Jane Reports on E-tailing
Jane Gets The Mom Factor

Jane Reveals Five Ways to Get to Heaven

Before we get into our usual Tuesday feature: Fit by Five, we need to explain. Yesterday we told you we would have a Fit by Five to die for. Today, we headlined our post with Jane Reveals Five Way to Get to Heaven. We would like to clarify -- no, you do not have to die for today's Fit by  Five. But, if you did, you would most certainly go to heaven.

Heaven, we envision, is a place of happiness. For those of our readers who are business professionals and who have a website that is e-commerce enabled, we expect Heaven would be... more sales. More sales, we have been trying to tell you, will come if you court Jane and her sisters. Here are Five Ways to do that...in time for...the man in the red suit to come knocking.

1. Be polite. Invite Jane to your site, personally. Personalization is big right now. For all we know, it will be big next year, also. The best part of personalization is not that you know your customers' names...it's that you know your customers.

How do you learn more about your customers so you can deliver a website experience they will crow about? Need we say it again: ASK. Put a question on your homepage, and every other page, for that matter, that encourages feedback.  Don't hide it in the right or left-hand margin. Put it at the top of the page, right there, where we will see it as soon as the page loads. "We want your opinion -- for one minute of you're time, we will give you a 10% discount on anything you buy today. Tell us ..." and then ask them to tell you something useful.

2. Don't spread yourself too thin. If Jane is clicking into your website to buy gift items, give her gift items. Don't add lingerie, or shoes, or cakes, or winter coats, just because you can. Look at Bed, Bath and Beyond, a site we talked about a couple of weeks ago -- they don't sell toys, or candy, or pet food. They sell bedding, bathroom stuff, and beyond...which could mean anything, but it doesn't. Ok, in the physical store they sell candy...but they don't sell it on the website because... Jane doesn't go there to buy candy! If we want candy, we'll go to Old Time Candy-- yum! Which, BTW, only sells candy.

3. Make sure we can make returns simply, easily, and pleasantly. If we buy online and you have a dirt-world store, please make sure we can return our online merchandise there -- and that the girl or boy at the cash register smiles at us when we return whatever it is we're returning. If the return is in satisfactory condition, and within the date you have set for returns (we understand that you don't want us returning stuff after we've had it sitting around for a year or more, but...we sometimes don't get around to the return thing for months and months; if we haven't worn it, or unpacked it, why can't you take it back?), just take it back, and don't force store credit on us. Give us our money back.

If you give us our money back, we will be more likely to shop in your store again. If you give us store credit, you risk losing us forever -- after we've used that store credit. If you like, ask us which we would prefer. In some instances, we don't mind store credit. As long as it doesn't have an expiration date.

4. Show us your site is hackerproof. With all the reports lately about banks getting hacked online, Jane is a little hesitant about shopping with sites that do not display icons or logos from TRUSTe, and Verisign, or ScanAlert. Yes, we DO look for the HTTPS. indicating a site is secure. Yes, we DO pay attention to the URL at the top of the page, indicating whether or not we're still on your site, or whether we've left your site because the shopping cart solution you use is not really on your site.

5. Ok, we're going to repeat ourselves...once again. But, it bears noting. Say thank-you. In fact, say more than thank-you. Give us a present for shopping with you, especially for shopping online with you. Loyalty programs work -- but only if they actually GIVE us something for free, and it has to be something we want, for heaven's sake!

Books are good...gift certificates are good...coupons for 20% off our next purchase, are good. But what else can you do? You can learn more about us, where we shop and for what -- when we're not on your site, and...partner with other vendors to offer us a whole range of options. Imagine, an independent bookstore partnering with Starbucks and with a local bakery -- to offer a free book, along with free coffee and dessert. What about a toy store partnering with a sporting good store and with a shoe store -- giving loyal customers a toy for the kids, sporting goods for another family member, and 25% off new sneakers?

"According to Jupiter Research, more than 75 percent of consumers now Happy_facehave at least one loyalty card, and the number of people with two or more is estimated to be one-third of the shopping population." But, the report goes on to say, not all customers are happy with their loyalty program. Are you just going through the motions, or are you intent upon learning what we like, and then...giving it to us?

Be honest, be real, be happy -- and show us you can be trusted with our business. You'll make sales to die for. We guarantee it!

What's not to like about that?


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Customer service with thanks-you's and little bonuses for repeat customers makes a HUGE difference!

I sell online at four different venues, and keep a database of all my customers.

When I get a repeat buyer, I make sure to let them know I DO remember and appreciate them returning. I watch for sales on things like small packets of notecards, bookmarks, etc that I can often acquire for under a dollar. Then I include it with a return customer's order as a surprise bonus.

I can't tell you how many people write me LONG letters saying how much it means to them that a seller took the time to do something like that! They will usually become regulars after that!

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