Most of the people who visit your site will still find the idea of ordering online unusual. So your site needs to inspire visitors with confidence. It should say that yours is the kind of company that does things right, and that if they order something from you, it will be a good experience.
I hope everyone will be challenged to make their site an e-commerce site. If you want to start accepting credit cards on your site but don't want to pay monthly bills and high set-up fees, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be glad to be of service to you.
I've gathered 10 factors that will turn visitors into profits.
1. Work works.
I think hard work is the secret to succeeding in almost anything especially on the web.
The web levels the corporate playing field. A high school student is bound to make a better web site than a large industrial company. On the web, how big you are matters less than how hard you work.
Large corporations need a large amount of investment to stay on the web but if you are willing to work hard, you don't need a lot of money to get started.
2. Choose the right niche.
As a general rule, whatever sells in print catalog will also sell on the internet. If the customer has to see something before buying it, then you probably can't sell it in a print catalog or online. Otherwise, you should be able to sell almost anything.
Someone who works with computers is almost certain to have web access, so anything computer-related is likely to do comparatively well. And Internet users are richer and better educated than the population as a whole, so luxury items may do well.
More important than the type of products you sell is the size of the niche you choose. In the physical world, niches are based on geography. I often buy food at the corner store near my house. Despite the small selection and high prices. So in the physical world, proximity is king.
It's different on the Internet, geography is almost irrelevant on it. Niches on the Internet are based on what you sell, not where you are. So the key here is to choose a niche small enough that you can dominate it. Small manufacturers may be the biggest internet winners because they can dominate a niche.
3. High Production Values.
In a print catalog, "production values" refers to the quality of the paper and printing process used. High production values convince consumers to buy in print catalogs so goes on the web. Consumers will not buy from an amateurish web site.
If your company is unable to put up a good professional web site, then it seems natural to assume that your company cannot deliver good products or services.
4. Make your site easy.
If you want people who visit your site to order online, don't put any obstacles in their way. Whatever you do, don't force visitors to register.
Most major sites have learned not to require registration. Place your navigation system somewhere on top or on the left side constantly displaying on your site. Make it easy for all kinds of people (both laymen and technically inclined) to find their way on your site. You might was well include a search engine of some sort to your products database. A small button leading to the home page would add to the friendliness of your site.
5. Be real.
Don't play hide-and-seek from your visitors. Include your name, phone number, email address and street address to show that you are a real person with real products and services to sell.
Some marks of a fly-by-night company is it doesn't have any labels. Show your visitors that you care by including your contact number and the time you wish to be called. Remember, anything you do to show that you are real will help increase orders.
6. Emphasize service.
You have to (many times) reassure your visitors that you are determined to provide great customer service. Tell it straight on your site by simply placing a text that says: "We guarantee that you will be satisfied with our products and services or we will refund your money with no questions asked." Your site should offer secure online ordering.
When a customer does send you email, respond promptly, customers who have taken the time to send you email are like gold so treat them like one. You have to reply eventually, so why not do it right away?
7. Promote your site.
Having a great web site is not enough, you also need to let the people know it. For a starter, try submitting your site to seven famous search engines: AltaVista, Excite, Web Crawler, InfoSeek, Lycos, Hotbot and Yahoo.
Capitalize on a few keywords at first and then increase it. Reciprocal links are also a good traffic booster. If you have to place a link to your site, request that the other party link to you as well. Link to the same category and turn them into a coo-peting site (cooperate + competition) if you know what I mean!
Target banner ads are a big plus too.
8. Capitalize on sales not on hits.
You might boastfully say that I got half a million hits a day but the question is how many are turned into sales? Imagine seeing a "sales counter" on a site instead of a "hit counter."
Ordering online is quite an adventure for most of us and people love to tell such stories to their friends. They could be the most valuable free ad for you. Online shopping is still in its infancy that web users haven't yet found their regular web stores. This is good news for all of us that it means that there are still rooms for us in a list of regular online stores.
For example, I have dedicated a section called "Market Place" just for this one and I made sure people will not leave my site empty-handed.
9. Change your site.
Regular change in a web site is one way of telling that your web site is inhabited. Frequently changing sites means it's expensive and caters to "expensive" visitors. For example, major online stores are expensive because the site is maintained by web consultants who charge by the hour.
Fortunately, there are tools to make life on the web easier.
One easy (lazy) way to make your site "look" constantly updated is to list featured items on the front page and rotate them every few days. Implementing a weekly or monthly them will also do the trick.
10. Think Globally.
There's no shortage of marketable consumers on the web for our prospects is the entire world.