Building eCommerce Websites that work - Part 3Written by Richard Keir
Copyright 2005 Richard Keir
An interesting eCommerce success factor that isn't precisely overlooked, but which is often thought about more in terms of being a way of feeding search engine spiders has to do with providing content. In a very real sense customer's job is to consume. That's why you're in business.
Think in terms of providing information your customers need to do their job of consuming. What does that mean? Consider what you sell. The content on your site needs to focus on your products - whatever they happen to be. Reviews and comparative information on items available through your web site can help focus and direct your customer to what they need, want and can afford.
Too often eCommerce sites use only marginally relevant information as content - or content that may match general theme of site but has nothing to do with what's being sold, promoted, etc. That could be more or less adequate as spider food, but it isn't going to help your customers do their job of consuming your products.
The better you combine these two goals - informing your customers and feeding spiders - better you'll do at both. Irrelevant search listings are pretty much a waste of your bandwidth. What you want is highly targeted customers interested in what you're offering and since search engines love focused content and integrated sites, make that work for you.
And I'm not suggesting blatant repetitive hyped up sales copy. You want to inform, compare, offer added information that will help focus your customers. Use your content to develop desire and provide comparative information on similar products at varying price levels. Remember: desire not need.
While we all need things - and while you may be convinced everyone absolutely needs your product - we mostly buy based on desire - because we want it. The better you do at turning that need into immediate desire, better your site will perform.
Again, not a fevered sales pitch. That's likely to turn off a large number of customers. Examples, stories and carefully chosen (and real) testimonials can support process, too. Using video and/or audio can have a dramatic impact. Let your customers draw obvious conclusions.
Selling through Auction MarketplacesWritten by Nowshade Kabir
Consumers are increasingly feeling more comfortable in buying products through Internet. According to a report released recently by Department of Commerce first-quarter retail sales rose 23.8 percent to US$ 19.8 billion in United States from US$ 16 billion a year ago. E-commerce sales during first quarter of 2005 rose 6.4 percent from fourth quarter of last year. Forrester Research estimated that 2005 online retail sales will increase at a pace of 22 percent. Today, a third of all households in US make at least one purchase online within a year, a figure which will grow to almost 40 percent by 2009, predicts Forrester. As a seller, this strong growth of online sales means that you have to put considerable stress on your Internet sales endeavor if you are not doing this as yet.
According to statistics compiled for Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide, top retailers in 2004 garnered combined online sales of more than US$ 51 billion, which accounts for 58.3 percent of all US Internet sales. The growth in online sales is quite impressive for large retailers. J.C. Penny Co. Inc., for example, reported a 35 percent year-over-year rise of online sales in May, 2005. Can new online ventures boast same type of significant growth? Unfortunately, not!
Each day, there are thousands of new companies are setting up shops on Internet trying to sell every conceivable type of products and services. Most of these websites do not attract enough visitors to make them profitable. Competition on Internet is fierce! Internet marketing campaigns are becoming increasing expensive. Many small companies canít afford to spend money required to promote their sites. So, what are options available for a small company with modest product range to thrive on Internet? One of best sales channels, in my opinion, on Internet by far is auction marketplaces. Of course, no matter what, you will still need to promote your website with all methods you can master. However, selling your products and services through established auction marketplaces has its own advantage.
With 63.8 million unique visitors hitting auction site only in April of this year, eBay has established itself as largest marketplace on earth. In 2004 alone US$ 34.2 billion worth of merchandize exchange hands on eBay. Presently, site has around 135 million registered users in 32 markets worldwide.
With such a vast community of buyers and sellers, eBay should be your number one choice for selling your products or services online. On eBay you can sell any kind of item. The varieties of stuffs people are selling through eBay are mind boggling! At any given time there are over 29 million items displayed on eBay. The number of new items added each day exceeds 3.5 million. However, still many offline sellers perceive eBay as an auction site for mainly collectible items. They canít be more wrong! The largest selling category on eBay is, believe it or not, automobile and accessories, which comprises of almost 22 percent of all sales. I have, personally, bought three luxury cars over course of last two years through eBay and I have nothing to complain about.