Consumer Trends – Just because something is popular domestically doesn’t mean it will be internationally. Are they behind in a trend –– or does it just not apply for that market? If you don’t already have sales in a region, do consumer testing and surveys before you ever launch. Know that most businesses that expand internationally already have sales in a particular region before they launch specifically in that country.
Product matching: in apparel, jewelry, and other specific types of product sales websites, offering a generalized “recommended products” in the lower part of the product detail page is often not enough. Consider setting up specific matches, for example, this pair of earrings goes well with that necklace. Think of it as the editorial content of the site that customers will appreciate, because you have taken the time to not only know your product, but give them direct guidance on what goes with what. If you don’t think this applies to you, think about it and see if there is something similar you can offer for your products, as it yet another way to increase per-order averages.
Shopping Cart Life Span: How soon does your shopping cart expire for anonymous users? More than a few shopping systems use Session variables for tracking cart items, and expire within hours, especially for users behind prozies that change IP addresses often, thus rendering the current Session invalid (think AOL). Several studies point to the fact that customers will wait as long as 4 days before deciding to buy, and if the item they were looking at is still in their shopping cart, you just saved them several steps and increased the possibility of conversion substantially.
Of course, you will ‘sell’ this offer with professional sales copy, some great headlines, and maybe even some bullet points. But the general idea here is to introduce yourself to this new cold traffic visitor, let them know what you are about, let them know that you can help them, and convince them that the first step to solving their problem is to opt-in to your free offer.
Be aware that your URL affects your search engine ranking, so if you want to be found for “shoe,” it’s a good idea to fit “shoe” into your domain name. One way to do this is to use your brand name along with a keyword term. So MillerShoe tends to work better than FantasticShoe.com. (Which is why MillerShoe is taken, but FantasticShoe is still available.)
Don’t worry about making everything perfect at the outset. As the old saying goes, done is better than perfect, and the sooner you launch your membership site, the sooner you’ll find out if it’s what your target audience wants. It’s fine to return to this step later and work on making your membership website look more professional once you've got some traction.
Special Unicode Characters in Data Validation Lists: ☐, ☑, ✓, ✔ - This may be my favorite approach. You can include special characters like this in a Data Validation drop-down list. This isn't quite as good as clicking once to fill in a checkbox, but it is great for the mobile Excel apps. The only hard part is remembering how to insert a check mark symbol in Excel. For more information, see my article Using Unicode Character Symbols in Excel.