The ABC of Successful E-commerce
By bringing your products online, you are stepping into a market that hit $2.3 trillion in 2017 and is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021 (according to a Statista report). Online shoppers are expected to reach 2.14 billion people in 2021 from 1.32 billion in 2014 and 1.66 billion last year. Just imagine the money you can make if you manage to attract even a fraction of these people to your online shop.
And this is where the difficult part begins. How can you make your products stand out among all nearly 300,000 e-shops fighting for buyer dollars online?
One of the first things you need to do before you enter the wild world of e-commerce is pick the right design that speaks about your products to the right customers. Think about the best things that you offer and what type of people you'd like to attract – emotion here is a huge driving force. How do you want people to feel when they enter your website? What is it about your business that makes it different and better than all the others? Have a top product – make it stand out.
Don't forget to keep it simple, concise and as clear as possible! User attention spam is declining dramatically – people want to know what you are all about immediately, so try to please them if you want to get their money.
The good news is that there are pros out there who are 24/7-dedicated to making it all easy and smooth for you. They watch all the latest trends and have ready-made solutions to spare you all the trouble and money to design the perfect webpage for you. Microweber's Power Template is one great starting point for your online business success.
Fast as a flash
One of the most annoying things for a user is to hit a website that loads slow as a nail. It's nerve-wrecking, boring and is the perfect recipe to make your clients go away. That's not what you want.
According to Sean Work from Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in less than 2 seconds, while 40% would abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. For an online shop that makes $100,000 a day, this is a potential loss of $2.5 million a year!
Smooth navigation is one of the most crucial elements of a website and has a huge role when it comes to its success or eventual failure. Again, your choice here depends on clearly answering the questions what you expect from your customers – the actions you want them to take when they visit your website, the emotions you'd like to convey. As in e-commerce sales is king, you obviously want to make them buy. So make sure the important selling sections on your website are visible and easy to find. But be careful – don't overdo it by putting too many items in your navigation. Keep it simple!
Habit surveys suggest users are used to seeing a horizontal navigation bar across the top and/or vertical navigation down the left side. So give it to them!
A useful tip from the guys at Kissmetrics: Psychology studies show that, attention and retention are highest for things that appear at the beginning and at the end. So put your most important items at the beginning of the navigation and the least important items in the middle. "Contact" should be the last item on the list, putting it at the far right in top-level horizontal navigation, a standard location.
Images sell – so having good quality ones is worth the effort!
Every single product in your shop online should have an image – ideally, more than one. Make sure these images are of high quality and show off the product's benefits in detail from different angles. But be careful not to mislead your clients - If you are selling a product that has defects or is second-hand, don't hide that from the users – you want to be honest with them! If they like your product, they will like it the way it is and will appreciate you are a fair seller.
If you can afford it, hire a professional photographer – they will help you achieve the effect you would like. If it's too much costs to use such services every time, do it once – look carefully what they're doing and how they're doing it. Buy a good camera and try to do it yourself.
Excellent product descriptions
Content is king – and this is also valid when it comes to sales. The art of words can actually convert website visitors into paying customers. There are many websites out there that don't believe in creative copy as a tool to generate sales, but guess what – they are wrong and you can do better than them by just delivering excellent product descriptions. Intriguing, original content spurs emotions, and emotions can make people return to your online shop with the idea to buy.
However, be careful not to fall into information overload mode – just like the rest of your website, try to keep it simple, concise and as fair as possible.
Don't forget to update your website with fresh content regularly – your clients will like it, and so will search engines!
Fast and easy payment options
Offering fast, easy and secure payment options can be one of the greatest advantages of your website. Make sure you offer a hassle-free and abundant variety of such options from clients in your target markets.
Pay special attention to your check-out page – it is the last thing customers will see before they go, and it should leave a pleasant feeling and impression. Make it as intuitive and easy-to-use as possible (luckily, there are templates at Microweber that have done all the hard work for you).
A useful tip - making people sign up to your page for the sake of payment is not a good idea – customers don't like it for many reasons, including laziness. Such request can easily make them give up the purchase and go to a place where no sign-up is needed.
Another no-no is asking for too much additional information – reassure your customers that you only require information that's absolutely necessary to serve them. This will make people feel safer and will increase confidence in your business.
Be social - really
It is almost impossible to imagine today's world without social media – being there is a must, even more if you have an online shop. Having a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes is definitely a must for an online business as it has the potential to drive huge traffic to your website, converting fans into buying customers. Many companies, however, make the mistake of spreading their attention and efforts across too many platforms, preventing them from doing a really good job on the ones that really matter.
So, do your homework.
Facebook is obviously a must, as it is the dominating source of social traffic. If you want targeted advertising of your products, Facebook has great options to give you that. Experiment with this social media to engage directly with your audience through your business page; try different creative ad formats and placements; measure your performance using the sophisticated metrics and analytics. One of the latest features offered by Facebook is Call-to-Action for shopping and Mobile Product Ad Carousel which allows you to advertise your products as an image gallery.
If you have listened to our advice and have awesome photos to go with your products, Instagram is a great way of making them shine up. Instagram, a company of Facebook, is one of the fastest growing social media in recent years. Studies show that about 47% of all content featured in Instagram user newsfeeds is from people they do not know. Sounds like a huge opportunity for brands, doesn't it? Take advantage of Instagram to create and maintain your brand awareness in a unique, recognizable way.
Twitter is seen as the "chatroom" of social media – it is mostly used for receiving and sharing information about what's happening in the world. Businesses use it to share info about important events, connecting with target groups and building stronger and more reliable relationships with them. Use Twitter to engage with your audience by tweeting, retweeting , liking, replying, etc. Follow influencers and share useful content with them.
For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a good option. For some businesses, options like Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, Snapchat, Pinterest and the like can be very useful, too.
Interact with customers and give them stellar support
Make sure you have a "Leave a Comment", "Ask a question", or anything of that sort section on the webpages of your products – this is a great tool that is useful both for your clients and for you. For customers, it is an easy-to-access straightforward way to inquire and make remarks, which, in turn, allows you to improve your offering and service. React to comments and questions as fast as you can – this will help build trust in your brand and show people that you really care. Even if you have a grumpy client, don't be rude – be as informative and polite as possible!
Stay tuned for the latest exciting news about Microweber CMS & Web Builder and don't forget to tell us what you need, like or dislike in our Forum, Suggest a Feature section or get in touch with us directly!