So, you want to sell your products online. That’s a smart move at a time when more consumers shop online than ever before. But gone are the days when you can just set up an online store and expect success. Ecommerce is competitive—your store will compete with the likes of Amazon and other ecommerce giants. But in the online world, you can compete. Follow these five tips to make ecommerce work for you… and watch your profits soar.
Tip 1: Develop Quality Content
As always, content is the core of the user experience. Creating content, including video, photos, and podcasts, that is targeted to individual products and services is an ecommerce best practice. At a minimum this means ensuring that you use a detailed product description of 75 to 200 words with high quality photos. Give your customers the information they need to know, such as size, weight, and shipping options, along with any warranty and return information.
If you want to make it easy for people to buy, they have to be able to find what they’re looking for. Adding a strong search function to your ecommerce website is essential. People might search by size, availability, color, style, and many other characteristics. A solid search function will get them to products quickly. And quick is what it takes to keep them on your site rather than going a competitor’s site.
Tip 2: M-commerce is the name of today’s Ecommerce game
M-commerce? What is that you ask? Good question. And one you need to know the answer to. Simply, M-commerce is mobile friendly ecommerce. Consumers are using their mobile devices to do everything from check email to watch movies—and to shop online. That means your ecommerce MUST be mobile friendly. The first step is ensuring that your website is responsive to mobile devices, but if you really want your online store to be successful, you need to create a customized mobile experience to take customer engagement and conversions to a whole new level.
To create a custom mobile experience, you need to take the time to document how users will interact with, and order from, your mobile site. Then you will need to document and address the differences in shopping from smaller screen mobile devices. It is a different experience, and if you don’t set up your mobile site correctly, you will lose sales. So test your mobile functionality as much as it takes to make it easy to find, order and buy products. One important guideline is to provide clear and prominent call to action buttons such as “buy now” and “order here” within the first few hundred pixels, and on every page of your mobile site to help users convert to customers.
Tip 3: Personalize the User’s Experience
A decade of behavioral and contextual online advertising shows that improving each user’s experience leads to higher sales. The ecommerce giants have mastered the art of personalizing shopping experiences to generate higher conversions and sales. You can too.
Providing recommendations from other shoppers is a simply way to customize the user experience. Just look at how Amazon adds real-time suggestions for related products based on what the user is viewing and their past purchases. This customized approach results in higher user engagement, more clicks, and a fun experience. Take your customization a step further with links to FAQs, return policies, shipping and delivery information, customer service hours, and contact information—these are also the items that build trust with your brand. Finally, personal shopping support via live online chat agents and live customer service representatives will quickly result in increases in sales and reduced customer returns.
Tip 4: Delivery Options Matter
The only downside of shopping online is that it doesn’t provide the instant gratification of buying something in a store. Consumers are becoming increasingly unwilling to wait long for deliveries. Large ecommerce players have already learned the lesson that customers are not patient and they will go to another provider to get their products quicker. In some places, Amazon can deliver the same day! Offering multiple shipping options, including “same day” shipping, is one trend that will continue to grow.
Tip 5: Know Your Audience
Gathering data on your customers is easier than ever before, and this information helps you get to know exactly who they are. That is important if you want your ecommerce site to perform. You need a strong analytics program to gather and analyze this data about your customers. Good analytics will show you where your customers are coming from, what keywords they are using, and key website information like what pages users are leaving from, and details about how they’re using your website and shopping cart.
For example, high bounce rates may indicate that the information you provide on that page doesn’t resonate with your customers. Analyze what they do respond well to, and use that information to improve other areas of your site.
If you offer ecommerce, you need to watch and consider how industry trends affect your ability to compete because they are constantly evolving. Building and implementing an effective strategy to stay ahead of competition involves listening, learning and staying flexible. To get ahead of your competition, stay informed and continually implement proven ecommerce best practice. If you want to make sure you are handling the fundamentals, an e commerce website checklist is a great resource.