From the Editor – May 2008 issue of eBiz Insider magazine. Download the complete issue as a PDF by clicking here.
Okay, we get it. The economy is in recession and we’re all being squeezed. Not only are gas prices skyrocketing, they’re bringing the cost of every other consumer good up with them. Combine that with a falling housing market which is dragging down the stock market and scaring investors across the fruited plain and you’ve got a less than encouraging business climate.
So, obviously I’m not going to spend valuable column space trying to convince you to invest in a redesign. Instead, let’s take a step back and see what we can do to change Browsers into Buyers. Below is a “hit list” of 8 ways to increase your income without increasing your outgo:
- Product/Price. Do your numbers and your product line work for your customers? Take stock, compare yourself with the competition and make sure you’re still the best bargain out there. Go a step further and consider cutting your price on some of your more profitable items. Don’t turn winners into loss leaders, but make them more affordable and take quantity over margin.
- Promos/Discounts. Dress the old deals up in new clothes. Sweeten the bargain with free shipping, 10% or other offers that work in your industry.
- Shipping Cost. Is there a place where you can cut into your margin on shipping? Talk with your favored shippers and see if there is any room to trim. Every nickel counts with you and your customers. Find them!
- Site Search. Is your search box working? Come to your site as a customer, navigate and shop. If there are any glitches in the process, fix them.
- Ease of Finding Products. This is similar to #4, but narrows the examination to the tools your customers use to get around your site. Is the navigation clear? Do people understand it? Use a friend as a mock shopper for the best answers.
- Ease of Ordering. Is ordering quick? Is it easy, or do you have to jump through hoops? The easier you make it, more of your browsers will make it to buyers.
- Ease of Checkout. This is where too many shoppers jump ship. Common reasons for cart abandonment include forcing customers to register and log in before buying, including more than 6 steps in the checkout and restrictive payment options. Make it easy for them to buy, make it easy for them to pay and make sure you have a variety of payment options including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, checks—whatever it takes to keep customers heading toward purchase.
- Customer Reviews. Are your customers helping you sell? Make sure they can by providing product reviews and making sure they’re current.
No single suggestion above is going to solve all your cash problems. But taken together, they can generate some extra buyers who once were only shoppers. Turn enough of them and you’ll survive this tight economic period nicely, thank you…