By Joyce V. Harrison
You want the sweat equity that you put into your retail Web site to pay off in profitability. Read on for some best practices to follow that may improve the ROI of your online business.
1. Make Your Web Site User-Friendly
2. Be Considerate of Shoppers’ Time
You may like Flash animation or music on your site, but online retail shoppers don’t like to wait, especially if they’re at work. That also means you need a reliable web hosting company to make the pages load fast.
3. Keep It Personal
Include an 800 number to make customers feel reassured that, if needed, they could talk to a real person.
4. Change Is Good
Changing prices or merchandise frequently not only gives the shopper a reason to return, it also gets the spiders crawling more often.
5. Monitor Your Competition
Selection, prices, and images all matter. Regularly check the sites of competitive Web retailers to compare your online store to theirs.
6. Provide Extra Incentives to Buy
Offer coupons to customers for their next purchases. Offering free shipping at a specific price point can also encourage shoppers to buy more.
7. Deliver on Your Promise
If you have an item in your inventory, ship it promptly. If you have limited choices of an item, be specific in your product description. If an item is out of stock or back ordered, give your customer an expected date of delivery.
8. Build Your Database
Save information on customers so you can follow up with emails of special offers or promotions.
9. Check Credit to Reduce Returns
State your policy on returns. Sometimes, you may want to confirm that credit information on an order is valid.
10. Promote Your Site
Research which advertising option is more effective for your business: start a pay-per-click campaign or paid SEO. Take advantage of the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter or start a free blog.
By applying these best practices, you can help boost the retail success of your business's Web site.
About the Author
An independent freelance writer, Joyce V. Harrison has had a long career in advertising, broadcasting and music. Her Web site is www.joyceonthekeys.com.