Selling Goods Online? Guess Who Your Best Friend Is?
A few decades ago, the idea of being able to purchase things instantly through a computer from the comfort of home seemed impossibly far-fetched.
When online shopping became a reality, the mere fact that you could order what you needed from home made it instantly popular.
The novelty has worn off, though, and consumers are more demanding – and discerning – than ever.
If you’d like to successfully sell things online, your website needs to be way more than a catalog. It needs to make up for the fact that it’s not a brick-and-mortar store. Doing that is easier than you think.
The Perks of Buying Online
There’s no question that people love being able to order what they need online, but you shouldn’t assume that you can get away with merely offering that to your customers. Online ordering saves people a lot of time; it makes it easier for them to comparison shop too.
Many people swear that they get much better deals by shopping online. You can and should play up these benefits as much as possible, but you need to do more too.
Buying Online versus Buying in Person
As nice as it is to be able to shop for what you need in your pajamas, there are some definite drawbacks to buying certain things online. You can’t actually handle the merchandise, for instance, so you have to hope that it’s as good as it looks online.
Although people sometimes complain about over-eager salespeople, their absence is often felt when shopping online. You can’t turn to an actual human to ask for assistance.
Your Mission? Bridge the Gap between Buying Online and Buying in Person
You can probably do quite well for yourself by simply offering people a way to buy what they need through your website.
Why settle for “quite well,” however, when the sky’s the limit?
By addressing the most common complaints that people have about buying online and replicating the experience of buying in person as closely as possible, you can be a real standout in the world of online retail.
With a few small, simple steps, you can offer your customers a truly unbeatable online shopping experience:
- Be Descriptive – You may have the best products on the planet, but online shoppers can’t handle them to see for themselves. They can’t reach through their computer screens to check out the merchandise in person, but you can make up for that a lot by being as descriptive as possible. Furthermore, you need to really sell your products. Use descriptions that are engaging, interesting and informative.
- It’s All About Photos – If you rely on thumbnail-sized images to show people what your products are like, you’re doing it wrong. It’s okay to use thumbnails, but they should open up into much larger images when people click on them. It’s also nice to allow people to zoom in on images for closer looks. Don’t settle for one or two images of each product. Include plenty of photos from many different angles. Depending on the item, you may also want to include a photo of someone holding, wearing or using it as well.
- Create Demo Videos – In some cases, the best way to really show a person what a product is all about is by creating a demo video. This may seem like a tall order, but these videos don’t need to be slickly produced. They just need to show people what the product is all about, and they can be short and sweet.
- Engage Your Audience – Your website should be more than an e-commerce destination. It should add value to people’s lives by teaching them about the products and services that your company provides. This can be done with well-written, interesting and informative articles, blog posts and videos. Be sure to integrate these posts with social media for maximum effect.
- Be Accessible – One of the top complaints about shopping online is being unable to get help when it’s needed. Email support is suitable in some cases, but people often need help right away. Phone support is a great solution, but many folks are loathe to switch from the screen to the phone. The best way to address this issue is by offering support via live chat. Live chat software is more sophisticated and easier to use than ever, so make sure to avail yourself of it.
- Simplify the Returns Process – Another reason people sometimes dread shopping online is because they’re worried they’ll have trouble returning things. Go out of your way to make the returns process as easy as possible, and make it clear that returns are handled quickly. Don’t bury your returns policy on some random page of your website. Put it up front and center.
By combining the best aspects of online shopping and shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, you will be able to achieve unparalleled success. When in doubt, put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. How satisfied would you be with the experience? You’ll know whether or not you’re on the right track by answering that simple question.
Category: Internet Business Blog |