Live from NEMOA: Improving Online Sales

Providence, RI–Want to improve your online sales? According to Ken Burke, president of Petaluma, CA-based Web development firm Multimedia Live, marketers need to begin to stray from the standardization of Websites because the e-commerce industry is in a bit of rut. “Websites are becoming very similar, and merchants need to find new ways to differentiate themselves.”

Burke’s frentic, Robin Williams-style delivery often drew laughter from the packed audience during his presentation, “Clicks Ahoy–an Intelligent Online Selling Approach to Improving Sales,” atthe New England Mail Order Association’s fall conference here. “It’s not just a Website. It’s much more. Your customers came to your Website from somewhere, and if your Website doesn’t perform they’ll go somewhere else.”

Burke said that direct marketing Websites are being used more as an ordering mechanism than as an intelligent selling mechansism.”There’s ordering Websites vs. Websites that sell. And the days of the ordering Websites are dwindling,” he said. Among his suggestions for revving up a marketing Website:

* Use personalization/segmentation techniques when appropriate to speak directly to a target audience.

* Hire a full-time Web merchandiser. It’ll make a difference between sales of $10 million-$20 million and $50 million-$60 million, he says.

* Develop a merchandising message strategy for every page of your Website.

* Consider frequent updates of key pages, such as a page of specials and customer favorties updated daily.

* Focus the user’s attention. “Users have the attention span of a three-year-old,” Burke said. Limit the number of messages on any page. Create dominate messaging on key pages throughout the site.

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