E-commerce Link: Convert Browsers into Buyers
2. Personalize your offers: Again, use what you know about your customers. Tailor your offer to be relevant to them. If a specific customer spends some time looking at your new products without buying anything, perhaps it's time to offer a discount or free shipping on a purchase of any new product. Different people respond to different incentives; some will jump at free shipping, and others might react favorably to a 10-percent discount. With a little analysis of your database, you're likely to figure out who is interested in what. Customize your marketing e-mails to announce your tailored offers to your different customer groups.
3. Use intelligent searching: My company has found that about 50 percent of all visitors use a site's internal search features to find products. The best intelligent search features can infer your customer's intentions in spite of misspelled words or missing information, search everything in your database, and rank the results according to relevance. If your current e-commerce application doesn't offer advanced search, you may be able to use technology from a third party.
4. Define your product categories logically: First, use logical category names that clearly communicate what is in each category. Don't use "miscellaneous" or "other" as category names. Second, always make your major categories clearly visible on your home page. Avoid using "shop now" buttons or pull-down category menus. These actually do more to hide your offerings than showcase them. Third, your site should have five to nine major product categories, and if any major category requires sub-categories, there should be no more than five to nine of those. No customer should have to drill through more than two category layers to find the product he or she wants. Every layer your customer must deal with decreases your chance to make a sale. If there's any confusion about where to look, or if it's hard to find something interesting, your customer is likely to give up and shop elsewhere.