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When a potential customer visits a product page of your website, the page must act as a salesperson that is prepared to convert your site visitors from just looking to buying. Just like a salesperson’s presentation in a retail store, your product page must clearly answer the most important questions a customer would want to know before deciding to purchase your product. The following 5 steps will help you write product descriptions that will increase both visitor satisfaction with your site and conversion rates.

  1. Determine your audience and make sure you are speaking directly to them. For example, if your site sells home décor products that are popular with adults between the ages of 40 and 60, you would want to use a different writing style than you would if your site sold skateboards to a primarily teenage boy audience.
  2. Write in terms of features, advantages, and benefits. Surprisingly most eCommerce websites don’t do this, which can quickly put you ahead of your competition if you do. Remember, your customers want to know why they should buy the product from you and not a competing website. So make sure you tell your visitors what they want to know and what’s in it for them.
  3. Keep your product descriptions clear and easy to understand. Avoid industry jargon unless it is relevant and important for your customers to use in making a decision to purchase the product. You want to make sure you are informative, but at the same time not confusing or boring your site visitors in the process. When in doubt, keep it simple and straightforward.
  4. Do not copy and paste product descriptions provided by manufacturers. It is common for most eCommerce sites to sell products that are made by manufacturers that also sell to competing online retailers. Even though it is tempting to simply copy and paste the product descriptions provided by manufacturers – don’t do this. In order for your product descriptions to be effective, you need to rewrite manufacturer descriptions to ensure they contain all of the information you think they should and reflect the unique voice of your site. This can also benefit your search engine rankings due to having unique content in comparison with your competitors who simply copy and paste the same exact boilerplate product descriptions provided by their manufacturers.
  5. Include a strong call-to-action. Just like professional salespeople, great product descriptions always ask for the sale. Make sure your calls-to-action are clear, enticing, and tell your customers what action to take.

If the above steps sound like too much work, think again… Well written product descriptions can increase online conversion rates by 100% or more. After all, if you visit a website and their product information doesn’t answer your questions you will click your mouse and look somewhere else – and so will your visitors. Make sure you’re not giving your visitors a reason to go to another site for information due to your product descriptions not answering their questions and asking for the order with strong calls-to-action.

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The results of a recent Integrated Solutions for Retailers survey indicate that the majority of its readership intends to invest in an eCommerce or web development solution in 2010. The survey also made it clear that value and return on investment guide the search for new providers.

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Latest EPORIA News: EPORIA eCommerce redesigns Alaska Smokehouse gourmet food website in time for the holiday shopping season, resulting in rave reviews from customers and increased site traffic, conversion and sales.
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Learn more about EPORIA’s eCommerce Solutions

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EPORIA Serves Up D’Artagnan Gourmet Food eCommerce Website with Unprecedented Results

EPORIA and leading gourmet food purveyor D’Artagnan announced that D’Artagnan’s eCommerce website, which was launched in October on the EPORIA platform, generated higher online sales for the months of December and January than the company has ever seen, with January seeing double digit sales growth over 2009.

“Launching in time for our busiest season was key for us, so we could capitalize on holiday traffic and convert visitors on the new platform,” said Katie Holler, Director of eCommerce for the 25-year-old gourmet food company. “EPORIA helped us every step of the way, from design to implementation, and met our tight timeframe with a week to spare!” The two companies collaborated closely to accomplish this feat. “As a result,” says Holler, “we had the best December online in the history of the business, and the month of January was up 17% over last year.”

Recognizing the desire for increased online sales and a richer online presence for its expanding clientele, D’Artagnan selected EPORIA for their focus on results, and for the platform’s robust feature set, which is perfectly suited to an elite gourmet food brand like D’Artagnan.

The website’s extraordinary results began immediately after launch. EPORIA’s search engine friendly platform and comprehensive SEO expertise led to rapid indexing of the new website’s pages–nearly 90% of the new pages were listed in search engines within just days after launch. “We were extremely impressed with the results,” says Holler. “Just two weeks after launch, our rankings on the first three pages of search returns increased 400%. I’ve never seen a site index so fast.”

“From the day we launched, our daily order volume and average order value have seen double digit increases and our conversion rate has already nearly tripled,” Holler reports. In the due diligence phase of researching potential eCommerce solutions and partners, Holler often told the EPORIA team that the EPORIA eCommerce solution sounded “too good to be true.” Since the launch, Holler confirms that “we can now see the results for ourselves, and it’s true—EPORIA really is that good. And on top of it, they offer a great value for your investment.”

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Contact us to learn about how we can help grow your business online.

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The art of effective cross-selling (offering related items) and up-selling (suggesting more expensive alternatives) on your product pages can make a significant difference in the overall sales volume and conversion ratio of your ecommerce website.

Effective Cross-selling and Up-selling can Increase:

  • Average order totals
  • Conversion rates
  • Exposure to higher margin items and best sellers
  • Awareness of the depth of your offerings
  • Overall customer satisfaction by helping to find the product or service offering that best meets your visitor’s needs

Cross-Selling Dos

  • Only feature highly relevant items such as accessories directly related to the product offered or as an alternative of the product
  • Use personal words such as “you”, opposed to “we”. For example, “You Might Also Like”, not “May We Also Suggest”
  • Choose items that sell well and have higher margins whenever possible
  • Keep you cross-sells down to three suggestions. This seems to be the magic number to create interest while not overwhelming or distracting your customer from making a choice
  • Whenever possible, show the most obvious choices someone would want to go along with their purchase such as a matching necklace to go along with diamond earrings
  • Continually test your cross-selling tactics and work at improving them for maximum effectiveness
  • Look through your order history to find proven cross-sell items. For example, previous customers often bought product “A” when they bought product “B”

 Cross-Selling Don’ts

  • Never, ever, show items that are not “directly” related to the main product
  • Don’t show items that are out of stock unless backorders are available – Note: During the holiday shopping season, try not to cross-sell anything that isn’t readily available
  • Don’t use cross-selling to simply try unloading unwanted inventory. The goal is to maximize your overall sales totals and conversion rates. Unwanted inventory can have its own area on your site such as a Clearance or Specials section
  • Don’t try cross-selling big-ticket items. As a general rule the incremental cross-sell/up-sell should be 10-25% of the price of the original item on the product page

What Do You Think?

Everyone seems to have their own ideas about what cross-selling strategies work best for their ecommerce business. What do you think about cross-selling as an online marketer or customer? Have you had success increasing sales or buying products due to cross-selling? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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Your eCommerce website should be ready and rolling for the holiday season and online Christmas sales. Whether you believe your site is ready or not, review the following Holiday Season 2009 eCommerce Sales & Marketing Checklist. If you find anything below that you haven’t already addressed, now is the time to make it happen!

  1. Take advantage of your home page primary banner and ad spaces to present strong and attractive holiday imagery and feature your holiday season best sellers.
  2. Make sure your best selling products are also featured in the top positions of your department category pages. Make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what they want and buy from you.
  3. Optimize your content for the holiday season. Make sure you’re using the right keywords on your pages for both visitors and the search engines to let them know about your holiday offers.
  4. Use strong calls to action with an emphasis for your customers to buy now. Experiment with limited-time offers (“Three days only!”) and other variations (“While supplies last – order now!”).
  5. Make sure product images and product page content are rich and enticing.
  6. Maximize cross selling opportunities by suggesting the most relevant items related to each product right on that product’s page.
  7. Ensure that your email marketing campaigns have a strong focus on your offerings and present your brand in the best light. Make sure to include “forward to a friend” links to capitalize on viral marketing.
  8. Make the most of your site’s ad positions. Ensure that all ads on your site only feature your best selling holiday products or offers positioned as giftable. This is not the time to promote lower converting merchandise.
  9. Don’t skimp on promotions. People are actively searching for special offers online during the holidays such as free or discounted shipping, percentage or dollar amount discounts, special offer promotion codes via email and affiliate programs, and cross promotions (buy one get one free).
  10. If you have membership or club groups, create specials that are designed just for them and make sure you let them know with email marketing pieces that make it clear that these special offers are only available to them to add perceived value to their previous purchase and keep them coming back to buy more.
  11. Review your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) and work at updating your most important pages for the holidays.
  12. Make sure all of your pay-per-click (PPC) ads, such as Google AdWords ads, are using the best keywords for the season and that you’re also applying negative keywords to reduce wasted clicks and ad budgets.
  13. Ensure affiliate ad materials for your affiliate networks are enticing and up to date with your most important and most likely to convert holiday offers. Think in terms of click-through and conversion.
  14. Publish new online articles, content pages, and blog posts, optimized for the search engines, for your most important holiday product or service offerings.
  15. Get social. Make sure to let those who follow your blog posts, tweets on Twitter, or other social media efforts know about your special holiday offers and give them an incentive to click through to your site and buy.

How many of the above items have you already implemented to maximize your online sales for the 2009 online holiday shopping season? It’s not too late! Optimize for the holidays and convert more with your seasonal promotions.

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In a previous post, Common Reasons for eCommerce Shopping Cart Abandonment, we pointed out that shopping cart abandonment averages as high 78 percent. However, a recent study by McAfee has found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers who abandon their carts come back within a day or more to complete the purchase.

McAfee’s study of more than 150 million online transactions indentified the following reasons why online shoppers often delay purchases after placing items in their shopping carts:

  • Brand Recognition: Well-known brands experience shorter purchase delays than lesser-known brands since shoppers will often research lesser-known brands before making a purchase.
  • Competition: If items being sold are in a highly competitive market, it will take more time for shoppers to come back and complete the purchase since they want to shop around before finalizing their order. On the other hand, items that are unique or harder to find will experience quicker order completions.
  • Information Gathering: Online shoppers often add items to the shopping cart so they can easily purchase them later if they want and also to find out what’s required from them in the checkout process.
  • Price: Higher priced items will usually take longer to lead to a completed order since shoppers will often want to think more before committing to making an expensive online purchase.

Although the information found by McAfee is highly insightful, online retailers should study their own abandonment and conversion numbers very closely – and not simply hope shoppers that abandon their carts will come back. In other words, you should always be looking for improvements to your site’s content and offerings to reduce your cart abandonment rate.

When was the last time you analyzed your site’s cart abandonment and conversion rates? With the holiday shopping season literally around the corner, this is information you should be looking at and taking action on immediately.

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