Have you wondered why you are inclined to buy a product from a particular website when there are so many other options? The answer lies in the comfort level you enjoy with this shopping interface. Not one or two, but there are many characteristics that prompt you to patronize a particular eCommerce portal.
Given the rise in popularity of online shopping, below are some important do’s and don’ts that entrepreneurs should keep in mind to come with a highly-functional and appealing website. These pointers, when implemented, will lead to a successful eCommerce business, constantly attracting the attention of online shoppers.
Let us first focus on the elements that you should focus on so that you can build a profitable eCommerce empire.
The ‘To-Do’ List
#1 Identify Your Business Exclusivity
First and foremost, it is very important for entrepreneurs to differentiate themselves from their competitors. It is on the strength of these differences that customers come to you. Given that the journey of a buyer begins after he/she analyses the ease of locating products or a single-page checkout, eCommerce business owners should look into what makes them special. Entrepreneurs who strive to uncover their uniqueness will be in a strong position to influence the purchase decisions of a buyer.
#2 Build A Strong Brand Equity
Brand equity is defined as the commercial value that businesses gain out of the customers’ perception regarding a particular brand as against the actual product or service they consume. Given that there are plenty of eCommerce businesses out there, you as an entrepreneur should aim at creating a strong brand for your e-store. You can attract the attention of customers through plenty of branding activities, building their confidence one step at a time.
Here are some branding features that are paramount to the success of your digital store.
- You should present a uniquely appealing and highly functional shopping interface. Working on the User Interface (UI) design of your e-store will not only improve your web traffic but will also attract repeat orders from customers.
- Running multiple ad campaigns is a surefire means to enjoy greater brand visibility. These repeated campaigns prompt customers to recall your name along with the type of business you are in.
- Social networks are home to a number of effective branding strategies. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can become potent social networking platforms to advertise your brand.
#3 Tightened Online Security
Given the staggering rise of online scams damaging the goodwill of eCommerce businesses, entrepreneurs of today should give web security its due credit. Since e-stores save the personal and financial details of customers, it is very important for you to invest in SSL certificate that encrypts all the crucial information. This way, your website can foil all the malicious attempts of hackers while safeguarding the vital information of your customers.
Additionally, your e-store should promise safe payment gateways by complying with the PCI-DSS requirements alongside meeting the CISP Level 1 security specifications. Use of various firewalls can also secure your e-store from getting hacked. With all these security measures in place, your digital store will be able to build confidence and trust in customers who will eventually become your brand loyalists.
#4 A Superior UI Experience Will Help You Call The Shots
Minimalism is the key to a successful eCommerce business. If entrepreneurs aim to provide a simple one-page checkout, the chances of a repeat order can be enhanced. It is for this reason that websites which offer superior UI experience perform better when compared to others which have a multiple-page checkout.
Ensuring that your website loads fast is part of delivering a good UI experience to your customers. A neatly demarcated website which clearly shows up all the products and their various categories has a good chance to attract customers. Ease of website navigation is another aspect of UI design that entrepreneurs should focus on.
#5 Unleash The Power of a Multi-lingual Website
Personalization is another important element of business exclusivity that can be offered in the form of a multi-lingual website. Customers tend to fall back on shopping interfaces that interact with them in their native language. Alongside developing a strong connection with buyers, a multi-lingual e-shopping portal offers a better chance of transforming an inquiry into a sale. Additionally, a multi-lingual site can help you penetrate into newer markets through the ‘translation’ tab. This option will tie up your business with multi-lingual customers to identify you and order your products and services.
#6 Search Engine Optimization – Another Key Component for A Profitable eCommerce Business
SEO-friendly URLs are the need of the hour for profitable eCommerce businesses. Such URLs point out indexed products that can be easily identified by online shoppers. Another tip would be to include HTML titles coupled with keywords and META descriptions. All these components will speak about your offerings.
#7 High-Quality Product Pictures Appeal To Customers
It will not be an exaggeration to quote that a good-looking image can create a better impact than a thousand words. It is hence essential for eCommerce businesses to display good quality product images on their sites. Enabling your business to thrive in a visual world, websites which publish superior quality close-up shots of products, tend to attract customers.
#8 Customer Retention Tactics
Repeat orders are truly the goldmine of every business. Hence entrepreneurs should dedicate their time and efforts in implementing customer retention strategies like offers to special customers and occasional discounts. Such incentives not only surprise your customers but also engage them for repeat orders. All such moves help you maintain a strong business relationship with your loyalists.
You may also come up with honest product descriptions that would meet the varying needs of your customers. Another tip would be to include a ‘customer review’ section on your site to collate the feedback from your buyers. This is another means to not only build your online reputation but also to fill the gaps between the ‘expected’ and the ‘delivered’. Adding a ‘live’ chat option exclusively meant for customer support is another promising means to stay in constant sync with the requirements and queries of your buyers.
#9 Innovative Product Videos Can Do the Trick
Research indicates that close to 73% of visitors who watched a product video on an e-store, actually buy it. Such is the power of product videos airing crisp, compelling and effective product information. Educating your online buyers through videos not only cleans up your website of unwanted images but also helps in delivering detailed information about the working of the product. Thus, every e-store should publish product videos so as to improve the overall buying experience of customers.
#10 A Multi-Device Shopping Interface
While designing an e-store, it is essential that you do not forget the pool of mobile shoppers. For this, you should come up with an optimized site which matches the display settings of multiple devices. It is very important for you to come up with a multi-device-friendly shopping platform. While doing so, you should consciously strive to permit a smooth flow of information on various screen sizes, and on devices with different resolutions.
The ‘Don’t Do’ List
After explaining the ‘to do list’ in detail, now is the time to focus on the mistakes that are best avoided when it comes to eCommerce businesses.
- Running an eCommerce business without a clear-cut plan-of-action can be damaging. A business without direction will go haywire, making you lose focus on your online products. So, it is very important for e-stores to operate with effective supply-chain management.
- Most of the websites of today fail because they don’t attract the trust and confidence of their buyers. Not investing in trust seals like SSL certificates can not only damage your online reputation but will also pose security threats to your business. To prevent such data breaches, it is significant for your website to sport the green padlock icon. This can become the seal of trust and confidence that your customers enjoy while signing up with your e-store.
- Very often, you must have come across websites which display a single contact form, without the mention of any contact information. This is a grave mistake that should be avoided. Websites which provide the necessary contact information, in addition to the address of the company on a Google Map have an edge over others which don’t provide a customer support contact number.
- Entrepreneurs who don’t give customer reviews their due importance fail faster. First-time buyers always look for customer feedback so as to make a well-informed purchase decision. Statistics reveal that 60% of the customers check out product reviews before placing an order. Hence you should employ customer service representatives to address the queries of buyers. You should also add the product review section on your e-store so as to collate all the feedback (positive or negative) from buyers. Such customer service and product review activities will help your eCommerce business stand the test of time.
- Nowadays, most of the online shipping is free-of-cost to customers. Research indicates that 70% of shoppers go in for online shopping just to cash in on the free delivery option. So, entrepreneurs who provide the free-shipment service can thrive in this competitive territory of e-shopping.
- The absence of digital marketing efforts can lead your e-store to extinction. If you are keen to expand your e-business, you need to market your products on multiple social networking platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Yelp. All these platforms provide your e-store with the much-needed visibility, permitting more and more visitors to sign up with you.
- E-stores which fail to capture the attention of mobile shoppers die soon. Hence, your aim should be to come up with a device-friendly UI design.
- E-businesses which fail to analyze their performance at regular intervals will not grow. It is for this reason that you as an entrepreneur should keep a close watch on numbers linked to sale figures, your web traffic, and your revenue through Google Analytics. With one eye fixed on these numbers, you can better understand your website and plug in the deficiencies as and when they crop up.
This exhaustive article sheds light on the most essential elements governing the success of an e-store, providing you with actionable pointers as the ‘to-do’ list.
Additionally, you are also informed about the mistakes that can cost your e-business a lot, both in terms of money and goodwill. Given the fact that your website is the face of your online business, you as an entrepreneur should go all out and make your first impression with your customers through these 18 invaluable pointers.