eCommerce websites are supposed to sell products, not just take orders. Often, site owners don’t understand this key concept. As a result, the website looks as if it was designed with the understanding that the customer already knows what he or she wants to buy, and is just there to buy based on price. As the site owner, you are supposed to be the expert on the products being offered. Since you can’t be there in person to make a sale, your site has to do the selling for you.

Of course, a great way to do this is to have comprehensive product descriptions. I’ve discussed this in several past articles. Putting in specifications and detailed information can help a customer make a buying decision. But even that is not really selling, it’s just presenting facts. How can you sell? Customers expect you to be an expert on what you are selling, so don’t be afraid to make recommendations.

A method that has seen increased popularity is a walk-on video, where you (or another salesman) appears for a minute or two over the top of the other content on your website and make a simple sales pitch. This works great and can really help increase conversions. A more economical way might be to simply create a YouTube video and embed it on your product pages, again making a sales presentation about the product.

Allow your customers to interact with your site by including 360 degree product views so they can examine an item on all sides, a Flash application that allows them to try things on, such as jewelry, clothes, glasses, etc. or a “preview” feature so they can see how their personalized shirt or hat will actually look.

Customer-generated product reviews and ratings allow your customers to become your sales force for you.  After implementing this on their site, Zales Jewelers increased their conversions by 50%, causing them to say “Our customers are better sales people than we are!” Take advantage of this feature. If your shopping cart software doesn’t have this capability, upgrade to WebStoresLtd.com. Don’t remove negative comments – make this real for your visitors. Put your phone number on every page of your website or include a “Chat with a salesperson now” button, so you can really sell your product.

Cross-selling (or up-selling) can be used in multiple ways. This is similar to “would you like fries with that hamburger?” Amazon does a great job of this by saying, “Customers who bought this item also liked these items…”  Vista Print puts in additional pages between the “Proceed to Checkout” button and the order confirmation page, asking the customer to consider other additional items.

The goal of your eCommerce website should be to turn visitors into customers. Just like personal sales presentations, you should ask for the order. That is why “squeeze pages” or single page websites designed solely to sell a specific product work so well.  Virtual rejections are easier to take than personal rejections, so don’t be afraid to sell.