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Keys for Retail Success Online


iStock_000008030702SmallIn preparing for an upcoming eCommerce panel which our CEO was participating in, I put together some fundamental concepts for running a successful online facet of a retail store.  While the information I produced was skewed towards power sports dealers, all of the information remains valid for other businesses interested in maximizing their online revenues.

Read on my good friends, and please feel to contribute in the comments!

1.     Manage your website like a physical retail store

  • Regularly promote different products
  • Present quality, fresh information and promotions
  • Develop a detailed business model with objectives and performance milestones
  • Maintain a minimum of one full-time employee to actively manage and update the website
  • Track and analyze website traffic metrics to understand your strong and weak areas

2.     Make sure potential customers are finding you

  • Maintain defined and researched Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization strategies
  • Engage customers where they are active to drive traffic. Provide insights, reviews, coupons, etc… [Forums, Social Media]
  • Build trust by featuring large amounts of content relevant to your consumers.  [How-to’s, FAQ, Blog]
  • Send out periodic email marketing messages communicating promotions and website information

3.     Capture customers and manage lead information

  • Gather, track, and engage every lead that comes into your website
  • Utilize multiple types of forms for gathering customer information on the website [Contact us, Request Brochure, etc…]
  • Automate response emails to online customer inquiries
  • Maintain information on what vehicles unique customers own; use information for targeted advertising.

4.     Understand what your customers are doing

  • Closely monitor your website traffic metrics to track your sales conversion and abandonment rates
  • Identify high traffic areas of your website and advertise popular and high-margin items in that space
  • Identify what items are getting the most attention, increase their prominence on your website to capitalize
  • Collect data on all searches performed through your website and review regularly.  This will help identify things people want to find that are not likely clear enough on your website.

5.     Make it easy for customers to purchase

  • Price appropriately for your market
  • Include a clear and omnipresent product search box for convenience
  • Offer coupon discounts based on monetary threshold.  This entices consumers to purchase slightly more in order to meet the requirements. [Free shipping, etc…]
  • Offer aftermarket accessory search by fitment, only displaying items that are compatible with a specified vehicle
  • Cross promote items throughout the website [Related items are, etc…]
  • Offer flexible, trusted payment options [PayPal]
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Categories: Business Tags: ,
  1. September 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Wow–your blog is great! I didn’t know you were so well-written. Any chance you’d like to have this published in The Crafts Report? My editorial budget is sooooo low that I could only pay you a very, very small amount, but hey, you’d have a published article! Let me know if you’d be interested. Thanks!

    Love your awesome sister-in-law,
    Jessica

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