buying

How To Help People Buy From Your Business Online

You have a great product/service. You even have a website setup to sell said product/service.

Yet, you get the feeling that business could be better. Maybe your customer needs a hand to buy from you? Here are some ideas:

1. Make Yourself Easy To Find.

Follow SEO best practices. 

Search engines like three things (to overly simplify): words people are looking for, links coming into your website and frequently updated content. For more information on SEO best practices, check out some of our blog posts on the topic:

Playing well with search engines means that the people looking for you (or more accurately, your product or service) can find you.

Consider listing yourself on other websites or marketplaces. For example, if you sell Wordpress themes, maybe a marketplace like Themeforest or if you make handcrafted cribbage boards,  make a listing on Etsy.

Like anything, listing your goods on a different website has pros and cons. One pro is that you’ll be able to see a wider selection of the market. You’ll be in a position to increase awareness about your product, as well (out of the population of people who use Etsy, only a handful may already be aware of your business).

The con is that you don’t always have full control over order information. For instance, on your own website you may have an email newsletter signup as people check out. But at least consider making yourself easier to find by having a presence on websites where customers are looking for your product.



2. Make It Easy To Buy.

Accept multiple forms of payment (ex: credit cards and PayPal). What happens when people go to your online cart? What are you offering in terms of payment processing? Having more than one option, such as PayPal and a credit card processor (i.e. Stripe), could improve your checkout rate. 

If big product, consider payment plans. If you’re selling a big ticket item, consider breaking it down into payment plans (based on the actual price). This makes your product more attainable at no

Make sure payment/cart works on mobile. It’s expected that 50% of purchases online will be from a smartphone in 2017. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or cannot handle purchases online, it’s worth taking the time to add this ability.

Watch ten potential customers navigate your website (and be quiet while they do it and take made notes). You’ve probably spent time working on the setup of your website, so the ins and outs of navigation probably make complete and total sense to you already. Watching someone else try to navigate your website from start to finish will give you a more accurate perception of a user’s experience on your website and where any shortcomings may exist.

3. Make It Advantageous To Buy.

While you don’t necessarily need to offer this for every product on your site, adding some form of incentive once in awhile can give sales a little boost.

A few ideas for making your product advantageous for customers include:

  • Coupon codes
  • Affiliate programs
  • Early Registration Discount (or other time sensitive promotions)

Someone will always think they can buy it later. By incentivizing action, you can turn ‘later’ into ‘now’.



4. Make It Easy To Share.

We’ve talked about making products easy to share, perhaps by adding social share options for coupons or on the product itself. Zulily combines these tactics in the following product post:

A few things you may notice at the bottom of the image:

  • Incentive to share the product for a discount
  • Three options for sharing- Email, Facebook, and Pinterest (Email is a great sharing option for customers without social media, or those who want to share with a person who doesn’t have social media).

Sharing is only a click away, and if you’re saving $15, why wouldn’t you want to “share”?

5. Make It Easy To Stay In Touch.

In some cases, creating an easy way for customers to stay in touch or communicate with you/among themselves will encourage them to follow through with a purchase. Some examples where this would be helpful include online fitness programs (i.e. month long challenge groups where people can interact with one another), any sort of online class, or any event where it’s helpful to have a ‘community.’

Another fairly simple way to stay in touch with people is to add an email signup somewhere in the checkout process. This gives them a way to stay in touch with you after a purchase, perhaps so you can ask for feedback or send information about future offerings. The idea is to check in at a regular increment, maybe weekly-monthly, not to be the email equivalent of a “Hey what’s up” text that you didn’t sign up for but for some reason keep getting every 12 hours anyway. Communication should be helpful, not annoying or unnecessary.

By making it easy for your customers and potential customers to buy from you online, they’ll be able to show more love to your business. Let them love you, but be easy to love too.



Marketing Monday: Casper Mattress

Casper-Mattress-boxtoscaleYou know what I appreciate? Someone who looks at something that works well enough, then changes the way it’s done.

Like haven’t all of us did the awkward 5 minute (ok 2 minute) mattress test in a furniture store then spent several hundred dollars (or more) on a bed, hoping it was going to work out?

Casper is an interesting company, for many reasons. Let’s look at it from the product, service, and marketing points of view.

Product

A high quality product packaged in such a way that it’s an experience to get.

So these beds come in a box. They warn you to open the box in whatever room your bed will live in. If you go on Youtube and look up ‘Casper mattress’ there are literally hundreds of videos of people opening the box and unpackaging the mattress, you know like this one:

The reviews to back up the claim.

While it is one thing to let people leave reviews, it’s another thing to collect ages, how they sleep, how long they sleep, and who they sleep with as part of the experience.

casperreviews

It makes the reviews left on this site seem more real and believable than they otherwise would be.

Not a ton of offerings.

Do they have 9 different mattresses? Nope, you just pick your size (twin, double, queen, or king). Too many choices is paralyzing and Casper has chosen to carry one good kind of bed and sell it.  They also eliminate a lot of the reasons why people don’t chose to buy online (yes this is one chart but if you look at others, you’ll see they are all pretty similar):

LivePerson-Top-Reasons-Abandoning-Online-Purchase-Jan2013

 

Offering free shipping, clear offerings, a simple but responsively designed website, and one step checkout means customers are less likely to navigate away… plus it helps that they are pretty much the only online mattress game in town.

Service

The trial period is 100 nights.

It’s one thing to try on a pair of jeans and send them back and it’s another thing to take back a PITA item like a bed back. But these guys do it. Pretty cool. (It seems like a courier from the company picks it up and either donates it to charity or recycles it, just FYI.)

They include a hand written note and tools to help you open the bed.

It’s kind of like when you send in your Mac to get repaired and they send you three pieces of precut tape to close your box. Do they need to? Of course not. Is it a classy touch? Sure is.

It looks like getting a Casper bed is a pretty custom experience.

Marketing

They are using email.

No one thinks email marketing is sexy anymore. Trust me, I actually try to sell it to people.



But Casper gets it. The only way you can follow up with someone after they come to your website is via email (social media posts can get lost in the shuffle or even sometimes not even appear for the person who ‘likes’ your page in the case of Facebook). They ever have a fun way of asking.

casperemailmarketing

 

They are still a little corporate though.

Do they have an Instagram account with user generated photos. Do they have a Pinterest board of bedroom decorating ideas? Nope, these guys are sticking to Facebook and Twitter, which is fine. They still seem a bit corporate though (using the same well taken photos regularly). I kind of want them to bust out a little!

So if you are in the market for a Made In The USA bed with good reviews that doesn’t involve an awkward exchange with a salesman, this may be for you. Here’s hoping you like us were inspired by Casper today.

 

Your Guide To Bar Harbor Barter and Swap (And Websites Like It)

To some people in our area, there is an epic Facebook group called ‘Bar Harbor Barter and Swap’. It’s a closed and small group, mainly of people getting rid of random stuff (SCUBA fins!) or looking for random stuff (universal car seat stroller). Two examples from the past hour.

Whether unloading a cactus or buying a trailer, Facebook groups and other online spaces let you get in front of people who can join in your transaction.

Whether unloading a cactus or buying a trailer, Facebook groups and other online spaces let you get in front of people who can join in your transaction.

I’ve learned a few things from buying and selling items on Bar Harbor Barter and Swap… and I think this knowledge may help you on your own local swap/sell group on Facebook, Craigslist, or other online locations where you are wheeling and dealing.


Using the term ‘reasonable offer’ will leave you hanging.

If you post something you are selling and ask for a ‘reasonable’ offer, beware for the sound of crickets. Here’s why.

Clearly you have some notion of what your item is worth (or what you think it’s worth) yet you want the negotiating power that comes from letting someone else say a figure first. You can not have it both ways, my friend. Also from the point of view of the people seeing this, they are afraid their offer isn’t reasonable…so they aren’t going to say anything. So either let people make an offer or communicate your desired price. This ‘reasonable offer’ business helps none of us.

Sellers: Include information like dimensions

Those five pairs of shorts do look cute but I have no idea if I can cram my body into them. Tell me they are a Gap size 4 and people like me can pass and you can spend your time chatting with people who could theoretically fit into them.

We just gave away Derrick’s cactus and included approximate circumference (3 feet) and height of cactus (6 feet) so people would know what they were getting into if they wanted to come pick it up. Don’t make people ask, give them all the information.


Seekers: Include information like what you are willing to pay

I see lots of people seeking objects that no one responds to… but the difference between ‘I am looking for a dishwasher’ and ‘I am looking for a dishwasher that hooks up to my sink for $50 or less’ is significant. If I know you are willing to pay me some money, I might go in my basement and see if my dishwasher would work for you. Also more details makes you more memorable so people can seek items out on your behalf.

Include a link to specs if possible

Including a link to the same product you are selling on Amazon.com or another website. These websites have full product specs and this will save you a lot of duplicate question answering. Especially if you have a technical product (tablet computer, motor, laser printer), include a link to the related product. Bonus: people see how much it would be to buy the thing new… and are much more likely to pay your lower price.

Give me some assurance I am not buying something bad.

So with the cactus post, we put that we were getting rid of it because it is “getting too big for our space”. In truth, it is beginning to take over our small kitchen near the kitchen table and we have no where else to put it. (I know, nothing like having to argue over who has to sit next to the cactus at dinner!)

If you are posting a picture of a printer and you say you’re getting rid of it because you’ve gotten a newer fancier one, that let’s me know I am not buying a hunk of garbage. (Getting rid of kid’s stuff is usually kind of self explanatory that maybe your kids have grown.) ‘Printer works’ is good ‘Printed something last week from my Dell laptop’ is even better. See what specifics can do to give people confidence?


Get second (or third or fourth) in line. 

I’ve been looking for a filing cabinet for months but the idea of buying a new one that I was going to paint bright orange anyway seemed silly. I saw a perfect filing cabinet go by… and someone else had bid on it. I commented ‘Second in line if this doesn’t work out.’ And I got the filing cabinet in the end.

If you see something you like that someone else has dibs on, let the seller know you’d like to be considered if the deal falls through. I think this happens way more often than any of us know.

Know your audience.

There is someone trying to sell a really nice convertible for $8000ish. Problem is we live in a place where there are a ton of dirt roads and snow 8 months of the year (slight exaggeration but you get the idea). If this guy would put this thing on eBay motors or Craigslist, I bet he’d get his asking price.

It’s best to get a feel of the culture of your buying/selling/swapping site first before you post… and if you are in the wrong place, find another where you can get the best price for your efforts. This particular Facebook group seems to do best with transactions at or less than $100 with an occasional exception. Just because a certain website is convenient for you doesn’t mean that’s where your customers are.

I do hope you have some kind of fun distraction in your life like Bar Harbor Barter and Swap. It can help you get rid of the extra crap in your life and occasionally you can buy something you actually need from someone you actually know. I have met some fun people through the site who live near me… a bonus real life benefit in this online world.

And to those of you with some experience in this, is there any tips I might be forgetting?