, if a visitor arrived at your website through a link from another site, it will tell you what site they came from. Using the knowledge of sites that are providing you with free traffic, you can build a relationship with those sites, allowing you to get more visitors and (most importantly) more sales!
If they found your website by using a search engine, Google Analytics will also tell you what they searched for to find your website. This pretty much tells you what main keywords you should optimise your site for, along with some long-tail keywords to target for even more free traffic.
Analytics can even tell you what country your visitors are from. If you found that most of your visitors were from Norway, for example, then you might decide to change your marketing strategy to target people from that region.
Conversion Goals
Another highly useful thing you can do with analytics is created conversion goals. This means you can identify, for example, what percentage of your visitors go on to sign up to your newsletter. 
You can also track the path of a visitor, as they move from your main page, to a product page, to your checkout page, and then to your thank-you page. You can see what visitors did at every stage, and therefore identify opportunities to increase your conversion rate. If lots of people are reaching your checkout page but not completing their purchase, then you'll know your checkout page needs improvement.
And that's not all. You can also track conversion goals for specific traffic sources. So if you are running a Google AdWords campaign with several different keywords, you can track the traffic from each keyword. This allows you to separate the keywords that are effective from those that are losing your money. By trimming the keywords that lose money from your campaign, your ROI receives an instantaneous boost.
Bounce Rate and Page Views per Visit
The bounce rate tells you the number of visitors that left your website from the same page they entered. Obviously, the lower the bounce rate the better. It is a great measure of how accommodating your store is to new visitors.
The number of page views per visit can help you determine the effectiveness of your store's navigation. Easier navigation will translate to more pages viewed per visitor.
Analytics Is a Must-Have
If you aren't already using an analytics product or service with your store, then you really should start tracking your visitors as soon as possible. 
Google analytics is a good choice, if only because it's free. It provides all the functionality that you need from an analytics service, and helps you spot improvements that you may have otherwise missed.

Posted on January 27th 2011 at 04:58pm
Labels: analytics

Thursday 20th January 2011 Improving Ecommerce Conversion Rates

Selling to 2% of the people who visit your site instead of 1% might seem negligible, but in the world of conversion rates that means a doubling of your number of sales. And when you consider that making that jump to 2% might mean making one small tweak to your store, you will realise how worthwhile improving your conversion rate could be.
Conversion is something that every ecommerce store owner must take notice of and work on over time. Below are a number of suggestions on how you can improve your e-commerce store's conversion rate.
Make Customers Feel Secure 
Nobody wants to be ripped off. Anyone visiting your store for the first time, in order to make a purchase, must be satisfied that you aren't going to run off with their money. They want to know that you are a real company with ordinary and friendly people behind it.
Anything you can do to overcome that nagging doubt will improve your conversion rate. And if you make them feel comfortable enough to purchase from you once, then you will also have more repeat customers.
This could mean using an SSL certificate to improve store security when processing transactions, subscribing to VeriSign or a similar service, having an About Us page, having an 0800 contact number, and having a professional-looking website generally.
Easy And Efficient Navigation
Making it easy to navigate your store is deceptively difficult. This is because your site must cater to several different types of visitor: there are those looking for a particular product; there are those that wish to browse through a particular category of product; and there are those who simply wish to browse randomly.
Amazon typifies great e-commerce navigation. Realizing the your store must help visitors with different objectives is key to creating more sales. 
Improve Product Copy 
People don't want to buy something they will later regret. When reading copy, the customer may fear that the product is being exaggerated in order to create more sales. You want your description to be authoritative, and your customers to trust rather than doubt. 
Customers want to make an informed decision, based on what they want. By telling the customer the features and the benefits of a product in a compelling yet understated way, they will be much more likely to buy.
People are more likely to be able to make a decision in your favour if they are offered all of the necessary information. Give your customers everything that they need in order to make that purchase.
Product Images
As well as good copy, people need to be able to see what they're buying. The better the quality of your images, the more trustworthy and professional your site will appear and the more likely people are going to be enticed into buying the product. 
Beware of any attempts at home photography, unless you've got a professional set up. Take a look at some of the leading ecommerce sites out there. You want to mimic their quality as much as possible.
Taking Customers to the Checkout 
After customers have made the decision to buy, it is critical that you put them on a greased slide towards purchasing, not giving any doubts the opportunity to surface. This means that pages should load fast, customers should only have to type in their details once, and the process should be easy. 
A small stumbling block between the time the customer decides to buy and when they actually make their purchase can lower the conversion rate of your e-commerce store considerably. But on the bright side, identifying and removing such a stumbling block will instantaneously increase your income.
There are many things you can do to improve your conversion rate. For many, the amount of things that could be done is daunting. When you already have the day-to-day running of the store to contend with, such things get put on a to-do list and then never get done.
Implementing changes like those I've mentioned above can significantly increase your revenue. Even if you already have a busy schedule, it is worth finding time to make these changes. Your bank balance will thank you for it.

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 04:52pm
Labels: conversion