In this article, we will look at the eCommerce best practices that allow you to earn the trust of site visitors, making them not just another buyer, but a real fan of your eCommerce website.
eCommerce is not just about an online store. It is an entire industry structured for the sale of goods and services over the Internet. This includes all financial and commercial transactions carried out using computer networks and the business processes associated with such transactions. eCommerce unites all platforms and services where payment is made online. First and foremost, online stores accept electronic payments. An online store is an object of electronic commerce and is a virtual analog of a physical store.
It is logical that the cost of maintaining an eCommerce store is very different from the cost of maintaining a physical store, since it often involves the absence of sales space and sellers in the traditional sense.
eCommerce involves both the sale of products directly from a warehouse as well as through drop-shipping; a method in which the buyer places an order with an online store, and the latter transfers the order to the manufacturer or wholesaler, who in turn processes the order and sends it to the buyer.
It’s no secret that creating an online store has many advantages. ECommerce websites do not require their owners to find retail space, hire employees or purchase checkout equipment, and customers in such a store can get the product or service they want with just a few clicks.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly the concept of eCommerce includes today:
Why did the development of eCommerce become such a revolutionary step in the economy, fundamentally changing the means of interaction between the seller and the buyer?
First, it is worth noting that online transactions have captured a massive layer of people around the world — those who couldn’t shop in physical stores for various reasons.
ECommerce has become the impetus for the development of many small businesses — the technology allows them the opportunity to capture new markets and regions.
Another benefit of eCommerce is the cost savings, as companies don’t have to maintain brick-and-mortar stores.
On the downside, it’s important to highlight the reduction in face-to-face interaction with the buyer, the occasional glitches in technology, and the lack of physical testing and verification of goods before purchase.
The development of marketplaces in the digital space and their increasing accessibility allows reducing production and trading costs and saving time, which explains the massive growth of the eCommerce industry. But eCommerce has both advantages and disadvantages.
|ECommerce Advantages||ECommerce Disadvantages|
|Availability anywhere in the world||Dependence on server operation|
|Availability 24/7||High competition|
|Reduced store maintenance costs||High promotion costs and the need to understand digital marketing|
|Work monitoring||Problems with delivery|
|Risk reduction||Inability to physically interact with the product before purchase|
|Sale of intangible goods||Customer confidence|
ECommerce disadvantages include dependence on the website and the server(s) on which content is located, or problems with delivering that content, particularly with respect to global distribution. But every day it becomes obvious that despite any risks, more and more people are willing to spend money via online stores. Thus, the only real issue for owners of eCommerce websites is competition.
By launching your eCommerce website, you are entering the fight for consumer attention and loyalty. The buyer always pays attention to details. Every so often, it only takes a few minutes for a customer to decide to make a purchase in your store, or close a tab on your site and forget about it at that very moment.
The first thing an eCommerce website visitor sees is the home page. It is at this point that you can make the first impression on customers. It’s crucial that your homepage is (and remains) easy to navigate. At this stage, it is important not to let your user get lost among the many buttons and banners, and to focus their attention as much as possible. This focal point could be a singular call-to-action button to interact with a promotion or catalog. It is the moment when you should present your value proposition to visitors.
Remember that when optimizing your homepage, you should aim to capture the attention of the buyer within the first few seconds, as well as to make it as easy as possible for them to further interact with your site.
So, your customer clicks onto the site, gets past the home page and starts browsing the directory. At this stage, it’s also critical to make it easy for website users. Too many category pages in a catalog can confuse a customer or even make them forget what they are looking for in your site.
If you are offering a limited number of products or services, the search bar or product filter may not be as important to you. But if you are transacting on hundreds and thousands of goods, it becomes vital. There is nothing worse than forcing a client to flip through hundreds of category pages searching for the required item or service.
The introduction of a search bar, navigation bar or a panel for filtering products according to the characteristics desired by the client will be the best solution for a large eCommerce website.
As we have already mentioned, a server failure on which your website is located can become an unexpected problem in the operation of your site and cause loss of time and money.
But even without major disruptions, slow page loading will cause your eCommerce site to drop in conversions because buyers don’t like to wait.
Don’t be afraid to invest in quality web hosting; it will definitely pay off.
The ideal option for the checkout process would be to provide the client with the opportunity to place an order on one checkout page. If transitions cannot be avoided, try to simplify the process and reduce their number as much as possible.
Ideally, the checkout page must be able to provide the client with data on possible forms of payment and delivery costs at the initial stages of placing an order.
You may think it’s a good idea to require an eCommerce site visitor to register and create an account before they can make an order, but that’s not the case. The need to create a profile on the site will only alienate your potential audience.
Give new visitors the opportunity to purchase your product as simply and quickly as possible so that they can appreciate your service and get a positive shopping experience. And then offer to have them create an account. If the buyer decides to use your services on a permanent basis, then they will certainly prefer to get the features that you offer to users with an account (for example, one-click ordering).
Unforeseen expenses and excessively high delivery costs are the main reason to leave an already completed shopping cart.
Buyers can really be put off by the extra amount they see next to the amount of their order. You can increase the price of your items to cover shipping costs. Customers will respond more favorably to the total order value, and you will avoid cart abandonment.
Do not write huge texts and go overboard with epithets. No matter what product you are selling, the description on product pages should always be clear, high quality, and up to date. Materials, size, key characteristics — such information will be useful for the buyer.
Try to cover as much as possible all the different payment methods that the potential audience of your website may want to use. In addition to paying by credit card, don’t forget about such methods as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal.
About half of all consumers begin the shopping process by looking for a store on Google. Focus on the search engine optimization of your ecommerce website. Everything is simple here: if your website is not in the top positions of Google results, a potential client will go to the site that is.
Problems when placing orders are inevitable, and at such times your customers will need help. Make sure customers can get help as soon as they require it via phone, email, or chatbot.
Support workers should be friendly and, of course, trained to solve problems quickly.
When buying a product through an internet website, the client cannot touch or see it before purchase. This aspect sometimes makes people refuse to buy online. But it is in your power to provide store visitors with high-quality pictures of goods from different angles.
If you want to really market your business effectively, you have to learn all the steps a potential buyer goes through in your sales process. By knowing these steps and how long it takes to complete the sales cycle on your eCommerce website, you can see the pros and cons of this process, which will help you identify advertising platforms and optimize your marketing strategy.
Research and testing will be required to obtain these data. Only then can you move on to building a strategy and implementing specific solutions.
Time passes and trends change. The site that you launched ten years ago will only cause a condescending smile today from modern and sophisticated buyers. And it’s not just about user experience, it’s about interface. Website design trends are constantly changing.
In a worst-case scenario, the potential client will feel real discomfort. Therefore, do not forget to follow the trends and update your eCommerce website design.
Blogging is one of the few internet avenues available to communicate with the client on various topics. Why does your website need it? At a minimum, this is a great opportunity to increase the activity on your eCommerce site, which will lead to higher positions in search engines.
In addition to a blog, there are other types of content marketing, such as creating guest posts on other sites and relevant blogs or providing links in articles on information portals.
These practices will allow you to become more than just a store in the minds of your audience.
Social media is one of the most cost-effective advertising platforms. But you should not be limited only to launching commercials and rare publications. Social networks are the platform where you can deploy a real marketing strategy and create an informative occasion for discussing the brand that is you and your store. Naturally, within the norms of ethics. Remember that a positive reputation is the main value of any brand.
Don’t ignore the positive feedback you receive from satisfied customers. Spend time communicating with customers, thereby showing care, and they will return to you. Share customer reviews with a potential audience, and they will come to you. Most importantly, let it be real reviews of real people. Believe us when we say, if you attempt to do otherwise, the audience will definitely figure you out.
More than half of consumers prefer mobile shopping because it is more efficient and saves time. Mobile apps are faster, provide you with additional ways to interact with your audience, such as push notifications, and significantly increase the interest and trust of your audience.
Sometimes (or rather, very often) people come to the eCommerce site who are not ready to buy something right now or do not see the right product in stock. One of the best practices is to add the ability for your website visitors to populate a wishlist. Now you know exactly what products your customers want and need.
Plus, it’s a great way to keep a customer, avoid cart abandonment and increase sales and conversions. As soon as something happens with the desired product (discount, availability in stock, test opportunity, etc.), send a notification to the user. They will then remember that they wanted to buy this product from you.
Online stores have always attracted intruders seeking a source of user data. DoS/DDoS attacks are popular among attackers, both to disable your site and as a tool for blackmail. Ask users to create strong passwords and implement a two-factor authentication system to protect your customers and your reputation.
Today, eCommerce is an integral part of the modern economy. eCommerce stores do not require their owners to search for retail space, hire employees or buy cash registers. The development of digital technologies and the internet has greatly simplified our lives, and online selling has firmly entered into it.
So, it is obvious that the eCommerce industry will only develop further in the future. Despite the presence of some disadvantages, the ability to order the necessary goods from anywhere in the world, using only a computer or phone, attracts more and more buyers. It’s only a matter of time before issues such as delivery problems or not being able to see the item before purchase are resolved.
The only truly significant aspect will remain competition. Over the ensuing years, competition will only gain momentum. After all, there are already a huge number of internet stores and a lot of marketing moves to attract the attention of the consumer. Remember, when you launch your eCommerce site, you are in the fight for consumer loyalty.
We looked at eCommerce best practices, but each project requires an individual approach. But what’s the best way to find it?
Developing a marketing campaign to promote the brand of a new store is a painstaking and time-consuming process. How you interact with your audience depends on your industry and product. It is important to consider the persona of your potential buyer, their lifestyle, their habits, etc., for a more comprehensive picture.
You will have to analyze, test, and experiment to find exactly what works. But you will, as a reward for all the hard work, get a strategy that will be ideal for your project and that will boost your business. If you want to keep up with the times and take your business to the next level, IntexSoft specialists will help you along the way. Contact us for a free consultation!