Marketing May 31, 2011 Last updated May 31st, 2011 2,972 Reads share

Retailers: How To Sell Online In 60 Seconds

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Have you ever heard of the 60 second sale? If you’re an online trader, then you might want to read on.

Stealing candy from a baby

Selling on the Internet is an ideal situation; I mean, all those potential shoppers searching in cyber-shopper heaven, and you don’t need to lift a finger. You’re happy with your glass of something expensive, lounging back in your recliner, knowing, that sooner or later they’ll click on your site and the money will start rolling in. It’s like stealing candy from a baby. Easy!

BUT, isn’t every other online trader thinking the exact same thing?

Suddenly you bolt out of your chair and slop the good stuff down your front. The questions keep rolling like the domino effect – one leads to another.

  • How many online retailers are there?
  • What’s stopping someone from buying from them?
  • Is my site good enough?
  • Why should they buy from me?
  • On and on…and on.

Luckily for you, I show up at that moment with a smug expression and introduce you to my good friend ‘The 60 second sell’.

The 60 second sell – Explained

Simply put, you have an allocated amount of time to wow your visitors before they ‘bounce’ (quite literally) from your website and into the open arms of your closest competitors (grrrr).

The 60 second sell shows you exactly what your visitor is thinking and doing in the lead-up to a sale. By understanding the thought process of your visitor, you can ensure they buy from you… in 60 seconds.

1-4 seconds

Round one!

What are they thinking/doing?

They’re scan-reading to see if your site is a match for their needs. Websites can be found by the following methods: Direct, Referral or Search (Split between SEO and PPC).

80% of visits will be via a search engine (SEO), except for well-known brands like Amazon and Next for example. That’s 80% of visitors who may have never even heard of you, but they’ve done a keyword search and you’ve come up in the results. If that is the case, then being a match for their search is number one priority.

What can you do?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is worth investing in, so either learn a few tricks yourself or ask someone to handle it for you. If your site is optimised for all the terms which match your product offerings, then your chances of being a match for a visitor search are high.

I’ve seen a number of online traders concentrate solely on the homepage. Search engine searches show the most relevant match for the search query, which may not not be the homepage. So optimise each page and ensure that no matter what page a visitor enters on, they can easily navigate to the homepage and the checkout.

5-15 seconds

If the search is a match and they stay to investigate further, then give yourself a pat on the back. Many ecommerce websites don’t pass the first round!

What are they thinking/doing?

They’re just clicked on your website and are taking note of the business name, logo, branding, colour scheme and general quality. Branding plays a vital role in defining your business. Branding is a reflection of the business and gives your visitors a clue as to what you’re about. We are all visual creatures and we do respond to imagery without thinking.

What can you do?

If this is a new business venture, then you might be tempted to go down the cheap route. While this may work for certain businesses, it NEVER works for an ecommerce website. Think about it, you’re asking people to make a payment which potentially gives access to their accounts. Trust is the most important non-tangible thing you need to gain before anything else. A website built with quality in mind is your greatest endorsement. We naturally trust good quality over bad.

For branding, harmonious colours are best. Try to avoid anything too harsh, a succession of over-bright colours, too many colours in your text, or a number of different fonts and sizes. Keep the layout clean and un-cluttered. Use dividers or boxes to separate areas of content. Play up your goals and offers.

16-25 seconds

A 16 second stay is no mean feat. Take a sip of the good stuff to celebrate. Pass Go and pick up 200 Euros.

What are they thinking/doing?

Generally you match their search and they’re happy enough about the quality of the website. But now it’s make or break time and they’re looking at the specifics. They’ll be drilling down into the content to search for the exact item they’re looking for. They’ll first, find the item/s, then taking note of the image, price, description, dimensions/specifications and options.

What can you do?

Any ecommerce website worth it’s salt will use ‘human and keyword-inspired’ ‘categories’ and ‘search filters’ to help visitors find what they need. Make sure your category names are obvious and that the sub-categories within them contain enough items. There’s nothing worse that finding a site, navigating to the correct page, then finding it completely empty.

Let them order by price and show your filters in a breadcrumb trail, so they can go back. If you sell a number of items which are similar, then a plugin to show similar items could be for you. Amazon does this extremely well, and also displayed more advanced plugins such as the % who actually brought this item.

Give plenty of information on the item and always include a high quality image. 360 degree views and multiple images, plus zoom functionality are known to increase sell-ability. Pay attention to the specifics like dimensions, specifications and technical data. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer. Never rely on the information of a competitor.

26-35 seconds

The fish is on the hook….but you’re not the only fisherman in these waters, and you can easily lose your catch.

What are they thinking/doing?

This is the stage where shoppers start to compare. They will either close the browser and start

searching again, or open a new tab/browser window and compare side-by-side. They’ll be interested in comparing price, the different options available, and offers on these items. Again branding will play a superficial role when comparing sites.

What can you do?

A savvy retailer knows that everyone is different, but in some things we’re the same. We all want the cheapest price for an item, but we also want to be able to choose the colours and styles that attract us. Consider the items you’re selling and the customer segment. If it’s high-tech gear, then options are a must. Certain brands produce items in various colours, so pay attention to the ones that are highly sought after, and sell these. Household goods are usually purchased by matching them with other household goods. Colours and styles again are important.

Do regular competitor checks and try where possible, to undercut them. Offers, deals and incentives can also tip the scales in your favour.

36-40 seconds

Its research time for our shoppers!

What are they thinking/doing?

Just before the purchase, a shopper will double-check the item is a match and then research reviews on the item and (if they’ve very savvy), on you.

What can you do?
Help them by publishing your own product reviews or linking to reviews of the product on a ‘neutral’ website. For hoteliers this might be Trip Advisor. Neutrality is important because showing them a competitor site (especially a big brand site) could lose you the sale.

41-60 seconds

The goal is in sight…. but the goalie stands tall.

What are they thinking/doing?

You may be close to the goal, but like football, you still have the goalie to contend with.

There are three main areas for consideration: Payment options, checkout process and problems at checkout.

What can you do?

Checkout process

Streamline the checkout process (referred to in the trade as a ‘flow’). Keep the steps simple and concise. One thing people hate most is spending time typing for hours on end. Only ask for information that you absolutely require. Entering personal details does require a ‘privacy policy’, so have one of these on the website for visitors to read.

To assist with customer loyalty, the ability to set up an account will do wonders and save on the hateful typing time. It will also give them access to previously purchased items. You could then ask them to review post purchase.

Payment options

Give them plenty of payment options like Paypal, Realex and Google Checkout. If the website is for Irish customers, then a Laser card option is a good idea. Also make sure your developer keeps the database clean and checks the server. Processing payments should be a 20 second or less time-frame. After this, buyers become ancy.

Problems at checkout

Despite the best intentions, issues do happen. Always display your address, email and phone number for customers to contact you if need be. Real-time customer service dialogue windows can clear up small-scale issues in time for your customer to still make the purchase.

Lastly, remember to track your sales through Google Analytics and monitor user behaviours to build a picture of your visitor habits. An email strategy will also assist with loyalty, so invest in one.

Anything more to add? What are you missing from your site from the above?

Christina Giliberti

Christina Giliberti

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