Website Improvement Advice ~
How to create a website wish list
For those of you considering the redevelopment of your web site there are many exciting features and functionality options now available.
When deciding what to do next, it’s always a good idea to look at other successful online stores. For example a great place to start is Amazon.com. Whether you like it or not, the Amazon site has set site design and functionality trends, and due to peoples’ familiarity with it, it is a good site to learn from.
Once you have reviewed other sites, you should create a list of your preferred features and functionality. The following features will help you to compile your list.
Customer testimonials - Testimonials can be particularly powerful on the internet to help boost business credibility and to make potential customers feel more at ease about transacting with you. Testimonials can also help to address some of the concerns that potential customers have about online transactions particularly when the testimonials refer to customer service and quality expectations being exceeded and prompt delivery.
Product reviews - Product reviews have similar benefits to customer testimonials though they are specific to a particular product. Potential customers may feel more at ease about purchasing a product if they know that another person has taken the plunge by selecting the same product where that person’s experience resulted in a happy outcome.
Wish list - Wish lists can work particularly well for gift and fashion web sites. A wish list allows a person to add their preferred products to their personalised wish list. They can then compare products and decide which product they wish to purchase now or in the future.
A wish list can also be used as a gift suggestion tool whereby for example a wife can e-mail her birthday gift wish list to her husband. That way everyone wins - the wife will be happy because she will receive something she wants, the husband doesn’t have to spend hours trying to figure out what his wife wants and the merchant wins because their chances of gaining the sale are increased.
Tell a friend - Tell a friend links allow a web site visitor to send an e-mail to one of their friends letting them know about your web site and your products.
They can be a very effective viral marketing technique to gain new customers.
A word of caution about using ‘tell a friend’ links: It is important that the e-mail sent to the recipient friend clearly indicates the name and e-mail address of the referring friend (that is, the person that wished to send the information). It is best if the ‘from’ e-mail address appears as the referrer’s e-mail address rather than the businesses e-mail address. If you do this, it may reduce the chances that the recipient will misinterpret the e-mail as an unsolicited spam e-mail under the anti-spam legislation.
Bookmark this site - Bookmarks can increase the likelihood of a person returning to your web site in the future. The bookmark this site or bookmark this page links serve as gentle reminders to your customers that they should bookmark your site for future use.
Search facility - Consumers are generally comfortable with using search terms to find what they are looking for. It’s a logical extension then to allow people to search the content of your web site by offering a Site Search box. You may also like to keep a log of the search terms that people use on your site where they did not receive any matching results. That way you can find out what your customers are looking for but can’t find on your site.
Search engine friendly pages - With around 80% of consumers finding their products online through search engines it’s extremely important that your web pages are search engine friendly. You must be able to add your targeted keyword phrases in the title tag, heading tags and page content to your web pages.
Terminology and Product Information – Some people
may not be familiar with the terminology used in your industry so it’s
a good idea to include an information section that includes pages that
explain the industry terminology. This can help customers to better understand
Policies - Customers want to know the terms of your satisfaction guarantees and other matters relevant to the processing of their order, payments and delivery. It’s important to articulate your policies so that your customers will know exactly what to expect. Also, by articulating your policies your customers may feel more comfortable with their transaction and policy related e-mail enquiries may be reduced.
Cross-selling - Would you like fries with that? …….. Once a customer has added a particular product to their shopping cart a cross-sell module can offer an additional related product to the consumer. This product bundling opportunity is a great way to increase average order values.
Featured products - From a merchandising point of view it’s always a good idea to highlight certain products. A featured products section can be used on your home page and in your product category pages.
Coupon redemption - Coupons can be very effective for some businesses. If you would like to offer coupons, you will need to include a section on your web site where customers can redeem those coupons.
Specials - If you offer discounts or specials, your web site system should allow you to easily select the specified products, select the discount for those products and set the special for a specific period of time.
Stock control – You may like to display the ‘quantity in stock’ of a particular product. With a stock control module the stock quantity can be automatically modified as products are purchased through the web site.
You may also allow customers to pre-order products before they arrive in stock.
This is not an exhaustive list, though it should get the creative juices flowing. Can you suggest any others useful site features? Send me an e-mail with your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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