A few tips to help generate sales from Zen Cart

Written by  May 7, 2007

Ok, it’s been a while. I have been “out” working to increase sales on a number of sites using Zen Cart (new and old).

They just keep getting more exciting so I am making it a point to post more often and on a weekly basis the findings we have uncovered with a number of zen cart projects relating to an increase in sales.

In addition, after running through the forums for sometime over at “Zen Headquarters”, I decided to post a number of “How To’s” that I have come across while assisting others in developing usable solutions for their e-commerce store.

A few quick “adjustment tips” you can make to your Zen Cart in order to help increase conversion:

  1. Create a unique “Home Page” (using the “define_main_page.php” file located in /includes/languages/html_includes/[YOUR TEMPLATE]/define_main_page.php) that specifically targets your audience. Don’t try to do too much with it. Just give your audience what they are looking for, and get them to it in the least amount of clicks.
  2. Most home pages seem to do better with the “right side column” turned off. In fact, I like to use the global override (from within the Admin) in order to change the cart to a more simple “2 column layout” across the board. Keeping it simple is the name of the game. Give a user too much to choose from, and information overload takes over … causing a higher abandonment rate (and a decrease in conversion).
  3. If utilizing it on your site, customize your search results to display at least something even when no results are found. If a user searches on an item, and you do not sell that item in your store, why not show them other items that are similar which they may be interested in! This will help to “keep traffic” and give you another shot at making a sale (rather than simply have them leave because nothing fit their search).
  4. Create a navigational structure that “speaks” to your target audience. An important step toward increasing sales is to allow your potential customers to find what it is they are looking for. For example, if your products can be sold to both boys and girls, then rather than have a navigational structure that simply lists out all the categories you offer, it would be better to list them under separate “headings” (that “speak” to your customer) like: Shop for Girls (and under this include all items / categories that fit girls only). Or … Shop For Boys (and under include items / categories for boys only).
  5. When possible, keep your navigation as simple as possible with as few “deep level sub-categories” as possible. The more clicks a user has to take to get to the product, the greater the chance they will leave all together (decreasing conversion and resulting in potential lost sales for you.).

These are just a few of a large number of items you should consider when looking to develop a “user friendly” shopping experience with Zen Cart. More to come in the future.

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