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Is YOUR web site ready for christmas?

It will soon be Christmas. Whether Christian or not, that means one thing to online vendors everywhere: BIG SALES! But is your site *ready* for Christmas? Let me explain what I...
Views: 1.356 Created 10/24/2006

It will soon be Christmas. Whether Christian or not, that means one thing to online vendors everywhere: BIG SALES! But is your site *ready* for Christmas? Let me explain what I mean. As webmaster of a UK shopping directory I get to review many online shopping sites. I take about 60 seconds to decide whether the site gets added to my shopping directory (or not). And what I look for, in those crucial first seconds, is what YOUR site-visitors look for too. They're thinking 'Can I trust you?', 'Do you sell what I'm looking for, and do I want to buy it here?' or 'Do I just want to somewhere else?' The bad news: I am more patient than your site visitors! The good news: you just need to make a few common-sense changes to your site, for it to be ready for customers this Christmas (Results from a study undertaken by Anderson Consulting - done before they changed their name!! - help illustrate my point. Their figures still make interesting reading.) So what do I look for?

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1. Is Your Site Safe AND Secure?

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'Of course our site is safe AND secure!' you say. 'We're a member of a safe-shopping scheme, and we pay lots of extra money for those secure servers!' You know it, but does your site display the safe-shopping logo proudly on the home page, where it's easy to find? Do put any safe-shopping logos high-up on your home-page! And if you're not a member of a safe-shopping scheme, you should be! Why is anyone going to trust you, otherwise? Popular schemes include: - http://www.trustuk.org.uk/Default.asp - UK - http://www.bizrate.com - International - http://www.shoptour.co.uk/safe-logo.html - More logos

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2. Does Your Site Look Professional?

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(26% said the [shopping site] was too difficult to navigate - Anderson Consulting.) How do I decide whether a site is well-designed and professional? Maybe it's a great color-scheme, or site layout. Maybe it's clear images, good use of fonts, or an impressive Flash movie. Maybe it's all of these things (or none of them)! Basically, for me, a professional website: * is easy to navigate (you never get 'lost') * is quick to load (no unnecessary 'splash' screens) * contains clear and immediate benefits for your customer * does not rely on obscure browser technology Yes you can break these rules, just as long as you make sure that your site is CUSTOMER-FRIENDLY. (At the very least do a site-usability study. You'll be amazed at you what learn!) These sites/resources may help: - http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com How NOT to design a website - http://www.sensible.com/buythebook.html "Don't Make Me Think!" philosophy of site design

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3. Does Your Site Contain Great Content And Offers? ---------------------------------------------------

(16% of online shoppers said the site didn't offer enough gift-giving ideas to help them make an appropriate purchase - Anderson Consulting.) Is it REALLY worth shopping at your site? Do you offer a great choice of goods at low prices? Can visitors read reviews of the products you sell? And can they create a Christmas wish-list for their friends or family?... What's compelling about shopping online at your store? (For ideas about compelling shopping, just visit Amazon!)

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4. Does Your Site Display Delivery Details & Costs? ---------------------------------------------------

(40% said the product they ordered was not delivered in time - Anderson Consulting.) I'm sure your site has delivery details and costs, but... is it easy to find them? Don't force a customer to buy an item, before they can find this information! Make your delivery details and costs as easy to find as possible - especially if you offer free delivery! Don't give a potential customer a reason to go somewhere else! And as for late delivery - if you can't avoid this, at least keep your customer informed at all times. This keeps the customer as happy as possible, encourages positive word-of- mouth (i.e. new customers), and helps you achieve the holy grail of online shopping - repeat business!

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5. Does Your Site Display Contact Details?

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(25% said the [site] did not provide enough information needed to make a purchase.) "A site without contact information is a site with something to hide!" That's what a potential customer thinks, anyway! Your site should state WHO you are, and WHAT your business is about. Include information like name, address, and phone number on an about-us page, and mention a little about your business (a photo of you and your business is very reassuring). If you need an example, why not look at the about-us page I've created. It's not brilliant, but it's a start. (Hey, I don't even sell anything online!). Find it at http://www.shoptour.co.uk/about.shtml

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... Congratulations! Your Site Is Now Ready For Christmas! ----------------------------------------------------------

Follow the advice above, and your site should be ready for the demands of Christmas. You can probably think of more common-sense ways to make your site more 'customer-friendly' e.g. customer testimonials - do whatever needs to be done. More and more money is spent online each and every Christmas. Your site can have its piece of the pie - it's up to you! Season's best wishes to you! PS Anderson Consulting also said that 64% of Internet buyers said they wanted to purchase a gift that was out of stock. (Let's hope that's your *only* problem this Christmas, eh? ) PPS More basic advice? Well, you have read my free ebook titled: "3 Super-Tactics to build, promote and profit more from your website"? No, well you can read more common-sense advice by simply visiting http://www.wise-buys.info/bonus.shtml

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