A lot of people ask me… How do I get sales on this website? Building a successful online store is not an easy task. Many people believe that you just build a website, turn it on, and the people come. Is anything in life really this easy? What I can tell you is that it is not this easy, but it’s not impossible to own a successful website. If you have a store that you built, and it’s not making you money, it should be. You can’t give up. I’m going to explain eCommerce success in common sense – simple terms.
Website Design – The design of your eCommerce website is the most important piece. Without a clean, crisp, professional look – nobody is going to buy anything in your store. The homepage is the entrance to your store. Think of it as the doors that open at the supermarket. If you walked into the supermarket and you were greeted with a dirt floor and shopping cart with three wheels, would you continue in to buy your meat? Let’s assume you do. Where exactly is the meat?
Website Navigation and Content – You follow the signs, which are your “navigation”, in this store, the signs are also on the dirt floor, they are not clearly hung for you to see – hence, a “poor structure”. If you haven’t given up looking for the meat by now, you’re a lot more stubborn then the average customer. Now you’ve found the meat, not because the store clearly showed you where it is, but because you’re a real trooper. There’s a few packages, but they’re not labeled – hence, a “poor product description” on your website. You picked the one that you thought was chicken breast and you move on.
Poor Checkout Experience – As you stumbled ahead to the checkout, which was also not clearly labeled, but you found it, you arrive at your cashier, Agnes. She’s 92 and has an abacus – hence, this is the same as a “bad checkout process”. Five minutes later, as she calculates your change, you’ve completed your purchase. You now exit the store.
This supermarket is probably your store.
Finding Your Store – So let’s pretend that your supermarket is located in a beautiful mall, hence “the Internet”. When you walk into this mall, there is a huge store directory, and it’s updated by this really smart person, we’ll call her Google. Google knows that almost everyone who has entered your store hates shopping there. It watches how many people come in and out of your store and how nobody ever has any bags when they leave. When people do have bags, there are very few items in them. But it knows that the store on the other end of the plaza has really easy to read signs and lots of information for their customers. There are always people working in the store, stocking the shelves and updating the information. Google wants you to come back to her directory, that she works so hard to update. She always tells you to go to that store because of how great their selection and service is.
This is how businesses are successful on the Internet. It follows the same concept. You must have a current design. Everything must be in place to instill consumer confidence. The products must have lots of information and they must be easy to find. The products need to be displayed in a way where they are pleasing to the eye, and useful for the customer.
So in summary, these are the rules to be successful online.
· You must have a professional store design. A template is great for starting out but you will never achieve complete success with it. A template tells Google and the other search engines that you don’t care enough about how your store looks, so why should Google to refer it to others. If you don’t care, why should Google care?
· You must constantly update your store. You must have unique product descriptions and descriptions about your sections. Most importantly you must tell Google what it is you do. This all goes back to the concept that “Google is going to refer potential customers to websites that Google believes give the best customer experience”. A website that is not updated frequently is stale. Update content, blog frequently, but keep it real. Google is smart enough to know when you’re trying to fake it. Again, if you don’t care, why should Google care?
· You must try to find people and bloggers, preferably within you industry to link to you. This tells Google that what you have is special or better than someone else’s website. Somebody cared enough to refer you. The more people that refer your website, the better your website will perform in Google. Again, keep it real. This Google is one smart cookie. It will catch you lying. Maybe not now, but it will in the future – and it doesn’t like liars.
· If you can’t do this yourself, then you need to pay someone to do it for you. It is as simple as that. A website that does not look professional, or have unique content will not ever be successful. Either save up and invest in your business, or quit. Hope is not a strategy.
· Don’t give up. Good things take time, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. At the same time, Rome didn’t build itself.