One of the biggest reasons we hear retailers give for resisting e-commerce is that their products are too complicated to sell online. Recently, we encountered one such business, a retailer selling glamorous wedding gowns and dresses for special occasions, from their brick and mortar store exclusively. They have noticed a drop in sales since the economy took a down turn and we discussed potential solutions. When we brought up the idea of an e-commerce site, the company refused.
Their reasoning? They explained that the detailing put into their gowns, as well as the process of buying one, made them too complicated to sell online. As you can imagine, brides-to-be are extremely particular about their wedding dresses. They want to see how the dress looks, how well it’s made, they need to know how quickly it can be delivered, and so on. This company stated that there is just no way that they could provide all of that information online.
Our response: if David’s Bridal can do it why can’t you?
It’s true, many products, such as wedding dresses, are” complicated” to sell online. As the number of variable sizes, colors, and configurations increases the sales process becomes more complex. Furthermore, there are some products for which the sales process is complicated because the customer does not know exactly what he or she wants or needs. They know that they have a problem, but they aren’t sure how to solve it. In fact, they may not even know what their options are.
This is precisely why the bridal shop above found it difficult to translate their sales process to an online environment. When you rely on sales people to personally guide your customers to the optimal products for them, it’s difficult to imagine a computer making the sale for you. Trust us, we understand. But rather than focusing on the technical aspects, explore the human actions that go into creating a site and the processes that consumers go through while navigating it.
The Simple Solution
Creating an e-commerce site doesn’t have to be complicated if you know the tactics that will allow your customers to explore their options and lead them to the best solutions. You don’t need to spend a small fortune to build an e-commerce site with all the bells and whistles. In fact, many of these fancy features may distract customers from their goal: finding a solution and making a purchase. An effective online store can be affordably built by using the tools below.
Ecommerce Tools of the Trade
Here is where the human aspect comes in. You may not be there to explain the details of your product to your customer, but you do have control over the information provided on your site. Draw attention to the benefits of your products and highlight the information that your customers will be looking for when researching your product.
Make sure that your descriptions are not only informative, but they are engaging and draw your customers in. Recall the last time you ate at a restaurant. Were you more likely to order the “Chicken Breast” or the “Grilled Chicken Breast tenderly stuffed with a trio of cheeses and draped with a luscious Marsala wine sauce.” We’re willing to bet that most people (fitness fanatics excluded) would go with the latter.
If there is one area on which you should spare no expense it is the photos of your products. You want them to be just as well represented on your site as they would be on display in your store. Ensure that your photographer captures your merchandise from every pertinent angle and view. If there are minute details that cannot be seen from afar, such as hand beading on a wedding gown, make sure that these are well represented in close up photos. Remember, if there is a specific product feature that you would point out when showing a customer that product in person, you should highlight that feature in its own image on your site.
Once you have your images it’s time to have a conversation with your web developer to ensure that they are properly showcased on your site. What features will you need? Would you like your customers to be able to zoom in on details of your products? Should they be able to quickly change the color of the product pictured without having to leave the product page? Make sure you’re web developer knows exactly how you want your customers to be able to interact with your products.
Embedded videos on your site are a great way to demonstrate difficult to explain products, or point out noteworthy product features. This is the next best thing to being in the room with your customers. Videos may be focused on one product in particular, detailing its features and benefits or they may provide tutorials, showing your customers how the product may be used. For a consistent customer experience and maximum reach, embed your videos on your site, upload them to YouTube and share them on your social media pages.
Some customers will still have questions no matter how much information you provide on your site, so make it easy for them to contact you. Post your phone number on several places on your site, such as your contact page, the header of your site, and in your sidebar widgets to show that you are there to provide feedback. This gives you a chance to provide the personal touch, allowing you to sell even the most complicated items online!
Think your product is too complicated to sell online or ready to create an e-commerce site but not quite sure where to begin? Contact us for a free consultation. We can discuss your options and help you build an e-commerce site so you can start selling online.