If you are thinking of setting up a new website to sell online, there is a lot to consider.
A clear strategy is required from the very beginning, otherwise you could spend a lot of time and money before turning the corner into profit.
Is It Easy To Succeed ?
Many believe that the days of setting up an online store and quickly becoming successful are over. Many would argue that – “that ship has sailed”!
The fact is that online shopping has now become a normal part of everyday life. However if you are creating a website to sell your goods or services, you have to get a few things right, otherwise the shop will simply fail.
What Went Wrong For E Commerce Sites?
Scammers. The scammers set up fake stores and stole money from people. This gave online shops a bad reputation. It drove them to buying online via recognised platforms such as Amazon.
12 Reasons That Some Online Shop Sites Fail & Some Succeed
Yes, Amazon is one of the reasons that online shops struggle now. This is purely down to how good Amazon are at selling online. The whole process is made so easy for the buyer, it is hard to match the convenience. Buyers know they are protected, they will receive the order the next day, they don’t have to fill in their details every-time. It is just too convenient. However, you may not be able to compete with Amazon delivery but you can compete. You can offer things like “same day dispatch” and be clear about returns policy and data protection.
Don’t Give Up – Compete.
If your products are unique, then consider also selling them on Amazon or any other platform at a higher price.
2. Poorly Designed Websites
Before making a purchase on a website, buyers are wary of whether the site is genuine. A poorly designed website will result in loss of potential sales. Confidence in the shop starts with a well designed website.
3. Additional Postage Costs.
Be clear about your shipping charges. Better still, offer free shipping with orders over a certain amount and absorb the carriage costs within your pricing.
4. Poor CTA.
CTA (Call To Action) must be strategically placed throughout your website. The wording on CTA buttons must be thought through. Example: if you are explaining a product in a page, the use of phrases like “Buy Now”, “More Details”, “Product Info” etc all lead the buyer to the same product page. But when to use them and how to word it could be the difference of selling or not.
5. Bad Photos
It’s your website. You aren’t limited to the amount of pictures you can show. You aren’t restricted from using video content. Use your own photos, not the pictures from your wholesale supplier. Using your own pictures will improve your search ranking. “Alt tag” the photos.
Add video when possible.
Consider using a professional photographer. If you are taking your own pictures, use a photo lightbox. Link to Photo Lightbox on Amazon. Uniform your pictures. If a product range is similar, use a tripod and get them all at exactly the same angle.
6. Poor Descriptions
Do not copy and paste product descriptions from somewhere else. Especially not from your wholesaler or manufacturer. Write your own or re-word the descriptions. List as much detail as you can. Be accurate. Specs, weight, height, length, etc. On a product page don’t go for a write-up like a review. List the facts. Use complementing adjectives when writing the description but don’t sound like you are writing a review. The buyer wants the facts. The product titles are equally important.
7. Promotions & Sales
There is software available to run online discount countdown timers. Use these. Create some kind of urgency to checkout. Give the visitor some kind of incentive such as discount codes, affiliate (referrer) discount, multiple purchase deals. It’s not all about the price. Think of other ways of rewarding loyal customers.
Treat your online customers with respect. They aren’t numbers, they are people. They are your customers.
Treat online customers with the same respect as if they were shopping in your “bricks & mortar” High Street shop.
Don’t sound like an automated message in your automated messages.
Provide after-sales communication without spamming them with up-sells.
9. Test The Checkout
Go on to your shop and actually complete the purchase of one of your own goods. This will allow you to see what the customer sees and iron out any issues. Furthermore this will allow you to look at cross-selling and up-selling possibilities before final checkout. In fact check everything.
Test your site on as many different devices and browsers as you can.
A well known case recently showed that when booking a flight with a particular major airline using the wrong computer screen resolution meant you couldn’t actually complete the booking. Test, test and test.
10. Use Genuine Reviews
Do not make up your own reviews. Use genuine reviews on your site.
11. Carefully Consider Your Payment Gateway
For libel reasons, I won’t list any particular payment gateways and single out any as having a poor reputation online. However by putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, match your products to a reputable and well know gateway. Example: If you are selling high-end luxury goods, would you expect to make payment via a free-to-use payment provider?
12. Get Ready For The Launch
Do not rush into launching the website until it is completely ready. Every page of your site has to be ready before launching. Keep the entire site “Under Construction” before launching. Browsing a website of any sort and being met with the words “page coming soon” strikes apprehension and uncertainty into your brand.
If you decide to setup an online store, speak first to others who have succeeded. Speak to a reputable website designer and discuss strategy. Don’t put all of your eggs in the one basket. Meaning: Consider selling on your own site, but additionally selling across other platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, etc.
All of these things to consider and we haven’t even covered “Visual Hierarchy”. Leave this to your web designer. If they are any good at all, they will have studied this subject extensively.
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