8 keys to eCommerce success
Are you thinking about starting a business where you sell your products online? If so, then you’ll be joining millions of entrepreneurs who have carved out a niche in the world of eCommerce.
At its core, eCommerce is a transaction of buying or selling online. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.
These days, anyone with something to sell, some money and some time can set up shop online. However, it’s easier said than done! Just because you build it does not mean that anyone will [come] to your web store.
If you want online shoppers to buy from you, you need to have not just great products, you need people to be able to find you and to make your store a place where people will want to shop, repeatedly. How can you do that?
Here are 8 suggestions to better your eCommerce store
- Your eCommerce site should look good – and function properly – across platforms and devices, especially mobile devices. When designing your eCommerce site, make sure it can be viewed on whichever platform, browser and device your customers are using. Mobile optimization – how quickly your site will load on a mobile device and how text and images will look on a small screen – is particularly important as more consumers are using smartphones to research, browse and purchase items.Creating a seamless user experience across all platforms is vital for any eCommerce business. Mobile optimization, in particular, is essential. Whenever possible, go above and beyond simply tailoring the desktop interface to mobile by embracing unique mobile features that can enhance the experience, viz., real-time sales notifications and seamless checkout solutions viz., Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- Your eCommerce site should feel credible and trustworthy. Be sure to have an SSL certificate and serve up your pages via https. As an eCommerce site this is absolutely critical. Google will be unlikely to rank transaction-oriented sites that do not secure the transmission of private or financial information. More importantly your customers will be less likely to trust you or the safety of their credit card information.Clearly display what steps you take to protect your customers from theft and fraud. Have a valid SSL certificate so your site displays https. Have a recognizable third-party security company, such as McAfee, scan your site and display their mark. An easy-to-understand guarantee and returns policy also goes a long way toward reassuring potential buyers to take the leap.
- Your eCommerce site should be easy to navigate, so visitors can find what they’re looking for with minimal clicks. The fastest way to lose a potential customer? Make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. Therefore it’s critical that eCommerce businesses make products easy to find, by having clear top-level navigation (menus) with product categories clearly labeled and pop out subcategories.Strong search functionality is also essential, It’s been estimated that up to 30% of visitors utilize site search. Search users can convert at 50 to 80% higher rates than non-search users. But if site visitors don’t find the products they’re looking for, they’ll hit the back button and visit your competitor’s site.
- Your eCommerce site should have great original photos and helpful product descriptions. One of the biggest mistakes that one can do is use same stock images and same stock descriptions used on various different eCommerce sites.Not only is Google not going to provide a ranking benefit for duplicated content, a consumer that is shopping around is going to think you’re all the same and make a decision solely on price point. Go an extra mile to differentiate: create videos of your products, take custom photos and write descriptions as though an actual human is reading them instead of a robot.
People are very visual and will often form an opinion about your business and/or products within seconds of seeing your site. If you want to give people a good first impression and improve your conversions you need to have great imagery.
- Your eCommerce site should feature customer reviews – and make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Customers trust fellow customers much more than they trust retailers or brands trying to sell them something. Fortunately, eCommerce sites can make the most of digital word of mouth by providing online reviews and responding accordingly.Having product reviews drives traffic and conversion, by up to 44%. Shoppers expect unbiased and informative reviews from fellow shoppers to help drive their purchase decisions. Make sure those star ratings snippets are on your category pages, and above the fold on product detail pages to help drive visibility.
- Your eCommerce site should provide excellent customer service. When you launch an eCommerce site, you immediately have a 24×7 global business, and your customers will require pre-sale and post-sale customer service from you. A critical success factor is setting and managing the expectations for the availability and speed of your responses, and being prepared to track, manage and respond to all inquiries in a timely fashion.Focusing on your customers and making sure their expectations are consistently met is critical to your website’s success, that includes being available to your customers through whichever channel. Whether it’s through a call centre, chat, email or social media channels.
- Checkout should be fast and easy. The more steps it takes for customers to pay, the greater the chance they’ll drop out. eCommerce sites should offer a range of solutions to help speed up payments, from one-page checkouts to recurring purchases and the ability to save card details.Shoppers don’t always want to create an account, but many eCommerce systems still require consumers to register for one before purchasing. To ensure shopping carts aren’t abandoned, “eCommerce businesses should also have a guest checkout option.”
- Your eCommerce site – and team – should be social. You may have a fabulous site, but if no one knows about, or is talking about it, it doesn’t matter. That’s why you need to promote your eCommerce business – and get others to promote it – on the popular social networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
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