Let’s face it: Customers are increasingly turning to the Internet to make their purchases. In fact, eCommerce sales have increased by 16.4 percent year over year and are estimated to continue growing by at least 13.8 percent in the future. A successful eCommerce strategy requires more than a website where customers can purchase your products. The question isn't if you should take advantage of the eCommerce space, it's how you can capture a portion of the market.
Integrate Mobile Commerce
Nearly 50 percent of all Americans own a smartphone. Of those people, four out of five use their devices to shop. If your business doesn't have an easy-to-use mobile platform, you will likely see a significant drop in revenue over the next couple years. Offer services that are mobile-accessible such as real-time tracking on packages, store locater, product information and click-to-call.
Amazon does an excellent job of offering suggestions to their customers based on their last browsing and shopping history. While you might not have the same resources as Amazon, there is technology available that can capture shoppers' interests and preferences and then generate a product selection based upon this information. This information also allows you to segment your audience, which can help you create more effective targeted advertising campaigns. The more you can cater to your customers' needs and interests, the more likely they are to make purchases.
Improve Your User Experience
Look at your site from the customers' perspective and try to figure out how you can make their visit as pleasant as possible. If visitors have to jump through hoops to make a purchase, they'll likely drop out somewhere in the conversion funnel. Identify problem areas such as confusing text, button placement and page load time and figure out how you can improve them. One of the best ways to do this is to reach out to close friends and family that fit your target demographic. Take note of any recurring comments about your site and come up with a solution to fix these issues.
No online retailer can survive on one-time customers, and incentives are a great way to retain customers while obtaining new ones. People are always on the lookout for a deal so offer some discounts or promotions for returning and new visitors. If you want to attract potential customers, announce these incentives on your social media networks. One of the best ways to get people to act immediately is to have a time limit on these promotions. If they see that they might miss out on a good deal, customers are more likely to make a purchase.
Communicate with Your Customers
Social media has changed the way that people approach companies and now many expect a certain level of interaction. Make sure that you have some kind of presence on social media, whether it's Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Not only will you be able to update your audience on any new information, they can also reach out to you directly if they had any complaints or problems. Consumers want to see that you are listening to them, so keeping an open line of communication will ultimately improve customer loyalty.
There is no quick way to significantly improve your eCommerce strategy overnight. Effective marketing takes time, effort and a good deal of testing to find the right balance for your demographic. For best results, try to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and pinpoint exactly what they want and need from your site. Does your site layout and design reflect your audience? Is your point of sale software straightforward and easy to use? Do you accept bitcoin payment, which will only broaden your customer base? Is there any reason for one-time customers to return? Answering these questions should help you address what's good and not so good about your current strategy.
Author: Owen Andrew