Many digital news publishers and trade publication websites have ecommerce pages or sections as part of their revenue development strategy.
Selling branded content like t-shirts and mugs, or selling books related to your site, can bring in extra revenue and keep your income streams diverse. Adding ecommerce along with paid advertising, sponsorships, custom job boards, and other monetization techniques can be an effective way to boost site profitability. But you can’t just put up an ecommerce page and sit back. Effective ecommerce requires planning and commitment. Here are five tips you can use to maximize sales.
1. Start the Shopping Experience Out Right
Your entire website should be easy to navigate, and your ecommerce page or section is no exception. Once visitors click over to your ecommerce page, you don’t want them stranded there with no obvious way to go back to content. Additionally, you want to help your visitors find the products they need. Including a search bar is an easy and effective way to do that so they don’t scroll through your entire catalog looking for a particular t-shirt. Finally, your ecommerce section should be mobile friendly. At the end of 2012, 10% of ecommerce dollars were spent via mobile device. Mobile Internet access accounts for 30% of all Internet access in the US and is expected to surpass desktop access in 2014. Mobile optimization is essential for successful ecommerce.
2. Make It Easy for Customers to Give You Their Money
Amazon knows the value of easy checkout. If customers can complete checkout in one page, they’re happier than if they have to click through several before finally clicking that ”place order” button. Offering extras like gift wrap and gift receipts can boost ecommerce sales as well. Customers tend to prefer shopping on sites where no registration is required to make a purchase. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer: she’s ready to buy that branded mug, with credit card in hand, but finds out she has to register and create an account first. That’s enough to turn many potential customers off. Finally, it’s important to be transparent about your shipping charges. Nobody likes surprises when it comes to shipping.
3. Offer Tracking
In addition to being up-front about shipping charges, you should offer shipping options that include tracking. When people can track orders, they have a sense of control, and can find out exactly where a product is in the shipping cycle and when they can expect it.
4. Make Your Products Shine
Go ahead and hire a professional photographer to take your ecommerce photos. This is an up-front investment that pays off in higher sales. The products you’re selling should look clearly focused and attractive, in light that minimizes color distortion. Include plenty of details, like what fabrics clothing items are made of, whether sizes run generous or small, if mugs are dishwasher-safe, or whether the item requires particular cleaning methods. Reviews and testimonials also help sales. Potential customers want to know what other people think of the product once they’ve bought it.
5. Use Analytics to Improve Search Engine Optimization
Don’t forget about page analytics for your ecommerce pages. Knowing where your customers are coming from and which pages they’re visiting on your site is a key to making their experience as positive as possible. Eventually you’ll be able to determine how much revenue is actually generated when customer click on a link, what the average transaction size is, and what your ecommerce conversion rate is. Use these figures to improve your ecommerce section. Also, SEO is just as important on your ecommerce pages as it is everywhere else on your site. Keyword research and optimization can help you optimize item descriptions and tags associated with each product, improving traffic to your ecommerce pages.
If you have a solid revenue development strategy that includes stalwarts like paid advertising, sponsored content, and white label job boards, consider adding ecommerce to the mix. You don’t have to start big: a handful of carefully curated items will help you get a solid footing and avoid being overwhelmed. Try these tips and you could develop effective ecommerce offerings into a healthy revenue stream.