If you have a product to sell, the Internet is an exceptional platform, opening you up to potential customers all over the world. However, you need to use it properly. Unfortunately, ecommerce is rarely straightforward; there are many ingredients that need to come together if you are to build up your online presence and increase your sales levels.
- Customer reviews – Customer reviews are a vital ingredient. Potential customers are more likely to trust your business and believe in your product if they see glowing reviews that have been left by others. Make sure there is a section on your website that features customer reviews, and make it easy for people to leave their feedback too. Widgets from independent review platforms are recommended, as their authenticity is never questioned. If you simply type up comments onto your website yourself, users may wonder whether the feedback is genuine or whether you have simply made it up.
- Amazing web design – The design of your ecommerce website is critical. Not only does your site need to represent your brand, but it must be quick to load and easy to navigate. Navigation is of huge importance; it should be instinctive for all users. They should know how to get to your products and then to your checkout without even thinking about. This is why working with a top quality web design company is highly recommended.
- A simplified checkout process – There is nothing more annoying than going to buy a product and being met with an abundance of fields to fill out. You need to simplify the checkout process; don’t force customers to fill out unnecessary information boxes in order to purchase a product. Also, don’t make people sign-up to your newsletter or become a member in order to buy something. This will only result in lower sales because a lot of people don’t want to go through the hassle, and so they will simply look elsewhere.
- Being prepared to change – There are going to be about four failures for every great ecommerce idea. If your initial approach is not working, you should change course.
- More cash than you think you are going to need – By having more cash available, you will be able to take advantage of any opportunities that crop up along the way. As you scale your ecommerce business, unexpected expenses are bound to arise. Smart spending habits can really help you with this.
- Helpful product descriptions and images – One of the biggest errors people make is using the same stock descriptions and same stock images as every other store. There are a number of problems with this. Firstly, the consumer is going to believe that you are the same as every other business, and so they will make their decision based solely on price. Secondly, Google will punish you in the rankings for duplicated content. You need to go the extra mile to differentiate your descriptions and images. Write descriptions that have personality; they should not look like a robot has put them together. Also, take custom photos and create videos for your products. Great imagery is essential for improving your conversions, as people are very visual and they will often form an opinion about your business within a few seconds of seeing your website. You can give them an amazing first impression with high-quality, professional photographs.
- Credibility and trustworthiness – Your ecommerce website needs to feel trustworthy and credible. You can achieve this be displaying badges such as your SSL certificate. Also, serve up your pages via https.
- Mobile ready – If your ecommerce website is not optimised for mobile use, you are going to be missing out on a huge amount of customers. You need to ensure that your website can be viewed optimally no matter the device your customers are using. Mobile optimisation is crucial nowadays, as more and more people are using their smartphones to research, browse, and buy items. This means that your text and images need to look great on a smaller screen and your website needs to load quickly too. Create a seamless user experience across all platforms and you will never miss an opportunity.
- Activity on social networks – You need to promote your website on popular social networking websites, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. However, don’t simply promote on each and every social media website you know. Instead, think about your target consumer base and where they are most likely to be. For example, the vast majority of Pinterest users are female, so if you have a male-orientated business, this may not be the best social media platform for you. When using social media, it is important to post a lot and connect with your customers. Don’t simply post an endless stream of promotional links to your website. Connect with influencers and gain more exposure through engaging with related businesses and all potential consumers.
- Excellent customer service – You need to be prepared to track, manage, and respond to all enquiries in a timely manner. Managing and setting the expectations regarding the speed of your responses and your availability is of critical importance. Your customers are going to require pre and post-sale advice along the way, and you need to provide it to an outstanding level.
- Differentiation – Finally, the succeed as an ecommerce business, you are going to need to set yourself apart from the competition. Don’t simply offer free shipping or 20 per cent of your products, for example. Instead, think about promotions and campaigns that are going to have real value to your target consumer base. Make sure you offer expert advice and consider bundles of complementary products for added value.
As you can see, there is a lot that comes together for ecommerce success. If you have all of the ingredients that have been discussed above, you can’t go too wrong! It is important to stand out from the competition, creating a winning website that is easy to use, simplify the checkout process, and maintain exceptional customer service standards along the way.