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It’s the blight of every ecommerce site. Spend huge amounts of money on attracting visitors. The visitors look around for a while, click on a few things here and there and then move on without buying a thing.
What a waste!
But what if you do something so interesting or so outrageous that a passing visitor has no choice but to put down some cash and have a piece of it. Here’s an attempt to move out of being deserted by site visitors and moving into being actively courted by them.
1. Lure them with window merchandising
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important rule of retail. A great looking shop window is what catches the roving shop per’s eye and pulls him in. Spend time and resources on developing a stunner of a home page with merchandise that you would be proud to showcase. Are you a marketplace that does not manufacture your own merchandise? Never mind. Ask your top-selling merchants to nominate their most eyeball-grabbing products and showcase them up top where they can be the lure that leads to the rest of your products.
This is not a new concept. Retail giants like Macy’s, Harrods, Galeries Lafayette, Selfridges and their likes have been spending millions of dollars on their flagship store windows for close to a century now. This heritage of visual merchandising is what ecommerce needs to tap into now and make visitors stop in their tracks with brilliant product displays.
Online trailblazer eBay shows the way by punting its strong suit. There’s already a huge market for collectibles on eBay. When you combine that captive audience with the fan following Jimmy Kimmel has, along with fans of the celebrities on his show, you have a winning home page:
2. Make them an offer they can’t refuse
A great way to entice reluctant shoppers to open that wallet and spend some greenbacks is by offering them deals that they won’t find anywhere else. This is not your regular 5 or 10% off here and there. It means getting creative with your sourcing and pricing strategies so you can offer some real value to your users. Think coupons, discounts, bundled offers, free shipping, free servicing, warranties, and more to make those wandering eyes stick to your site and actually make a purchase.
The other thing about offers and deals is that they are extremely easy to copy. Any competitor surfing through your site this morning can set up an identical campaign by afternoon on their own site. The difference comes in the way you execute your offers and how well you back them up with a quality product and service experience.
This Target home page has a bunch of enticing deals that any other online retailer can offer:
However, what sets Target apart is one critical aspect of its service. While Walmart and other competitors of Target typically offer free shipping for purchases of US$50 and above, Target offers free shipping for a mere US$25 order. Now that’s a value proposition that not just stands out, it helps the user choose Target over others. Further, it’s a strategic decision Walmart can’t copy by lunchtime the same day.
3. Retarget across devices, by display and email
A visitor who stumbles upon your site as well as one who has deliberately landed there with a clear purpose but hasn’t completed a purchase can often be convinced into making a purchase with a bit of persistence.
Remember that sage saying “Out of sight, out of mind?” Live with it as your thumb rule as you try and retarget your visitors with ads across the internet. Automate your ads to enable you to auto-populate items that the buyer checked out on your site on their last visit. I recently looked up the Tile app in hopes of beating my terrible habit of losing my car keys. I did not buy it right away, though it’s still on my consideration list. And sure enough, the smart guys at Tile has lost no opportunity in hammering their message to me in endless retargeting ads.
Guess which brand will be top of mind the next time I go shopping for a geo-location device?
You can set this up on the Google Display Network, social media platforms, as well as email targeting. The idea is to remind the user as many times as possible within a pre-determined window of time that you are a great online retailer to shop with. The fact that they have already visited your site helps in cementing this opinion and aids in conversions.
4. Offer a personal touch
Remember that neighborhood bakery you love shopping at? They may not have the largest variety of stuff, but you sure love the fact that the owner knows your name, greets you with an unfailing smile and knows exactly what type of bread you want. That’s the magic of personalization. In the digital domain, study after study has proven how effective personalization can be in helping conversions.
Harness the power of technology and show your visitors that you care enough about them to know things that really matter to them. Product recommendation solutions such as Unbxd and Barilliance help you serve up items that your users last checked out, suggest items that they might like based on their previous session, or even pop up a tailor-made offer based on an action they just took on your website.
Take Zappos — it dutifully reminds me of the kind of shoes that I was looking for last and goes one step ahead by offering me a range of shoes that I might be interested in during this visit:
Not only do these tailor-made suggestions help remind users what they were looking for, they are also a great way to upsell or cross sell to users who have already bought from you before.
5. Create an atmosphere of urgency
It’s not just enough to offer your customers great products at great prices. It’s also important to remind them that these fantastic products of yours come with a ticking deadline and need immediate purchase.
Create limited time deals and showcase them upfront on your site to build that sense of urgency among your users. A browser who is faced with a mouthwatering deal often has enough self-control to not spend on the purchase right away – shop around a little more, there’ll be something better around the corner – is the typical thought process there.
Get over this “wait and watch” philosophy that most visitors who browse have by attaching a very real and very immediate deadline to the deals that you display. Let design be your best friend and drive home the urgency by using various design devices like maybe an animated ticking countdown clock or an hourglass with sand running out.
Macy’s milks this strategy to the hilt with its current homepage:
Not only does the headline scream about its lead offer ending tonight, its follow up offer which gives a free set of Clinique products to buyers also talks about the offer being valid only till supplies last. Slam and dunk!
It’s only when a visitor actively engages with a site that he starts identifying with the site. It’s necessary to create that initial preference for your site to convert commitment phobic browsers into paying buyers. Grab the bull by the horns with comparison tools and how-to resources that educate and engage shoppers. Allow them to build their own personalised products. Top it off with the ideas presented above and let us know in the comments how it works out for you. My bet is, you’ll have a happy story to report!