E-Commerce Websites

At InSight, we specialize in e-commerce. It is the core of what we do, and our years of experience have given us tremendous insight into every aspect of it. Many start-ups have the "If we build it they will come" idea, and 150,000 new domains are registered every day. Of the 350,000,000 or so websites it is estimated that only about 500,000 of them get any significant traffic. To put this in perspective for you, Google only has about one half of one percent of all the web pages that exist in their search index.

When it comes to products for sale on the web, it gets even more daunting. Amazon.com carries over 160,000,000 products. WalMart.com carries over 21,800,000 products listed in Google's index. Competing for any product online takes a lot of planning and effort to get the exposure necessary to make consistent sales.

Just for fun, here's a list of products we've helped sell online:

  • Adult diapers and Air Filters
  • Beauty Supplies and Basement Waterproofing Products
  • Car Parts, College, and Charm Bracelets
  • Detergeant and Day Care
  • ELectronics, Ebooks, and Enzymatic Cleaners
  • Food, Fuel Additives, and Firewood
  • Gifts for new mothers and their babies, Gift Certificates and Gift Cards, and Corporate Gifts, and Grants
  • Hair Care Products, Home Health Care Products, Health Food, HVAC Equipment, and Homes
  • Incontinence Products and Insurance
  • Jewelry
  • K
  • Legal Services, Lactose Free Cookbooks, and Lights
  • Motel and Hotel Rooms and Motor Oil
  • Non-Profit Auction Items
  • Office Supplies and Open Houses
  • Powder Coating, Painting, Photography, and Pizza
  • Quotes for various Professional Services
  • RVs and Trailers
  • Salon Equipment, Scholarships, and Movie Studio rental
  • T Slotted Aluminum Framing, Toilets, Trophies, and Towels
  • Underwear and Sleepwear
  • Vehicles and Vitamins
  • Wheelchairs, water treatment systems, and Walkers
  • XS Energy Drinks
  • Yellow Retirement Community Senior Apartments
  • Zoo Passes

So we don't have quite the whole alphabet covered yet, maybe soon we'll help someone sell kayaks or kayak rental.

For Starters...

The most important aspect of an ecommerce website is planning. You have products you want to sell, and you want to sell all of them, but some of them are going to be easier to move than others. There are several factors involved in figuring out which ones to promote, but essentially, as will all marketing research, you want to figure out which ones you can promote that will give you the best return for your investment.

If you do the research up front, you’ll know what products you offer that have the biggest market, the highest profit margin, and the lowest cost to promote. If you’re doing pay per click, you also need to research which of your products you can promote profitably. Once you find out how to promote each product profitably, you can drive as much traffic as you want to your site and know that you’ll be making money on each item you sell. Until you can get traffic for less than the cost of marketing, you should take it slow, invest small, and test everything until you find that perfect mix of message and market that allows you to absorb your marketing costs into your profit margin and have profit to spare.

It’s all in the Details

When it comes to search engine optimization, the most important aspects of your website are your site navigation, search-ability, and your shopping cart. Your site navigation tells the search engines what keywords you’re most relevant for so that they know what visitors to send to your site. Your users want to be able to find things easily, so your site navigation and search-ability play a big role in helping potential customers find what they’re looking for and become paying customers. The shopping cart you choose is often the most overlooked aspect of an ecommerce site. People use a lot of different types of keywords to find what they’re looking for online. Your shopping cart needs to display product names that are the same as the manufacturer’s name for the product, as well as manufacturer’s model numbers, part numbers, or ISBN numbers so that people who know exactly what they’re looking for and are ready to buy it know that they’re getting exactly what they’re looking for from you.

Pictures on an ecommerce website not only show off your wares, but they also put customers at ease by giving them another means of identifying what they’re buying. Pictures, good descriptions, and manufacturer’s part numbers increase your conversion rates dramatically. Ideally you’ll put everything on the product page that you possible can about that product. We’ve seen descriptions on a shampoo sold online that only read, “Use on wet hair”, as if the buyer may not know that important tidbit about shampoo. The idea of the product page is to build trust with your potential buyer using every means available to you. That’s good for your conversion rates, as well as your search engine position.

“All the World is a Stage”…

Once you’ve got your site up and have taken care of all the details, you want to get it in front of every prospective buyer you can. That means you’re looking for traffic from more than just Google or the other search engines. Here’s a list of places to start:

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • Google Shopping
  • Yahoo Shopping
  • Bing Marketplace
  • Clickbank
  • Nextag
  • Ebay
  • Affiliates
  • Email
  • Direct Mail
  • Offline Advertising
  • Info and Educational Sites
  • YouTube
  • Social Websites
  • Forums
  • Blogs
  • Review Sites
  • Amazon
  • Wholesalers
  • Retailers
  • Granger
  • Craig’s List
  • Any place else you can find similar products to yours

Remember the idea is to promote your products profitably to everyone who wants to buy them. A good example of this is promoting adult incontinence products on fetish sites or post mastectomy products to cross-dressers. It’s all about reaching your entire market, and if you know who uses your products and where to find them, the rest is just a numbers game.