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"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"
Web Site Sales
Dear Professor Bruce:
I have a professionally designed Web site for my business. The information is solid, it looks great, and I get plenty of traffic. The problem is that I am not getting enough sales from the site. People seem to be shopping but not buying. What can I do to help convert Web site visitors to buyers?
Having a great looking Web site isn't all that's required to succeed in e-commerce. Just like with a bricks and mortar store, you have to make sure you are attracting customers that are truly interested in buying your products and you must make it easy to complete the sale. No one wants to wait in a very long line to buy something in a store. Online, people are even less patient, and sometimes bail out of the 'shopping cart' process because it's too long and complicated. Shoppers also place a high value on reliability and security in making online purchases. Yahoo's Director of E-commerce Jimmy Duvall offers the following advice:
- To help drive the "right" traffic to your site, make sure your e-commerce solutions provider automatically submits your business to the leading search engines (Yahoo and Google). Yahoo's Merchant Solutions product does that, and includes discounts for listing with Yahoo Shopping.
- To help encourage shoppers to become buyers, merchandise your products by offering promotions like discounts, cross-selling, and gift certificates.
- Look 'under the hood' of your Web site to better understand where your visitors are leaving your site, where your buyers come from, and if you are spending on search marketing, to determine what keywords are paying off. For example, Yahoo's e-commerce solution can provide as many as forty reports and graphs with helpful customer details.
- Review your checkout process and customize it to maximize your sales. Many shoppers prefer a one-page, simplified check out process, with shipping costs automatically calculated so that they can see their total purchase price before they buy. Also, keep gift buyers in mind by offering gift wrapping and messaging options.
- Finally, give your customers peace of mind that their information will be secure when making a purchase. For example, Yahoo Merchant Solutions protects customer information with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) using 128-bit encryption, which complies with stringent Visa security requirements and is the highest level of encryption available in commercial web browsers.
Online, people are even less patient, and sometimes bail out of the 'shopping cart' process because it's too long and complicated.