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Top 100 Ecommerce Tips
can you add one of yours?

 8:02 am on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am curious to see what people can come up with their own top 100 do or don'ts in ecommerce. I will start with 100 myself.

100. Never leave unanswered emails for more than 48 hours, or your customer is gone.

Anyone, 99?


[edited by: Habtom at 8:18 am (utc) on June 10, 2007]



 5:30 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

37) If using paid advertising, don't send them to your home page; send them to the relevant product page (or custom landing page) that is tied to the keyword you advertised!


 5:37 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

36) If you sell software, allow immediate access to the full version and allow unlimited upgrades


 6:02 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

35) Have a list of "recommended products" and "other customers also bought" with each item. This can be simply done in your database where you just connect products together and base it on what customers have actually bought.


 6:09 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

34) Have a newsletter sign up and send out newsletters.


 6:41 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

33) Don't make the customer fill in the CC billing & shipping address fields when they're the same, drives me nuts!


 7:00 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

32) Vat number & Company Registration Number should be visible on the site in the UK to comply with UK Companies Act (updated Jan 2007).


 8:05 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

31) If the product ships via a carrier, send an email to the customer with the tracking number with a link to the carrier to check status.


 8:24 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

30. Use an XML Sitemap generator to create a sitemap to get a "big picture" of your site. Submit it to Google et al. and they'll help you find dead pages, etc.

29. On category pages don't just list product names, but include some unique content about the category for indexing.

28. Use a product rating feed or create your own system (if you have a sizable user base). A place for user-generated comments can be great, but it can also be a hassle (monitoring, lots of fake entries, etc).


 8:58 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

27) if you sell the same object in different colours, offer them pictures of each colour.
telling a customer that you "also do this in blue" isn't all that helpful because there are about fifty billion shades of blue.


 10:10 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

26) Use a larger font (14+) for titles and product names to make them stand out and possibly increase conversions

25) Stay away from dynamic URLs when possible

24) Sign up for Hackersafe, verising and your related trade associations and display their logos to improve credibility


 11:06 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

23. Have a person answer the phone, not a recording.

22. If you cannot exceed the expectations created by your site-rewrite your copy. Underpromise and over-deliver.

21. Hang in there with the difficult customers-they become the most loyal.

20. Know when a customer needs to be given to your competition.


 11:13 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

19) Consistency. Everyone has a different flavor, color, even brand. Key is to be consistant --- have 1 text size and color for descriptions, one for links, one for category headers, perhaps another for main category links. At least theres a tone or vibe that your site is a statement vs a hodgepodge of stuff made by someone in their basement Be serious about what you are doing, and people will be serious about considering buying from you


 2:14 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

18) If you use sessions, store them in a database, don't append them to the URL, as people like the look of clean URL's and often snip them to mail to friends to refer them to a particular product to purchase.

17) On checkout gather a name and phone number as the first 2 fields, store them before proceeding and ring all the customers that drop out before completing the checkout. (This alone turned a $1M business into a $5M business)


 11:55 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

16) Make the font on your product copy readable. 12pt at least. NO funky fonts.

15) Make sure your buy button pops off the page and is big enough to be seen and clicked on.

14) Make sure the title tag on each product page is unique and reflects what is on the page. (It never ceases to amaze me how many companies in this day and age still have just the company name in the title tag of product pages). Oh, an product name first in the title tag. Not your company name.


 4:25 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

13) I was waiting for people to put in something . No one (keeping in mindit will be point #13).
Rule # 13 = Superstition does not work well with Business
What you may feel unlucky may be lucky for customers ranging from keeping Price Tag, Products, Colors, Day / Time of Shipping etc.

[edited by: lorax at 2:31 pm (utc) on June 19, 2007]


 10:06 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

12. Offer a strong guarantee. Don't jast say this widget is guaranteed x days.

Try for something like this:

Try this widget risk-free for 30 days -- if you don't see an improvement in widget results -- if this is not the best widget you have ever owned -- return it to us for a full refund.

Sure, you'll get a few returns, but it will be nothing compared to the increase in sales you will get from a strong guarantee.


 10:51 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

11) Add "District of Columbia -DC" to the list of drop down states, you be suprised how many sites are missing it...


 3:08 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10) And don't forget PR, GU, VI and all the other US commonwealth and protectorates, that the Postal Service can ship to, at cheap postal rates.

9) Don't forget US Servicemen/women abroad. Include APO/FPO state codes.


 3:30 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Add a 360 degree product view before the rest of the pack.


 5:37 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

8. Play with the wording of your add-to-cart buttons. "Add to cart" is a nice non-threatening way to encourage adding items as some feel "order" or "buy" is too much of a commitment.

7. Be careful making a coupon field too prominent in checkout, especially in markets that are based on commodity goods such as electronics. Seeing the field may convince a shopper that was ready to purchase to exit and spend more time hunting for coupons. Consider relabeling as promotion code or something less descriptive (unless you are linking to a promo page with coupon codes to encourage larger sales).

6. Mine referral data of orders for search engine keyword queries encoded in the urls and further optimize for these terms for organic search or consider adding to your PPC campaigns.


 5:52 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

5. Encourage impulse buys says a tip I read somewhere on the net, people don't mind being asked "Do you want fries with that?"


 9:03 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

4. If you're going to ask customers to sign up for your newsletter during checkout, do it AFTER the payment is processed. Before the payment is taken, the customer is far more interested in ordering your product - but once you've taken their payment and they're looking at your "Thank you for your order" screen it's the ideal moment to get them to sign up...


 9:52 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

22A. Underpromise and over-deliver.

Amazon do this a lot with free shipping (in the UK anyway) which is why I love to buy from them (of course their prices are often great as well).

Yesterday I ordered some books, clicked the free shipping tab and it said the shipping date was 15th June. But today, the 13th the postman delivered!

This happens a lot of the time and really reinforces that Amazon are one hell of an online company to do business with. Never seem to get the same feeling from any of the others I order from especially Dell.

running scared

 12:30 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

3. Test. Everything. A lot.


 2:44 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

2. Don't assume the main goal of every commerce site is to make a profit. Publicly owned sites are often more concerned with selling stock and hitting wall street's quarterly sales goals. That was true in the '90s and somewhat true even now.

1. Amid all the costly free shipping gimmicks, 365 day guarantees, free return pickups, insanely low prices...don't forget to actually turn a profit.

In this regard, understand that some of your competitors really will be idiots with zero understanding of retailing. Some still buy into the discredited '90s notion that losing money for a few years will earn a lifetime of loyalty.


 2:47 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

12a Only offer a really strong guarantee like that on really strong products. I have one company that it works excellent with (less than 1/10 of a percent returns) and another company that it did not work well with (5-10% returns). The difference was that the first company's products could not be misjudged or misused. The second company's product were much more subjective. A lot of user error - which we took the blame for.


 8:34 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

24A. Add as many credibility seals as you can.

Privacy: TRUSTe Web Privacy Seal [truste.org]
Security: VeriSign Secured Seal [verisign.com]
Return Policy: Return Policy Agreement Seal [returnpolicies.net]
Reliability: BBBOnline Reliability seal [bbbonline.org]


 6:37 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

9) Don't forget US Servicemen/women abroad. Include APO/FPO state codes.

- You can use this only if you ship via the Postal Service. Otherwise it would expensive.


 9:09 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

9) Don't forget US Servicemen/women abroad. Include APO/FPO state codes.

- You can use this only if you ship via the Postal Service. Otherwise it would expensive.

Combining these two into 9A) Include the U.S. Postal Service (if you are a U.S.-based company) in your shipping options. Fedex/UPS/etc. can not deliver to APO/FPO addresses.

It's not just U.S. servicemen/women, but also their families, government workers, and military contractors. It represents a HUGE market, and it (almost always) costs the exact same amount to mail a package overseas to an APO/FPO address as it does to mail the same package across town.


 3:43 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

95. Don't just accept payment through PayPal. Many people have had bad experiences with PayPal and prefer to use alternative, simpler payment methods.

95a. List the payment methods you accept somewhere noticeable.

If you have a high rate of shopping cart abandonment, perhaps it is because the customer had to add something to their cart and go partway through the checkout process to find out what payment methods you accept. And then abandoned your site when they discovered it was not a payment method they wanted to use.

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