5 tips for ecommerce websites that make money

Why is it that some ecommerce websites seem to be raking in money while others struggle to make a sale?

In this months article, we explain the top 5 tips to help you avoid common mistakes and really get the most out of your ecommerce website.

1) Keep the process simple
When customers visit your site, they have one purpose.. they want to be able to easily find the products they want, add them to their shopping cart and check out when they are ready.

The customer should be able to select a category, brand, style, etc, or search for a product, click on it to view more details, add it to the cart and then have the choice of checking out or continuing to shop. Our research shows this is the most intuitive way for people to shop online.

2) Freight charges and options
The number one cause of people abandoning shopping carts and not completing the purchase is how you handle freight.
You should always make it clear how much freight will be so when the customer is completing the purchase they are not stung by an unexpected freight charge. This can make the customer feel that the bargain they thought they were getting is no longer a bargain.

You may choose to offer a flat fee, free shipping if an order is over a certain amount or work off Australia post or courier rates. If you decide to go with a flat fee or free shipping if the order is a certain amount, then this should be advertised heavily in your site by mentioning this on your home page, checkout page and even in the header section of the site.

If you decide to use Australia Post or a courier that works off the size and weight of the order, then you should have an easy to use postage calculator that enables customers to easily put in their postcode or country and estimate how much their freight will be before adding the product to their shopping cart.

Where possible, you should also offer ‘standard’ and ‘express’ freight. The budget conscious will choose standard freight to feel they are saving money and others will choose express freight because they don’t mind paying a little bit more to get their delivery quicker.

3) Discounts and Promotions
Discounts and promotions can offer great incentives for customers to buy now or buy more items.
Experiment with offering a free freight if multiple items are purchased. You could try giving a discount if a certain amount is spent, even offering a promotional code to use on the next purchase to get a discount.
Discounts and promotions are great ways to sweeten the deal and encourage customers to step over the line and make the purchase now.

4) Tap into your own customers
One of the biggest mistakes we see by ecommerce websites is that they are constantly hunting for new customers while ignoring those who have purchased before.
The most successful ecommerce websites take advantage of their ever growing customer database by regularly contacting them with special offers, new product news and other promotional material.

If someone has purchased from you previously then they are obviously a qualified customer interested in your products and willing to spend money with you. By using an email marketing tool such as www.mantismail.com.au you can send regular email newsletters (we recommend once a month) highlighting any new products and special offers you have on.

Another great way to generate extra sales is through SMS marketing. It is well known that SMS marketing is even more effective that Email marketing and an SMS message gets to your customers there and then wherever they are.
Simply sending an SMS saying something like “24 hour sale starts now.. Check our website for great deals.. www.mantistech.com.au” can prompt your customers to visit your website quickly and start shopping.
Here is a bit of exciting news for MantisShop users. We can now easily integrate SMS marketing into your content manager. Contact us for more details.at http://www.mantistech.com.au/contact_us.aspx

5) Handle customer registration efficiently
You should never, ever prompt a customer to register their details before they can add items to their shopping cart. Customers will only ever want to fill in a form with their details when they are ready to make the purchase.

The flow of the shopping experience should be:

  • Browse for products through categories, brands, etc. or through searching.
  • Add items to the shopping cart.
  • View the contents of the shopping cart and either continue shopping or choose to check out.
  • Fill in the customer registration details (or just an email address and password if they are a returning customer). Ensure you only ask for the customers name, contact numbers and postal address.. don’t force them to fill out a survey.
  • Fill in the delivery details (there should be an option to tick or button to press to choose to deliver to the customer’s address that they have already filled in or the option to put in another address to send the product to a loved one or colleague).
  • Review the price break down of the sub total, freight, GST (if applicable) and the total.
  • Choose a payment method (credit card, bank to bank transfer, fax credit card details and cheque / money order are the most popular payment methods).
  • Receive an order confirmation on the screen and via email.

By following these tips, new customers should flock to your ecommerce website and start filling their shopping carts with your products!