Sep. 2, 2010
In today's increasingly competitive business environment, there are many ways to help improve sales
and customer loyalty to your brand. More and more today, consumers and businesses alike are using the
Internet to purchase the products and services that they need everyday. And that trend has been growing
steadily since 2003. For the past seven years, they have been using ecommerce websites for those
purchases and all experts agree that the trend will continue to grow even faster for the next 10 to
If you rely on eCommerce sales for your business, we will give you a few tips in this article on
how you can increase your online sales, build your brand for the long term while at the same time
improve your Internet identity.
Tip No. 1 - Let your online customers access your whole product portfolio.
Think of your website as the online equivalent to your brick and mortar store. It's as simple as that.
With a well-designed site, you can expose all visitors to your complete product portfolio and
cross-sell or upsell in ways that other retailers can't. In general, some e-retailers are brand-agnostic.
This means a customer choosing to buy a Sony television online might be offered a Pioneer DVD player
or a Panasonic surround sound system as other items to complement and complete their purchase.
It isn't really surprising to see that companies are choosing to become e-retailers in their own
right, where they can cross-sell and upsell products in addition to selling their goods and services
through other channels, but is that really the best way to do it? If your site visitors can see all
your product portfolio at a glance, there's a much better chance that they will buy from your site
instead of your competition.
Tip No. 2 - Efficiently manage your resellers if you have any.
If you happen to have resellers in your entourage, make sure that they are managed correctly, fairly
and efficiently. Hold regular meetings with all of them. Although you can hold conference or video
conference calls with them in order to save time and resources, face-to-face meetings are a lot better,
and you will get a much better sense of the 'feel' they have for your products or services, as well
as your overall brand recognition.
Depending on your exact contractual commitments to your resellers and partners, you may select to
direct some traffic to specific reseller section on your site, allowing customers to choose based on
geographic location or overall price, or you may have other contract obligations to direct more traffic
to newer or established reseller channels based on specific customer retention criteria or growth
strategies. The choice is yours.
Tip No. 3 - Are you really delivering what they asked for?
You would be surprised at how often even big companies don't deliver exactly what the customer has
ordered. And it does happen more than you think. This is a good opportunity for you to tailor exactly
the online experience for all your site visitors. The more information you can collect about them,
whether implicitly or explicitly gathered, the better you can tailor information and promotions presented
to meet their needs. But you need to find a secure and convenient way to have that information placed
in a central database, preferably not hosted with your site's files for obvious security reasons. That
can really build the value perception of your brand.
If you're not 100 percent certain of what it is exactly that your site visitors want, you may
implement a sort of check box system on your site with a heading like: 'What else would you like to
see on our site?' or 'Is there something missing here that you need?' You will be amazed at what
new ideas or new concepts visitors might give you as clues.
Tip No. 4 - Do you really know who and when visitors come to your site?
This may sound like very elementary to you, but there are still many site owners and eTailers out there
that don't really know who visits their sites, when, in which country, what pages of the site they
have browsed, etc. Taking the real-time analytics readings of the traffic and behavior on your site
can not only help boost conversions, but also help you better understand visitor behavior so you
can adjust the messaging about your brand or products. Very basic, yes-- but it's a fundamental part
of the equation that is often overlooked by many, especially to new site owners and managers.
For starters, determining what isn't working on the site might be a lot more important than measuring
what already is working. The ability to adapt rapidly and change content easily and test out different
messaging or promotions will quickly improve your bottom line. Trust us on this!
Tip No. 5 - It's all about branding!
Have you ever asked yourself what makes your company so special? What really distinguishes your product
or services from your main competitors? Do you offer after-hours or extended customer service hours?
We call this branding since many customers like to deal with a company that provides great customer
service, and a company that really cares about it's users. Is this really a part of your brand and
what interactivity do you need exactly in order to fully assist customers both before and after their
purchase on your site?
Overall, when people make a purchase online, site managers can learn a lot about an individual's
specific profile and preferences. You can pinpoint user characteristics even more with the right site
analytic tools offered today. Now you can have a really meaningful relationship with your online
customers and with the availability of new content management software, email and social commerce
technologies, you can offer them a great and exciting branding experience that will make them come
back for more.
Tip No. 6 - Help yourself by making them come back
If branding is important, so is customer loyalty. Ask anybody that has been in sales for any lenght of
time and they will tell you that a repeat customer is one of the best customer you can have since he
or she already knows your company and what you sell, and already has a trust relationship with you. That
said, building your online eCommerce presence means you have more control over promotions and loyalty
programs that can benefit your customers, and your brand.
Consider how to keep your resellers engaged with these same programs but drive additional traffic
from new purchasers back to your site to register for new products, earn discounts or reward points
toward their next purchase on your site. This may sound complicated but it's not, really. Just let
your imagination work. Another good idea is to ask your staff or sales managers. If they've been
working for you for more than three months, you can almost be certain they have some good ideas or
comments to share with you.
Overall, the careful planning and attention to minute details in site design, usability
features and a well thought out user interface, especially when it comes to the products catalog
and the shopping cart of a modern eCommerce site will go a long way in boosting sales, creating
a great user experience that will convert one-time customers into loyal, long-time buyers that
will return over and over to your site for more.
Also, never underestimate the power of viral marketing and word-of-mouth! A satisfied
customer can bring you dozens if not hundreds of new customers over a period of a few years. He
or she will be more than happy to share with his family, friends or business associates his great
shopping experience he's had in the past by shopping at your site.
You know what they say: word-of-mouth advertising is the best there is, and, what's more, it's
Good luck with your ecommerce site! Your comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
This article was featured on Business 5.0.
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