Cover the 5 W’s for e-commerce success

Back to basics

When a journalist reports a story, her job is to sink her teeth into the five W’s: who, what, where, when and why? The five W’s ensure her audience gets the whole story. Leave any of them out, and a reader is left scratching his head in bewilderment.

The same goes for an e-commerce website. Before your buyers whip out their credit cards, they want to know who they’re buying from, what they’re getting, and well… you get the picture.

If you want to establish credibility with your audience when selling online, follow in the footsteps of your favorite Woodward or Bernstein and try these tips:

WHO is your target demographic?

The content of your website — the words and images — should engage that group of people you hope will become your customers. For instance, if you’re a bookseller, witty language or references to literature would appeal to your intellectual clientele.

WHAT are you selling?

Your products should always take center stage. Put your offerings front and center on your website through images, and audio and video content.

WHEN is it a good time to buy from you?

Everyone loves to save money, and putting your products on sale creates a sense of urgency: Take advantage of the good deals before they go away! Meanwhile, the changing of seasons or upcoming holidays are also an opportunity to create time sensitivity.

WHERE are you located?

Buying locally is a pretty big deal right now, and the Internet is a huge place. Consider mentioning the physical location of your business, if you have one. Even better, show your location on a map. And it’s not a bad idea to promote your regional location, as in “The Best Bookstore in the Midwest!”

WHY should people shop with you?

Again, it’s a big Internet out there, and there are so many places to shop. So, play to your strengths. Maybe your bookstore specializes in Shakespeare but offers all kinds of authors. That creates interest and gives people a reason to pick yours over other bookstores. And featuring testimonials on your website is an outstanding way for your satisfied customers to show the “why” to the world.

Image by: Stitch via Compfight cc