The numbers are in for the XMAS season, online shopping is up again. Brick and mortar shopping is down.
So the question is this: why aren’t you selling online?
Now obviously not every business has goods to sell online, but if you are a retailer (or wholesaler for that matter), you are missing the boat without an online component. I hear some people say, we have too many items, it would be too hard to put everything online. Ok, if you don’t want to put everything online, how about a list of special items for the web? Think of items that are reasonable to ship and that are a bargain online. People search online via Google Shopping and other comparison shopping tools. So if your price isn’t competitive, you won’t sell too many items. Can’t think of what to sell, how about offering a gift card for sale online?
eCommerce gets easier and easier to add to your website. If you have a WordPress site for instance, you can use WooCommerce, an excellent eCommerce plugin. Only want to sell one or 2 items? Just add PayPal buy now buttons.
One of the benefits of eCommerce is that it really is inexpensive to sell online. If you already have the items in stock, the cost to run an eCommerce site is only marginally higher than a regular website. You have to have a secure certificate, and be ever vigilant updating software. Other than that costs are few. Now of course if you small business starts selling an inordinate amount of goods you may need to hire fulfillment people. But what a great problem to have!
Online shopping will continue to increase. Stores with no ability to sell online will continue to decline. Companies with a dual strategy will have a chance to survive and flourish. The question is, which will you be?
When we make changes to client websites, one thing we like to have is metrics. We want to be able to quantify the benefits reaped from our efforts. One of the easiest things to add to your website and the simplest to measure is online coupons. Quite simply, who doesn’t like and use coupons? If you are going to your local pizzeria and they have a coupon, won’t you go to their website and use it? So 2 things happened, you get a visitor to your website that printed a coupon, and you know this was a successful conversion as the coupon is redeemed at your store. (or on an eCommerce site, they entered a coupon code)
Say you are working on an effort to bolster your “likes” on Facebook, coupons are a great way to add fans. You can have an app that makes tabbed content only available to people who have liked your page. People know that once they like your page they will get your news feed every time you post. As such, they are being far more selective than in the past. By giving them something for their loyalty, you are enticing them. As an example I added a coupon to a retail clothing store’s facebook page and within a week, they added 500 new likes. We also gave people the option to receive a coupon via email by signing up for our mailing list both on the website and through facebook. We added over 1100 people to our list!
Coupons are a great way to attract customers and offer an easy way to track how well your promotion did. You don’t need anything fancy, just a simple coupon for people to print out with an expiration date. Of course, you can add barcodes, etc if your business is set up to handle them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I am happy to help.
When dealing with eCommerce, one thing is crystal clear, use the KISS principle: Keep it simple stupid.
First off make it easy to find products. Seems so elementary but I can’t tell you how many times people go to an eCommerce site and can’t find what they need.
Second, if you have add ons, make it simple to add them, either have a dropdown menu or checkboxes on the same screen as the product. I was recently on a client’s website and after you add a product to your cart, you get a popup window (really). Then you can select one of the items. BUT you then have to again hit add to cart. At that point you get another popup and have to again pick an add on and again get a popup. The result is very few add ons.
Third, and the most important thing is the checkout process. People want easy and quick.
As Bruce Lee once said: “In building a statue, a sculptor doesn’t keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiseling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions. It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.”
So when working on your checkout make the process as easy as possible, either a simple step AJAX checkout or a one page checkout.
If you follow these 3 simple rules, you will have success, provided of course you are selling a product people want. You won’t have abandoned carts, and you will maximize your profits with increased add ons.
The beauty of eCommerce today is that there are many options to choice from. Because there are several which are open source, the cost is low and many times free. If you need help, contact me and I can walk you through some options.