How to Sell When you Don't Even Have a Product

Once in a blue moon - even with top of the range search functions and first rate web developers - visitors will stumble upon an empty page in your webshop. It happens to the best of us and unfortunately it is inevitable, but it doesn’t (have to) mean that we’re unprofessional.

Generally empty pages occur for one of the two following reasons:

 

No Results Page                    - Visitors were already in your webshop but searched for
                                                     something you don’t offer

404 “Page Not Found”          - Visitors have entered your webshop through a search
                                                     engine and chanced upon a deadlink

 

Whilst it has become pretty trendy to vamp up dead links with a custom 404 page, these quirky and visually pleasing solutions are still often missing the mark. 

 

Why?

Creating a funny message or image can lessen the mood of frustration when these pages are reached, but they don’t really offer the customer any solutions. Instead, coupling aesthetics with alternative products - that you can offer - can direct the customers back into your webshop. It shows that you still have value to offer and that you care.

Even though these may not occur often, when they do it could be a good way to spin the bad luck into an opportunity for conversion. You may not have what the customer is looking for, but you’re trying to find the next best thing.

How?

When customers come across these pages you may already have an idea of what they were looking for because they already searched for it in some way. Whether it was in your own search bar or from a search engine, you can use personalisation to make relevant recommendations based on this info’. If you are completely lacking any data on the visitor, you can instead display popular or trending items that other customers found interesting.

One thing you should bear mind is that these recommendations must be for available and relevant products. The visitor has already ended up on a page that didn’t have what they were looking for and the last thing you want to do is send them down a rabbit hole of more empty pages. You’re trying to lift their mood, not make them more frustrated!

Manually creating a selection is one option but using an automated recommendation engine will ensure that visitors aren’t sent on a wild goose chase through your webshop. It can also be a no maintenance solution that allows you to work on other aspects of visual merchandising.

The fact is, if someone has reached one of these pages, they already have an interest in your webshop. So don’t let them turn away so easily, after all anyone in your webshop is already on their way to convert.

 

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