Live from DMA05: No-Nonsense Tips on How to Increase Web Sales

Atlanta–Sending e-mails to people who have abandoned their shopping carts can recover up to 25% of lost sales.

That was one of the more eye-popping tidbits in the presentation “31 Ways to Boost Cataloger Web Sales by 20%,” given by Michael Abney and Jennifer Wells, senior commerce site manager and senior marketing manager for online catalog consultancy DMinSite.

As an example of an abandoned-cart e-mail, they showed a soft-sell message that said the company periodically checks the performance of its site and would like to know why the recipient had abandoned his purchase. It also included a link to the product.

“A lot of these tips are based on good common-sense DM techniques,” said Abney.

For example, online catalogers should make it easy for customers to find items of interest. “I know it sounds really simple, but a lot of sites don’t offer that,” he said.

“Every click costs them time and energy,” added Wells.

The two also urged marketers to maximize the value of the home page header by including, among other things, a link to the company’s satisfaction guarantee, the company’s call-center telephone number, and the customer’s shopping cart status.

They also recommended displaying top-selling items on the home page. “The home page has a different purpose than the catalog cover,” said Wells.

Another simple recommendation with its roots in traditional DM: Put a “buy now” button next to each product. “Call-to-action devices have consistently proven to increase response rates,” said Wells.

The duo recommended allowing customers to search by solutions to their problems. “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘People don’t want to buy a saw. They want to buy a cut,’” said Abney.

With that philosophy in mind, the Gardens Alive! Website has a “solution finder” that asks questions such as “What do you want to accomplish today?” and “What pests do you want to control?” The site then offers products based on what the visitors choose from the drop-down menus.

Another simple tip: Monetize the “no results found” page. When a site visitor searches for something that is not on the site, the search engine should deliver the “no results” message with best-selling products.

Wells and Abney also recommended sending triggered “thank you” with cross-sell offers e-mails about three days after customers receive their purchases.

Related articles on how to increase online sales: “Five Tweaks to Boost Online Conversion Rates”

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