Improving your e-commerce will not only help drive sales but is also the key to providing customers with the enjoyable online experience they seek.
E-commerce can be defined as the flow of money and data that occurs when the buying and selling of goods and services takes place via the internet. There are many types of e-commerce models, and all have various processes, software, audiences and platforms through which they operate. E-commerce is used by many, whether you are a freelance photographer, a mom-and-pop shop, or a large corporation.
Regardless of your size or reach, it is important to deliver a seamless and valuable e-commerce experience to your customers. Today, a phenomenal product may no longer be the principal reason a customer will come to your brand. Consumers not only want that product or service, but they also want a comfortable and easy online shopping experience. There are many helpful tips that may be implemented to provide a more positive customer experience and start driving more sales.
This article will touch on basic website tips regarding pre-purchase, during purchase, and post-purchase tactics to improve your e-commerce. Along with your no-doubt stellar product or service, a seamless buying experience will be that added bonus to increase customer loyalty and customer retention.
Why is E-Commerce So Popular?
Before we dive into tips and tricks, lets explore what the benefits of e-commerce are, as these principles will help guide us further. Online commerce is here to stay, and these are just some of the obvious reasons why:
- It’s Convenient – It only takes a few clicks to buy or sell a product, and it can be done from virtually anywhere, 24-hours a day, with the option of fast shipping and returns. Things that could not otherwise be available in one region are suddenly accessible to everybody online.
- It’s Global – Buying and selling can occur worldwide on e-commerce sites.
- It’s Less Expensive – Not needing a physical presence such as a shop-front means fewer operating costs no matter the size of your business.
- It’s in the Personalization – Websites can now provide suggestions based on viewer’s online browsing history and shopping lists. Without much effort, customers can be shown many products that are already interesting to them. Customers can also receive valuable information such as personalized invites, promotions, discounts etc.
Pre-Purchase E-Commerce Tips
Keeping the above principles in mind, let us explore some tips that can help lead to converted and loyal customers!
Your product, brand or service has been noticed. Game on. You have done a lot of work to bring the customer to this point, do not let them slip away.
Before getting into specific tips, some basics that will surely improve e-commerce is having a website that is easy to navigate upon first use and having a quick site speed. People want information instantly; in fact, 40% of online shoppers will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load.
One obvious, yet overlooked aspect is taking care to write an informative and engaging product description. Your initial reaction may be to simply list off all the technical details and specifications of your product or service. Go a step further, make it fun! Consider your brand’s character and apply it when listing details, specifications, and even product image descriptions.
The tone of voice for your brand is not just for social media and marketing. You want the personality to be consistent throughout all the e-commerce platforms you use to build an online presence (ads, social media, e-mails), and this should extend to your product descriptions. Want to go a step further? Use storytelling to describe the features and benefits of your product in the description. This powerful tactic stimulates imagination and, more importantly, captures the attention of your customers as they are drawn into the story.
Don’t forget to have several photos of your product, which will help the buyer visualize themselves using it. An engaging product description with complimentary photos will help the customer with an online purchase – which is especially critical when not being able to handle or see the product first-hand.
Purchase E-Commerce Tips
One of the reasons e-commerce is so popular is its convenience. A customer is making a purchase from you, having read an engaging product description. Other aspects to include are clear explanations of transactional policies (give clear, helpful information regarding shipping and returns) and brand policies (how and where your product originated, environmental, and other ethical aspects). Having the customer click away from their shopping cart to find out this important information could result in them abandoning their carts altogether and looking elsewhere.
When you have all these things in check, consider up-selling and cross-selling at this stage. These tactics take the selected product and propose additional items that could complement its usage or function (cross-selling) or offer other versions or models of similar products (up-selling). Both tactics can result in more money being spent, as the customer orders additional items or ops for a higher-priced version.
Post-Purchase E-Commerce Tips
A purchase has been made, but you’re not off the hook! Customer retention is an important stage and there are many post-purchase tips you can use to entice customers to complete follow-up purchases. Some tips include personalized invitations to sales, promotions, company announcements etc. that create an incentive to shop again. Over time, this builds loyalty and creates a relationship.
Setting up an FAQ page and seeking reviews will also optimize the shopping experience by allowing customers to see other peoples’ questions being answered and reviews being uploaded by real people. A 2020 survey on customer review trends reveals that 84% of people would trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.
Improving e-commerce is multi-faceted, with many aspects that need to be considered both before and after a purchase is even made. Its important not to forget any aspects that will engage your customers and leave them satisfied. Ultimately, improving e-commerce will help with your brand longevity and success.