For Success in Ecommerce
Our team of ecommerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
All e-tailers are obsessed with one thing: creating the perfect catalogue. This means the best customer base possible, meeting customers’ expectations, being constantly aware of which products are doing well and which ones aren’t and having a good promotion strategy.|
This should also be the case for you as an e-tailer, as in just a couple of seconds a customer can leave your website and compare your offers with dozens of other online shops.
What’s at stake for e-tailers? How will having a well-managed catalogue help you and your business? And how should you organise it?
A well-organised catalogue can help you achieve:
- More sales! A product catalogue that’s well-structured means minimising the number of customers you lose while they’re searching.
- A higher average shopping cart. By organising your products, you’ll also have the opportunity to suggest complementary or higher quality items to your shoppers.
- Better stock management: you’ll constantly be aware of which products, or categories of products, are doing well (or not).
- A significant step for your website’s SEO.
- And of course, providing your customers with the best service possible and a navigation experience that’s simple, effective and pleasant. A crucial element for your conversion rate and customer loyalty!
Follow the Actinic experts’ practical advice to make your catalogue the best it can be. Afterwards don’t hesitate to check out our expert advice for optimising your product presentation!
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. A well-organised catalogue is the guarantee of selling more, having more customers and managing your stock better. |
2. Structure different categories in your catalogue: your customers need to be able to find the products they’re looking for easily.
3. Rewarding your best customers and customising their shopping experience helps build brand loyalty
4. Sometimes it’s helpful to use different catalogues depending on your type of customers.
5. Learn to use the right tools to best manage your customers: social networks, metrics…or Actinic solutions.
Profitability: boost your sales with a professional catalogue
Like Will & Glory, encourage your customers to buy more!
Pete Witts from www.willandglory.co.uk testifies:
“It’s easy to create detailed product pages and integrate features such as cross-selling, new arrivals and bestsellers to encourage your customers to buy more”
E-Commerce expert on 0845 129 4800 for advice on the best E-Commerce practices
Structure your catalogue history so you can find everything
Your online shop is designed to last, but your product catalogue should be designed to change constantly with passing trends, expectations, innovations, seasons, stock shortages…The only (good) way to organise your catalogue (and avoid pulling out your hair) is to structure it as strictly as possible. That’s our first goal for today.
- Your catalogue: what should you put in it?
You’ve seen catalogues like Ikea’s, for example (which has the second largest distribution in the world after…the Bible). What’s in it? Categories, product descriptions, attractive photos (don’t forget that quality images can lead to up to 7 times more sales), technical details, etc.
In E-Commerce your catalogue contains all of your basic information: it’s like a kind of database of everything you can buy on your site. And you can add information to it that will be useful to your visitors: stock level, shipping options, available options…
- Think categories!
A product shouldn’t be lost on its own in the middle of your catalogue: in general it should be linked to a larger group of products: categories and subcategories. The human mind likes to organise and classify things to make them simpler to understand and remember. And then, (and we hope this is the case for your site) if your catalogue grows and expands (some of our 7,300 e-tailers have several tens of thousands of products!) you’ll need to help your visitors find what they’re looking for quickly. For example think about this as a logical navigation chain: Electronics>Televisions>LCD Televisions> Mini LCD Televisions. Of course, a product can belong to several categories.
For online shoppers, the categories and structure of your catalogue (and the information it contains) are very helpful. And a well-structured catalogue allows you to use faceted search, which will give your website a competitive edge with customers and will also help your internal search results. This is very important as 27% of visitors to E-Commerce websites start their visit with a search!
With 23% of E-Commerce sales on mobiles, catalogues have to be better organised than ever to allow for an effective and agreeable navigation experience on a small touch-screen.
- Link your products
Have you ever bought a camera? As soon as you choose a model they suggest the case that goes with it (it would be a shame to scratch your new camera, when for just a few pounds more…), an extra battery (it would be a shame to miss out on an important moment when for just a few pounds more…). It’s the same for a barbeque (tongs, metal brush, cleaner), electronic cigarettes (recharges, battery, flavours…) a pair of shoes (handbag, dress, shoe polish…) or a vacation (insurance, upgrade, an extra day, all-inclusive…).
All of this is part of good sales practice: give your customers advice to increase customer satisfaction and sell more. In E-Commerce it’s up to your website to highlight complementary products. And there’s no secret, it’s all in your catalogue. Once this has been organised you can link products in order to set up cross-selling and hope that these additional sales will boost your profits.
- Facilitate stock management
One single centralised catalogue with real-time stock synchronisation: the dream of every e-tailer! With a well-structured catalogue this is possible, as is the synchronisation of catalogues from different platforms or your website’s catalogue with your physical shop’s catalogue (if you have one). Not only possible, but also simple with tools such as the Actinic DataPlug, which allows you to import or export catalogue data to and from your online shop in just a few clicks and with complete peace of mind.
Keep your catalogue up to date and relevant all year long and grow your sales
So your catalogue is organised and ready to go, great! Now you’ll be able to use your information to lead to sales. It’s important to keep in mind that your catalogue on its own won’t sell your products: you’ll need to add some marketing and communication.
- Give your catalogue an editorial angle
Here you’ll need to use your flair for sales. You have access to a range of tools and possibilities to help lead your visitors to take out their credit cards (or use any other of the several payment methods you offer). Create, for example, new events regularly on your home page, the goal being to constantly give your visitors good news. It’s nice out? Create a “summer’s coming” section. A holiday’s coming up? Tell a story with your products. Use a display that makes your visitors want to fill their shopping carts and stay on your website longer.
And of course, don’t forget to feature sales and attract visitors with potential savings!
- Increase your average shopping cart
Product bundles, cross-selling, bestsellers and new arrivals—these are a few ways to go from a “normal” sale to sales with higher average shopping carts, and profits! Don’t hesitate to create bundles of products that go well together or meet some of your customers’ needs. Don’t forget that most of the time visitors to your website don’t know EXACTLY what they want to buy (close to a third of them come to your website to window shop). With your help and reassurance (including making them understand that buying more means getting a better deal) you might convince them to make that step from window shopping to confirming a purchase.
- Reward your best customers and build even more loyalty
We all know the importance of building customer loyalty: a loyal customer is 5 times more profitable than acquiring a new customer...
Your catalogue is a tool to make your customers come back to your site. And in this goal, keeping part of your catalogue exclusive or priority for some specific customers is a good idea: this is what makes private sales such a success for example, or special “loyalty discounts”…Don’t hesitate to use this strategy!
- Stick as close as you can to what customers want and customise products and conditions
Your catalogue is accessible to everyone, but not everyone wants the same things. With a well-organised catalogue, it’s possible to adapt your offers, even offer personalised orders depending on customer expectations: engraving or printing names on items, add wrapping paper or a message, exceptional shipping options or conditions adapted to the type of customer…these are possibilities for adapting the services you offer your customers.
Do you want access to expert advice and the keys to ecommerce success? Download our free Actinic guide 12 tips for an effective ecommerce website!
- Divide your customers into segments with different catalogues
A number of e-tailers sell both B2B and B2C. While for some this doesn’t change much in terms of their catalogue, in many cases it’s necessary to have different catalogues. For different kinds of customers they don’t necessarily offer or advertise the same products (for example with coffee makers the volume isn’t at all the same for a family and for a café or restaurant). Taxes and delivery insurance aren’t exactly the same, the tone of your text might change etc. It’s possible, by having two different catalogues and two separate website accesses, to be more effective and profitable.
- Conquer the world
Having an international E-Commerce website is obviously a great opportunity to grow your business and your sales. Some of our e-tailers, for example Commençal, Ballkit and Arklight Design have seized this opportunity and profited from it considerably.
Different catalogues (as not everything works the same way depending on different countries), multiple currencies and languages…all of this has to be taken into account when structuring your catalogue.
Save time with the right tools
- Save time when importing your data (items, images, customer database)
Do you need to process large quantities of data simultaneously to update your product catalogue? The Actinic DataPlug is the tool you need to save time running your E-Commerce. Avoid filling in each product pages individually. Process batches in an Excel file, as this will help you avoid entry errors.
- Integrate your E-Commerce website with your business or accounting software (ERP)
With the Actinic connector take things a step further and integrate your E-Commerce website into your business software. Your products, categories, customers, orders and stock are synchronised in real time for an E-Commerce website that’s always up to date with centralised multi-channel management. This will save you valuable time that you can instead dedicate to increasing your turnover.
- Export your catalogue to marketplaces and price comparison sites
Your online shop is your number one source of customers, but today there’s also huge potential elsewhere: marketplaces and price comparison sites. Once your catalogue has been configured, you’re just minutes away from increasing your turnover by 30%. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of and a good way to get a foot in the door with multi-channel sales.
- Take advantage of social networks
We all know the importance of social networks, especially Facebook, for E-Commerce. Without restricting our discussion entirely to F-Commerce (there are still relatively few purchases that occur ENTIRELY on the American network with over 1.3 billion users) it remains an important space for discussion, discovery, loyalty building and traffic acquisition for e-tailers. Here again the most important thing is to use the tools at your disposal and be present on this channel…take a look at our innovative tool My Social Store!
- Automatic Alerts
Keep an eye on your stock levels by defining the parameters of alerts that will let you know when items are out of stock or have reached the level you’ve predefined. This is an effective way not to miss out on any sales and ensure the permanent availability of your best-selling items.
- Follow your metrics and constantly redefine your catalogue
You know this is a subject particularly close to our heart…because it works! Follow your sales statistics closely and keep an eye on which products and categories are doing well. This way you can constantly adjust your site to highlight your best-selling products.
A catalogue is not something static and frozen: it needs to evolve or it will become dated and no longer be competitive. New products come out every day, market prices vary, and you need to find the next source of your sales. Keep an eye on your figures…and an ear open for what your customers want!
Now it’s your turn!