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Website Workshop: If You Want to Sell, Make it Easy to Buy

12th June 2009

Website Workshop: If You Want to Sell, Make it Easy to Buy

posted in Website Workshop |

moneyI’ve had it happen to me more than once.  I’ll see a product I like in a Twitter feed or mentioned on someone’s blog and I follow the link to make a purchase.  The only problem is that when I get to where the link leads it is impossible to figure out how to buy or in some cases even what I’m buying.  Prices aren’t easily available.  Descriptions are lacking.  There aren’t any pictures and no indication that pictures are coming.  The site doesn’t carry information that lets me know it is secure and safe to make a purchase.  I can’t even find the product.  It doesn’t take long before I decide I don’t really want the product that much after all.  In that split second, another online merchant loses a sale.

When you sell online, your main goal is to get money for the products you list.  Anything that stands in the way of that goal needs to be eliminated or repaired.  Here is a checklist of some items you should make sure are in good working order before you try to sell through your website.

1.  Have good product pictures – They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of selling online, they’re right.  Get the best pictures you can get and use them liberally.  This can be particularly important if you’re selling colorful goods.  A picture can show those colors in a way that words cannot.

2. Write good descriptions – Make sure you include all the details.  How big the item is, what it is made of, what it can be used for and so on.  You want your descriptions to be concise, but you also want to include all the information the average customer would need to decide if they wanted to buy.

3. Don’t make customers hunt for products – Flash pages can be cool.  I’m a big fan of About Us pages and allowing customers to learn more about the company.  Additional content can be good and helpful, but it should never get in the way of the main function of your site, which is to sell.  Don’t make customers hunt for your products or wade through tons of content before they get to the part of the site that sells.  Most customers won’t be willing to spend the time, and if they won’t spend time they definitely won’t spend money.

4. Pricing should be easy to find – Pricing should never be hidden.  Customers want to know up front what they’re going to have to pay for the product, as well as information about shipping and any additional fees.  Don’t make them hunt for pricing.  Make it easily accessible and easy to understand.

5. A secure site is a site that sells – If you’re sellling online you need to make it very obvious that your site is secure.  At minimum, you should have an SSL certificate.  You should also have a small disclaimer on your shopping cart page that tells customers how you keep their information secure.   People won’t input their credit card information if they’re worried it might be stolen.

Selling online can be a great way to expand beyond your local market, and can be very profitable.  Just keep in mind that a web site that sells is always a work in progress, and that monitoring sales and conversion rates is part of the job.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 9:52 am and is filed under Website Workshop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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