Top 10 rules for E-commerce success
E-commerce has now become a household name, far from its origins in the 1990s where it seemed like a dream to be able to buy quickly from your computer. E-commerce is incredibly popular, as was recently announced as expanded by the South African government under level 4 restrictions.
This is important because at the end of 2019, ecommerce sales were in the region of $3.5 trillion, with projections to reach almost $5 trillion at the end of 2021! Whether you’re involved in the industry or not, it’s easy to see that these colossal figures represent a large chunk of revenue that you could earn. Moreso, in many regions, online shopping is still in an early stage, with many more businesses expected to turn online in the not-so-distant future.
So, how do you go from newbie e-commerce owners to actually utilising some of the crazy traffic and hopefully, sales potential? We’re going to share some tips that can help your e-commerce business succeed.
- Don’t be too hasty when launching your website!
One of the biggest mistakes made by ecommerce owners is rushing to launch their e-commerce store when they haven’t done any work on it, besides for a quick ‘coming soon’ page, or domain reservation. You can only launch your website once, so you don’t want to waste this opportunity! In order for your launch to be successful, you should start to do some significant work ahead of your launch, such as SEO optimisation, social media advertising, building your list of email subscribers, content marketing and more!
- Have a clear focus for your store
While you might think you can become the next Amazon – with a catalogue to match – it’s actually not too smart to have a range of products that is too large when you start out.
Because the competition is quite large, it’s likely that there are already tons of other e-commerce businesses that are incredibly broad, and are successful. It’ll be hard to compete if you can’t add a niche or specific category to your products. This could mean that you have a lesser number of customers in your designated markets, but you’ll have a stronger potential to create a loyal customer base. As an example, if you wanted to sell mobile accessories, try to sell phone cases for a few select models at first, and then you can slowly move on to earphones and chargers, depending on your success.
- Use the power of social media and networking
In today’s times, social media can be seen as an integral component in your business’ success. It can give you a true look into the lives of your customers, and it’s important to be active and involved with social media.
One of the reasons that social media is so important is because people value the opinions of others, and will be much more likely to buy a product or service if they personally know someone who recommends it through a glowing social media review.
One of the ways to use social media early-on is to spend time building up a strong social media presence on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. You can also incorporate social media elements into your product listings.
- Drive traffic to your website
The success of your e-commerce websites rests on the fact that you need people to visit your website. Without this, the future of your business is in jeopardy. So, how can you drive traffic to your e-commerce store?
For beginners, two easy ways are to optimise your site for SEO and to create amazing new content. SEO optimisation can help your website rank higher on sites like Google and Bing, and publishing great content also helps with this, such as blog posts or articles. Think carefully about the kind of content that can help users of your product, such as gift guides, technical guides, comparisons, or amusing blog posts.
- Test everything on your website
We mean this quite literally. You should be testing and analysing your website from day one, even if you only have one landing page active on your site. The key to testing is that you’ll be thinking like your customers and therefore, gaining a better understanding of what works for them and what doesn’t. Things you can test include products, pictures, designs, copy, promotions, links, upsells and emails.
- Make sure your customer service is up to scratch
It’s crucial that your customers feel supported. The quality of your customer service is an important factor that will either hinder or contribute to the success of your e-commerce store. Over 50% of customers look to customer service interaction in order to decide on whether they’ll make a purchase – including repeat and new purchases. You have to ensure that your customer feels welcomed, listened-to and appreciated in order to convince them to stick with your brand.
Some of the ways you can offer superb customer support include being available throughout the day, sharing a phone number and email address for customer queries, or even a live chat or chatbot for instant communication regarding a few common/popular features on your website. You might craft a well-researched FAQ or Help pages that your customers can consult. One of the keys to good customer service is being fast, so make sure you prioritise speed wherever possible.
- Pay close attention to user experience
If you’re looking to run a successful e-commerce store, it’s important that you spend a lot of time fine-tuning the experience that web or mobile users will encounter when they visit your site. You may not have a physical store to allow your customers to actually touch and see your product, so your website will have to make up for that by being descriptive, easy to use and an overall enjoyable experience for your customers.
Some of the features that you will consider when thinking about your users include easy website navigation, making sure that your users can easily find the products or web pages they need at every step of the customer journey.
Your ordering and checkout process should be seamless for customers, regardless of how they access your store.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that your website is optimising for mobiles or mobile devices, as a large percentage of consumers shop from their phones or tablets.
Thirdly, your pages must load fast. As in, shorter than 3 seconds to load. This is the result of studies that indicate over 50% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load!
Finally, your website must be eye-catching and appealing to your users. It should have high-quality photographs of your products, a well-designed theme and branding, and overall congruent aesthetic.
Remember that users will be inclined to return to your site if they enjoy the experience of using your site!
- Track your analytics and interrogate your results
You have to monitor your progress – and one of the best ways of doing so is to track your sales and customers’ behaviour. One of the tools you can use is Google Analytics, which will provide you clear metrics about your store, including the number of site visits, the number of abandoned carts, the percentage of product sales and much more.
Continuously tracking your metrics can help you form long-term strategies on how to better communicate or engage your customers, and ultimately encourage more purchases. It’s imperative that you change your approach if it isn’t giving you the right results.
- Track your competitors
At the end of the day, customers are looking for the lowest prices while still demanding a satisfying experience in your store. You should be looking at what competing businesses are doing to attract customers to their store – maybe you can steal a trick or two. Do they have a promotion for 25% off? Your next sale should be 30% off. Do they have longer returns policies than you? Do they offer free shipping or collection? Do they have a larger range of products than you? Which social media platforms are they using to engage with their audience?
Understanding the advantages of your competitors can help you plan what you need to change in your own business strategy – so that you can attract new buyers and maintain your returning customers.
- Offer promotions or other incentives for your customers
As an e-commerce owner, you don’t have a hard limit that determines what you can or cannot communicate to your customers (as long as you’re truthful!). You can take advantage of this freedom by offering incentives to keep your buyers coming back to your store. Whether this is a discount or a birthday promotion, or an email round-up of bestsellers, you should be active in your communication with your buyers in offering them many different incentives to purchase from your store in particular.
We hope that our top 10 E-commerce rules for success helped you learn more about winning strategies for e-commerce owners. The key is to make sure your business offers your customers a personalised, enticing experience from the second they visit your website.
Do you need help getting started with e-commerce solutions for your own business? You should contact ShoppingFeeder, an all-in-one multichannel marketing solution that offers tailored solutions for e-commerce stores.