e-Commerce Basics and Merchandizing over the Internet

There are no real shelves in the on-line shops. There are no real goods to be laid out on them (in fact it can be stored thousands of miles away from it). That is why the ’brick-and-mortar merchandizing’ simply does not work here. It takes finding new ways to stand out against the array background.

Everything that a prospective buyer sees in the on-line shop all sorts of information (texts, pictures) arranged in a certain way. As you know, the main goal of the Internet merchandising is to build up in the customers’ minds a convenient logical set of information which would motivate and slightly push him towards taking the right decision ’ to make a bargain.

Usually there are no sellers to consult customers in the on-line stores. All that the customer can expect to find here is a competently organized site. He can learn about products only from here. This seems to be obvious. But still there are a lot of e-traders who seem to have no idea about that (or maybe they believe that it is not important enough to waste their time and effort on designing a customer-friendly system). Normally you are offered to make a selection by the name of manufacturer, price or a couple of other significant product characteristics. In case if there are just five to ten trade positions in a certain type of goods, that might work well. But if the quantity amounts to hundreds this system becomes unbearable and most often useless.

As there is no seller in the e-store, who would give at least any point to facilitate the customer’s job of making choice the problem of selection becomes a major issue. Thus, a wide range of goods rather irritates and frustrates than produces a positive impression on the prospective customer.

Today many on-line vendors strive to create a simple and convenient site with all the needed information available on it. It seems there are three main ways in which merchandizing works over the Internet.

  1. It is not the interior appearance or advertisement that influences the customer’s decision to buy or not at a certain store. Actually, it is the mindset of the specific consumer that does the job. Still both the interior appearance and advertisement can influence his decision and he can wish to buy even if the type of goods has been sold out.
  2. The system of the site must be organized so that it would be easy for the customer to find what he is interested in or to learn that the type of goods is not in stock for the moment. Which is very important, all this must take him as little time as possible!
  3. In case if the goods the prospective buyer is interested in are not in stock for the moment he should be provided with an easy way to let the store inform him when the situation changes.

The site design is the first thing to be improved. On the Internet site all the operating tools should better be located on the upper to left side of the page. For instance, many e-bookstores contain dozens of links which it difficult to make out where the books on sale are. Too many links and all kind of tags confuse the customer. This can be named as a typical example of the ineffectual site design. If you place over 20 links on your main page, be ready to loose a huge number of customers-to-be. If you offer special prices, sell-outs, etc. remember: such kind of announcements must be placed at the bottom of the page. When you enter www.bambook.com you can always find a sell-out at the bottom. This is a very good way to attract customers.

Another trick is to indicate an additional selection of books similar to the chosen by the buyer. One of the best ways to raise selling figures is to choose the book of the month (week, or even day if it is very popular). Than it is easier for the buyer to make his choice ’ he can see what other people choose (mind here that most people enter the e-bookstore for the first time). In this way you can double your selling figures.

Now as for the goods. It is not easy for a person who has just entered the site to find the book he wants without help. That is where you can use recommendations to direct the customer through the store to deliver him exactly what he is looking for. Place the some expert’s opinion about this or that book and you will raise the chances that it will be sold.

High quality photos and intelligible descriptions also promote your success. Here it is important to note that today all kinds of book descriptions have become so universal that they do not attract customers any more. Still remember the simple rule: a good photo and a smart description will raise your selling figures by up to 5-7 per cent more.

In the Internet trade the best-sold items are those placed in the top-three positions of the section. Plus, up to 70 per cent of the selling figure in any e-bookstore are the NEWs.

There are ’shelves’ on the Web-site too. It is the special kind of product placement ’ on the left you place the photo of the book and on the right you write the description for it. Or maybe vice versa: photo ’ on the right, the description ’ on the left. Such system of placement helps to make out the information.

E-stores make a grave mistake when they leave the price space near the photo or near the description unfilled. Thus, if the customer would like to buy the item he has to look for the price and visit another page. Not all people do this. Ten per cent of the customers leave such sites and start looking for the same book somewhere else.

It is very important to offer the customers a convenient price-list. Better place it on the main page of the on-line store site. If the person downloads the price-list on his PC, be sure that thus he is buying at least ten more books at your store very soon. By the way, very few brick-and-mortar bookstores can let you have their price-lists. In this respect the on-line stores are far ahead. So, make use of this advantage and make your price-list more attractive and customer-friendly. It will serve for you own profit!

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