E-commerce: Three Next-generation Strategies to Increase Revenue
The Internet constantly is shifting and revealing new opportunities to engage and reel in new customers to your brand. Web. 2.0 technologies such as blogs and podcasts have allowed merchants to communicate with their customers in unique ways. But beyond Web 2.0 are strategies and technologies that will allow you to create an even more interactive dialog with your customers. Doug Mack, president and co-founder of online rich media provider Scene 7 offers a few of these emerging strategies in his recent whitepaper “E-commerce 3.0: How E-commerce Becomes a Uniquely Great Experience.”
* Market to broadband consumers. Web site designers traditionally have had to build their sites to cater to consumers on the slowest dial-up connections. However, 80 percent to 95 percent of revenue on most e-commerce sites comes from broadband customers, Mack says. “Site operators [should] stop designing to the lowest common denominator and optimize the experience for their money shoppers,” he writes. A better experience for the broadband shopper should result in enough revenue to justify any potential loss of narrowband customers, but if these shoppers are a large part of your customer base, then develop an alternative Web experience that automatically serves up more easily loaded content.
* Think beyond linear site construction. Most Web sites operate a tightly organized Web site comprised of a home page, category pages, product details, thumbnail views and shopping carts. “Some of these distinctions will fade away, and the most aggressive sites will aspire to offer a single-page experience,” Mack notes.
He offers the example of Panic.com, a T-shirt merchant whose shopping cart always is visible while allowing customers to drag items into and out of the shopping cart whenever they wish. Price totals change dynamically with the amount in the cart, so customers are aware of costs before they checkout, which tends to decrease shopping cart abandonment.
* Provide relevant information at the right time. Like the dynamically changing shopping cart cited above, truly interactive Web sites should provide information to customers as they need it, rather than at a predetermined point in the sale process. Customers never should enter the shopping cart and find they items they wanted to order isn’t available in their chosen size or color, or have exceeded their budgets, Mack writes.
JustBlinds.com, for example, offers a product configuration area on its site that allows customers to customize blinds based on color, fabrics, mounts, dimensions and style. As customers customize the right blinds for their home, a virtual image shows what the finished product will look like, while a price calculator adjusts based on the options chosen. Mack notes that JustBlinds.com experienced a 32 percent increase in successful order completion after it implemented the new configuration engine.
For a copy of Scene 7’s whitepaper “E-commerce 3.0: How E-commerce Becomes a Uniquely Great Experience,” visit http://www.scene7.com/registration/eComm_download_email.asp?emaillist=eCommerce_3.0_Download_|_2-8-07