• Easy does it: People are looking for convenience in every aspect of their lives – they want to do things easily and in the shortest time possible. Make the buying process as simple as possible – offer them a neat display of items and prices with a searchable database to start with, and refrain from asking them unnecessary questions when they click the BUY link. Display prices prominently so that they don’t have to open additional pages to see what the product’s going to cost them. In short, make the number of steps from decision to buy to the actual purchase the minimum. If you want additional information, ask them for it after the sale is complete.
• Comeback tricks: Get your customers to shop with you again and again by keeping them informed of deals and sales on your site. For those who’ve stopped by and left without buying, track what they’re interested in and send them emails when these items are on sale or available at a lower price.
• Holiday cheer: Use holidays to boost your sales by offering more for less. People love the idea of a sale, so it’s up to you to get them to buy from your site rather than brave the shopping crowds at the malls. Start early, and offer your customers early-bird discounts for those who buy first. Similarly, you could sell all your remaining holiday items at a discount the last two days before the big day, a sort of bonus for stragglers.
• Information pays: Make your site informative so that customers don’t leave when they don’t find answers. Make sure that policies pertaining to returns and privacy are displayed prominently on your FAQ page, and not hidden in the fine print. You may be able to take customers for a ride once, but if you think they’re going to continue to offer you their patronage after being bamboozled, you’ve certainly got another think coming.
• Perk up: Customers love the fact that they’re getting something extra special at your online store, so throw in the mail-in rebates, the discounts for shopping online, the secure channel for credit card transactions, free shipping, and numbers to track their delivery online.
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This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of open courseware. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com
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