When you think eCommerce, what first comes to mind? eBay? Amazon? Most people know the big players in the eCommerce industry but in the last few years, eCommerce has grown significantly. So much so, that even small indie companies and local brands are setting up e-stores!
However, even though eCommerce offers great opportunities, the competition is fierce and the chances of failing are very high. In fact, eCommerce statistics say that 80% of online stores fail in their first attempt. The lack of a business plan, knowledge, and expertise leads to an ultimate downfall.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to work hard if you want your online store to succeed. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 7 essential tips for improving your eCommerce store, increasing your sales, and outranking your competitors.
1. Take a Look at Your Business Plan
Before you start deploying our tips, take your time to review your business plan. Your business plan is a handy roadmap that not only teaches you to budget and run your business but it also prepares you for what is in store. At its core, an eCommerce business plan compels you to think critically about every component of your e-store. You may find out that you need to revise or rethink some of your strategies (or you may just realize that you’re on the right track!). If you don’t have a business plan yet, make sure to create one by using a simple business plan template.
2. Pay Attention to Your Site Design and UX
Do you know what people do when they land on a slow, sloppy site? They leave ASAP. You need to invest time (and some money) to create a presentable and functional website. Otherwise, your potential customers will go to your competition and never come back.
In order to boost conversions, you need to do 3 things:
a) Ensure your e-store is visually appealing and allows customers to instantly learn about your products or services. To achieve this, you can either rely on your own web design skills or hire a professional designer to create a kick-ass layout for you.
If you’re on a tight budget, try an eCommerce website builder or a plug-n-play service. These are easy to use and can help you create a site that is functional for starters. However, if you can afford it, it’s best to start from scratch. This is the best way to gain full control over every aspect of your website and make it appear professional.
b) Ensure that your website is loading fast and doesn’t suffer frequent crashes. To achieve this, you need to invest in a good host. Look for dedicated or VPS hosting that provides fantastic uptime, web resources, and great page loading speeds.
c) Finally, in order to build trust in your website, you need to incorporate high-level security. Be sure that you have all the necessary certificates and badges displayed to make consumers feel confident about sharing their personal details and payment information.
3. Pay Attention to Your Images
One of the most important features of every eCommerce store are the images. Make sure they’re high-quality and high-resolution. Offer images of your products taken from different angles, as well as images of the products being used so that your customers can picture themselves using them. Use tools to remove the background from your images so that your images are clear and consistent throughout the site.
4. Go Mobile Friendly
Experts predict that consumers will continue relying on their phones for shopping, so allowing access from handheld devices is crucial for the success of your business. Bear in mind that many buyers tend to do online research before heading to a physical store to pick up the selected product. Make sure that the offering in your online store matches the one in your brick-and-mortar store.
5. Listen to What Customers Have to Say
Customer surveys are very important to eCommerce businesses. In addition to helping you figure out what you’re doing right or wrong, surveys also allow you to determine whether your products are right for your target audience.
Feedback is especially important to e-stores as in-person interaction is very rare. While it is true that customer service teams and service desks interact with your customers, they only inform you about negative customer experiences, which is just one side of the coin.
If you are looking to create an eCommerce customer survey, using a survey template will make things a lot faster and easier.
6. Personalized Communication
Impersonal and generic correspondence is part of the past. Today, it’s all about making things personal and demonstrating that you truly care about your customers. Always treat your customers with respect, use their names in your email, and offer personalized recommendations based on past purchases or browsing history.
7. Chase After Abandoned Carts
Just because a customer suddenly decided to drop a full shopping cart, doesn’t mean he’s lost for good. There is a way to turn these customers around.
Firstly, ensure that your shopping cart is visible, easily accessible, and easy to navigate. Secondly, any obstacles in the checkout process might annoy the customers and make them abandon their carts. Make the forms short and concise and offer a number of different payment options. Finally, send reminders to customers who have abandoned their carts to encourage them to complete the purchase.
Setting up an e-store is fairly easy but making sales and retaining customers depends on your website’s appearance and the experience it provides. These 7 steps will help you drive repeat business, improve interaction, and boost revenues.