Distinguish Your Online Store to Boost your Bottom Line

Would you be comfortable supplying your credit card number to an outdated, haphazard looking website? Most people wouldn’t, and that is exactly what makes it important to pay attention to the message your site is sending to visitors. Consumers want to buy from companies, not websites, and further, they want to feel confident that those companies are backed by real people. That seems obvious, but a legitimate concern given that pretty much anyone can have a website these days.

Even if your site is overflowing with traffic, it makes you no money when visitors walk in and right back out of your online store. So how do you stand out from the crowd and ensure that site visitors are comfortable doing business with your company?

A few obvious answers are having a professional design, solid text content and secure purchasing options – all important in today’s online marketplace. If you’ve got these basics covered, way to go! Now let’s take a look at some specific ways to make your site stand out that you may not have considered.

When you’re looking for fresh ideas to liven up your site, consider taking a lesson from the pros. Large companies with deep pockets sink millions of dollars into their online marketing activities, so why not benefit from their investments by picking up a few tips for your site? Examine the sites of several established e-retailers as well as major players in your own industry. What do they have in common? What do they do that you don’t?

Give your ecommerce site an edge over the competition with these simple techniques:

  • Have a few products immediately visible upon reaching the site. Displaying too many products right away may overwhelm visitors, but showing a select few products will engage visitors and prompt them to immediately start shopping. Consider adding a “Featured Products” section or displaying one key product per category on the home page.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Every major retail site seems to have a prominently displayed “Special Offer” or “Sale” advertised in plain view on the home page. Ebay.com displays specific auctions that are about to end, and Overstock.com highlights items that are almost out of stock. Each of these techniques instills a sense of urgency, which can lead consumers to make a purchase when they may otherwise just shop around. Brainstorm ideas for implementing similar techniques on your own site.
  • Keep your content relevant. There are many ways to make sure the content on your site is fresh, and I’m not talking redesign (though if your design is archaic, by all means, update!). Google does a great job of keeping its home page relevant by swapping out its logo for artistic renderings reflecting a current holiday, event, birthday or landmark date in history. Though Google prides itself on the simple, rarely modified design of its home page, it stays relevant by incorporating festive logo renderings of current topics periodically throughout the year. Check out the gallery of Google’s holiday logos past for inspiration, and create your own ways to show visitors that your company more than just a website.
  • Give your site some personality. If you can give your site a personal touch while keeping it professional, visitors will feel more comfortable doing business with you. Some ways to personalize a site are including photos of employees, testimonials from customers, posts about company events and charitable contributions, live online chat services as well as personalized wish lists and product suggestions.

Adding a Favorites Icon, known as a favicon, is a simple touch that helps brand your business and make it stand out. A favicon is the icon that appears in the Bookmarks or Favorites list in most browsers, as well as on tabs in browsers that support tabs. For more information on adding a favicon to your site, visit How To Favicon.

One final piece of advice is to always think of your site content as a work in progress. Of course you have worked hard to get your site to where it is today, but there is always room for improvement. Even with the same amount of traffic, you can make more profit by reducing your bounce rate and increasing conversions, both of which are usually tied to the content, design and/or usability of the site itself. Be persistent, get creative and reap the benefits of providing a superior online experience to your customers.

Pam Westbrook, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting

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