4 Pillars of a successful e-commerce website:
- Clients can find your website.
- Your website is trustworthy.
- You website motivates clients to act.
- Clients can easily perform the action you want.
That sounds soooooo easy, but we know that it isn’t. Delivering on the 4 objectives above is really tough to do but if you can do it, your sales will show it. Amazon is the king of online sales and that is because they execute on each of those 4 processes flawlessly. Let’s talk about things you can do to make sure you are meeting those objectives and getting sales from your website.
1. Clients can find your website.
A customer is going to find your website because either they search you out, or they are guided directly to you. There are no accidents in this process. Let’s say you sell widgets. The 2 scenarios are,
A. Joe wants a widget.
B. Joe has no idea that he wants a widget.
If Joe wants a widget, then Joe will look for one until he finds it from a source he likes. Then he will purchase it.
If Joe doesn’t know he wants a widget, then he needs to be convinced that he wants a widget. Now Joe is in scenario A.
So let’s forget about scenario B for now, and save that for another day.
Let’s just think about scenario A, where Joe definitely wants a widget. What will Joe do? He will search for widgets. Now we need to get Joe to our website. This requires a combination of word of mouth, SEO, and advertising. I will address this in another article. For now, let’s assume that Joe has found your website and a few of your competitors.
2. Your site is trustworthy.
Joe will compare sources/sellers. He will look for a great deal on a widget from a source that he trusts. Joe will look for a deal that makes it worth pulling the trigger. As a seller, it is your job to make it a no-brainer for Joe to buy from you. You to make sure your website represents you well. Your website needs to convince Joe that you are professional. That you are able to deliver on your promise. That doing business with you is the best thing for Joe. Make sure that your website is current and that you provide helpful information. Be sure that your images are sharp and clear, and that they look current. Dated pictures are will turn off potential clients as it will look like you aren’t keeping your site up to date.
3. You website motivates clients to act.
What does that mean? If you sell widgets online, then it means you want Joe to buy a widget online. If your site is an informational site about your service then you want Joe to call you, or you want him to give you his contact info so you can reach out to him.
Your job as a seller is to engage Joe and to build trust while building Joe’s interest in your product. Keep in mind that Joe is comparing you to your competition. He might not realize it, but he is definitely deciding if he likes you better than your competition. Help Joe pick the right seller (you of course), by being a friend to him. Make sure your website helps Joe learn all the great reasons to buy the widget. Make it easy for Joe to find all the details about the widget. Joe is curious, so if you don’t answer his questions he will go read your competitor’s website.
Does your widget require lessons? Then give tutorials on your website?
Make sure your website loads fast on all platforms because Joe is impatient and if your pages are slow he’ll go to your competitor.
Make sure your text is short and clear, or if it isn’t short then make sure it is interesting so Joe will stay and read it.
Make sure your images are clear and make your widgets look better than your competitor’s widgets. Show all the important details Joe could want to see on your product. If you don’t show him, then someone else will.
4. Clients can easily perform the action you want.
In this case, we want Joe to buy our widget using our online ordering process. We have worked really hard to build trust with Joe. We have provided an attractive website with interesting content that loads fast. We have great pictures and interesting text. And… And finally, Joe has pulled out his credit card and is ready to order from us. At this point, we just have to help him across the finish line by making things very easy. Make sure that your shopping cart allows for a very simple checkout process. We’ve all struggled through a check out process that was insanely complex. That is intolerable. PLEASE, make sure your shopping cart has an easy flow and makes ordering idiot proof. Joe is no idiot of course, but we know he is impatient. So don’t lose him with a complex process here.
This process is not easy. If it was easy then all sites would be great, and e-commerce would be easy. If you want to be successful online then you can work at this process. Refine your website constantly. Update your content. Keep giving all the Joes out there new information that your competitors are too lazy to give. You can do this because you are willing to do the work.
One more thing. This doesn’t just apply to e-commerce online sales. If you own a hair salon, decorating business, or law office you can do the exact same thing. It is just that the end goal is to get your client to act by calling you to book an appointment. So make it really easy for them to make that call. Make sure you are responsive to those calls.
Good luck. I’m off to make my site easier and more interesting 🙂