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We offer fairly high-priced items... mostly $100-$2000 products, most of which would be components of a larger system, which could run into the tens of thousands of dollars in many cases. I'm afraid that selling big ticket items online may be something of a bust, once you move out of the computer equipment crowd.
Does anyone have experience selling big ticket items online? If so, what have you found particularly effective in your site design and promotion? I'm looking for a way to lead more people into our shopping cart area... and lead more of them *out* through the check-out form.
If you have nothing in your range that could be slotted in, you could always offer a printed catalogue for FREE!!! (plus $1.95 postage) to get them to order for the first time - the second order is easier than the first...
It's the way to go though. You need to establish a relationship with most customers before they'll spend big money - if you can drag them in with a cheap item, then you've got that relationship.
How long's your newsletter been going for? If list members see you producing a quality newsletter month on month, that will also establish the relationship...
It goes out 2-3 times a month.
Must start adding cheap products... Maybe start a whole price-sorted category called "Solar Under $50" or something? Hmm...
Having said that, it still amazes me that people actually do place these large orders without a call or even an email inquiry.
As far as site design goes, simple is better, in fact another thread under ecommerce is talking about this at the moment. To much selection confuses people.
be upfront about your return policy. don't hide it, be proud of it.
Allow customers orders to be tracked on-line.
Answer your email FAST. Use an information request form that the user has to input their phone #. Call them right away before your competition does.
Be price competitive, but not so competitive that the customer thinks that because the item is so cheap, it must be flawed.
The type of product you sell probably has lot to do with how you do as well. In my case, the products that I sell are not as easy to find in traditional brick and mortars as they once were. I'm certain that if you could buy my products on every corner, my sales would be dismal at best.
Unfortunately, our products also require a good deal of technical (electrical) expertise to install, and a moderate amount of knowledge to even purchase appropriately...
So we have a site with a lot of background information, to help people make informed purchases, and we get a good amount of traffic to our informational areas. Just need to find a way to bump people from "study" mode into full-blown "shopping spree" mode. Convince them we're more than a library...
I'm sure if there was a specific "trick" to it, the person who figured it out would be a multi-billionaire by now, eh? ;)
The study also showed that the Internet continues to be a key platform for business customers to acquire information about potential products and vendors.
Of the survey respondents, 61 percent reported that within the past month, they researched a purchase online before actually making the purchase in an offline setting.
Of the respondents, 43 percent cited uncertainty about the quality of an Internet vendorís support and delivery as the main reason for viewing online purchasing as a drawback. At the same time, only 34 percent said they were concerned with the security of web transactions.
Its all about information. Most consumers searching for big ticket items will probably purchase in an offline setting due to the financial aspect. They also feel much more comfortable knowing that there is something more than an autoresponder at the other end!
Most of the sites that I manage deal with big ticket items and we've found that brochure ware sites do extremely well when optimized properly and information is presented in an easy to read, easy to find format. We do provide both static form pages along with .asp shopping cart features and nine out of ten times, there is a phone call as opposed to an online request.
That's my impression also... We've gotten phone inquiries from folks quite far away from our "real world" location, who specifically said they called us because of the quality of the information on our site, and were willing to pay more for their products because of that...
Whether or not those people could be translated into online buyers with a simple site redesign? Part of me really doubts it, not only because of the price of our product range, but because of the technical nature of it. I think perhaps our best bet is to expand our online information, and make it easier for people to contact us to complete the sale...