Data Mining Your E-Commerce Site

It is important to keep a close eye on the statistics your e-commerce site provides to ensure that you are correctly targeting your content to your likely audience, and therefore making every sale that should be available to you. Not only that, but you need to be encouraging your potential and actual customers to engage with you, so that you can work on converting them to a customer for life, as well as utilising their network to promote your products more widely.

The big problem with traffic statistics is that invariably they do not easily indicate the different types of individuals who are arriving on your site. You cannot necessarily discover from your traffic stats whether that visitor came to buy, browse, bargain hunt, or research. There is no one size fits all for content on an e-commerce site, and it can be difficult to ensure that the information most likely to convert to a sale is easily discoverable by the right audience. After all, each type of user may come looking for slightly different things and act upon the information in different ways.

This is where metrics and measurements come in handy. By profiling the different shoppers and visitors to your website, you can begin to understand the different categories of users your promotional campaigns drive to your websites, and hence target information specifically to those visitors. By encouraging them to sign up to a newsletter, open an account, complete a feedback form or survey, or engage with a live contact person, you can begin to build up a picture of the types of people who visit your e-commerce site.

Why? You need to discover who is visiting your site, what their intentions are, and whether you are delivering precisely that they seek.

If you discover that a link on a particular site always leads to a sale of a discount item, or products that are on sale, or multi-buys, you can assume that the majority of those visitors are bargain hunters. Therefore, you can set up a landing page that specifically caters to those seeking a great price or a bargain, and push all of your lower priced deals to those customers immediately they follow the link from the originating site. There is no point pushing the highest spec products to those who are looking for bargain unless your price is highly competitive.

By looking at which type of visitor your backlinks and certain Pay Per Click campaigns or keywords drive to the site, you can adapt the content or landing pages to suit. Conversion rates can be measured and tweaks and changes made to landing pages to test those rates and increase them.

If you see that you have return visitors who regularly buy, then it is worth targeting those customers with a newsletter highlighting products they have shown an interest in or previously purchased, offer quarterly (or whatever timescale suits them) coupons, discounts and vouchers to repeat customers, and so on. By adding the option to open an account – this should not be compulsory for a first or one-off purchase – you can track our best customers and look after them.

Another way to motivate your customers is to offer an affiliate program that rewards them for their loyalty and promotion of your products and services. This does not necessarily mean purchasing expensive affiliate administration software, and may just mean assigning a single person within the business to communicate with your affiliates to ensure that the relationship is managed so as to be mutually beneficial.

You may discover that there are a number of customers who regularly put multiple items in their shopping basket before checking out, and then remove some of them. If this is the case, you need to check your pricing and shipping costs, and ensure that they are competitive, as well as clearly indicated at the point of purchase. Additionally, if you find a large number of shoppers dropping out before the sale, you must check the usability and functionality of your e-commerce software for ease of use and errors.

By examining the statistics, and applying a few techniques to gather information and then assess it for patterns, you can easily access the goldmine of information which your visitors leave behind. With carefully tailored calls to action, designed to meet your required results and tested regularly to ensure that you are hitting the right targets with your visitors, you can increase the number of responses and thereby achieve what you require from your ecommerce site.

How To Create The Perfect e-Commerce Site

I think a major way of getting more sales is in essence the design of a website. You may work on marketing outside of your website, but what happens when the consumer actually enters the site? If you spend money on AdSense and other marketing methods, you might as well throw money out the window if you have a poorly designed website.

I read about this concept called consumer psychology, which deals with the behavior of consumers. To e-commerce sites, consumer psychology is to a great extent about designing your website so that you get more sales and gain an online buyer’s trust.

Here’s a few things I found are beneficial for a good e-commerce website for traditional retail goods such as clothing, furniture, jewelry, and so forth:

– white or neutral backgrounds

– search bar on top right of page

– have a privacy policy, terms of service and sitemap in the footer

– company logo on top left side of page

– talk less about yourself. Sometimes telling people how long you’ve been in the business, what you’ve achieved, and what your company stands for can be seen as arrogant if you do it too much. Talk about the consumer instead. Your business revolves around the consumer, not the other way around. Use YOU, not WE.

– describe products to justify why they are helpful to the consumer, not to justify their price or why they are better than the competitor’s.

– all pages must be coherent. Consumers shouldn’t feel like they’ve left your site every time they visit a page. Use the H1, H2, etc. tags, create a menu and footer that show up on every page and keep the overall organization of all pages consistent. Research shows that as a consumer starts to visit more and more of your pages, browsing your site becomes easier for them because they learn where each link is and how your site is organized. They become more comfortable with your site and may actually make a purchase.

– You need a custom 404 page. All your links should point to a valid page. Having links to non-existent pages is not good, but in case that it does happen, a custom 404 page will save you. Why? For one, your site is still coherent, but even more importantly, generic 404 pages don’t have a link to your site so more than likely, a consumer can leave the site. A custom 404 page should still have your header and footer so the consumer can click on a link and continue browsing your page.

– Site must load quickly. Avoid flash home pages or fancy splash pages. This is not just to satisfy spiders, but consumers. You have only a few seconds to capture a consumer’s attention and keep them on the site. Don’t waste it on fancy graphics that take forever to load. Chances are, consumers will leave. Go for simple gifs and jpegs instead. While we all love graphics with fancy text, you can use CSS to create unique text that loads faster. Stash away your CSS and JavaScript codes in separate files that you call with codes such as class=”x” instead of typing the full code every time you need it. All this cuts down on loading time. –

– Avoid deprecated codes. While it’s easy to just an image and use the attribute, it’s not supported everywhere anymore. Keep in mind that consumers have different browsers so you must make sure that your site will show up identically or almost identically on all browsers. Use CSS instead. Need to center an image? Create a CSS file and use the text align code. Need to change fonts? No problem, CSS can create headers as well as individual font codes that you can call by name from your page.

– Optimize for keywords WITHIN your site. Yes, I know we’re all obsessed with SEO and we want to optimize for keywords for SEs, but another reason to pick good keywords is your own site’s search function. When writing product titles, keep them practical and descriptive for the consumer. Think about what your consumer will type in the search text box and make sure that they can find your products when searching.

– Don’t pressure the consumer. There is a reason that blinking banner ads have nearly disappeared and replaced by more modest text ads. People are smart. They come to a site to 1) find a product, 2) be persuaded that the site is credible, and 3) make a purchase. You cannot make a sale unless a consumer trusts you. Don’t pressure them. Keep your text size modest and conservative in color. No large fonts in lime green with exclamation points galore. Don’t overuse the words “hurry”, “amazing”, “WOW” or anything like that. You want to build your site up in reputation and leave opinions up to the consumer.

– Recently, there has been a trend towards “personifying” e-commerce websites. With so little personal interaction and so many large corporations, it’s understandable. You should add content to your site to personify it. Get stock photos with friendly customer service reps on the phone, photograph your staff, write a guarantee page that looks like a letter and has sincerely, (owner name) at the bottom, and add a testimonials page and anything else you believe will personify your page. Remember, a consumer must trust you BEFORE they buy from you. They want to make sure that there is a human being behind your company.

– Be moderate when putting SSL and hacker-safe logos on your site. It’s good that people know that your site is safe. For that reason, you should have something in the footer to assure your consumer that his or her transaction will be safe. But please, keep those “security” images small. They don’t have to be 250×250, something smaller is just as effective and won’t take away from your website’s design or overall message.

– Don’t try to put everything on a homepage. A homepage is not a sitemap. Focus on your most exciting product and feature it on the homepage, with the rest of the homepage content complementing it. You homepage should have more large graphics and less text. You want to project your products to the consumer and the best way is to keep the text short and wow them with one focal point – an amazing image of one of your products. Design your homepage as if it were the cover of a magazine.

– to a consumer, the way your pages are written are a direct way of evaluating your credibility. Poorly spelled words and run-on sentences are unprofessional and will chase away many sales.

– images that are blurry or “bleed”. I’ve seen many poor quality images on quite a few e-commerce sites that just look horrible. Some folks attempt to create graphics with colorful text that ends up a completely different color; or they resize their images and make them blurry. Image quality is essential and quite easy to deal with. You can get an inexpensive program (it doesn’t have to be Photoshop).

– avoid advertising on your page. No AdWords, no banner ads, no flash ads. It doesn’t belong on an e-commerce site. Have you ever bought furniture from a site that advertised Viagra? I don’t think so.

Implement all those things and you just might make that sale you’ve been dreaming about.
custom valances

Seven Tips to Help Increase E-Commerce Site Sales in 2012

The options and possibilities with e-commerce sites are said to be infinite in 2012. They have burst onto the scenario and created a huge impact within a short span of time. There are many new e-commerce sites coming up on a regular basis and there are many more expected this year. With the e-commerce business getting highly competitive, one will have to guarantee excellent service to stay at the top. There are many things that one can work on to increase the number of customers. Some basic things that one needs to work on to improve the sales of an e-commerce site in 2012 are listed below:

A simple and attractive site: To begin with, one must have an attractive and simple site. If the customers cannot find the things that they are looking for easily then they would simply move onto another site where things are available in an easy manner.

Proper grouping: Make sure to group things in a proper manner so that customers can easily compare the same products from different manufacturers before making a purchase. This process would be very helpful for customers as they have some options to choose from.

Simple Shopping Process: The process of shopping also plays an important role. A customer would return to a site only if he had good experience before. Else he/she would simply move onto another e-commerce as there are plenty of them out in the market.

Live call features: There must be an option to contact the customer service in case of any doubts or confusion. A live click to call feature like BounzD would help the customer reach a customer service executive instantly and get the problem solved. This would help reduce the number of cart abandonments which are on a rise on most e-commerce sites.

Proper safety: Due to an increase in the number of cyber crimes across the Internet people are a bit hesitant to reveal their bank accounts and other personal information on a site that do not provide safety for them. Hence it is very important to make sure that an e-commerce site guarantees proper safety for a customer. An icon of a leading authentication service like VeriSign would boost the confidence of the customers hugely. This would in turn lead to an increase in the number of sales for the site.

Search option: If the e-commerce site offers a huge variety of products then a search button would help the customers get to the product that they want in quick time. This would save a lot of time for the customer. Also the process of shopping would be far simpler.

Feedback Section: A customer would buy a product from an e-commerce site only if he/she is assured of the quality of the product and the service that the site provide. Hence it is necessary to provide a section for the customers to write their feedbacks on their experience with the site. Positive feedbacks will really help improve the sales of the site in a huge way.

With Internet users on a rise the chances and possibilities are quite huge for the e-commerce sites in 2012. As there are many options available for a customer only the sites with good service and quality products are going to survive in 2012. With the help of the above steps I hope you could get going on the positive side.