Top 10 Tips to Engage Your Online Customers

Young Woman Browsing by Stuart Miles With online attention spans growing shorter, you may sometimes find it difficult to keep your website's visitors interested and engaged. If they can't navigate quickly and easily, they're more likely to click away--but how do keep your website traffic flowing and increase conversions? Follow these top 10 tips to engage your online customers, and you'll be sure to see a boost in your sales and profits.
  1. Write Unique Product Descriptions: Online shoppers love product descriptions just as much as they love product images, but how will they find your website when hundreds of other e-commerce merchants are selling the same products? Well, lucky for you, search engines love product descriptions too! Your products may not be unique, but you can write unique, accurate, and detailed product descriptions that are dense with keywords to help you boost your website's search engine optimization (SEO). Unique product descriptions will also give your website more personality and leave your customers wanting more.

  2. Include Multiple Images: A picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure to include multiple images of your products to say even more. Highlight different angles and features of your products to show versatility. Do your products come in a variety of colors? If so, display images of your products in a range of colors.

  3. Website Appearance is Important: Similar to the idea of how you eat with your eyes first, consumers shop with their eyes first--meaning the aesthetic quality of your website may influence your site's conversion rate. Would you shop from a traditional store with clutter that you have to step over to avoid tripping? Most likely not. Like traditional store owners, try designing your website around the theme of your products--if you have one. For example, if you're selling children's toys, why not try a more playful website design?

  4. Easy Website Navigation: Imagine you're walking through a grocery store, and the sign above the isle you're approaching lists pasta, pasta sauce, and soup. Great--you love soup! However, when you walk down the isle, you find no soup, no past, and no pasta sauce. What you do find is toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Just like in a traditional store, your online store should offer organized, accurate, and easy-to-understand navigation. You should also organize the links on your website based on their importance, and your visitors should be able to find them easily.

  5. Simple and Quick Checkout Process: As an e-commerce merchant, you understand that consumers choose to shop online for the ease and comfort, and you want to reassure them that they've made the right choice by shopping at your website. You've dedicated countless hours to making the browsing experience fast, fun, and convenient, so those final moments during checkout should be just as simple. Require your customers to provide minimal information--name, billing and shipping address, payment information--and be sure your site is able to store information to streamline the process for returning guests.

  6. Update Your Website Content: Keeping your site's content fresh by updating it at least once a week will bring customers back for more. It will also help your site rank higher in search results. Google's new search algorithm focuses on new and fresh content, giving it higher precedence in result listings. Google wrote a great analogy to help explain the algorithm, which says, "Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer's day, are best when they're fresh." Write unique and interesting content that will make your customers look forward to what you have to say. This will not only keep your customers engaged, but also help you build a dedicated fan base.

  7. Use Real Customer Experiences: Your best friend Adam just told us about his new television: 42" LCD screen, 1080p resolution, high definition. He said he bought the TV at a great price--the lowest around--and the customer service made him feel like a friend, not a customer. After hearing Adam's story, I'm ready to ask where he purchased his TV, because I want one too. Don't you? Absolutely! Real customer experiences sell, so display your customers' testimonials for others to see.

  8. Integrate Live Chat Support into Your Site: You can't shake hands with your online customers or walk around your store with them offering help, but you can reach out to them by using live chat tools. Research has shown that live chats increase conversions, and they also help increase the overall ticket amount.

  9. Create a Blog: If you're an e-commerce merchant selling beauty supplies, then you probably know a great deal about cosmetics, perfume, nail polish, salon products, etc. Don't keep all that knowledge to yourself--share the wealth! Create a blog and write product reviews, beauty tips, seasonal trends, and any other topic to engage your customers and convert them to buying from your website.

  10. Incorporate Social Media: Now that you have a blog, why not jump on the bandwagon and get yourself a Twitter account and a Facebook profile for your business--maybe even Google+ and Pinterest too. Once you establish yourself on these social media networks, add links to your pages on your website. Let your customers know that you want to network with them. Include an RSS feed so they can receive updates when you publish a new blog post. Encourage your followers to interact with you by tweeting at them. Promote your business through Facebook by offering discounts and promotions. Add the +1 button to your website so people can recommend your business to others. Pin photos of your favorite hairstyle, summertime fragrance, and nighttime eyewear to your board on Pinterest.

Meghan Faye Wolff is the senior copywriter and marketing specialist for Instabill Corporation. Instabill offers online payment processing solutions for offshore and high risk merchants around the world. Meghan blogs about leading e-commerce and payment industry news.

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