By the start of 2014, US shoppers have been spending more than $252 billion on online portals. With consumer experience getting more visual, social and mobile online retailers looking for new and innovative ways to keep up with the demands and make a mark in the market. Today it’s more about the convenience of shopping than the quality of the product. There are several ways you can give a unique experience to your customers.
Here, we have listed 10 best practices that retailers across the globe have been implementing on their online shopping portals.
1. Better graphics / photography to showcase products & services
Traditionally, people visited real shops, checked out products, took their time in ensuring they are served the best and came home satisfied. However, online shopping has increased the options and given rise to what we call as “comparison shopping”. People can choose from a wide variety of manufacturers and brands and get the best prices for their products. What they don’t get is the actual look and feel of their product. The only way to address this would be to have better quality photography that showcases every detail of the products, added graphic elements that improves the interaction and maybe a 3D view of products. In case of service, the story can be better told with the use of a video. This certainly would make an impact on the decision of the shoppers.
Merchandising impacts 2/3rd of all sales. Apart from maintaining consistency, merchandising can be helpful in improving the overall experience of customers. Grouping products into categories makes the search easier. It is more about relating and designing a platform that segregates and brings together a variety of products but in separate stores. It is the same thing as having separate floors for menswear, ladies wear and kids wear.
3. Easy navigation
Ecommerce websites should be such that both the customers and the search engines find it easy to navigate. When visitors are on the website, it shouldn’t take a complicated navigation to search the products they intent to look into or buy. As it is, they have several options and they wouldn’t hesitate switching to another portal for a more comfortable experience. Having a sitemap is one of the many things that you can have to smoothen out the experience. Consider having high level categories and smaller sub categories for a more intensive experience.
4. Exceptional customer services
Customers love getting attended to. Having an exceptional customer service is a sure shot way to get above your competitors and attract the maximum number of visitors. Try to think out of the box and list out every part in the sales funnel to integrate things that would help improve. A good example would be to use chat services like BOLDCHAT or LIVEPERSON to directly listen and solve queries of online customers.
5. Optimizing for search engines
The qualities of service and search engine optimization are related theories. The more popular a shopping website is, the more are the chances of it setting ranked higher in SERPs. However, search engine optimization also needs to be focused separately wherein you use keywords and high quality and useful content to make a mark in SERPs. A good way to ensure SEO is to have a highly constant website structure. Regular updates and new contents too can work to popularizing your website. If you are selling running shoes, have a high quality write up for the category and add a “call to action” for the related products.
6. PPC to help SEO
PPC will cost you a few extra bucks but it certainly will add on to the success of the SEO campaign. Pay per Click will advertise your products at the top of SERPs related to a query. PPC is more of a short term method for attracting visitors and customers but that’s the initiation that every shopping website requires once in a while.
7. Social media marketing
Social media platforms can do amazing things for online businesses. If you can connect even to a small group of people on social platforms like Facebook or MySpace, it will only take little time for your popularity to get viral. People love to talk about the great service they have experienced from a certain shop. Sharing these experiences voluntarily will immediately attract more traffic. Further, you can have an official presence in social media groups and pages (Facebook) to market your brand and the products. It is the cheapest way to gain popularity and it has been taking several businesses to stardom.
8. Email marketing
Having been on the online platform for a while, you would have a database of regular customers who check in. This database can have added significance on your marketing. You can begin by offering sales discounts, exclusive specials, and other festive discounts and money back schemes to loyal subscribers. This is a healthy way of promotion and you can expect a substantial amount of traffic from this effort.
9. A/B Techniques
A/B testing involves having two different versions of the same website and checking what appeals more to visitors. Many ecommerce businesses use this technique to judge the visitor attracting capacity of landing pages, web pages and different products and links therein. You can start by changing one variable at a time. Customers would be more than willing to give their feedback but it would be courteous to ask for permission and have an option to continue normally in case they don’t want to get into the process. A month of analysis can give you the required framework to stick to.
10. A consistent voice
It is highly essential for ecommerce websites to have a consistent voice throughout the website. Also known as web copies, it gives a voice, tone, personality and face value to the brand. You cannot speak about eco friendly products and snakeskin purses in the same websites.
Maintaining an ecommerce platform requires a great deal of understanding and constant learning. Make sure you are able to establish as a unique service provider.