1) How easy is it to purchase items on your website?
In this day and age your website needs to be easy to use, with a single page checkout. If not, if you’re still using an old-fashioned, convoluted multi-page checkout, then you are losing business. If it is hard for users to find what they are looking for, then you are losing business. A simple e-commerce interface will help these issues. And the cost of building this type of website has gone down a lot the last few years.
2) Are you still charging a lot for shipping?
We are living in an Amazon world, like it or not. Prime allows you to get many items the same day and most within a couple of days for free. So, if you are still charging a lot for shipping, you need to rethink this. I had one client whose prices were actually pretty good, but when you figure in the cost of UPS, the shipping cost ended up being more than the actual product cost. So I always ask the question, would you buy this? The answer is typically no unless it is an item not available anywhere else.
3) How are your prices?
Again, people are used to using Amazon as well as Google Shopping to compare prices. So I advise my clients to do some comparisons to see where they stand. If your prices are out of whack, there is no reason for someone to use you, other than loyalty or convenience. But with most things available same day on Amazon, the convenience factor really goes out the window; unless it’s something somebody needs right away. Prices of course are the main driver for people to shop online. I did an experiment with a client who was not having much success selling online. I told him to take a common item, and to price it basically as a loss leader. As the product appeared in Google shopping results, and his price beat everyone else, his sales increased dramatically. He had been kidding himself that his price was competitive, but in reality he was far from the best price. The one thing he learned was that the people who’ve bought his items came back and bought other things as well. Now obviously you can’t beat everybody’s prices for every item, but perhaps some of those are not things you should be trying to sell online. Especially of course if you have a brick-and-mortar store as well. I may stop into a local store for a bit more money, but I am not ordering online for more money.
Bottom line: you want to have an e-commerce website, be realistic in your expectations. I am sure when you shop, you are looking for the best price (including shipping) and of course convenience. It is the same with your customers. So, don’t kid yourself, set your prices fairly, make sure you can ship for reasonable cost (or even better, free), and of course make sure your website is easy to navigate and for people to find what they need. If so you should see a marked improvement in your online sales.
RooSites has been designing, developing and managing small business websites since 1996. For assistance, please contact us.
Think of it as the one small step for man, one giant step for mankind quote, but rather than walking on the moon, we are talking about customer service going well beyond the norm.
I recently had an interaction with a business that left me so impressed; I had to blog about it. I was moving into a new house we are building and we had a light fixture that hangs down over the dining room table. The problem: the table hasn’t been delivered yet so the fixture is hanging there in the open where you can bump into it. Like a dunce, I smacked my head into it and cracked one of the glass globes.
After I got done beating myself up for being so stupid, I emailed the company I bought the fixture from. They told me they had it in stock and come on down.
I explained that their product wasn’t faulty and I smacked into it with my big head. When I pulled out my credit card to pay, the gentleman Chris told me no charge, have a nice Christmas.
I was so impressed by this, that I told everyone I know and I will refer and recommend them to anyone looking for lighting products. That seemingly small deed will reap big rewards.
Now I had given this company a lot of business as they furnished all the lighting in my new home. But still, business is business and they had every right to charge me for the new glass. I expected them to charge me. But, instead they did a nice thing.
Bottom line: When you go out of your way to provide excellent customer service it leaves people with a positive impression of your company. When you respond quickly and get things done for people, they appreciate it, as so many times in today’s world people wait weeks for assistance even for small tasks. In my business, this describes our view of website management. We developed a best in class support service model and answer inquiries the same day. This is unheard of in my business and people are so surprised when we email them back that their request has been completed. Again, small deeds reap big rewards, for us this is proven out by all the referrals we receive from satisfied clients.
In case you are wondering, the store in question is The Lighting Gallery of Taunton, 82 Weir St, Taunton, MA 02780. Website: http://www.bristollights.com/