- April 3, 2020
E-commerce is consistently growing year on year. E-commerce sales in 2019 were over $3.5 trillion. Showing a growth of 18% from 2018. This accounted for 14% of total retail sales. The main focus is the fact that companies can sell direct to consumers. Companies can control the customer relationship and protect their own brand rather than hoping middlemen will. You can also collect and control your customer data which enables you to use it for retargeting and specified marketing campaigns. Almost all businesses have an e-commerce site but cut corners so they don’t utilize their potential.
A big advantage of selling online is that you can personalize products for customers. This is usually very costly in traditional retail. Whereas using online the costs are significantly reduced and provide an improved customer experience with your product. A rise in private label brands is the driving factor behind direct to consumer selling. Private label brands represent around 20% of the consumables market.
This is not just attributed to small brands but the large brands are also following suit on their own products. Any supermarkets like Tesco, Aldi and Carrefour will all contain their own brand products. These are almost always cheaper than their name-brand equivalents you will find in their stores. Most people could build an okay content website with enough time. If they put enough effort in they could even put together a solid catalogue with products.
Understand What You Need
This can apply to pretty much every business practice. Be aware of the requirements it will take to create a good e-commerce platform. This includes the basics starting with the product(s) you want to sell. Usually, the product comes before the online store but makes sure you know exactly what your selling and the variations that you are willing to apply to a single product.
Ensure you have multiple payment options available for your customers. Even more important is to have an SSL installed so customers know your website is safe. Users are usually warned away from sites without SSL by their browser as being unsafe. This will damage the number of users visiting your site and damage the brand image. Lastly, make sure you have selected or at least have a final shortlist of shipping partners. Make sure to choose a reliable shipping partner to maximize your chance to deliver on time.
Give your users a clear idea of what they are going to buy. It seems like a very simple idea but there is a surprising amount of online stores that are lacking with product descriptions. Stores with unclear descriptions see a much higher bounce rate. There is also the issue that customers return their products for free via the mail which is costly for your business. So if you just nail down product descriptions it will cause a lot fewer problems.
Everyone knows that the staff would greet you when coming into a store. Live chat is the online version of this. It is important to test the live chat to optimize the time it should pop up. Allow the customer to browse the store for a certain period of time before live chat activates. Only activate live chat once per customer otherwise it would be annoying having constant pop-ups. Just like a pushy retail staff member that doesn’t allow you to browse peacefully.
Companies that have live chat available for customers tend to have a higher customer satisfaction rating. A study shows that if live chat can reply withing a minute and a half to a question there is a customer satisfaction rating of 92%.
Ensure that your store isn’t cluttered. Any stores that have poor navigation for customers are definitely going to have higher than average bounce rates. This starts with your homepage. Make sure that it is well designed and has clear structured customer pathways for any products they may choose. This involves creating a tiered structure to make things as clear as possible. Nobody enjoys navigating through a cluttered e-commerce site, they would quickly jump to a better competitor site.
Most online retailers have multiple categories for customers to search through such as brand, sale item or electronics. Even though one product can fit into all three of these categories it provides multiple customer pathways to the product which will increase conversions. There is also a push on progressive web applications for mobile shopping to flow smoothly. There is more information available on progressive web applications here.
This is one of the most crucial aspects of an e-commerce store. The customer has chosen their products and made it through the delivery information. It is the final hurdle to a conversion. That is why it is so important to make sure it’s secure and easy. Online users can be wary of new sites and less likely to share their credit card details. Unless you can prove to be a trusted brand right from the bat with your consumers then use a hosted checkout.
A hosted checkout will provide familiarity to customers. They are more likely to purchase through a call to action which they recognize and have probably used before than a new one. The main focus is to get the serious customers that are going to buy over the line. Once you have developed a trustworthy brand on your e-commerce site you can then choose to build your own checkout over a hosted one.
The majority of online shopping involves customer reviews. Having customer reviews on a website can see an 18% uplift in sales. Peer reviews give customers an idea of what the product is like without having seen or used it before. Make sure that you use real reviews with your products. It is easy to spot the fake reviews on products online. Even if there are sophisticated fake reviews there are services to verify if they are actually valid.
Having real customer reviews will increase your sales conversion rate and build better trust with your customers. Users will start to trust your e-commerce site and are more likely to buy.