E-commerce is everywhere these days. Most of us have purchased something by now online, we pay our bills online, do our banking, and so on. Those are all forms of electronic commerce.
For retailers this is very significant, since consumers are now getting more than ever accustomed to making online transactions. These online shoppers are what retailers are trying to attract to their e-commerce websites. This is not always easy, especially in very competitive markets.
Yet, selling online can be very lucrative for a business. It is estimated that e-commerce sales will reach in 2017 around $434 billion, and this is in the United States alone. Consumers are going online to shop for convenience, deals, and variety. These days, people browse right from their smart phone, while waiting in the doctor’s lounge.
So how does a business benefit from this growing trend of consumers preferring online shopping? Retailers will have to have proper website design, applications, and marketing tactics to attract online customers. To help here is a guide to a successful online store.
First Impressions Matter
Cheap and unprofessional website design does not get the job done. First impressions matter and make a significant difference, especially with e-commerce. It takes milliseconds for website visitors to decide if they like and trust a website or not, milliseconds! Websites that have a professional custom design get the best results.
Site Navigation Is Critical
Website visitors and online shoppers do not like to be confused. Nothing annoys a site visitor more than confusing navigation and being lost on a website. Site navigation is critical to success. It should be user-friendly, easy, always in the same place, and intelligently created with purpose and customer service in mind.
Photos Sell Or Not
E-commerce websites should not have cheap, poor quality photographs and images. Photos sell or not depending on quality of them. Images speak a thousand words, retailers that want to be more successful online must only use high quality photos. Photographs should be consistent in quality and style throughout the entire website and across all store pages.
Blogging Drives Sales
Online retailers must start blogging. There are just too many benefits for an online business not too. Blogging gets search engines such as Google to notice a website much more. Blog articles get website pages indexed by Google by over 400% more. Blogs increase the number of website visitors by over 50%. It is simple blogging drives sales.
SEO Is Not An Option
For online retailers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not an option. Individuals and companies do over 2 trillion Google searches each year, but 90% of them click only on the first 3 search results in Google. This means SEO is not an option anymore but a critical marketing tactic to get in the top 3 of Google search results to become visible to online shoppers.
Offering Customer Service
Even though it is an online business, offering customer service is still required. Online shoppers like to know there is someone that they can talk to if needed too. One of the quickest ways to improve customer service is by deploying a live chat option on the website and store pages. Consumers love live chat while they are shopping.
Easy To Use Shopping Cart
Not all shopping cart applications are the same. Features differ, options, customization, etc. Shopping carts should be easy to use and simple with short checkout procedures. Shopping cart abandonment ranges between 60-75% with e-commerce websites for reasons such as, not enough payment options, shipping fees, and slow websites.
Product And Customer Reviews
Over 75% of online shoppers read product and customer reviews for the product they intend to purchase. Over 90% of them make their decision based on what they read. Online stores without clearly published, easy to find product and customer reviews will not produce sales as well.
Shipping Sells Too
Online consumers have gotten used to seeing “Free Shipping” offers and now expect it on all online stores. Over 75% of online shoppers look for the cheapest shipping available to buy products online. They will change websites to get a better shipping deal.
Not all e-commerce platforms are the same. First of all, there is a big difference between leased and open-source or right out custom solutions. What type is used makes a large difference in various ways that will affect the business overall, especially any online efforts. Also, what application such as Magento for example is used, also makes a difference in features offered, customization options, scalability, and so on. Choose the right application for the online business.
Newsletters Boost Sales
Newsletters are still one of the most effective methods to boost online sales. They are often neglected, not properly created, managed, or used. When done right, a newsletter (HTML email flyer) emailed regularly to a database of customers and potential customers drives sales.