#1: Easily accessible key information
Don’t make your would-be customers go looking for details about your business, your returns policy or your delivery charges. Remove potential obstacles to online sales by ensuring that information that influences buying decisions is easily accessible.
#2: Customer service
Your online customer can’t meet you in person, so reduce their potential anxiety about buying from a "stranger" by providing different ways to contact you. Phone, email and postal details are a must; online enquiry forms are a familiar device and should also be used; a "Call Me Back" form or a live Chat session are other options to consider. You can also pre-empt customers’ questions by providing a comprehensive FAQs page or a Knowledge Base.
#3: Special offers
It’s human nature to respond to special offers, whether it’s a temporarily lower price or a saving on delivery. Used wisely, special offers can entice back "lapsed" customers and generate sales that otherwise would not have happened. As long as the trade off between lower margins and greater sales is economically viable, use special offers regularly to boost online revenue.
#4: Product images
A picture says a thousand words and the quality of your product images is critical to the success of your online business. No-one buys a product that is badly portrayed by a photo that is poorly-lit or blurred. Don’t give customers the impression that you took the photos yourself with a cheap digital camera that came free with your cereals. Invest in decent photography equipment - especially lighting - or accept that money spent with a professional photographer is a good long term investment that will pay for itself with increased online sales.
Your online shop can be viewed from anywhere in the world. If you want to accept overseas orders, accommodate language and cultural differences. Providing multi-currency prices and accurate overseas delivery charges is comparatively simple and will suffice in place of a truly multi-lingual site, which is an expensive undertaking.
Generating consistent online sales is hard and it takes thought, planning and perseverance. Use these tips to improve your online sales today! And check out Part II of the article.