OuterBox’s eCommerce Blog
Social media has quickly become a key element to any successful marketing strategy for online businesses. While most people think that sites like Facebook and Twitter are for only for college kids, they can be used as effective marketing tools to help your company reach out to a much larger audience. Social media can help complement your newly launched eCommerce site, helping your business build links and network throughout the Web.
Twitter has quickly become an excellent tool for businesses to utilize information about their products and services. Major news stations like CNN use Twitter as a way to quickly post news stories and information for “followers” to receive via their iPhone or BlackBerry.
Online businesses for example could post tips about subjects relating to your business, field questions and answers from followers of your Twitter page to talk about your products, or post general information about sales and promotions. It’s all about making connections that help grow your companies’ network.
While creating a blog is an integral part of keeping customers up-to-date on your company, it also gives them the opportunity to bookmark your site from a variety of sources via RSS feeds. Sites like Digg and Del.icio.us utilize the bookmarking of blogs and a site’s newest content. It all makes it easier for customers to track new content, while being able to share that content with others–which will help increase your site’s rankings in the long run. Giving visitors the option to bookmark your blog will help ensure that they will keep coming back to read more.
Facebook is another way to position your company on the Web by creating a profile that showcases your business–another way of posting current information about your business; it also gives you the opportunity to advertise throughout the site. LinkedIn is a more professional, resume-driven alternative to Facebook, giving you a chance to create a professional profile about your company and your employees.
There are too many social media sites and programs to mention here, so you’ll have to investigate what is the best route for your company to go. In short, social media is all about building links and connections to add to your business’s online customer base. Social media is just another way to help you improve the amount of traffic coming to your site on a daily basis, giving visitors the opportunity to stay connected to your site without being on it.
The best part of social media is that it is completely free, and there are no strings attached. When you used correctly social media can be a powerful marketing tool that will help your business grow and reach out to a much larger base than you could ever imagine.
As eCommerce progresses and grows into one of the largest mediums for selling products, web designers are faced with creating ideas on producing higher quality eCommerce websites. The question lies between the effectiveness of witty ideas or clean-cut standard eCommerce development. When taking a look at some of the most effective eCommerce website today, it seems the second has established itself as the winner.
Usability is key in for a successful eCommerce website when a visitor already “knows” how to use your website. There are certain elements, in certain places, that visitors look for, utilize and expect that will always be available.
Following the guidelines below will help your eCommerce website sell at a higher conversion rate and give you the calls of action needed to be successful.
Using a top or standard side navigation will give the best results. Even though most people would think this is true, not everyone decided to design this way.
#2: Search – Let Them Find It Easily
When a user is on your site don’t make them work too hard. If they want to find something, be sure a search box is always available. Also, add a link to “advanced” or “detailed” search. A basic search bar doesn’t always bring up everything needed. Allow them to search by price range, category and any other specifications that may be relevant to your industry
#3:Cart Preview – What’s In It?
Be sure to make your cart preview visible from all pages of the website. No one wants to click “view cart” every time they forget what’s been added already or what their total is.
#4:Calls To Action – Make Them Visible
Whether it be your “Add to Cart” button or Phone Number (or both), but sure they stand out. Direct people what to do and how to complete their transaction.
#5:Breadcrumbs – Tell Them Where They Are
It’s much easier for a visitor to navigate when they know where they’re at.
#6:Product Photos – Let Them Zoom!
Usually it’s tough to see the details in product photos. Utilize different zoom features and make the details pop. You know what they say… a photo is worth a 1000 words. Spend the time, and money if necessary, to get photos that will sell.
#7:Payment Options – Offer them!
Having multiple payment options makes a huge difference! Always have an integrated merchant account, such as Authorize.net, but also offer PayPal and Google Checkout. When offering PayPal as an option we’ve seen sales jump by 40% in a month.
#8:Our Price vs. List Price
Be sure to show the difference between your prices and the list price. Hopefully your prices are low (important online) and it’ll give the visitor more incentive to buy from you.
#9: Shipping – Offer Flat Rate ( & Free If Possible)
Offering flat rate shipping makes the checkout process a bit easier and you’ll find you’ll convert better as well. If you have set prices for shipping (ex. $7.99 for orders under $50) you can then show the shipping price on the cart page without the user having to enter in their zip code! The less information someone needs to provide in order to get all of their order details the better. Also, if you can offer free shipping, even if this means adding a bit of cost into the products, this can often increase sales dramatically.
#10:Tabs for Product Details
#11: Sales & Promotions
It might seem basic but we’ve seen time and time again sites jump 100% + in sales by running a simple promotion. Whether it’s free shipping, a discount code or basic spring sale, always be running some type of promotion. This brings in the “buy it now” factor and gets users to pull out the plastic!
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