Many online retailers make the assumption that every visitor to their site knows exactly what they are looking for. While this may be the case for people that search for specific products on a search engine and click through to their store, it is not true for everyone. Often a customer will make a purchase based on emotion or even because other people are buying the same product. Due to this fact, online stores should merchandise specific products on their own website. There are people that need to be told what they should consider buying!
Amazon does a great job of promoting specific products. When you visit Amazon.com you will see many products that they want you to buy right on their homepage. If you visit the Electronics category, you’ll see a sub category labeled “Best Sellers” that is updated in real time. They get many visitors to this page just because people instinctively have a need to know what is hot. They do not want to miss out on any must-have items.
If you do not have time to constantly update your homepage with featured products, consider installing a Product Widget. Wikipedia defines a widget as a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation. A product widget is basically a snippet of code that can dynamically pull data from a source and display products with their respective links. Because the data is pulled in real time, you can sit back and let it do all the work.
The interesting thing about installing a Most Popular Products Widget is your most popular products become even more popular! It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In fact, even if you do not use a widget but just label certain products on a homepage as being your most popular ones, you can guess what is going to happen – you will start getting significantly more orders for those products!
The homepage isn’t the only place where you can benefit from highlighting popular products. Category pages can be great places to try and up-sell hot items. Some merchants even feature products after a customer submits an order in hope that they will submit another one! It is also not a bad idea to add a Most Popular Products widget to your 404 (file not found) page.
It’s logical to feature your most popular products. However, there may be other items that you should feature as well that need to be handpicked. In this economy, featuring items that are on sale works well. Some merchants like to feature the products that they have the highest margin on. Other merchant like to feature slow movers to try and deplete inventory, however there is usually a reason why those products are not moving well.
The bottom line is that it’s worth it to take the time and feature products on your homepage. If you can automate the process, that will save you time. If not, it’s still worth it to hand pick products and code them into your homepage manually.