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Building a successful ecommerce site is much like building any other piece of a successful business and marketing strategy.
It requires time, dedication, expertise and investment. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of DIY tools out there. Sure, you can get your site up and running, selling your products online in just a few hours or days. But that doesn’t mean you can do it successfully.
Whether you’re working with a web professional or you’ve chosen to do it yourself, the realities are the same. You need a site that will draw customers, entice them to buy and keep them coming back.
To do that, you need more than a site and a shopping cart. You need to roll up your sleeves and get down to the business of building a good site. Here’s another tip that will get you started.
Tip #2: Get Organized
In your Main Street store, the homemade mint jelly may be lined up neatly next to the hand-embroidered hats, but online customers are unlikely to click on a link to “homemade jellies” if they are searching for hats.
A good ecommerce site organizes inventory into categories that are meaningful for online shoppers.
It may take some time to categorize, subcategorize and cross-categorize your products, but it will be time well spent. Visitors will only become customers if they can find what you’re selling.
One of the myths of ecommerce is that all of your pages should be within a click or two of the home page.
Studies show that people will continue to hunt for a product as long as they think they’re on the right track, even if it requires a couple of clicks. In other words, don’t be afraid to subcategorize. Your customers won’t “get lost” in the layers of your site as long as you give them a logical sequence to follow.
A word of caution: it’s imperative that your groupings are meaningful (keep garden hoses separate from grills) and cross-linked. Don’t force visitors into a subcategory for “propane grills” and leave them stranded with no way back to “electric grills”. Make sure visitors know where they are and how to back out.
A second word of caution: name product categories clearly. If you sell bedding, avoid cute category names like “Fluffy Stuff”. Visitors are more likely looking for “pillows” and “comforters”.
Shoppers come to your site with preconceived ideas of how and where they expect to find products. The more closely you can match their expectations, the better your site will fare.
And remember, cross-selling is your friend. If a person selects “propane grills”, by all means offer links to grill brushes, grill covers and grease mats. But be sure that your suggestions are also organized and well defined, and avoid overwhelming customers with a self-serving mess of up-sells, cross-sells and related information.
How do you decide what categories to put your products in?