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Merchant's Checklist

By Melissa Pins, Senior Analyst, the e-tailing group, inc., mp@e-tailing.com

• Create impulse buys on the home page and throughout the site to encourage early shopping.

• Provide customers with multiple search options to make shopping as easy as possible based on their needs.

• Incorporate seasonal promotions such as Back-to-School, Mother’s Day, etc. that speak to the way real shoppers shop.

• Leverage contextual integration that allows for selling throughout the site with relevant content.

• Personalize the offer by creating a sense of belonging such as My Account or My Stuff where customers can have ownership of information and accounts they have created.

• Build loyalty programs into your offer through a Gift Reminder service and Address Book that keep shoppers coming back.

• Think gifting! Include use of Wish Lists, Express Gifts, Gift Certificates, Gift Search/Finder, Corporate Gifting, Gift Registry functionality and Gift Wrap.

• Create contests with a registration component that provide excitement and encourage shoppers to register on your site.

• Use targeted e-mail to promote repeat shopping with links to special offers and unique merchandising.

• Build a frequent buyer program to create customer loyalty by rewarding shoppers with special discounts and incentives to shop often.

• Sporadically survey customers to learn more about their psychological composition, demographic make-up, wants and needs.

» Offer interactive features that are fun and make shoppers feel involved, which keep them on your site longer.

• Provide a sense of community for users to make them feel like they are "a part” of something such as relevant chats and bulletin boards.

• Build and affiliate network that allows you to generate additional revenues leveraging merchandising programs and search functionality that exists on your site.

• Don’t compromise customer service for beauty. In fact, use customer service to turn dissatisfied shoppers into return visitors.

• Most importantly update your site frequently especially for the benefit of regular customers as the expectation is that you are delivering a new experience daily.
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