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Change your online store and change it often, your customers will almost certainly reward you for it

by Tim Rimington | June 9, 2011

Changing your online store and changing it often is the key to repeat business. Last week I spent a few days in Singapore and spent most of that time walking through street markets and enjoying the local food, all for virtual pennies (thanks largely to the strong Aussie dollar!).

Anyone who’s stomped their way through an Asian market knows that once you’ve walked through one market, the walk through the next is much the same. Market stalls tend to blur into the next and you start seeing the same mobile phone covers, the same cushion covers or the same jade statues as sold on every other stall. “Getting noticed” is the key to success. As they say in SE Asia, “Same, same but different”!

Retailing principles are virtually the same regardless of whether you’re talking bricks and mortar shop-fronts, Chinese market stalls, Indian food bazaars or online stores. If you sell something similar to the next person, you need to be doing something different to get a customer’s attention. Even if your product is considered unique, in a busy market place you need to be heard above the market noise.

This week we’ve been preparing our latest e-commerce platform, a new platform that was developed with SMEs in mind, and incorporating features to help online sellers be heard above the din of the crowded web of online shopping. The platform’s toolbox has been tailored to ensure that anyone using our new e-commerce system has every means of self-promotion at his or her disposal.

Getting customers arriving at your shop front is half the battle, but converting visitors to sales opens up new challenges. An important and often overlooked issue is the one of presenting repeat visitors with something different each time they visit your store. Seeing the “same old, same old” every visit does little for your popularity, so mixing things up is one of the keys to retaining interest in what you offer.

SiteSuite’s latest E-commerce platform includes new tools that allow merchants to flag products in their store as “on sale”, “featured” or “new” before assigning a promotion period to those products. Merchants can then specify the promotion flag to be valid for a period of days, weeks, months or indefinitely. By planning product promotions in advance, merchants can then adopt a “set and forget” workflow in order to get on with the pressing tasks of running a business.

Another key feature of the new system allows merchants to create fun and interesting shop fronts that incorporate “flagged” promotion products. Any product from any store category can be “called into” a web page dependent on its flag (“on sale”, “new”, etc.) and because these flagged products can be set to appear for specific periods, you can effectively have a shop front “window” that changes as often as you like with any product you like – all automated once setup, and running quietly in the background.

So the importance of mixing things up in your shop front or home page can not be emphasised enough. A stale shop front is a neon sign for customers to shop elsewhere, but by taking a little time to plan ahead with effective campaigns, your store can take on the look and feel of the busiest multi-level department store; change your store and change it often, your customers will almost certainly reward you for it.

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