An efficient and effective eCommerce site helps SME owners set their business apart from others. A successful strategy can increase website traffic, expand your customer base, generate sales, and push your website from a brochure to a successful online retail store.
The September 2010 Sensis e-Business Report stated that, over the previous 12 months, 90 percent of Australian internet users were looking for information on products and services online, and 69 percent purchased goods/services online. Despite the increasing number of SMEs selling goods online in the past decade, only 58 percent of small businesses received orders on the web in 2010, lagging behind medium and large companies.
Here are our top tips for getting your small business ready for the world of eCommerce:
What do you know?
Create a database
… And get to know it well. Visitors to eCommerce sites usually aren’t looking to purchase right away. Put easy to find calls to action on your website that offer value to the visitor such as eNewsletter subscriptions or online competitions. Collecting detailed information through personalised content opt-in allows you to create targeted and relevant communications.
Communicate and stay up to date
Keep in touch with your online community by entering a dialogue; users will be far more engaged with a two-way conversation. Ask potential customers what products they want or what features they’d like added to your website. Providing customers with a platform to share direct feedback allows you to ensure your eCommerce site caters to their needs.
Understanding buyer behaviour and how visitors engage with your site can improve your online offering dramatically. Monitor how users navigate your site from day one.
Size up the competition
Review what your local competitors and the global eCommerce sites are doing and see what you can learn from their examples.
What are you selling?
- Group your products by category as well as in bundles (don’t be afraid to upsell!). Special offers, latest arrivals, and best sellers are helpful categories that gently push users in a certain direction without bombarding them.
- Utilise your best sellers and most popular products; these essentially work as recommendations. Offer your own expert recommendations. People are often looking for guidance and suggestions.
- Bare it all with accurate and detailed pictures and descriptions. Comprehensive information on products will help convert browsers to buyers.
- Use user-friendly names, not your internal codes. Avoid using industry jargon that’s commonplace around the office: remember you are speaking directly with consumers.
- Add items as often as you can to maintain a dynamic page that keeps customers coming back to browse new items.
- Provide specials and discounts for groups of users. Allow for segmented pricing and volume discounting and capitalise on the perception that online shopping is economical.