NAB’s Group Chief Economist, Alan Oster, recently projected that although retail spend is about 5 per cent of total retail sales in Australia, he expects online sales to grow by 20 per cent this year.
While 5 per cent might not sound a like a lot, it’s actually worth about $10.5 billion dollars. And if only 50 per cent of Australian businesses have a website, according to a recent poll commissioned by Google Australia, there’s a clear motivator for jumping online.
Your website can be a real revenue earner if you build it the right way. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to get this right. There are some very simple but crucial elements you need to create a successful e-commerce site.
1. Clarity of offer: If a person finds you on Google, they’ll generally give you about three seconds to impress them. Be clear on what you do and make sure they can easily see why they should buy from you.
2. Great photography: Stock photography is usually ignored so invest in a good photo shoot and personalise your website.
3. Credibility/strong trust signals: Social signals can play a big part in building credibility so make it easy to share your products and pages. Add industry association logos to your page if you’re a member and highlight any awards or testimonials you’ve received.
4. Ease of navigation: Categorise your products clearly and logically so shoppers can find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
5. Compelling product descriptions: You’ll be richly rewarded if you take the time to write something unique and compelling about each of your products.
6. Clear calls to action: Work out the one ideal action you want your visitors to take when they come to your site and make sure every page is working towards achieving this goal.
7. A smart lead capture method: A person generally visits your website seven times before they buy, so how do you bring them back? Offer them something compelling in exchange for their basic details. Then gently market to them until they come back and buy. When you build on the right foundation everything else is easy.
An effective e-commerce site doesn’t have to cost the earth but it does need to be flexible and smart.
This article was originally published in Talking Shop Winter 2013 and NAB Business View.