Customer buying behaviors are changing, and more and more of them are now flocking to using the internet for shopping. Given the broad reach and fewer overheads compared to brick and mortar businesses, the e-commerce model has proved to be highly lucrative.
However, just having an e-commerce site and running it to generate enough sales to get by is one thing. Still, it takes a smart plan, a well-thought-out strategy, and efficient execution to realize the full potential of your e-commerce business.
How do you stand out from the pack and enjoy the triumph with your e-commerce site you deserve? And we are not talking run-of-the-mill accomplishments; we are aiming for the best possible results. Wouldn’t you love to see your e-commerce website achieve the heights of success that make you the talk of the World Wide Web? If yes, read on – we bring you 10 practical tips to help you succeed.
1. Easy To Navigate Mobile-Friendly Website
Chances are that most of your traffic is arriving on mobile devices. Almost everyone carries a touch screen phone or a tablet nowadays and uses it for all their day to day tasks, including online shopping.
It is critical that your e-commerce website works seamlessly on mobile platforms. A responsive e-commerce website provides better readability and is immediately usable. Pay attention to these mobile-friendly features when you develop your site, or you will lose out on the opportunity of reaching out to this majority audience:
- Simple website navigation
- Clear layout
- Specific and clear CTAs (Call to actions)
- Design your pages to load fast
- Provide a multi-channel user experience, so the users can seamlessly switch between different devices
- Do not use software that is not compatible with mobile platforms
- Stop use of popups
2. Product Recommendations
Using product recommendations to boost sales is the low hanging fruit you can quickly get your hands on. Display them prominently, so your visitors don’t miss the extra help.
Your customers come from diverse backgrounds. Some are driven by price while the others are more brands conscious. Then, there will be first-timers and returning customers. Personalization is the key to grabbing the attention of your e-commerce website visitor. They are driven by their preferences and experience, not by what you want to push for higher profit margins. On the contrary, if you get too pushy, you may lose them forever.
Consider using product recommendation engines for better results.
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3. Clear And Fair Shipping And Return Policies
Be open and honest about your shipping and return policies. Make sure the customers can access them easily from the product and order screens. Not only that, include this information on all your communications, such as orders summary emails.
Try to be as consistent as possible in your policies to avoid confusion. Remember, it does not take much for a bad word about you to spread like wildfire on the internet. Dissatisfied customers are likely to take to social media platforms and other far-reaching online channels to vent out their disappointment.
It is best to handle the situation before you lose not only this customer but also the potential customers who get turned off due to your bad reputation.
And be consistent with all your communication and site-wide content around shipping and return policies. Of course, be fair – don’t exploit the customers once they’re stuck with the order.
4. Multiple Shipping Options
Offer multiple shipping options to take care of varying customer needs. Some may be looking for free shipping, while others prefer to get their orders shipped as fast as possible and do not mind paying extra for it.
This becomes more important if you are dealing in items that may sometimes turn time-sensitive, like gifts, medicines, health-aids, products associated with festivals and special times of the year, etc.
5. Follow-Ups On Abandoned Carts
There are times when the customer has spent their precious time browsing your website, looking up various products and have added the items to their shopping cart. However, they did not complete the purchase after getting so close – you do not want to lose them after getting so close.
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Follow up with them to see how you can help them complete the purchase. Send reminders, even personalized discounts, if need be. Your customers would appreciate the attention and turn into your loyal brand ambassadors.
6. Easy Checkout Process
The number one reason for losing sales is a complex checkout process. Some people get turned off by having to go through the signup process to complete the purchase and prefer to leave than take the time to create an account. Allow checkouts without forcing them to sign up or sign in.
Try to have minimal clicks and forms to fill during the checkout process. For signed-in users, you can use default most of the data from their profile and remember the information between multiple visits. Make the checkout process as smooth as possible to avoid abandoned carts.
7. Customer Reviews
This is the herd mentality at work. You look at people around you who are similar to you, notice what they are doing, and assume that what is good for the will work for you as well.
Customer reviews influence buying decisions in a big way. Your e-commerce website is likely to make more sales on products that have a high number of positive reviews. Likewise, negative reviews may pull a product down.
However, it is essential that you be transparent with customer reviews and not engage in malpractices. It does not take long for people to spot bad behavior, and you will end up causing more harm than good by tampering with customer reviews.
We use TrustPilot for customer reviews and strive to respond to every single review – good or bad. It’s critical that you respond to all feedback to create trust and credibility.
8. Customer Feedback
Getting and featuring customer feedbacks benefits you in two ways.
One, the customers who provide feedback once is more likely to do it for multiple products. This increases their involvement on your website, and these loyal customers turn into your brand ambassadors.
Another advantage is that word of mouth marketing is the best way to draw more customers to the business, and customer feedback is the online version of the same. People trust existing users to see how the product or service worked for them. Include the background of the customers along with the feedback, so it looks legitimate.
Feature the customer feedbacks prominently on your home page, side bars, and ‘About US’ page. You can also carry them on the relevant product and service pages.
9. Website Improvements
There is a lot of competition out there. Your e-commerce website should provide visitors with a positive user experience to drive more sales. And this cannot be one-time thing – you have to pursue website improvements on an ongoing basis.
Here are some areas to keep reviewing and improving:
- Site navigation
- Page loading speed
- Product copy and images
- Display security batches
- Customer reviews
- Shipping options
- Social proof
- Check out process
10. Secure Your Website
Adopt industry-standard security best practices to protect yourself and your customers. Make sure to keep an eye on things such as
- Password policies – keep them updated and enforce them strictly
- Regular hardware, software, processes, and network audits – so you can catch the problems before they get out of hand
- CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
- SSL certificates – this is one of the easiest and the most effective things you can do. Don’t spend more money than you have to – get the multi domain wildcard SSL if you need to protect multiple domains.
- Security monitoring and alerts – keep your finger on what’s happening in your network and on tour systems. Get alerted promptly so you can take timely action
- Employees training – Help your employees stay safe and protect your business environment from cyber attacks
- Cyber intelligence – Know who all may target you and how, so you take the necessary steps to protect yourself
- Incident Response Plan – Everyone should know what they are supposed to do and how to communicate when you are under an attack
The sky is the limit when it comes to the amount of success you can have with your e-commerce site. Don’t stop at putting one out there, go for the kill. Make it the best it can be to realize its full potential. Use the tips outlined in this article and take your online business to the next level.