Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Two: Back to Basics Store Front


     
  This is part of 7 in the series Getting your Zen Cart Store Ready for Christmas
  1. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part One: Back to Basics Store Management
  2. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Two: Back to Basics Store Front
  3. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Three: Setting the Scene, Do they know its Christmas time?
  4. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Four: Encouraging a Christmas Shopping Spree at your Store
  5. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Five: Sweetening the deals for Christmas at your Store
  6. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Six: Inviting Customers to your Store for Christmas Shopping
  7. Getting Ready for Christmas – Part Seven: Essential Follow-up After the Christmas Rush
 
     

In Part One – Back to Basics Store Management we went through aspects of getting ready that could be considered more ‘behind-the-scenes’.  Today, we are are looking at your store as your customers see it.

Professional Store or amateur web site?

Check all pages, including your product pages, for issues that will undermine your professional image.  Typos, spelling errors, poor grammar, missing images and broken hyperlinks all create the first impression you need to avoid.

Store Review

Spend some time looking at your store from your customer’s perspective.  Even better, recruit family and friends to give you feedback on the usability of your store.  Comments on the store design, product categories and shopping cart flow from fresh eyes will give you valuable insight to maximise your sales potential.  A small change as a result of these comments, such as making your Add to Cart buttons more prominent, may make a huge difference to your bottom line.

A review will also point out the different ways potential customers use your store.  Some may use the Search function, others browse categories and others again may go straight to the Specials or Featured products.

If it has been some time since your last sale, make sure that you include a number of different test purchases as part of your review.  Is your store functioning correctly?

Shipping Information

At all times, but especially at Christmas, customers want to know as early in the purchasing process as possible what their likely shipping costs (and timeframe) will be.  Do you have your Zen Cart Shipping Estimator on the Shopping Cart page for easy access?

Do you have your location clearly displayed?  Many shoppers looking for gifts for international friends and family look for online stores in the recipients location to reduce shipping costs.

Product Images

An obvious restriction of purchasing online is that your customer can not feel, touch or pick up your product.  The only thing they have to rely on is the product description and the visual images you provide.  Quality product images are one of the more important elements of online selling as, like everyone says, a picture is worth a thousand words, and they can compensate for not being able to see the product first-hand.

It is worth spending the time on your images and making sure you have the correct image sizes available for Zen Cart.  There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than clicking on an ‘Enlarge Image’ link and then getting a pop-up window with the exact same thumbnail image displayed.  Remember to include product images from different angles and pay attention to the composition of the image (for example desk clutter in the background has no place in a product image).  Really use your images to sell your products.

Secure and Trustworthy

Do customers feel safe purchasing from your online store?  Consumers are more aware now and check for security when buying online.  Are your login and checkout pages secured with an SSL certificate?  Are you collecting only the minimum information required to register and check out?  Do you have a privacy policy displayed?  Do you have a safe checkout process with a reputable merchant?   Buyer confidence leads to increased sales.

Customer Service

A customer is enticed by your eloquent product description and stunning product images and would like to purchase several as gifts for her family.  But, she just has one question.  Do you have a way (or preferably a range of ways) for her to contact you.  Are your contact details prominently displayed?

Closing the Sale

Most importantly, make certain that your checkout process is straightforward and easy to follow.  There should be no step along the way where the customer is even slightly confused about where to click next.  Your Checkout button should always be visible and prominent from all pages.

The position of buttons and the language used in the checkout pages can mean the difference between closing the sale and an abandoned cart.  Download the report “20 Surefire Ways to Increase Sales Using Zen Cart” for more information on tweaking your checkout pages.

Getting your Zen Cart Store Ready for Christmas

     
   
     

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