eCorner

eCorner
Secure eBusiness Solutions

Monday, 19 January 2009

Less Products and More Sales

Micro-sites Sell More



For businesses both new and old often there is a belief that the more products that you have for sale online the better. However it really depends what you are looking for as a result that should focus your attention. Large websites with 1000's of products online are not always the best way to get quick results. Why? Basically because choice often slows down the conversion process and results in abandoned shopping baskets. To be successful online you need rich content that provides information about the product you are selling. That can be much harder to maintain when you have 1000's of products. Potential customers want to see what the product looks like but it is hard to provide 1000's of quality images if you are not a large organisation.

Smaller online businesses can struggle to maintain content for 100's or 1000's of products. Generally we hear from clients that it is only maybe 20% of the product portfolio that are good repeat sellers.

Specialised Landing Pages



Online businesses have been building and using special landing pages for sometime. The idea is that there is a page on your website with a direct URL that is targeted at a special purpose, maybe a product promotion or marketing program. These are often pages that are hidden on the website but accessible only via the direct URL that might look like www.mywebstore.com/promotion. Once at the website the visitors often start to browse around and the focus on the landing page is lost.

But Landing Pages are important and if you are running Google AdWords or other paid search you should always create a landing page and not just send the leads to your home page. By creating the landing page with the use of text and keywords related to the ad you will also get a better Quality Score in Google.

Landing Pages versus Micro-sites



So once you see the value of the Landing Page then your on your way to understanding the value of Micro-Sites. Like the landing page the micro-site is focused on a specific purpose. Visitors are directed to the site from online ads, newsletters or other promotions. Once at the site there is a limited choice of products and pages. The whole site is focused on getting a conversion. In a micro-site there may be only one product but it will have great images and descriptions. The next step will always be very clear and other content is minimal. So the visitor has no doubt on where to go next.

  • The micro-site is a complete online store but with targeted products and content.
  • The visitor never needs to leave the micro-site to make a purchase.
  • The steps from arriving at the site and checking out are minimal and may only involve a few steps.
  • Branding is important as it must reflect your business brand but also that of the product being promoted.
  • The micro-site needs to be safe and so it is important to use secure payment methods and have a SSL certificate correctly setup.
  • It is also important to have the legal stuff setup correctly like Contact Information, Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions with a Refund or Returns Policy clearly stated.

A micro-site might expect a conversion rate of over 50% compared to much lower conversion rates in large online shopping sites. Typically the promotions associated with a micro-site will be short duration of a week to a month. So new offers are created regularly. But these offers also need to be good deals, offering quality products and taking advantage of offers like free shipping as an example.

We have seen some great results from this type of targeted micro-site with our customers recovering the total annual cost of running the site in profits from one days sales. ePages lends itself to establishing these micro-sites quickly as you can have a new website up and running in just a few hours. Because of the way that ePages handles the website design management you can setup a new look and feel easily and have them ready to go live with each new promotion. So one ePages website can be re-skinned for a new promotion each month while a different design can be in development and waiting for the next promotion.

Can You Just Have a Micro-site (or sites)?



The short answer is...of course you can. If fact if you are new to selling online and are just getting started then it may not be a bad idea. You will be able to get a very professional web store up and running with minimal effort and it can help you understand some of the challenges you might face.

So it does not matter if your business is very small and new to eCommerce or if it a large and establish online retailer Micro-sites can help you get results.
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