If there’s one thing to remember in online retail, it’s that you must provide stellar service and give the customer what they want – make it easy and quick for them to buy from you. The harder you make it to do business with you, the more sales you’ll lose. It seems like common sense, but many businesses have a hard time making the buying process simple. The gold standard in e-commerce is, of course, Amazon.com. Here are 7 tips for online retail start-ups on how to adopt the essentials from the online retail giant and become a success with ecommerce.
Store Name and Location
Do you have a real physical store location, or are you operating 100 percent online? If you’re only online, then you only really need to tell your customers about your phone number and email. If you have a physical address where people can pop by and say hello, make that information public. Put your physical address up anyway, even if it’s a P.O. Box. It will kick up the trust factor by 50 percent, minimum. People are still afraid to buy from strangers on the Internet. They want to know that if they pick up the phone, there’s someone on the other end, not just an answering machine or voicmail.
Product Or Service Descriptions With Pricing Information
If you have an old cash register or you’re doing business with some kind of Paypal, or online merchant account — stop it. Get yourself a professional POS system. Why? Because a good POS system will simply your life by automating the buying process and allowing you to track inventory easily. You can sync your products, along with descriptions, across all store locations. It transforms your tablet device or cellphone into a POS system. You get a cash register-looking machine to go along with it. The most important advantage of using a POS system is you get to take it with you, sync it with your online catalog, and avoid surprising potential customers with mismatched pricing between the retail location and your online store.
Dynamic Pictures of Your Products or Services
Have you ever seen companies that offer a 3D rotating view of a product? Those are cool right? What about the product pictures that let you zoom in on the product? Also cool, right? Well, these types of things are necessary in today’s web-based business environment. The more interactivity you have with your customers, the better. 3D images and HD super-zoom options allow your customers to explore your product in detail. This is the next-best thing to actually holding your product.
Make The Ordering Process Simple
Ordering should be simple. Again, this is where Amazon leads the way. Notice how they’ve set up their ordering process so that returning customers only have to click a few buttons? It doesn’t get much easier than that. This is something you should strive for – especially if you get repeat business.
A lot of companies offer customers to store their credit card info and shipping information, but they don’t always get the process down so that it’s easy for the customer to navigate through. If possible, allow your customers to add items to their shopping cart and check out with only two or three clicks. That means that customers can add items in one click and then confirm their order with another click. That’s it. Ordering should be available from any page on the website, and it should be placed in a prominent place, not hidden or blended in with the rest of the site.
What Lines Do You Carry?
People want to know if you carry the product line they want. Most people are crazy-busy, and they don’t have time to check out your company. They want to know whether you are a fit for them within 3 seconds. So, make sure that it’s clear what types of products and services you offer in your header graphic and on every product page.
Your About Page
Here’s where you get to provide more information for people who want it. A good guide to follow is Jakob Nielson’s guide for designing an about page. If you’re a start-up, you’ll need at least basic information, but you also want people to walk away from it knowing exactly what you do and who is involved with the company. Simple is best, and a clean layout beats a lot of complexity.
Don’t Forget About the Upsell
A popular trend right now is to advertise similar products just before checkout. There’s a good reason for this trend: it works. By showing similar products to the product that your customer is about to purchase (or has added to his cart), you’re encouraging an upsell – which is more money for you, and more benefits to the customer.
About the author: Cheryl Greene is an entrepreneur with a passion for the modern market. After starting and managing a handful of successful small businesses over her career, she enjoys writing about her experience and insight into effective business practices.
“Order Online Word On Mobile Screen” courtesy of Stuart Miles / www.freedigitalphotos.net