10 Dos and Don’ts for Starter Webshops

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How to successfully manage your new webshop? From social content marketing to check out and shipping, there are several crucial decisions to be made. We listed ten critical dos and don’ts to guide you.

1. Do: use social content marketing.

Social content marketing – reaching out to your audience via popular social media – is relatively low cost, but engages your target group effective and helps starting a dialog with individual consumers. Use more than one social media. Depending on your product, focus more on one media over others. It’s a good idea to be active in at least three of the most popular ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, your Blog, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and Skype.

      Don’t forget to place a link to your webshop.

It seems obvious, but it happens too often that companies place wonderfully-styled pictures on Instagram, share them on Facebook and their own blog, but forget to place a link to where the product actually can be reviewed and bought. If a client is reading your blog or seeing a beautiful picture of your product on Instagram, then make sure it is easy for them to order it, without overdoing it. Otherwise you are losing business by frustrating potential customers, who might be helplessly searching for that particular vase they have seen among all your interior products.

2. Do: cross sell

Cross selling is a powerful tool. And it is fairly easy. When someone buys a printer they will need the ink as well. And someone who buys a mascara might also need a nice matching eye-shadow. Experiment to see what works: it does not always have to be that obvious.

      Don’t over do the cross selling at checkout.

There are plenty of opportunities to cross sell a product before the client is at the check out. But, don’t over do cross selling. We have all experienced how it feels to try and pay for a product in a web shop and get five other product suggestions before we can finally do the check out. This takes us to our next point.

3. Do: make it easy to check out.

If your client has gotten to check out and they want to pay, then make it as simple as possible for them to do so. Don’t ask unnecessary information and make them fill in long forms. Provide an option to buy without registering.

      Don’t miss the opportunity to make the customer a returning customer.

After checkout, give the client a reason to come back. A discount on the next order and a thank you in the confirmation mail takes very little effort but encourages the client to come back to you the next time.

4. Do: think out of the box

Be creative in your marketing and with your web shop. In sales and marketing there are a lot of “rules”, helpful hints and ready laid paths that we all feel inclined to follow.  But, being a follower doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd, and will not make you successful. Take care of an element of fun and surprise and allow for experimentation. To set you apart from your competitor.

      Don’t change what works.

At the other hand, don’t diverge too much from proven successful formulas. Follow state-of-the-art examples for website usability: menus, search functions and other look & feel elements. There is a certain set up that works and we are all used to. Deviating too much from it confuses your customers and they might leave your shop without ordering.

5. Do: monitor how people react to your site

Use a service like Google Analytics, Adobe Target or Optemizely X to measure the performance of your site. It is worth looking into professional A/B testing of the usability of your site. But, if this is not in your budget or set priorities at the moment, make it at least easy to contact you to receive user feedback. Provide a feedback link on every web page. You can also ask some people you know to take a close look at your site and tell you their honest opinion.

TIP: Ask clients if they had any problems making an order through your site. Or send a link to an online survey to your clients in your order confirmation email.

When clients complain or give feedback to your service, be quick to rectify the problems and thank your client for bringing it to your attention.

      Don’t miss the opportunity to turn an unhappy client into a happy one.

If one client complains about something, chances are that there are many more with the same problem who will make the effort to mention it to you. So be sure to thank every “complainer”,and why not offer a discount or a small gift to make an unhappy client a happy client?

6. Do: offer several payment options.

A client should be able to pay with credit card, Paypal, normal bank account or bank transfer on your site. Depending on which countries you operate, include at least four of the most common payment methods or you are losing clients. Depending on your local or international scope, chose for a local payment service provider (PSP), such as Ogone, or an international one, such as Adyen. A PSP helps you to integrate all relevant payment options via one connection, and has the tools and scale to manage the applicable credit risks.

      Don’t forget point 3: make it easy to check out.

At the other hand, don’t bewilder the client with too many payment options. There are many payment solutions that might offer new and interesting options for the client, which you should consider carefully. But be selective: too much choice might confuse your client.

7. Do: add product reviews

Using a service like Testseek to get product reviews on your website is a good idea. Studies show that most clients browse for reviews on products they want to buy before they place an order. If you directly provide the relevant reviews for the products your customers are interested in, they will not have to leave your site and your conversion rate will go up.

      Don’t hide the negative reviews.

There could be negative reviews among the reviews. Although it might be tempting to hide them, doing so will backfire. Your site will be less trusted as a complete resource with the interest of the potential buyer in mind. Better to let the client read all the reviews, positive and negative, and allow them to make up their own mind. If a product has more negative reviews than positive ones, reconsider if this is a product that you want in your assortment.

8. Do: offer several delivery options.

Customers want flexibility and appreciate different delivery options. If they can choose to have it delivered at home or to pick it up at a store or pick up point, that goes a long way. Small products can be delivered through regular mail. Day-time delivery to a client’s work place, might be a practical solution for many who are only at home in the evening or weekend.

     Don’t forget the big Items.

Strive to offer the same flexibility and service also for big items, also when it comes to returns. You can charge extra for it. Clients understand that. However, they might not understand why a big tv is delivered to the ground floor in a 10-floor building without an elevator and no option to get it carried upstairs. Or why there is no installation options. Or why there is no pick-up for returning tv or other big item.

9. Do: write your own marketing text.

In case of small and unique catalogs, we strongly recommend webshops to write their own marketing texts. You know your target audience and you know your product. Unique marketing texts improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value, and leads to more traffic from Google, Yandex (Russia) or Baidu (China). In case of big catalogs, it’s not affordable to write your own marketing texts. In this case, it might be smart to make the standard marketing texts of manufacturers more unique, by using a script to produce and add certain unique phrases. Additionally, one can make use of marketing text generators to create unique phrases that include the key features of a product, that convince a visitor to buy the respective product.

Don’t assume that all your customers are familiar with the products you sell

Although many of your clients are specialists on the products you sell and compare specifications and special features, some clients might be on your website picking out a gift for someone else. They know the person who receives the gift likes your product, but maybe they do not have a clue about it themselves. What convinces them to buy the product is different from what convinces an expert-buyer.

10. Do: use a rich content provider.

If you have a webshop with more than a thousand products, you will benefit from using a content provider. First of all, getting all your product information in one import saves you a lot of time. Further, standardized product information facilitates product comparison across brands and helps your customers to make a better buying decision. You can set up an automated import so that product are updated without delay and without human interference.

Don’t make content processing complicated

Integrating a content provider might sound complicated, time-consuming and expensive. But, you can start by using easy solutions that are quick to integrate, based on standard interfaces to popular webshops such as Magento and Prestashop, and and free Open Icecat URL or JavaScript (Live) solutions. You can start with Open Icecat for free and check how the integration works at no cost.

This post is based on my consulting experience with tens of webshops and other ecommerce applications in the Nordics. If you have some further tips, please, add them below!

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