At shop.org, I attended an instant impact, high value session called "24+ Specific Things You Can Do to Make More Money Next Week." The presentation was a high energy blitz of simple tactics that any ecommerce site could kickoff immediately. Presenting these actionable tactics were 8 well-known internet marketers and the topics ranged from SEO to feed optimization to social media. I'd like to highlight 3 of the tactics discussed that I feel can really help you make more money right away.
Site search results should never be null
What results show up on your site when a visitor searches for "Sarah Palin"? If you said nothing, you may be losing out on some easy sales. Sheldon Gilbert of Proclivity Systems had a great tip to improve your sales when someone searches your site.
Ecommerce sites should have their null search results (tech speak for no matches) display sale items or top-selling products. Don't just show an empty page. Customers are still likely interested in a brand, product category or special deal you are selling even if their search didn't get an exact match.
Use keywords, not product names
A significant portion of the action items focused on search engine optimization. There is one item offered by Todd Friesen that cannot be reinforced enough for online retailers. Customers search for products based on keywords significantly more than product names. So when a manufacturer's product name contains arcane, industry jargon or is fundamentally dissimilar from common language, do not blindly use that product name in your page titles, headers, tags or descriptions.
The example Todd gave was a large bed and bath retailer who uses a major product category and lists products called "window panels." What's a window panel? You may be more familiar with the common term... curtain. How big of an impact is that difference? Some quick research using the Google Adwords keyword tool indicates that "curtains" and its derivative uses has an approximate average search volume of over 2,300,000 searches in a month. "Window panel" and its derivative uses get only 130,000 searches. That's a huge 17x difference that directly impacts sales. And I won't even go into the results you get when you try to find curtains using the retailer's own site search.
Bottom line: Do some simple keyword research before relying solely on selling by a specific product name. Your results can differ dramatically if you are selling sofas or couches, bikes or bicycles, or curtains or window panels.
Segment customers with you free shipping offer
Every online retailer knows that free shipping offers are very powerful in driving conversions. However, those offers can kill your margins. Brian Platter from Peet's Coffee & Tea shared a great approach to increasing profits - segment customers and deliver different free shipping offers to them. The offer should drive a specific desired behavior without giving away valuable profits.
For first time visitors to your site, you want them to buy anything for any reason. So you should present the least restrictive free shipping deal to them. Existing customers who buy from you infrequently, you may use the offer to induce an upsell to increase the order size or to introduce them to a new brand/product you are selling.
For customers who already buy from you frequently, you are giving away the store by providing lower margin deal over and over again. Think about what behavior you want to drive and restrict the offer accordingly. The example Brian used was offering free shipping on $40 minimum purchase AND at least one gift purchase. The gift purchase would likely bring a new customer to the Peet's online store, while retaining the regular purchase behaviors of their loyal customer.
Now take action
Those three tactics are instant winners for your business. Plus, they spur the fundamental thinking behind into the remaining tactics from the presentation:
- Know how your customers search
- Always present something that can be purchased
- Drive desired behaviors with your offers and deals
A special thanks to all the presenters and the moderator that kept the show moving at supersonic speed. For the entire list of 24 ecommerce tactics you'll have to wait. It is not yet posted on shop.org's website. Hmmm... I sense a new post coming.