E commerce is growing at a rapid rate, and experts believe online sales could rise by an additional 40% by 2018. The continued growth in the market is causing countless businesses to adapt their strategies and use the internet to open a webstore. However, e commerce success is not guaranteed, even for established multinational companies.
These tips will help you to maximise the potential for success of your online operations.
1) The launch
You only ever get one chance to make a first impression on prospective customers. With a website launch, this is very important, and you need to ensure you get everything right so you capture the attention of your audience. Before rushing in you should do a lot of groundwork and make sure everything is ready to go. Visitors will be turned off if the website is half finished or untested. The reveal should be a big occasion with all of the bells and whistles, not a disappointing, rushed affair.
2) Prioritise the user
If you want people to buy from you online, you need to ensure they can do so securely and with confidence. The inability to physically see and touch products is a big barrier to overcome, but you can do it to an extent by providing specifications and multiple pictures. Offering benefits for shopping with you is also a good idea because users will know they are receiving a good deal.
3) Test everything
Technical difficulties can quickly delay any website, but with e commerce you could alienate customers, which you definitely want to avoid. You should test every feature of the site to make sure everything works smoothly. Look at the experience as if you were a user and decide if you would be happy with how your site functions. If the answer is no you still have work to do before launching. You should also have a strategy to test the site regularly as problems can occur at any time.
4) Include social media
Social media and e commerce are perfect bedfellows. You should be actively trying to build relationships with customers and keeping in contact with them. Social media is a great way to do this and is an easy form of promotion for yourself. It can also be used to build up the character of your company and give it a personal edge.
5) Use reviews
Before people buy a product, they are likely to look at reviews to see what other customers think of it. You should facilitate this on your website. You’ll also need to make sure someone monitors this feature so you can answer bad reviews and take any necessary action.
6) Be mobile friendly
Mobile browsing is a growth market and as a result so are sales via smartphones and similar devices. New e commerce sites should ensure they are prepared for mobile purchasing and offer a high quality experience for people buying in this way. Existing sites should make sure they are mobile friendly and functional to benefit from this new market.
The internet removes many barriers for competition and can make it very difficult for businesses to grab a foothold. One way you can improve your positioning and visibility is to ensure the site is SEO optimised. This is an ongoing process but being high up on search engine results can reward you with increased traffic.
8) Collect data
All of the data you gather will be useful in one way or another. Some of it will help you to adapt your services and tailor your marketing approach. Other details will serve you well if you decide to launch a new website in the future. All of the data you gather should be securely stored and protected.
9) Evolve over time
Websites are successful because they change over time and meet the changing needs of their target audience. As technology changes you need to adapt your website too. You should also keep an eye on consumer trends and buyer behaviour so you can cater to them.
With e commerce, delivering is critical in both senses of the word. You need to deliver the best level of service and ensure visitors have a really great experience. You need to make sure your clients receive their orders quickly. Free delivery can help you to appeal to more buyers, but remember you’ll need to account for this cost in other ways.