The eCommerce market has been growing exponentially alongside advancements in technology, and is expected to continue growing further. If you’re a retailer and you don’t already have an eCommerce site, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. If you do already have an eCommerce site, it is imperative that your site be updated to include current search engine optimisation (SEO) and user experience practices.
1) Put Your Customers First
First and foremost, your customers are what keeps your business going and thriving. eCommerce sites lack the same offerings to the senses as brick-and-mortar stores do – the atmosphere created in physical stores is immediately absent, friendly customer service and recommendations by staff are no longer personalised, sizing up any products must be done through pictures, product descriptions and customer reviews, if any.
Don’t rush into creating a subpar website just to claim your business has one – you only have one chance at a first impression, and launching a website without fully considering components such as SEO, content, organic and paid advertising, user experience, among others, could ruin a potential customer’s experience with your site and put them off using your website after.
Have features that are intuitive for a customer to need or use above the fold of your landing page: information such as shipping and returns policies, including delivery restrictions or fees, should be shown to them explicitly so they aren’t left to find additional fees at their checkout; internal search tools should be easy to locate on your site or your customers might turn their search to generic search engines such as Google or Bing, where your competitors too, are fighting for screen time.
2) Have a Responsive Site
Mobile phones are tablet are far more portable than laptops and desktops, and are thus more prevalent on the go, such as while waiting for the bus, while on the train home, waiting for your takeaway, among others. People are always on their phones just to pass the time, and if your eCommerce site is mobile optimised, it could extend the time they spend on your site.
Within the last few years, consumers have transitioned from just shopping on their mobile devices and later completing purchases on desktop, to both shopping and checking out their baskets via mobile devices. Thus, user experience is crucial throughout the entire purchase funnel for mobile eCommerce sites.
Worldwide consumer spending via mobile devices for 2018 was predicted to increase at least threefold from 2014 to $626 billion. Furthermore, businesses can expect this number to continue growing as mobile devices become more powerful and increasingly capable, while also being more compact and convenient. If you have not jumped on the eCommerce site bandwagon, you immediately lose access to a very lucrative market.
3) Have Good SEO
As the eCommerce economy continues to boom, you can expect to find more players entering this already crowded market, making your job as an online retailer increasingly difficult. As a business, you cannot rely on just existing customers, or dispensing discount codes to maintain traffic to your eCommerce site.
Technology never ceases to evolve, and customer tastes change with fad cycles. Good SEO is vital to maintain your position in the market, and constant tweaking and optimisation is necessary to stay ahead of the competition.
4) Collect Customer Data
Building your customer database is inherently valuable for sales and marketing purposes. With a database, you can disseminate customised promotions to your customers with personalised discount codes or gifts, and keep inform them of your business’ updates or changes. It will also be useful if you want to build hype and share information about new products launches.
But on top of just generic sales emails, EDMs (electronic direct mail) have been a proven form of remarketing products they’ve shown interest toward, and encouraging customers to head back to their abandoned carts. Collecting data can also help you understand your customers’ tastes and preferences better, which is useful when determining the type of products to stock in your warehouse. The effect of email promotions can be reinforced with good social media strategies as well.
5) Don’t Overcomplicate Your Site
Ensure that your site is straightforward easy to use. Adding complicated and fancy functions that are unfamiliar or an inconvenience to the ordinary customer may make your eCommerce site difficult to use. On the other hand, having a search function, indicating shipping restrictions or showing stock availability are highly encouraged. The harder it is to get to what a customer is looking for, the more likely they are to search for it somewhere else.
But most importantly, your checkout page should be simple and easy to navigate to decrease abandonment rates. This page determines whether customers complete their intended purchase. Using trusted payment options such as VISA, MasterCard and PayPal will notify the customers that their purchases come with security and verification.
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