The trick to building a good eCommerce site is, at its most basic level, good usability. Getting visitors to the right products quickly, and making it pain-free to buy something is a big part of being a profitable shop website. But let’s talk about eCommerce sites from a consumer behaviour perspective for a minute. When we’re building a shop website for a client, they’re not just paying us to wack a few attractive pages together for them; it’s not just building a site with all the whizbangy features, they’re paying us to build trust. You have to build trust with an info site too of course, but with a shop site you’re asking people to part with their cash, right now. That ups the ante big time. Firstly, they want to know if you’re legit and if they’ll receive their item. All credit card companies offer online fraud protection these days, but it’s still a pain in the ass to go through the process. So you should remember this is top of their mind. Every single thing a visitor sees is sub-consciously evaluated as to whether they can trust your website to deliver the goods (literally and figuratively). Everything on your website influences whether they’ll buy from you, or from someone else.
If you own an eCommerce website you need to give people a BIG reason to buy from you.
It’s tough to stand out online, especially if you’re one of many. If you make a unique product then you don’t have to worry much about competition… but you still need to build that trust to get someone to part with their cash. If you’re reselling products, your market is likely going to be crowded and you’ll be struggling to stand out from the crowd. So, other than the obvious issue of getting on the first page of Google, you need to pay extra attention to offering more value and even more trust than your competitors. Why someone might NOT purchase from your site. If someone wants to buy online (and you have what they want), why wouldn’t they buy from you? If you’re too expensive, then you can either drop the price (bad idea, no one wants a price war) or you can add value (much better idea).
But if your prices are already competitive then the reason why you’re getting visitors, but not sales, will be down to how they feel about your site’s credibility (i.e. trust). This is your challenge to work out what’s not working and why.
Trust can be lost over the smallest things. It could be something as little as a typo, or a poor choice of clashing colours, or it could be an overuse of stock photos (nobody likes plastic smiley people – they like to know you’re a real person). Or it could just be that you haven’t quite said the right words that answers all their needs. So, as you can see, there’s lots of reasons why they might decide your competitor meets their needs better than you. eCommerce sites can be frustrating, but it’s also addictive when it starts working!
So make sure you give customers a clear reason why they should buy from you.
It’s not just about price. In fact, sometimes it’s not about price at all! Basically they want to know: is it safe? And even better: do they like and trust you more than the next guy selling the same widget? If you want to add value above your competition, think about offering something like:
- A free report on…(just make sure it’s packed with goodies, not filler)
- ‘How to use’ guide to…
- Webinars on a hot topic your customers are asking about
So to recap, a profitable eCommerce site is about clarity of message, ease of navigation, easy shipping, a great looking website…. And, what was that word again? Oh yes, trust! Remember ABN’ers: you only get one shot at converting a visitor into a customer, so make sure you do it right!