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Thinking Beyond the Sale
By: terri
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    When you're building and adding content to your e-commerce website, you want it all to lead to one thing: the sale. But not everyone who arrives at your site is ready to buy just then. Turn your back on these visitors and you're leaving money on the table.

    As Stoney deGeyter explains in a post for Search Engine Guide, people go through several stages in the buying process. It starts with researching what one needs, then browsing for specific products that can meet those needs, and finally making a purchase. Each stage involves using a search engine and entering different queries based on what the searcher has learned to that point, and what they still need to know.

    What does that mean to you? Researchers can turn into browsers and then into buyers, but it probably won't happen all in one trip. Searchers remember what they've learned and where they've been; if they visit a particularly useful website, they may even bookmark it. If you provide valuable information early in their decision process, they could come back to you for their purchase.

    This is why you need to include information on more than just your product/service pages. “Your home page, product category pages, about us pages, etc., are great places to engage in active pre-selling,” deGeyter notes. “Use these pages strategically to talk about your brand, your product selection, your value, quality of service, and whatever else will give your visitors confidence in you and your products. This won't sell any single product by itself, but it will reinforce to the searcher that you are a reputable and trustworthy site to purchase from.”

    But that's not the only place you could be adding more useful content. Take a look at your product/service pages. If you're selling products that visitors can also purchase elsewhere, you need to show them why they should buy them from you.  “Your customers should feel you know your products better than the manufacturer does,” deGeyter explains. It's one thing to tell your customers what your products do – but if you tell them exactly how those products will benefit them, you're taking it to another level. Add tips, tools, and helpful articles to show your customers how they can get the most out of your product. Answer your customers' questions on your website, and you can close your sales much faster.

    But don't stop there. Once you've made the sell, you can do a lot to help keep your customers happy. It's cheaper, too, to maintain a loyal customer than seek out a new one. You can do this any number of ways: loyalty programs, reward cards, discounts for follow-up purchases, and more. You can even use social media to help keep in touch with your customers. But the point is, your relationship with your customers doesn't start and end with the actual sale. Reach the customer at whatever stage they are in the buying process and give them what they need. It's a win for you, and for your customers. Good luck!

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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