The holiday season is around the corner, and online retailers and merchants are ready with their offers and new products. It is common for any site can fall prey to the abandoned shopping cart syndrome, but Monetate testing service has come up with a few tips to make sure that merchants do not suffer from it.
Shopping Cart Abandonment and Tips To Avoid It provides retailers with essential tips to hold on to their customers, and take the shopping cart to the shipping section. What do you think of these tips? Do you find them useful?
The 10 Seconds Threshold –
This understanding of visitor behavior has been observed and made a note of by the cloud-computing giant, Rackspace. The company surveyed 2000 UK adults about their average expectations when using websites. The results show that as much as 38% of the people do not wait for more than 10 seconds for a site to load. Yes, the waiting cut-off point is of around 10 seconds. If these people had to wait a second more than this time, they would hit the ‘Back’ button.
A further revelation may be a cause of grave concern for e-commerce site owners. Of the lot of users hitting the ‘Back’ button, a huge 45% never visited the site again, and more over chose to go to a competitor’s website to complete their shopping or ordering or product search.
Other Sites Have To Match The Pros –
Before you think that the 10 second threshold standard is too short for websites, then think again. The leading e-commerce platform, Amazon passes the test with a few seconds load time on a standard 12 Mbps broadband connection. Keep in mind that Amazon is a big site with plethora of images and graphics, and still it makes it before 10 seconds. So, your e-commerce site has to match up to this 10 second threshold if you want to hold on to your visitors, and make sure they keep coming back.
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There are some definite steps that you need to undertake so that your ecommerce site is will become the dominant force in the market. The primary questions in your head regarding setting up an e-commerce website, are answered below-
What Do You Want To Sell?
You need to have a sure and well researched answer to this question. You have to find your niche. Think about the products you will be selling; are they good enough? Will they find audience on the internet? The bottom line is that they also need to have a high sales potential.
Hot Tip– Try avoiding a niche, that is saturated, this will make it really difficult for you to find a place in the market. If you want to sell clothes, then may be do so at the local level if the national level has the big players dominating the market.
How To Set Up The Website:
Now, that you know what you will be selling, the next decision to make is building your online store that is the website. You have the following options in this case- you can build it or host it on an ecommerce software package.
For those on a limited budget, it is not advisable to have a website built from scratch. You can go for a website company providing a hosted e-commerce software package. There are many such vendors on the internet that will help you set-up low cost websites. These are really convenient, you can design themselves without the need for any design skills. You must ensure that you have the access to edit the websites code. With this code access, you can later afford to have a designer build a customized look for your site. You must be able to edit your own site so that you can add or remove widgets/logo etc.
You must make your website with sections for products/categories/pictures and an easy payment routes. Your website design must be pleasing to the eyes and directs the visitors towards a desired experience path. With the use of colors -pictures and content, you need to direct a visitor’s actions on your site.
Hot Tip– Your website design is crucial in holding on to the visitors. An average visitor spends just 10 seconds or even less in judging a website. So, an attractive design supports the usability of the site, and you must design keeping the same in mind.
More on setting up websites here-
E-commerce tools are the essence of your ecommerce platform, and their integration depends on the hosting platform you have chosen. The key ecommerce tools have been discussed below-
- Shopping Cart
Like in a real or lets say a brick and mortar store, the shopping cart on an ecommerce platform is really important, in fact, even more. A good cart ensures a smooth e-commerce transition. There are certain elements that make up the cart- Merchant tools, Shopping features, payment options, shipping and taxes and security. You must customize all the above for a truly great shopping cart.
- Payment Options
You have to set up hassle free payment options on your ecommerce site. The ways of accepting on-line payments are either through –
Credit Cards, Checks, E-checks, Cash On Delivery, Phone Orders, and in direct personal contact.
- Merchant Accounts
You need to get a merchant account set up with leading banks in your area. With this account only, will you be able to accept credit cards as payment that the customers may make for your products and services. If you have a big bank backing you, do display it on your site to assure the customers that you can be trusted regarding the buying-selling and payment of any products. People will trust you.
- Payment Gateway
You need to set up a payment gateway. This is how it works- when a customer enters credit card information while buying your products, the information goes to the merchant web server- passed to a payment gateway through a secure socket layer (SSL). This payment gateway is the step where the software verifies all of the credit card information, after it has received the transaction data. The result of this verification lead to the acceptance or decline of the credit card. Then the payment gateway generates an email receipt and sends the same to the merchant web server and to the customer. The merchant’s bank is notified of the transaction by the payment gateway and the money is placed in a 30-day holding merchant account owned by you or your business.
Hot Tip– Set up clear payment/return and shipping instructions for the customers. They must feel secured while dealing with you.
How To Promote Your Business Online?
If you are of the thought that “build it well and they will come”, strategy will work here, then you are wrong. There are a million similar websites on the net, and you have to make yourself visible. Some of the essential marketing strategies include search engine optimization; pay per clicks, banner ads, and affiliates just to name a few.
The idea behind all of these strategies is to generate traffic to your site. To begin with, you need to identify your target audience and get on with it.
When you set up your ecommerce site, you must remember to make it open to search engine optimization Your products and services’ names will become keywords, that will lead the people looking for them on the internet to your site. So, you must optimize your website, make it search engine friendly. Only then will your business truly take off. You must make sure that your homepage, and other product pages appear in the search engine search results for relevant keywords. As an ecommerce platform, you will get more than 60% of your traffic from search engines, so you better get good SEO done for your site.
Other methods of generating traffic and promoting your site are-
- Paid Search Advertising (PPC)
- Social Media
- Article Marketing and Press Releases
- Email Marketing
- Ads in Print Media
- Electronic Media promotional Spots- TV and Radio
While you are marketing for your site, make plan everything according to your target audience-the people who will be most interested in buying what you sell.
Hot Tip– Getting Customer reviews and user generated content for your products is a good marketing tactic. This will improve your credibility among the other customers.
What To Learn From The Competition?
Like any business, and that too a startup, you can learn a lot from the established businesses in your niche. Assessing your competition will prepare you for competing with them in the future. You need to stay ahead of your competition and you can do that by knowing what they are doing. So, keep an eye out for-
- How are they promoting their products?
- Any special offers like reduced shipping charges?
- The keywords being used by them ?
- Where are they getting their link juice from?
- Is their website easier to navigate through than yours?
Hot Tip– To get a first hand idea of their promotional activities, you must subscribe to their email newsletters.
Once you are through with the above steps, and you start getting traffic and customers, the most important tasks will be:
- To Hold On To The Customers
- To Make Sure They Come Back
- To Give Them A Good User Experience
- To Provide Full Customer Satisfaction With Your Bills And Products.
More on how to do the above, in the write ups coming soon.
The Indian ecommerce industry is showing signs of growing fast and growing big. Referral Candy has prepared and infographic on the same, replete with the promising facts and figures.
What do you think of this? Will online shopping in India, take a giant leap? Do leave your comments on this.
To tell you what to do, lets begin with what not to do! Yes, you need to know what is the wrong path to take in the case of the home page for an e-commerce website.
An E-Commerce Site’s Homepage is Not:
- A dumping ground for everything. Too much information about your company – like how you started, then what happened, and so on.
Hot Tip– People want to know what you sell and not too much about who you are and where you were born!
- The homepage is not a product catalog. You need not list each and every product you sell! It will be too much information for the visitors. Also they may feel choked and pushed too hard to make a purchase on the homepage only.
Hot Tip– You should list all your products if you sell like only one or two things! Secondly, give a short and broad list of categories that will take people to the special product pages. Also, feature a discounted or special offer product on the homepage- it grabs attention!Unknown Object
- Your homepage is NOT your newsletter. It must not have full 250 words press releases on it!
Hot Tip– The best idea is to include a teaser paragraph of each article on the homepage, with a link to the web page with the full text. Do not bore people with information they don’t want.
- Do not make it your blog home page! People want interesting content, but they want to see other stuff too.
Hot Tip– Just display the catchy headlines and introductory paragraphs. Let people go on to the blog themselves.
The “don’ts” out of the way, you probably want to know what is good to display on homepage. What should be the content that you must place prominently on your site? For this, you need to do a bit of soul searching. To know what content to write on your site, you need to know what is the purpose of your site. What do you want from your site? The most obvious answer for an e-commerce platform is to get more business, drive more sales. Well, for this, you need to ensure that your site fulfills the following requirements-
- Your site is the complete guide to your business. What you do- who you are and what makes you different.
- It is an authority of sorts on the products you sell- be it through reviews or customer generated content.
- Your website must serve as a good referral point.
Now that we have touched on the site’s essence, lets get to the issue at hand, home page content. Well when you get down to working on it, here are a few key guidelines to keep in mind while you are writing content.
Home Page Content Writing Tips:
Tip 1– Your homepage content should be concise- You need to grab the attention of the users and also tell them the essential stuff. So the key is being short and simple- in order to achieve effective communication. Avoid long sentences and repetitive lines.
Tip 2– Your content must satisfy the query people used to search and come to your site- People have come looking for something to your site and your home page must provide them with that, unless you want people to hit the “Back” button.
Important Snippet– To prevent bounce backs, make sure that you link the referring keywords to the right page. Do not link everything to the home page. It leads to poor user experience.
Tip 3– Your content must represent the entire theme of your site. Is it lively? Serious? Emphatic? Young? The tone of the content has to match your products!
Tip 4– Your home page content must be convincing- Users must be forced to stay and explore more. You are the best in your niche, that is something you have to convince the users for. But again, do not over sell.
For more insights on home page tips- see this video:
Write Who You Are And What You Do?
Your homepage must give an interesting description of what your e-commerce site is about and what it sells or promotes. So, if you have first time visitors, they will know where they are and what they stand to get. Provide a snapshot of who you are and what visitors can do on your site, via the home page content. So your flow could be something like this for a book selling site:
“Books4U is a niche audience business that specializes in selling self help books from top authors around the world. We are a medium sized enterprise, that operates from Victoria, London, and supplies books to our customers across the 7 continents. We have a list of Bestsellers and New Entries from which you can choose and add the books to your cart.”
You must remember to add links to your shopping cart, informational articles, and product lists too.
Tease Your Audience For More:
Your home page must have a snapshot of promising products and information available in the pages inside. You may include a tip of the week, that may be related to a certain product, and take the visitors to that page. The idea is to make your visitors stick to the page and explore further.
You can also feature a bestseller product, with a short description and then link it to its own web page or its place in your “products and services page“, catalog or shopping cart. This will make people curious enough to find out what’s so special about the product that everyone is buying it!
For example, continuing with the book retailer example-
“Want to know who your favorite self help books author is dating? Or why readers have gone wild with the new book by celebrated author- Mr. X?”
Write On What Makes You Different And How Will Shoppers Benefit From You:
Yes, why you and not the hundreds of similar sites? What makes your e-commerce platform so different? You must highlight the features and benefits of the products your site sells and how differently from the others.
People need to be convinced that you indeed are different from the others. For instance, “We are dedicated to bring to your reading table, the best that the literary world has to offer. Buy the latest books that have just entered the market, at reduced early bird prices. As for the really popular books, the old favorites, you can get exclusively autographed copies from our site. These signed copies are few, so book your copy fast!”
This is your big marketing pitch. You have to create content for your e-commerce site’s homepage that is full with your sales pitch. So you can offer discounts like free shipping for one side, or you could harp on your expertise in the business. All of this has one purpose only, to make that sale. Also, assure the users that you have an easy return and exchange policy.
For instance, your words could be:
“Books4U is your best online guide in helping you choose the best self help book that can really make a difference in your life. Our 20 years experience in the field of books, will ensure that you arrive at the book that seems custom made for you. Just add the book to your cart and once you purchase it, we will ship it for free! In case you do not like the book, you can exchange it within 2 weeks, and get your money back. More on our exchange policy here.”
Write What Praises You Have Got From Previous Customers:
You should also always feature a Nothing works like a person to person impact. If you post one line testimonials from ex users, your credibility will soar high among the users. satisfied customer. It’s great if the satisfied customer can send you a picture of himself or herself. This is what you may write-
“See what Mike says about us- ‘Books4U were quite prompt in sending me the book. I feel so much better after reading it.”
Make sure you test your home page on a few people, before it goes live. Show it to people and get their honest opinion. Whether your content works or not, will be pretty clear then. You have to be short and effective as the user attention span is quite low, and you have a few seconds to make impact. Follow these guidelines and you should be good.