With the online sales industry booming, online sales predicted to hit $250 BILLION in the US by 2014 (conducted by Forrester Research), many retailers still only offer catalogue type website and don’t allow people to make purchases. Yes that’s right, “Don’t allow you to shop”. That’s like having a high street shop, great window display but keep the doors locked. Incredible.
If you are a retailer and haven’t taken the step, now may be the time to gear up and take those steps, no point in saying “We should have done it!!” next Christmas. Customers may not intend to only buy on your site, but at least get the brand out there and encourage folk to come into your shops. This is what all the large retailers who are making their fortunes are doing it.
So if you are thinking or considering going down the online, e-commerce, selling online route here are a few tips to get it right from the word GO (these are irrelevant to the size of your business)
The shopper’s security must always be paramount. Regardless of how your site looks, works or how many cool things it can do, if the user doesn’t feel safe they won’t continue browsing your site. Make sure everything is safe and all pages let the user know that pages and details are secure. The most important thing for your online shop is not how it looks or what it contains, it’s the security of the pages. Your reputation will be hopelessly damaged if you fail to protect your customers’ details and they fall into the hands of a cyber criminal.
Know your Customers Legal Rights
You want to provide a reliable and trustworthy online shop so that your customers return, but you also have some legal obligations to them. The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations mean you must provide customers with your full company name and address before they make a purchase.
Once online customers have ordered, you’re obliged to send them a confirmation message and allow them a cooling off period in case they want to cancel their purchase.
Keep Your Website Simple
Make it easy for me to shop.
Build consumer trust and let the user know that if it is something they don’t want the can return the goods as necessary.
Keep your marketing Professional on and off Line
Both your online shop and physical shops should correspond and work together. Make sure product and prices are matched as any sales that you may be running. Unless of course it is a web discount only or the likes.
Monitor your website constantly to make sure it’s up to date.
Maintain Professionalism (would you buy from yourself)
If you won’t buy neither will your customer. Make sure your site is slick, professional and easy to use. Ask yourself.
Phone and Contact Details
This creates a safer environment, plus if you let me know you are happy to talk I will feel more confident and feel more comfortable on your site. Try and let customers know you want to help (they do in store so why not online).
Plus, this can give you an opportunity to up sell as well as having great customer service.
Promote your website
Do it properly. There are various different options to Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click Advertising, Social Media and more. This is when you need to get hands on, or at least get someone to do it for you. We would love to help.
Don’t leave Customers in the Cloud
If I have made a purchase, let me know the progress of the order. Some sites even allow you to track the order. The more communication the better. Good service will encourage me to return in the future, bad wont.
Let customers know when the final date for delivery would be before deadline dates such as Christmas, Valentines etc....
These are some of the basics, some may sound to be so obvious but next time you are browsing you will be shocked at how many ecommerce businesses and e-retailers miss these obvious online golden rules.