When we’re going into e-commerce, we often forget the basics for what makes a good e-tailing experience work for our customers. Here are seven tips to remember when building and designing your online store:
1) Tell the customer about you.
If you have a history, a mission/vision/values statement, or more about the proprietor, make sure to highlight this information. People want to feel connected to the people who they’re buying from – make sure to personalize the “who we are” section of your site.
2) Shipping, return, and privacy policies clearly listed.
Make sure you spell out, in as much detail, the terms and conditions related to purchasing from your store. For example, if you require a re-stocking fee or for the customer to pay their own shipping of items they’re returning back to you, explicitly list this information.
3) Excellent product photography.
People are shopping online and have no way to taste, touch, smell, or handle your product — only your photos give them a chance to review the goods. Invest in a good photographer who specializes in product photography, and makes sure lighting and styling allows your product to shine. Offer a “Zoom” function on photos if at all possible, and make sure to offer multiple views of your photo.
4) Easy checkout.
Make it supremely easy for your customer to checkout, using multiple options like their own credit card, Google Checkout or PayPal, or their own userpoints they’ve earned through your site. Convert to a one-page checkout if possible.
5) Easy customer registration.
If you require your customer to register, make sure they can easily do so using a tool like Facebook Connect — ask for the minimum required information, for example, just a username and e-mail to sign up. While you’re at it, add their name to your internal “interested customers” list for additional tracking. This can often be automatically added through the user registration process.
6) Reward your customers.
You can always offer points, gifts, special deals, or “members-only” specials to your customers. Once you have a customer, it’s easier to sell more to them than it is to acquire another customer. Make your e-commerce experience something that offers a positive experience to your shopper.
7) Discount coupons seeded to your favorite bloggers.
Many are looking for coupons this holiday season, and if you have a tight relationship with a handful of bloggers you can either reward them, affiliate-style, or offer some sort of way to track their referrals via a customized coupon. What better way to say “thank you” to a media-savvy mom blogger than giving them a payment based on how many customers they’ve sent your way?
BONUS: Make sure it’s secured.
Set up your website with an SSL certificate. This security certificate offers additional peace-of-mind for your privacy and security-oriented customers.
There are many tools available to help you build out your e-commerce store. With a focus on clean photography, excellent product descriptions, clear pricing and shipping/returns policies, and an attractive, well-designed site, your holiday sales will do well.