E-commerce: Improve Your Site To Improve Your Sales

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I read an interesting article today, and it was titled “Site Design Tips to Improve Your Sales”.

The interviewee of the article is none other than Dr Jakob Nielsen. Nielsen is the guru of web usability.

While I don’t quite like his plain website (the text just goes on and on), he is one of the best people to refer to when you need plain, old advice for enhancing/improving your website. He’s more of the academic type and his web usability results are based on years of research, not something pulled out of a hat.

To make it fast for you, here’s what he says of e-commerce websites and why some do so well and why some are disastrous from the start.

The main finding is: if your website is designed well, your products sell better.

1) Run a user test. Get someone (not your employee or focus group) to sit in front of the PC, ask them to go buy something from your website. See how easy/hard it is.

2) Make your products easy to find (so that they can be bought easily!). Usually poor product categories leave buyers confused and they leave.

3) Offer information which helps to sell, not overwhelm the buyer. Nielsen suggests a middle path – give basic stuff first, the specifics later. Offer information which the buyer wants, not what the tech guy wants to write.

4) A thumbnail is a thumbnail. A larger picture/photo is a larger photo. Don’t skimp and show a slightly bigger enlargement than the thumbnail. If possible, fill the whole PC screen with the photo, advises Nielsen.

5) Be aware that your buyer is afraid that you will use their email and info for other purposes. Soothe and calm them by having a line or two of reassurance. E.g. “We will never give out your email.”

There’s a couple more sage advice in the article so my best recommendation is, go read it. It’s very helpful if you are starting an e-commerce website soon or already an e-tailer.

A couple of tweaks here and there will improve the buying experience for your customers and improve your bottomline too!

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