Posted on November 17, 2000
by Ronni RhodesIn the heavily populated world of E-Commerce, what determines whose site will be successful and whose won't? Is it the layout and design of the basic site? No. We all know of sites where no expense was spared on design and the company still failed to produce a commercial success.
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Is it a traffic problem? No. We read letters everyday in forums and discussion groups from those whose sites generate a lot of traffic, but sales volume is only marginal.
What determines success is the ability to stand out in a crowded field! What determines success is making your site different from your competitors. What determines success is the way in which you present your offering so visitors will want to stay at your site and buy from you.
Purchasing decisions are not simple ones. It doesn't matter if you're targeting consumers or business buyers. People seek ways to make their buying decisions easier. It is up to you to:
How do you accomplish this in a meaningful way that doesn't drain your marketing budget? Utilize streaming media to capture your audience's attention and to focus on the aspects of your product that will generate a sale.
Let's use an Internet store that specializes in southwestern
pottery as a hypothetical example. We'll go on the assumption
that the store has an attractive website with good navigation and
a secure shopping cart system. The return policy is clearly
stated, and there is specific contact information. On the site
is a nicely laid out catalogue with good product descriptions,
small, fast loading graphics (which can be enlarged for a closer
inspection) and a well-designed price list. The products are
grouped by type (urns, bowls, vases etc.) so that a visitor can
browse easily. A perfect Internet shopping experience, right?
What can this store owner do to make shopping at his site exciting, fun, and memorable?
You might even be able to generate revenue with some of your original programming. Sell commercial spots within the presentation to other merchants who offer products that are complementary to yours. (This can be as simple as inserting a graphic.) Work with these same merchants to promote local events that highlight the products of your area. Your local Chamber of Commerce might even want to purchase a spot in one of your streaming presentations.
For an E-commerce site with affiliates, use streaming media to help your member sites. Put together a slide show that gives participating members a chance to briefly highlight their own sites for a small fee. Use two to three graphics from each member and have relevant text from each member scroll by as their store appears in the show. Not only do you recoup some of your production costs from the advertising, but you also get your sales commission when member sales increase!
Streaming media should not be used arbitrarily, however. Unless your material is relevant to your visitors and adds perceived value to their purchase, don't waste your time or theirs. When designing your streaming media presentation, ask yourself what it will accomplish that your current content doesn't. Will it complement your existing material? Will it be utilized to enhance your offering? Will it provide additional incentive to make your visitor buy?
If you can answer yes to those questions, streaming media should
be a strong candidate for your marketing dollars. Use streaming
media technology wisely, and it will go a long way to making your
E-commerce site stand out in a very crowded field.
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