E-commerce is the business of buying and selling products online. Anytime there is a purchase over the Internet in exchange for goods, whether physical or digital, a website must have e-commerce functionality. This basically entails having a way to accept online payments and take orders that then can be fulfilled either offline, for physical goods, or automatically online, for digital goods usually in the form of downloads.
Over the past number of years e-commerce has been growing incredibly in popularity and even traditionally brick-and-mortar stores have created an e-commerce website where customers can order online and either pick up at the nearest location or have the item(s) delivered via mail.
Today, e-commerce is a multi-billion dollar industry where annual revenue is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. With those high numbers also comes competition and certain standards expected by customers. Also, an e-commerce website must have a higher overall user experience (UX) to be successful. Here are top e-commerce tips to help you succeed.
Don’t Rush the Launch
This is one of the biggest mistakes made by unsuccessful e-commerce entrepreneurs. Make sure that you have all the areas covered of your website, from content & SEO to design and functionality. You only have one chance at a successful launch and to make a first impression. Nothing turns people off a website more than errors in functionality and poor experience. So make sure you have all aspects of your site fully tested before launching.
Focus on User Experience
One of the major shortcomings of an e-commerce website is that the visitor can’t feel, touch or smell the product. You need to compensate by making the site as user-friendly as possible. This means that you should have clear images of all angles of the products along with the ability to enlarge images. Make the check out process as easy as possible. Process the order immediately after payment. And offer a reasonable return policy to put the customer’s mind at ease.
Closely Integrate Social Media
Social media is the life-line of a business. This is where you can interact with your customers and potential customers. Get almost immediate feedback and stay close to your audience. As well as reach out to new prospective customers. Social media management should not be delegated to a third-party. You want to stay close to this part of your e-marketing. If you have a social media manager, make sure that you are involved as well. Also add social media widgets to your website such as Facebook likes, latest tweets, and social media sharing buttons.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
More and more people access e-commerce websites using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The amount of purchases online using mobile devices is growing exponentially each year. If your website is not mobile-friendly then you are losing a lot of business and may become irrelevant in a few years.
Make SEO a Priority
There is no question about it, when it comes to succeeding only in any type of business, SEO is critical. If you are not getting sales from people coming to your site via organic, or natural, search engine results then you are struggling and will continue to struggle. In order to succeed in e-commerce, prospective customers must be able to find you on the search engines using keywords related to your products. A professional SEO company can help you in this area.
Build a Customer Database
Customers that have purchased from you and are happy with their purchase are more than likely to buy from you again. Build a database of email addresses. Put up a subscription form on your website so that visitors can subscribe to receive special discounts, new product info, and more. Sending out periodic email flyers will keep people coming back to your site and encourage them to buy. The best part is that it the benefits far outweigh the cost of email marketing.
Take Full Advantage of Testimonials and Reviews
If you have positive comments from customers who were happy with their experience on your site, make sure you post those comments for others to see. It will help build confidence in your e-commerce site. Also, integrate reviews and ratings for your products. Not only will good reviews and ratings promote more sales, but also even if you get bad reviews, it can help you gauge what products to continue to sell and which to discontinue. As such you keep only the best products that customers buy more often and return less often.
Provide as Much Information as Possible
Have a detailed FAQ page on your site. There should also be a Company Info page as well as clearly outlined policies and easy to find contact information. The more details you provide and more questions you answer, the likelihood of misunderstandings are much lower which leads to more customer confidence.
Integrate Strong Analytics Program
You want to be able to track your visitors that come to your site. Where are they coming from? Search engines, direct navigation, or links from other sites. This can help you to see if your SEO program is working and if it needs improvement. What are they doing on your site? You want to know what pages are visitors spend time on and how much time. What the landing and exit pages are. What the bounce rate is. If your visitors come to only one page and then leave after a brief time then it is a bounce. You want to keep the bounce rate as low as possible. Analytics will also show you how many visitors are completing important goals on your site such as making a purchase or signing up to your email newsletter.
By incorporating these e-commerce tips into your site, you are greatly increasing your chances of success.