Creating Successful E-commerce Websites


POST A REPLY        COMMENTS( 0 )
 

Well over $100 billion is spent on online shopping at e-commerce sites per year.

credit-cards In the beginning, the focus was based on web design, but over time and testing, the “usability” of a website is what is most important for customers and repeat customers.

If you do a lot of online shopping (like me), you’ve seen the changes that have evolved over the past few years and here are some of the most important features for successful e-commerce sites.

Navigation: Whenever a user is navigating inside a store with more than one sub-level of navigation, it’s critical to show them where in the site structure they are. When a user starts to “narrow” their navigation inside a particular category, allow them to remove the other navigation selections rather than forcing the use of repetitive “back button” clicks.

Sorting: Some suggestions for sorting are “best selling,” “featured,” “user rating (editor rating if you don’t use “user ratings”), or “new” or “latest.” One of the most important should be “featured” if you’re pushing sales of a certain item. Showing an accurate summary of the categories on the home page is also very important. If you can provide the user with a useful refinement option, you’ve made their experience better.

What does it cost and what am I saving? Some product category pages show items without the detail users are craving. It’s particularly important to show pricing, but nearly every website can benefit from providing an extra bit of detail before the click to the product page. Tell them ingredients, give a tiny description or list the options, such as quantities to choose from.

Searching: When a search has been performed, don’t just show the search and the results, replicate the search engines and make the search bar front and center, while maintaining the user’s query in the box for potential modification. If an advanced searching system is available, allow users to select prices, options, quantities, etc, do it. Your bottom line will thank you – users often rate “search” as the most frustrating part of many e-commerce sites.

Delivery Options: Many user wants to see the delivery options before they start shopping. Older generations often fit this stereotype, but baby boomers still have a lot of online spending years to go, so don’t ignore them. It’s best to make the link obvious in the permanent navigation (it’s most customarily at the bottom of each page).

Reassuring with Email. Consumers want to know when their product will arrive. Order confirmation by email reassures the customer. Don’t leave the customers in the dark (or, worse, crowding up your customer service dept. with e-mails that could have been answered in an automated fashion). When you send out order confirmations, make sure to include all of the product details to re-assure the buyer that they’ve selected properly. If I accidentally ordered a 90 quantity bottle instead of a 30 quantity bottle, I want to be able to fix it before the package arrives.

Testing: Testing gives you the most important data you need. There are many ways to get it done but one of the most accurate forms of testing is splitting your promotion view between your customers – 50% see version A and 50% see version B. You need to make sure your goals are in place before conducting the test.

Trust: Cart abandonment is estimated at 60%. Adding as many “trust” seals as possible is important. Creating a shopping experience where the customer can learn to trust you is equally important. Highlight your satisfaction guarantee wherever possible.


About the Author: Sheena Tejeda is the Chief Operating Officer of the DSWA. Her foundation in business combined with direct selling experience overseeing the domestic and international operations, gives her a unique perspective and ability to work with direct selling companies during their start-up phase, growing their business to the next level and/or expanding to international markets. [email protected]

Please Note: The MyDSWA content is copyrighted material. You may share it on the web by creating an excerpt and linking back to the page using an active hyperlink. Please do not republish any content in its entirety on the web. You may however, publish any article you find on this site in print offline provided you credit the article to the author and the DSWA and include the website reference. http://www.MyDSWA.org

Does Your Direct Selling Company Have an Outbound Sales Team


POST A REPLY        COMMENTS( 0 )
 

Leverage Direct Sales Customer Base with Outbound Sales

direct sales team training One of the most important assets a direct sales company has is its customer database. It’s probably taken years to build this database and it’s filled with people who’ve bought your product at one time.

We all know there are many reasons that your distributors don’t keep in contact with their customers, but there’s no reason that the company can’t take on the job of marketing to these past customers.

The sales revenue generated from outbound sales efforts could be significant and the program can be set up to benefit your distributors too.

Setting up the Outbound Sales Team

You can begin by designating some of your customer service agents as “outbound” sales agents, determining which people have the potential to be good at this type of customer service.  The benefit of using your existing customer service representatives is that they’ve already been trained on your company and the products and they’re familiar with your customers.  Putting together an incentive program for these agents to make additional income based on the sales they generate is essential, but monitoring for abuse of the program is also critical.  Typically, you would provide the sales team with a list of customers who have not ordered in the past six months; the cut-off date can be four months or three months, whatever you feel comfortable with as long as you’re not contacting consumers that your sales field is currently working with.  Offering an incentive of discounted product, free or discounted shipping, or a second product for free if a certain sales level is met is also a good component for the program.   It’s also a perfect way to introduce past customers to any new products you’ve added to the line since the last time they ordered.

Getting Buy-In from Network Marketing Team

At first, some of your network marketing team may object to the outbound sales program but there are ways to work around these challenges.  First, it’s essential to make an adjustment to the compensation plan to allow the distributor to get paid a percentage (maybe one-half) of their normal commissions based on any outbound sales, with the remaining portion of the commissions being set aside for the company to support the outbound sales program.   Explain to your sales force that the company’s outbound sales team is like hiring their own personal outbound marketing person but with better results because there’s no learning curve involved.  After all, 50% of something is better than zero.

Direct Selling Company & Distributors Benefit

This type of outbound sales program is a benefit for both the direct selling company and the distributors by developing customer loyalty to the products and also bringing additional revenue to the company and distributors.  Few distributors have the time or resources to contact people in their organization who are not active – they focus on the people who are active.  And, few distributors are willing to spend the dollars necessary to offer an incentive for inactive customers to continue buying the product, but the company can do it by developing an outbound sales team.

Sure, there will always be distributors who moan and groan, but I would tell them that having a team that’s working at keeping your downline stay active is worth the reduction in commission from any sales.   I’ve seen these programs generate more than $250,000 in sales in a month and the added benefit is the company is ensuring customer loyalty.

If you’d like more information on developing this type of program, feel free to contact me. Email Sheena


About the Author: Sheena Tejeda is the Chief Operating Officer of the DSWA. Her foundation in business combined with direct selling experience overseeing the domestic and international operations, gives her a unique perspective and ability to work with direct selling companies during their start-up phase, growing their business to the next level and/or expanding to international markets. [email protected]

Please Note: The MyDSWA content is copyrighted material. You may share it on the web by creating an excerpt and linking back to the page using an active hyperlink. Please do not republish any content in its entirety on the web. You may however, publish any article you find on this site in print offline provided you credit the article to the author and the DSWA and include the website reference. http://www.MyDSWA.org

Thinking Of An International Direct Sales Expansion?


POST A REPLY        COMMENTS( 1 )
 

Are you thinking about expanding your direct sales business to international markets?

No doubt, there’s opportunity for growth, particularly in emerging markets in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

The data from the Direct Selling Association shows that of $114 billion in worldwide sales in 2008, only 26% of that number came from sales in the United States.

But, before you take the big step, make sure you’re ready for the trip.

Just like you wouldn’t take a vacation to another country without making sure you had your passport and other documentation in order and did some research on the country you planned to visit, the same is true for expanding your business to international markets – do your research first and be prepared for the adventure.

Choosing the Best Country For Your Company

Location, Location, Location

How do you make the best choice in identifying the country or countries for your initial expansion to international markets?

This choice is one of the most critical to ensuring your success.

Some things to look at are the potential market share for your product in the country, the current economic and political climate for businesses, and legal and regulatory issues that may affect your business model or product.

Another key issue when considering expansion, is how you will monitor the expansion and growth in the market? Obviously, it’s much easier and less costly to monitor operations in Canada or Mexico than making a trip to India or Russia to keep tabs on how the market is developing.

Although the internet may allow you to dip your toe in the water without the financing required in the past, there’s no substitute for a hands-on inspection from time to time. Whether your operating from a corporate office in the market or working with a licensee, it’s important to keep tabs on how your company and brand is being marketed and represented in the country.

Currency Issues

Show Me The Money. Another critical factor to consider is payment solutions and currency exchange rates.

How will you collect payment for your products and how will you pay your sales force? Is credit card a preferred payment method in the potential market or do consumers prefer to pay with cash. This issue is particularly important if your company relies heavily on “auto-ship” as part of its business model. It may be necessary at times to implement a special compensation plan “fix” for large currency fluctuations, like those we’ve seen over the past couple of years.

Balancing the price of the product for the marketplace and ensuring that the payout in the compensation plan is enough to attract distributors are key factors.

Communicating with Consumers and the Direct Sales Team

Gracias, Merci, Domo arigato

Do most people in the market you’re considering speak English as a primary language? If that’s the case, such as Canada, UK or even the Netherlands, great; if not, giving close consideration to the language issue is very important.

It’s difficult to develop and increase sales revenue and grow your business if you’re unable to effectively communicate with the consumers and the direct sales distributors in the field. If translation is necessary, you could be looking at a significant financial investment to translate your product labels, website and all of your sales and marketing materials to multiple foreign languages, not to mention the continued updating that’s required.

Of course, there are many additional issues to consider prior to moving forward with international expansion of your business and the above are just a few key points to consider. It’s important that your company plan ahead for expansion and consult closely with your legal and finance team, as well as experts who have experience in bringing direct sales companies to international markets. As with many things, the devil is in the details.

Watch for future posts on more topics related to expansion to international markets.


About the Author: Sheena Tejeda is the Chief Operating Officer of the DSWA. Her foundation in business combined with direct selling experience overseeing the domestic and international operations, gives her a unique perspective and ability to work with direct selling companies during their start-up phase, growing their business to the next level and/or expanding to international markets. [email protected]

Please Note: The MyDSWA content is copyrighted material. You may share it on the web by creating an excerpt and linking back to the page using an active hyperlink. Please do not republish any content in its entirety on the web. You may however, publish any article you find on this site in print offline provided you credit the article to the author and the DSWA and include the website reference. http://www.MyDSWA.org

 
 
Experience a world renowned Leadership Certification Course and watch your business grow to new heights!
The DSWA Global Foundation provides education about the Direct Selling Profession while supporting causes in alignment with the values of DSWA.
Coaching bridges the gap betwen learning and achieving. The Coach Excellence Program delivers the best mediums for excellence.
Bringing together direct sales representatives who share a love of direct selling and a desire to grow, learn and support one another.
The premiere destination source of advice, educational information, and inspirational stories for all women in the direct selling industry.
Be a part of the most unique and transformational event the direct selling profession has to offer.