There are currently 3.2 billion internet users worldwide – that’s almost HALF of the entire population! So what is it about the internet that has all of these people so intrigued? Most are either scrolling through their social media accounts, watching videos on YouTube or shopping online.
The ecommerce industry is booming.
The temptation to shop online is just too great and who can blame them? The allure lies with the simplicity of it all; no need to carry heavy shopping bags around town, the expedient home delivery system (and it’s even better when it’s free), the large range of products and the validating customer reviews and testimonials to help put our indecisive minds to rest. Shopping online is a blast.
In 2015, 7 out of 10 adults in the UK purchased goods or services online. 80% of these consumers (57% of the UK population) carried out the transaction via their smartphones. These figures are expected to rise in 2016, skyrocketing ecommerce profit margins to figures never thought possible.
With so much potential still to come, ecommerce owners have the opportunity to retain even more customers. All it takes is a few easy steps to implement a simple ecommerce strategy that will increase online sales and yield best possible results.
So here they are, the top 3 steps for ecommerce success:
Step 1: Bring it to the Little Screen (Mobile Optimisation)
Four out of five people use their smartphones to shop online. In fact, mobile sales account for over one third of global ecommerce. By adapting your strategy and the usability of your site to accommodate mobile users, you will be able to access this whirlpool of mobile shoppers.
A responsive design will automatically rank higher in search engine result pages, which is an added bonus of going mobile. When we say ‘mobile optimisation’, we aren’t just talking about mobiles. The responsive design must cater to other small screen devices such as tablets and smartphones etc.
A consistent customer experience is essential because over 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a shopping cart if the experience proves to be frustrating, slow or simply not fully optimised. The checkout process must be seamless and simple. Users should be able to purchase from your site just as they would be using a laptop or computer. Alternative payment options will make the experience more pleasing to many users. Some people prefer to shop online with credit cards whilst others prefer to use PayPal. Cater to all possibilities to reach each potential customer.
Step 2: Speak to the Individual (User-Focused)
Adopt a user-focused approach. Shoppers aren’t looking for something to suit everyone else. They want something that suits themselves. Speaking to the individual rather than the masses will help to keep your strategies focused and less ‘flimsy’. Connect to your customers on a more personal level and accommodate their shopping experience to reflect their preferences.
According to recent studies, 45% of online shoppers prefer buying from a website that offers them personalised offers. Make your customers feel special and they will reward you for it. So, how is it done effectively without seeming too ‘pushy’?
Tailor content to target the user. This means having dynamic product pages that speaks to the user rather than reading like the back page of an instruction manual. Imagine yourself as the shopper. You’re in need of a brand new handbag but you don’t want just any old handbag, you’re searching for one to take to the beach this summer. So, you come across the perfect product. The images are clear and it all looks perfect until you read over the robotic copy and immediately feel deflated. Personalised product descriptions will generate more interest in the product. Cater to the needs of your customers. If you are selling a beach bag, describe it in a way that will intrigue and entice consumers.
Consider using personalised recommendations to target customers based on location or buying and browsing history. This again is a method of user-focused targeting online and it works exceptionally well. Big ecommerce sites such as Amazon use personalised recommendations throughout the user shopping experience to accumulate even more sales and it works extremely well.
Step 3: Bring it Together (Social Customer Experience)
Provide users with a superb customer experience to set your brand apart from your biggest competitors, increase brand loyalty and to encourage customers to return to your site. If you own a small company, customer services should be one of your main priorities. People talk. Stories of disastrous customer service experiences have gone viral in the past. It’s the kind of publicity you definitely DO NOT want to provoke. Treat your customers like they are the most important people in the world and they will be more likely to buy from you.
Social media is an excellent way to establish a consistent brand experience. Many people contact companies via social media channels. It’s a convenient way of communicating with a brand so make sure that you provide fast responses and don’t keep them waiting for too long. Remember that a customer has emotions. You want to solve their problems and do so with courtesy and respect.
Many successful ecommerce sites have embedded a live chat function to allow customers to get in contact whenever they like. The great thing about this is that it provides instant customer service when it is needed most. Communication is important. Listen to your customers and your profit margins will thank you for it!