Increase E-Commerce Sales in A Gloomy Economy

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E-commerce merchants have learned a thing or two over the years about how to achieve success. In uncertain economic times, now is your opportunity to put solutions in place which secure revenue coming in and position yourself for better times. Here are a few basic steps to get the most from your e-commerce website.

Improve On-site Search: It simply can't be denied - consumers use website search functions. Delivering search results based on both a customer’s personal profile (including their purchase history) and the sellers objectives and strategy is an excellent way to increase revenue and drive specific product conversions. Changes to your product catalogue should be updated frequently in the search function so a) shoppers are not offered items that are out of stock or in short supply, and 2) that they are exposed to products which are limited in availability. If you have the skills to customize your site search functionality, consider suggesting additional purchases that complement what a customer has searched for in the past, presenting items the customer did not even realize they wanted or needed. A few leaders in the site search space include SLI-Systems, Fusionbot, DieselPoint and Avail. Another option might be to leverage the information you gathered from on-site search to develop new, vertical framed websites with specific product information. For example, you might find that one product segment on your website business is thriving. With sophisticated ecommerce solutions like Mercado, Cymax stores has been able to launch over 200 individual micro-stores to serve its customers.

Personalize Everything: The technology exists, so why not use it! Ecommerce retailers need to embrace technology that helps them create sophisticated customer profiles so that they can match web content and promotional offers to the specific interests and previous spend threshold of their customers. Recommendation engines such as Strands and RichRelevance give merchants the ability to provide specific product recommendations based on user profiles, but what solutions exist for important channels like email? Email marketing service provider iPost recently launched version 2.0 of its AutoTarget offering, which gives email marketers the ability to send the "right email to the right persona at the right time. Autotarget essentially predicts customer behavior based on responses to marketing efforts. Using an RFM analysis (recency of last interaction, frequency of interaction, and monetary value of the customer) marketers are able to leverage the latest in customer segmentation regardless of the ESP platform.

Leverage product-comparison tools. Shoppers love bargains and your ecommerce store is the frontline in the battle on price. Price comparison tools such as WinBuyer can be especially useful – particularly in the case of products with many different specifications such as consumer electronics. At a time when people are watching their wallets, comparison tools can be vital in helping shoppers consider how much to spend and, ultimately, in justifying a purchase. Perhaps the best part of WinBuyer is that should someone buy through your link to that product, you get compensated for the visitor leakage occurring on your own Web property. But leveraging product comparison services does not end at your website as consumers use multiple services to find the very best price. Solutions such as FeedUploader.com from Red Sun Systems automate data feed submissions and provide a valuable resource for marketing on sites such as Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, NexTag, Become.com, Google Product Search and Yahoo! Shopping. Include the ability to monitor performance and analyze your return on investment and you have a genuine opportunity to start competing with the Internet’s largest retailers.

The Takeaway: Consumers are spending less - that should come as no surprise. Researching solutions like those outlined above however will provide you with the ability to react more quickly to changes in audience spending patterns and drive more revenue from fewer interactions.

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