Are you ready for Christmas?

What do visitor's look for, in those crucial first seconds at your site, They're thinking 'Can I trust you?', 'Do you sell what I'm looking for, and do I want to buy it here?' or 'Do I just want to somewhere else?'

You may just need to make a few common-sense changes to your site, for it to be ready for customers this Christmas

(Results from a study undertaken by Anderson Consulting - done before they changed their name!! - help illustrate my point. Their figures still make interesting reading.)

1. Is Your Site Safe AND Secure? 

Make sure you state the payment gateway you use by placing a safe shopping logo in the footer of your pages 

2. Does Your Site Look Professional?

(26% said the [shopping site] was too difficult to navigate - Anderson Consulting.)

How do I decide whether a site is well-designed and professional?

Maybe it's a great color-scheme, or site layout. Maybe it's clear images, good use of fonts, or an impressive Flash movie. Maybe it's all of these things (or none of them)!

Basically, for me, a professional website:

* is easy to navigate (you never get 'lost')

* is quick to load (no unnecessary 'splash' screens)

* contains clear and immediate benefits for your customer

* does not rely on obscure browser technology

Yes you can break these rules, just as long as you make sure that your site is CUSTOMER-FRIENDLY.

3. Does Your Site Contain Great Content And Offers?

(16% of online shoppers said the site didn't offer enough gift-giving ideas to help them make an appropriate purchase - Anderson Consulting.)

Is it REALLY worth shopping at your site?

Do you offer a great choice of goods at low prices? Can visitors read reviews of the products you sell? And can they create a Christmas wish-list for their friends or family?...

What's compelling about shopping online at your store?

(For ideas about compelling shopping, just visit Amazon!)

4. Does Your Site Display Delivery Details & Costs?

(40% said the product they ordered was not delivered in time - Anderson Consulting.)

I'm sure your site has delivery details and costs, but... is it easy to find them?

Don't force a customer to buy an item, before they can find this information!

Make your delivery details and costs as easy to find as possible - especially if you offer free delivery! Don't give a potential customer a reason to go somewhere else!

And as for late delivery - if you can't avoid this, at least keep your customer informed at all times. This keeps the customer as happy as possible, encourages positive word-of- mouth (i.e. new customers), and helps you achieve the holy grail of online shopping - repeat business!

5. Does Your Site Display Contact Details?

(25% said the [site] did not provide enough information needed to make a purchase.)

"A site without contact information is a site with something to hide!" That's what a potential customer thinks, anyway!

Your site should state WHO you are, and WHAT your business is about. Include information like name, address, and phone number on an about-us page, and mention a little about your business (a photo of you and your business is very reassuring).

6. Use all the tools available in your Brick technology Control Centre... especially the send mail module... how about designing a Christmas themed template or Christmas card? Please contact us for more details

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