E-commerce is a powerhouse that is forced to be reckoned with.
And with anything from 12 to 24 million stores operating digitally these days, finding your place in the noise can be challenging.
While some retailers have made it look easy, simply putting up a storefront online and waiting for the sales to roll in won’t work.
E-commerce needs just as much time, attention, and dedication as a physical store, and knowing how to boost your sales, improve what you do and make this venture a success will undoubtedly take your store from simply being just another online retailer to one that can grow on its success and evolve as the market and consumer habits change.
If you want to give your ecommerce store the best chance at success, these tips are for you.
Improve Your Website
Your website is instrumental in how successful your ecommerce store can be.
The maximum time it should take your website to load is 2 seconds, and over half of visitors will click away if it takes longer than that to load.
So, first, you must address your site speed and check that this is within acceptable limits.
Your storefront needs to be clear and uncluttered, utilize white space, and be easy to navigate.
You need a structured menu with all the relevant categories and pages that are easily indicated, and it requires a search bar that is easy to locate so people can simply search for what they want.
Products need to be sorted into categories and clearly labeled with prices, descriptions, and imagery that entices the customer to buy.
Less is more when it comes to good e-commerce website designs, as you don’t want to make things too complicated or cluttered that people cannot see what they are doing.
You need to be reinvesting in making your store the best it can be.
Be it bringing in new products or services, improving your website, digital security, shipping partners or packaging options.
Work with the Best E-Commerce Accountants to help you see where your money is being spent, where it would be best reinvested and how much cash flow you have to make improvements with.
If you aren’t reinvesting back into the business or staying on top of your finances, this will only lead to failure down the line
How easy is it for people to actually make a sale?
If you are getting your customers to jump through hoops to make a purchase, many will simply abandon the cart and look elsewhere.
You need to make it easy.
Ask for only the essential details to complete the sale and arrange delivery, i.e., you do not need a home address if you deliver your products digitally, nor should you include additional steps that don’t make sense to the process or the sale simply because you can.
Include shipping costs so people know what to expect, and ensure that checkout is as easy as possible.
You can include different payment options and styles, such as Paypal Checkout or Apple and Google Pay, that already have details stored so customers don’t need to enter this again.
Avoid adding hidden costs and showing endless related products to entice people to make additional purchases at checkouts as this can make the process more cumbersome and be a deterrent to customers.
Use A Full Funnel Strategy
Many ecommerce stores are solely focused on the bottom of the funnel, which is where the sales happen, but a full-funnel strategy focuses the customer journey as a whole.
This starts with your marketing and works through to that customer finding your website, clicking through, following your social media, making a sale and accepting delivery and then coming back for repeat purchases.
You need to nurture your leads at every stage and adapt your marketing messages to them.
Use videos, images, and text to entice them to visit your ecommerce store.
Then, use clear imagery, product descriptions, and noticeable CTAs such as “buy now” to get them to fill the cart.
Then, you need an express checkout to complete the sale, which is followed up with communication about their order and delivery times and having them sign up for your newsletter, perhaps so they can be kept informed of any sales or offers to boost customer retention.
Did you know that 81% of shoppers are concerned about buying from a retailer they haven’t used before and are wary of believing online reviews, as these can and are often are faked?
You can build trust by first making sure your website is insecure and has an SSL.
You can use third-party payment providers to complete purchases, so you don’t need to store the information directly, and allow multiple payment options using methods people trust to show your authenticity.
Collect reviews, display them in a prominent place, and use review sites like TrustPilot to reinforce your authenticity further and boost trust scores to put new customers’ minds at ease.
Find Your Target Audience
It’s no good if you attract hundreds of thousands of people to your e-commerce store if only a few hundred of them are actually going to purchase anything.
You need to be putting effort into finding your target audience to make your marketing spend work for you and to get value for money.
The best way to find the people who will be more likely to purchase it is to use consumer analytics.
Look at the data from those visiting your website or engaging with your social media accounts, and identify patterns and habits.
Use deep learning tools to analyse customer behaviour and segment those that are identified so you can personalise your marketing, SEO, and PPC campaigns to boost conversions and ROI.
A massive 85% of consumers are more likely to buy something if your homepage is personalised to them.
In the past, this was pretty difficult to achieve.
But these days, thanks to AI, you can use a legally compliant data tool to help you learn more about online shoppers’ behaviours, spending, interests, and so on other sites to make your homepage personalized to meet what they’re looking for.
This is something you see working exceptionally well on Amazon.
“Based on your past purchases” or, “We thought you would like to see” type banners and pop-ups can lead customers directly to things they would be more likely to buy and show them things of interest rather than a generic homepage.
Omnichannel Marketing and Engagement
How are your customers engaging with you, and what channels are getting the most traction?
You need to be building a presence on as many channels as possible for your customers to engage with you.
After all, if customers struggle to get in touch with you, engagement will be below, which doesn’t bode well for sales.
However, high engagement in your marketing efforts and channels of communication allows customers to develop a relationship, which in turn boosts retention and sales.
This is another time you would benefit from using AI and deep learning technologies to segment customers based on their chosen methods of communication.
Doing this can help boost your marketing communication and direct them to where they are most relevant and guaranteed to make more of an impact.
Use Abandoned Cart
Nearly 90% of carts are abandoned before they get to checkout, and only 3 in 10 customers who make it to checkout actually checkout.
Those are some pretty dire figures, meaning that if you only get 100 people visiting your website in a week, you are making around 30 sales a week on average, sometimes more, sometimes less.
If you want to keep your store in the forefront of someone’s mind, you need to remind them what they’re missing out on.
This is where abandoned cart emails come into play.
Once a customer has abandoned a cart, you can automate emails or social media adverts to bring this back to the forefront of their attention.
If a customer has an account and is signed in, you can trigger the email to arrive an hour later to entice them back in.
You can include special offers or discounts to make more of an impact.
You can also use social media targeting to pop up in feeds to remind them to check out.
If you’re wondering how effective abandoned cart emails are, they have a 41% open rate compared to 21% of general emails and are instrumental in recovering lost sales.
Improve Customer Service
Lastly, you can have all of the above in place, but it will all be for nothing if you aren’t meeting customer service standards.
Basically, if you cannot follow through and deliver what you need to in a way that satisfies the customer, then they won’t return; they want you to meet their expectations, provide exceptional service, and value their custom.
And if you aren’t meeting any of your responsibilities as an e-commerce retailer, you can kiss your chances of success goodbye.
Take feedback on board, be looking for ways you can improve on what you do, offer flexible shipping options and high-quality products or services; be authentic, appreciate your customers, improve efficiency, and ensure everything you do is customer-orientated to make their experience with you and your store a positive one.
Improving your e-commerce store means you need to take many different aspects of running a business into account and use tools, technology, AI, and software to help you make changes and improvements, automate marketing, and streamline the buying process.
The more you do to make your store easy to use, accessible, and customer-friendly, the better your chance of success.