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-   -   Why No Sales? Solutions? (http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32)

Robert 25th June 2004 08:39 AM

Why No Sales? Solutions?
 
When Soapin'Angela introduced herself to the forum, she mentioned that her website had been up for a year and a half without a single sale.

So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some ideas on crankin' up her ecommerce sales. I asked Soapin'Angela in advance if she would mind if we used her site as an example and she gave the go ahead.

We don't know how many, if any, visitors Soapin'Angela is receiving or where they are coming from. Hopefully she can let us know to give us a bit more to work with.

I'm going to throw out one quick observation before I have to get the kids fed. Feel free to follow up with more ideas and observations for her.

The biggest thing that jumped out at me when I visited her site was - I couldn't figure out what type of payments she accepted. For me, this is a big deal because if I can't pay via credit card or PayPal, I'm not buying because I don't want to bother with a check.

I went from the home page to the "Handcrafted Soaps" category without seeing any indication of what payments are accepted. I read the enticing description of her Lavender Soap and even clicked on "ADD TO CART" to see if I could discover what payments were accepted. I went as far as filling in the quantity and choosing the "GO TO PAYMENTS" button. This is where I gave up because I was next asked for Billing and Shipping information - still without any indication of what type of payments are accepted.

To be fair, Soapin'Angela does state in text toward the bottom of her home page that she accepts payment by PayPal, Cheque or Money Order. The problem is, I never noticed that text.

This is my long-winded way of showing the importance of providing shoppers with the visual cues they expect. When I visited each page of the site, I was scanning for either the PayPal logo or the Visa/Master card logos.

Have to run for now, so hopefully others can pick up from here and provide more insights.

BWelford 25th June 2004 09:20 AM

To me the two biggest strengths a company (and thus a website which is the virtual representation of the company) must have are:

Strength 1. USP (Unique Selling Proposition) - why this company can do something for me that no one else can, and

Strength 2. People (or the owner) who are enthusiastic, expert and are going to work hard to give me the best shopping experience I have ever had.

I didn't see the first and the 'About Us' is OK but not as strong as Strength 2 would require. I like working mums but that doesn't necessarily make the sale.

You may say, "but I'm not sure I'm an expert, etc." Well I'm absolutely sure you are. Certainly you're more expert than me. That's all that counts. :)

David Wallace 25th June 2004 11:05 AM

Customer testimonials will go a long way. When I visit site, I ask, "Who are these guys anyway?" "Why should I buy from them?" If I see that others have bought and like the products, I am going to be more persuaded to buy myself.

I would also recommend a physical address rather than a PO Box, even if it is your home address. I used my home address when I started out because that is where I began my business. PO boxes just paint a picture of "fly by night".

One other thing - do you sell these products on E-Bay because it seems that you can sell anything on E-Bay these days.

Robert 25th June 2004 11:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Wallace
I would also recommend a physical address rather than a PO Box, even if it is your home address.

The good news is that quite a few Postal/Copy shops now offer P.O. boxes that have a street address in case you are nervous about using your home address.

The one near me does it by using their (the postal shop's) street address and your P.O. Box number as the "suite number." So if you had box 151 at their store, your address would be:

18062 Street Name, Suite 151

Farhan 25th June 2004 12:25 PM

The design of the site also needs some work, imo. The areas which need improvement are 1) Image of the featured product and 2) The header images.
An image of the target market (someone using the product) may also add more life to the page.

Soapin'Angela 25th June 2004 01:25 PM

Hi everyone,
Thanks for the great replies so far, I know my website needs a lot of work and that's why I thought Robert asking this question would be great help! I really appreciate all the comments so far.
I haven't really gotten that much traffic and I'm sure that's part of the problem too. I had 472 in May and I was pretty excited that was my highest visitors so far. A lot of traffic was coming from another forum I go to called "The Soap Dish" - these people are not really gonna buy from me when they can make it themselves. I also have a bit of traffic from MyMommyBiz, a forum for moms in business.

I am nervous about putting my home address up so I do like the address of my post office. I haven't tried my products on E-bay yet because I've seen soaps similar to mine going for $2 or so, I'm going to have a look again though and see.

BWelford: Do you think a USP would be that my products can be used to creat a 'Spa' atmosphere in your home? I will definitly keep this in mind and try to think of what it is that I can provide better than anyone else.

Robert: How do I get the Paypal logo? That's interested about putting suite for the p.o. box, should I ask my post office if they will accept this? I guess I won't get many people sending mail to me anyway though through my website.

There's so much good advice here I'm going to print it off when you guys are done and work on as much as possible!

SteveO 25th June 2004 02:00 PM

I just took a quick look - what I was looking for was how it hit me right off the bat...

The design looks old school and the code is derelict ---> http://www.rainkissed.com/body.html

Things need to be centered and an image is MIA. I would also change the font and like I said above just make the place look more modern.



Hope I wasnt too harsh



Steve

BWelford 25th June 2004 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soapin'Angela
Do you think a USP would be that my products can be used to creat a 'Spa' atmosphere in your home?

Indeed that could be it. Why not check out what your competitors are saying and make sure that you are offering something different and better?

Old Welsh Guy 25th June 2004 02:42 PM

I was watching a prog on TV the other night, all about a company who were selling bath oils and body creams and lotions etc. They brough in a consultant, as they wanted to be the number one in their marketplace.

The consultant asked them what was special about their product against their competition, they said 'nothing we are all the same' ! She spoke a while about the competition, and finally asked about pricing, to which they replied, 'all the products in this arena, ours and our competitors are priced almost identically'. He eyes widened and she said 'double your prices' they did, and they are now the number one in the marketplace.

The perception that people have of a product is almost always related to the cost (not value) of that product IMO. If your stuff is special, then **** right it should be expensive, if your products are different, and unique then hey ' buy them from me or go without, because guess what? you can't get my stuff elswhere'.

Robert 25th June 2004 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soapin'Angela
Robert: How do I get the Paypal logo? That's interested about putting suite for the p.o. box, should I ask my post office if they will accept this? I guess I won't get many people sending mail to me anyway though through my website.

To get some PayPal logos:

1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Click on the Auction Tools tab at the top of the page
3. Choose the Manual Logos link under the 'Add PayPal to Your Listing' heading

That page will have a variety of PayPal and Visa/MC/etc. logos to choose from. You aren't using it for an auction so you don't need to copy the code. Just save a copy of the graphic and move it to your server.

You can do the same by making some PayPal "Buy It Now" buttons.

I don't know if the post office will do street addresses for PO boxes. What I was talking about was those little Postal Supply/Copy stores... Like Mail Boxes Etc. There are a bunch around here run by individuals. When you are out driving, just keep an eye out for signs that say: "Postal Center" or "Shipping Supplies", etc. Then pop in and ask if they use a street address for their PO boxes.


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