Appealing to the Average Online Shopper

 

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What makes a marketing strategy successful? Well, it starts with the understanding and catering to a consumer’s various shopping patterns and preferences. There are over 191 million online buyers, and that is in the US alone. This means there are a lot of variations to consider. Luckily you don’t have to cater to them all. Every merchant has a “target audience”, but what we’re going to cover here is the average buyer and their typical online buying habits.

With online retail revenue on the rise, it’s no surprise your interest is piqued. CyberMonday 2014 hit $2.29 billion in sales! That’s over $1 billion more than the previous year. Now who doesn’t want a piece of that pie? The more you know about those millions of online shoppers, the better your sales. I know what you’re thinking: Why should we help you? While it is certainly true that we do want to see everyone meet that dream, there’s another simple reason. Our success comes with yours. The more you succeed, the more we do. We all get to go home at the end of the day with a smile on our faces and a security for our families.

There has been tons of research done on the subject of online shopping. So we’ve compiled a few tips that can help you improve your online appearance and potentially increase your online sales.

Your Image

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          Your online presence is a very important component of a good marketing strategy. Your storefront photo and shop description is the first thing shoppers are going to see, so a first impression is vital here. A recent research study revealed that 89% of consumers search the internet before making any decisions to buy. Here are a few tips on how to make your first impression, well, impressive.

Make it aesthetically pleasing. The “it” can be your storefront image or the photos of your products. This is very critical if you want to appeal to the online shopper. According to the professionals, “simplicity and understated elegance are the two guiding principles to keep a customer’s attention. It must have the most essential elements of functionality readily apparent, without overloading website visitors with too much information”. Too much information in one space, basically overcrowding your page, will turn off a person’s attention pretty much right away. Keep it to a few colors, a simple font and theme, something that matches your shop’s core products.    

                How do you choose your storefront window image? Well that depends on you and what you want your shoppers to see. This is the most important image you will upload to your account. Being the first thing the online shoppers will see, it can determine whether they’ll enter your shop or pass on to the next store. Your image can be as simple as a photo of the front of your store; it can be a logo, or a picture of yourself in the middle of your shop. The point is, be creative, be fun, and be as interesting as possible.

Creating that product appeal. One of the most basic foundations for any company, besides stellar customer service, is your products and/or services. You want people to want what you have to offer. Shoppers are here because they want to buy something, so showing off your merchandise with the best possible photography is highly beneficial. Displaying your products on white background, or showing them off in context, can make the consumer desire that item. For example: showing a set of earrings being worn by someone will give the shopper a healthier image of what it could look like on their own ear. Other items, most especially ones with a lot of detail, are better shown on a solid white background. It highlights those details and brings it out so the consumer can see it clearly and will make it all the more appealing. If you’re offering a service, say for instance martial arts classes, a quality action photo of you and your class in the middle of a fun maneuver will certainly raise more interest in the buyer.

In short, an enticing storefront photo and pleasantly displayed merchandise is vital to your shop’s online success.                

Generational Differences

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          It’s no secret that every generation that sprouts into being forms their own set of likes and interests. Aside from the most obvious difference, that being the beauty of age, you also have TV shows and movies, food, technology, and even work ethic. One difference that not many take into consideration is shopping. Everyone shops, whether for necessity or pleasure. So appealing to a variety of those differences could be a great benefit to you and your business.

Statistically, adults 50 years old and above represent the world’s largest constituency, comprising one-third of the more than 190 million internet users in the US. To add to that, two-thirds of Americans age 50 plus buy from retailers online.

What does this mean to you? Simplicity. The older we get, the simpler we want things. Making your items easy to find, and your customer service a pleasant experience, is a huge bonus to the vast online market. If you make it easy to buy, they’re more likely to do it. Have your items beautifully displayed and described well enough (keeping it to main points of detail, you don’t want to overwhelm them with information) that the shopper has no question of what they’re buying. The older generation tends to be less tech savvy than the youngsters. They want to buy your merchandise and they want to do it without having to get out into the crowds, but will quickly pass it by if it’s too complicated to understand or purchase. While the younger generations have less trouble with a more complex layout, they still tend to prefer simplicity. The good news is we have the “simple to buy” taken care of for you, the only thing you need to worry about is appearance, shipping, and customer service.

The Influence of Shipping

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          Can shipping details really affect your sales? Yes, it absolutely can. Here are a few juicy tidbits about shipping statistics.

The overall satisfaction with online shopping is 83% and rising. However, it drops below 50% when shoppers are asked to give specifics on shipping, like having them choose a specific time of day for delivery of purchase, or giving them the flexibility to reroute packages, and having a green shipping option. You’d think that shoppers would want these options, but according to the surveys, that’s just not the case. Have a set ship out date and average delivery time. Too much freedom and leeway leads to possible false promises and a complexity that the majority doesn’t want to deal with.

Now, this next statistic won’t be as surprising as the last. Nearly 50% of all online orders include free shipping. Fitting right alongside that, 61% of consumers are at a “somewhat likely” to cancel their purchase if free shipping is not included. What’s that you say? Shipping can be expensive? Yes, yes it can. Consider this next statistic then, shoppers spend 30% more per order when free shipping is included. Free shipping gives consumers the idea that they’re saving money. This means, while you will be adding to overhead by offering free shipping, you will likely earn more in profit because your shoppers will buy more stuff.

You, the merchant, will just have to crunch some numbers to find out what best fits your needs and will ultimately get you to your sales goals. Certainly free shipping isn’t for every company, and just because a buyer would have to pay for shipping, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t buy it. Larger items will definitely be a bruise to shipping costs and you don’t want to break yourself. After all, people tend to pay for convenience. If you’re offering something unique, they’re likely to dig deeper in their pockets to get it. You just have to decide what works best for you.

Social Media

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          Ah, now we come to the culprit of teenage-zombieism: social media. Numerous people have been reluctant to join the circus of social media, all for varying reasons, but to be honest it has grown to be the best free marketing technique in the US. Here’s just one reason why you should consider it: 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping online. That’s a huge number! Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are just the top three. There are numerous others, not to mention blogs and forums. 46% of users read reviews and blogs before making an online purchase. It has been confirmed that blogs do indeed influence purchases, 13% said that a blog post had inspired a purchase. So, while some see things like Facebook and Twitter as “a waste of time”, we see it as an opportunity.

ShopOnMain is definitely going to make a splash in the social media world, but don’t let that stop you from using it on your own. Posting links to your site on ShopOnMain will almost certainly increase traffic to your online shop. More traffic can mean more business.

 

And Remember

          It’s YOUR store, make it how you want it, but always keep the consumer in mind. For without them you wouldn’t have a store at all.

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Why Sell Online

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That is a good question: why should I sell my merchandise online? The world of everything retail is increasingly moving to the World Wide Web. Each year the number of online shoppers grows, and the percentage of growth continues to increase significantly. More and more consumers are going online for product reviews, research, and pricing comparisons. Not to mention the need of a majority to find unique items they are unable to locate locally. If your company and your merchandise are not online, you will miss out on this ever increasing market and the opportunity to optimize in your sales and business operations.

Many people wonder if selling online is the right thing for them. “How does this apply to my industry?” You would be surprised to find that practically any service and product can be applied to an e-commerce site and become more popular than you would think.

After Hours

        Let us not forget the after-hours crowd. A large percentage of consumers find it difficult to shop during the day, and let’s face it, brick-and-mortar can’t be open 24/7. Having your shop online will increase your revenue simply because it will enable consumers to make purchases at your store 24 hours a day seven days a week, and not just locally. You will gain a customer base from virtually all over the nation. Selling online will allow you to reach people from outside of your state likely increasing the population of your sales.

Fixed Prices

Something in the human subconscious has convinced us that published prices are fixed. It is an interesting paradigm shift that we accept the prices for what they are. Sure, you’ll get the occasional negotiator, but the majority will simply click to buy and take it for what it is.

Saves Them Time, Increases Your Profit

        If they can find it and buy it online, they’re likely to do it. It saves them time and in today’s busy society time is very precious to most. Not to mention the savings in gas which fluctuates so dramatically and quickly you just never know what it’s going to be the next day. They save time, they save money, and their items are brought right to their door. This is enough incentive to make anyone want to shop online. The potential for significant profit increase is spectacular. You certainly don’t want to miss out on this market.

Convenience

          Now we see a pattern, our common denominator. It all boils down to convenience. The majority love convenience and will even pay for it. Shopping online is a huge convenience that more and more people are taking advantage of. So why not you, as a merchant, take advantage of this as well?

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Picture Perfect

What makes a person want something outside of necessity? The complete answer to that question can be pretty complicated, however, put simply, we desire them. Such a basic and common human emotion, and yet it can drive us to do some pretty extraordinary things. What we are going to go over here is how to best display your products to bring out the desire in others to purchase them. This may not be an extraordinary feat, but the potential sales increase can be quite impressive.

Photosproduct display

Taking a picture is the most common form of displaying your product online, but how do we take that picture and make it appealing? There has been a lot of research done in regards to product display online, and what they have found is that keeping it simple and limiting the amount of photos will appeal more to the online shopper than overwhelming their visual senses. Basically the picture should be of the item for sale and little to nothing more. If you are unable to capture the whole item in one photo, taking one or two other pictures at different angles will be important, but any more than a couple can be too much. You should be able to capture the most important aspects of any item with less than four pictures.

Display is also important here. You want the shopper to want the product, so displaying it in such a way as to bring out the uniqueness of your product, or the most important aspect of it, can mean the difference between a purchase and a pass. In most cases a white or black background will provide the best contrast for most products. It’s simple and beautifully brings out the details of the item you’re trying to sell.

Another display option to consider would be an action display. Show the product being worn or used. A perfect example would be jewelry. Taking a picture of the jewelry being worn appropriately will allow the shopper to better imagine what it could look like on their own person and could potentially increase the desire for that item. The same goes for clothing, shoes, or any other type of accessory that can be used or worn. It is important to note here that if you’re going to take an action picture of your products, do not show the entire person displaying it. For example: if you are selling a pair of earrings, show one of the earrings on a woman’s ear, but the picture should only show part of her profile, not the whole thing. You want the focus of the picture to be on the earring and not the woman wearing it.

Both solitary and action displays are good ideas and potential boosters in sales, but definitely mix it up. Whatever you do, make sure the product is clearly visible showing the unique details so the shopper has little to no question of what they would be purchasing.

Description

Your description of the product is also quite important. Not only do people need to see the product but they also like to read about it. No matter how beautifully displayed your product is, if it’s not clearly described they’re not likely to purchase it. The key here is to hit all the important points of the product without overwhelming the page. Give them enough information so they know exactly what they are purchasing, but not too much that they won’t read the entire description. Below is a perfect example. You’ll notice that the product is clearly visible, you can see all the details of the pendant, and the description is short and sweet yet touches on the most important and unique aspects of the item.

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Video

You can also choose to do a video. Some things are best displayed in true action. A short video of the products being used or worn can certainly have more of an appeal than a picture, however, this is only true for certain products. You also don’t want to overwhelm your product base with videos. As we mentioned before, mix it up.

The best type of product to use a video for would be an item that holds an action to it, such as a toy, exercise machine, a small kitchen appliance, etc. The possibilities are numerous. If you’re going to create a video, it is best kept short, typically within 30 seconds. Enough time to show the product in action. The exception to this might be for services such as karate lessons or a salon appointment. In this case you want to have enough time to describe your service, but shoppers tend to lose interest after about a minute, so when describing a service it is best to try and keep it within 60 seconds.

It’s About the Appealproduct appeal

The right appeal ignites the desire and ends with the purchase. Show off what you have, create that product appeal and shopper desire. An aesthetically pleasing photograph or video, coupled with a detailed yet short written description, and you’ve got the right formula.

Remember, this is your store and these are your products, so display them exactly how you would like. Here at ShopOnMain we love that we’re able to provide you with the flexibility in creating your store and displaying your products in the fashion that you prefer.

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