[This article was written by Samantha H. Cowart.]
In modern business, e-commerce has become a vital revenue stream with few of the budgetary restraints of traditional, bricks and mortar shops.
Online shopping has been around for a while but though internet traffic continues to increase dramatically, many e-commerce sites still struggle to become profitable.
If you are finding it difficult to build revenue from your site, here is a simple guide to increasing your profit.
It is very important that you make sure you are easily discoverable by your potential customers. If you take the bricks and mortar analogy, you need to start seeing your online presence as billboards and signposts. You need them to be enticing to the right people.
First you will need to have done your research, ensuring that your site is optimized for the right demographic.
Second, you need to start using social media effectively. Twitter and Facebook are your chance to shout about your products and deals. It also provides your potential customers the opportunity to see who you are and how people have engaged with your product or service.
You wouldn’t want to look for a product in a shop you cannot navigate, and the same is true of e-commerce websites.
Your landing page must be simple and striking, not overburdened with images and text. It is your opportunity to promote your go-to products and where a customer can engage with all aspects of your brand.
According to a business writer at Last Minute Writing and Researchpapaersuk, Thomas Haygood: “Easy functioning, drop-down menus will help you categorize your products, details about your brand and give your customers an opportunity to interact with you via email, phone, or address.”
Having an ‘about us’ page builds trust with your potential clients, putting a face and a personality to the brand. People also trust a website they can contact, so ensure you’ve got a contactable email address, a telephone number or even a live chat function if it is viable.
In today’s online marketplace, a good 80% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. It is imperative to sense check your website on a smartphone, making sure everything is readable, that your tappable buttons are large enough to be useful rather than constantly sending you to the wrong page.
Your product pages are your shop window, and no-one wants to go into a shop if the window displays are ugly.
Therefore take some time to present your product well. This means taking good photos of the product or service, ensuring it is well lit. Take multiple shots, as the more you show off its detail the more your customer will be able to visualize their interactions with it.
It’s also very important to get some good copy down to describe the product’s benefits. “Give a short list of features, using evocative language rather than technical jargon. You can give the item specifics, but these won’t necessarily be the selling points,” advises Sheldon Carter, a managing editor at Draftbeyond and Writinity.
If you have already had buyers for the product, be sure to invite them to leave a review or a testimonial. Customers like to hear from other customers for an honest opinion, and it can mean the difference between a sale and a refusal.
Here is also where you should provide information about shipping costs, whether it’s with a simple rundown of costs to different areas or an integrated shipping calculator.
Use the Checkout Procedure to your advantage
Once a customer starts the checkout procedure, you’ve got the opportunity to offer them other things, which will increase your revenue. Some of the big names in e-commerce use this cross-selling technique, with phrases like ‘others who bought this item also looked at’. You can even build an up-sell into the checkout process, offering upgrades as a buying option.
When the customer gets to the point where they can hit the ‘pay now’ button, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to complete the transaction. If it’s a complicated procedure, requiring them to register, fill in their names and addresses multiple times and checking confirmation emails, they may have lost interest.
Once you’ve certified your checkout with a reputable certificatory display that badge to reassure the customer that their purchase and their money is safe.
A final thought: you may have gotten the customer to buy a product, but your contact with them is not over.
You’ve just built both a potential new revenue stream and a marketing tool. Customers are more likely to return and tell their own circle about your business if you have shown a little aftercare. As a repeat customer, you’ve got to value them and show it by offering deals and discounts. If it has been a good experience you can foster an ongoing relationship with them, ensuring you continue to grow your business.
Samantha H. Cowart is freelance writer and junior web developer. She loves cinema, coding and well organized websites. If you want to see her other articles visit Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, academic websites.