Spoiler alert. The quick answer is yes. Not having a working website in 2020 is akin to not having an email address 10 years ago or a phone number decades ago. You can easily set up a one page website in a day through do-it-yourself platforms such as Wix, GoDaddy or WordPress that gives basic information about your store, its location and phone number, days and hours open, staff, and what you specialize in, along with a few pictures of your store, some inventory, and your staff. Without a web presence, customers searching for you online will assume (as they would if you didn’t have a phone number) that you don’t exist or have gone out of business. You should have social media business pages, especially Instagram and Facebook. But this is not enough. Today’s customer searching for a jeweler and not finding a working website will most likely look elsewhere.
But although a basic website is necessary, it’s no longer the most powerful way to sell online. A website functions more like a brochure, rather than an active sales strategy. New, more powerful online tools have recently emerged and are the current key to converting potential customers to actual sales. The most successful ecommerce entrepreneurs and businesses are generating millions of dollars annually through these techniques. What are they?
The newest, most effective ecommerce strategies:
- Sales Funnels. The idea is to start with a large outreach, targeting substantial numbers of potential customers (the top of the funnel) via Facebook Ads, Google Ads, YouTube, email direct marketing, social media promotions, such as Live events, etc. You craft a specific compelling offer, a sales or landing page, that calls out your target customer (your “avatar”), through forceful headlines, graphics and copy. You lead your potential customers through a series of steps, the “funnel,” ending with a conversion to concrete sales at the end. The final sale can be made either directly thru the funnel itself (thru ready-made programs such as clickfunnels.com), or through a link to your website set up for ecommerce through Shopify or other ecommerce platforms. The conversion rate – the percentage of actual sales compared to those initially targeted – may be very small, a few percent. But you’re driving major traffic into the top of the funnel through the vastness of the internet. So even a small conversion rate is effective and powerful.
- Craft a compelling story. Social proof via testimonials. You’re targeting your ideal customer, your “avatar.” You have to speak their language, appeal to their desires and interests, capture their imagination, fulfill their needs, solve their problems, show the benefits for them. One way to do this is to weave a compelling story about what makes your product and store unique. “Social proof” via testimonials from satisfied customers is also key to establish trust.
- Product stacks. Upsells and downsells. Most of the profit from funnels is made on the back end, through add-ons. You’re already familiar with this. They’ve bought the necklace, now add on the matching earrings. Or add on jewelry cleaner, or insurance coverage for their new purchase. The same applies to sales funnels. Just after they’ve checked out, the option pops up for further sales. The most likely successful sale is a customer that’s just bought from you.
- Webinar, VSLs. Because jewelry is often a more expensive purchase than other inexpensive products and services widely marketed online, the funnel process may involve an intermediate step of a webinar or video sales letter (VSL). You drive major traffic through the top of your funnel, then narrow it down to those more seriously interested, and move them through the funnel via a live webinar they register for, or video presentation, or even a live in store appointment, presentation or event. You can also follow up with a sales phone call reaching out to those who have already indicated interest and close the sale over the phone.
- It’s a process. Your goal is to drive major traffic through the top of your funnel, then cultivate those who have shown initial interest to eventually convert them into concrete sales. Enticing “exit pop” offers can be set up to generate the email addresses and/or text numbers of those who have shown interest but not yet converted to sales. Then you keep targeting these potential clients regularly through email and text campaigns and follow up offers until they buy. Only 1-3% of those initially engaged may buy with the initial offer. But with regular follow up, over six months, the conversion rate can rise to around 50%.
Ecommerce is not just the wave of the future. It’s essential now.