In the current climate when the pandemic has resulted in the shutting down of brick and mortar shops, restaurants, and more across the world, it’s a good time to question what the future has in store for businesses who rely on a steady influx of customers /footfalls to succeed. We’re seeing long-time retail brands, fashion or otherwise, close shop – a phenomenon we would have never seen coming a decade ago. E-commerce is thriving, and in the process, it’s eating up the retail world right now.
But there’s also heavy competition in the e-Commerce sector. With most retail businesses going online and new digital businesses popping up every day, the competition in the digital marketplace is tougher than ever. And there’s more than one battle that digital entrepreneurs need to win if they want to succeed. It’s estimated that around 80% of eCommerce businesses struggle to survive. Or grow. And there are many reasons why it’s harder to retain customers or build long-term loyalty with customers online. Your customers may find it difficult to navigate your website, you may fail to create ample top of mind recall, hence lack of loyalty or returning customers, or, sometimes it could be to do with your product/service value.
However, the eCommerce economy is bound to grow significantly in the coming years, and if you want to turn your eCommerce business into a massive business, we have a few quick tips that may help massively.
1) A robust and optimized website
Ensure your website is easy to navigate, has clear product images and descriptors, accessible for everyone, and most importantly, the process to load cart and checkout is simple. Most importantly, ensure your eCommerce website is compatible across devices and loads faster as most digital customers are mobile customers, and everyone’s getting used to getting whatever they need online, fast.
In addition to a robust and technically sound website, your eCommerce may benefit well from a sound search engine optimization strategy. From your homepage to your product pages and descriptions, blog, etc. – when your website contains quality content that is optimized for your most important keywords, it makes it easier to improve page rankings on Google and other search portals, which in turn ensures that when your customers are looking for products and services like yours, they see your website and offerings before your competitions’.
2) Digital and Social Presence
It’s crucial to understand who your target audience is and where your customers are hanging out online. A lot of eCommerce portals end up spending lots of their marketing budgets on social media ads that may not bring any return on investments as Facebook or Instagram are just not the right mediums for their products or services. For example, if you’re a clothing or accessories brand, social media ads may work really well for you as you can target audiences as per their interests, gender, and more. However, if you’re looking to get leads to sell a car insurance policy, you may be better off investing your marketing budgets on google ads that’ll specifically target people who may search for similar products and services. The right marketing experts will ensure they research your products and services and will find the right medium of advertising for you.
In addition to an ad campaign strategy and robust social and digital presence, ensure your website has the necessary plug-ins with social media sites, so your customers can stay connected with you on different portals. Moreover, if you’ve got a lead capturing page, or your get your visitors’ emails during log-in, or the shopping process, it may be worth investing in email-marketing campaigns from time to time.
3) Collect information
Every eCommerce business thrives on leads it generates, either directly via the website or landing page, or using paid ads. If your website has a form that needs to be filled in to access certain information, offers, etc. make sure you keep it short and to the point. it’s critical that you collect customer information and build databases to aid future product launches, marketing, and offer promotions.
4) Reliable customer support
The success and future of your eCommerce business greatly depend on how well you manage to handle customers who’re unsatisfied or potential customers who are looking for information on your products and services. It’s very important that you make it easy for both new and regular customers to contact you. It’s better to have online chat and email options with revert time frames printed on your ‘contact’ page. If you can offer phone support, make your hours explicitly known even before a customer gets on the call. And most importantly, invest in thoroughly training your chat support staff.
Top tip: your return policy and a customer’s experience when returning your goods or expecting a refund for services can massively influence your future business. After all, you want every customer to have a positive experience from your business. Keep your return and refund policies clear and reasonable. And see if you can offer free shipping or returns to make your customers’ experience more pleasant.
5) Building trust and good customer reviews
Last, but still equally important – ensure you’re building trust with your customers, and in turn getting glowing reviews from them. Any eCommerce will do well not to underestimate the power of user reviews and customer testimonials. With growing competition and easy accessibility to multiple business players, your customers have more choices than ever. It’s important that you gather as many positive reviews as you can, not just on your website, but on google reviews, and social media sites too. Remember to address each and every review and reach out to people who may not have had a very positive experience with your business. In the end, it’s the impression you make that counts. And when your customers have a positive experience with your brand, they automatically turn into brand ambassadors. Whether it is by leaving positive reviews from time to time, or by talking you up to their friends and family.
The days of brick and mortar are slowly fading, and in the next decade or so we’ll see more businesses growing online – eCommerce is here to not just stay, but flourish. So, embrace our top 5 tips and make it easier for your customers to find you, use your website, and easily reach that shopping cart at the end of their user journey. Transparency, honesty, and emotions in the whole process are the key to your eCommerce’s success. Stay active online and keep the communication with your target audiences going, whether it is on social sites, or an online ‘community’ or ‘blog’ on your own website. Remember, at the end of the day you’re not just building a business, but a legacy.