Walk into any large chain store whether they sell groceries, electronics or anything and everything. They put an incredible amount of attention into every detail of the shopping experience for their customers. So much so that you don’t realize you’re probably being guided through the store to not only find the items you’re looking for but also to pass by items most people don’t think about buying but probably want. The most obvious examples are milk placement and checkout lines:
Milk is always in the back – ALWAYS. Why? Because almost everyone buys milk and milk expires. So, grocery store owners know most people who walk into their store are looking for milk. On the way to the milk or back to the checkout line you have to pass by the sodas, chips and everything else the store has to offer. Every end cap you pass by has either a great deal on a product or an impulse item like cookies or chips and queso and you get to be tempted twice by every one of them.
Checkout lines are always filled with gum, candy, single serve snacks, sodas and sometimes non food products commonly “AS SEEN ON TV”. On top of that there’s rarely an empty checkout line (again this is on purpose) so you usually have to wait and stare at these goodies for at least a few minutes and have plenty of time to be tempted.
So what does that have to do with a web site?
Your site needs the same attention to detail if not more. You probably have a couple grocery stores, maybe one electronics store, a few clothing stores within your driving radius. Online your potential customers have access to hundreds if not thousands of online retailers selling similar if not exactly the same items you do and they have no problem jumping ship at the slightest point of concern.
Obviously in order to make sales the first step is to get people to your site. Organic SEO, link building, unique content and frequent updates is the best long term solution, but in a pinch you can use Pay Per Click Ads (PPC) to get to the top of the search engine listings. Once your site listing is on the first page, strong unique content and optimized meta tags are necessary to convince customers to click your link. Once inside, your site needs to take control of the situation just like once someone walks into a brick and mortar store.
Your Site’s Look and Feel
If a store is dirty, or things seem out of place or if customers are hit in the face (figuratively) with loud advertisements, or they’re not sure where to find the items they want they’re likely to turn around. This is the same on your website, and it much easier for a customer to leave a website and move on to the next than it is to drive to the next store across town. If the design isn’t pleasing and welcoming, the colors don’t work well together, or customers aren’t sure what links to click to get to the items they want they’ll X-it and go to the next site on the list.
If the customer has stuck around and believe you have what they want now they have to find it. Your products and/or categories need to be obvious and make sense. Your product description needs to be detailed and accurate without typos. The images need to be crisp and if necessary zoomable to see detail. Just like physical stores you will be doing your customer and yourself good by displaying similar items and accessories if available – again, not right in their face, but in an obvious yet discrete place. Just like you wouldn’t ever get to the milk section if you had to climb over a mountain of chips to get there. Same with your checkout process. It needs to be quick and easy without too many steps and should also offer add on items that are related or complimentary to the items in the shopping cart, or small items that people commonly buy but don’t think about.
Your site must look good on phones and tablets if you’re going to get the sale. Almost 20% of web surfers are mobile. If they get to your site and the layout is messed up or it looks like a “mini me” version of your desktop site, chances are they’ll move on to the next.
Next Steps for Your Web Site
These are just a few quick tips on how to create a successful e commerce site. The reality is most business owners don’t have the time or the understanding of SEO to fully develop a workable plan and execute it. You probably need the help of an expert (like us) to get your website where it needs to be in terms of search engine rankings, design, flow and mobile readiness. Call us today and we’ll explain all your options. 214.760.8914