E-commerce is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for brick and mortar retailers. While selling online is a wise decision, operating an online store has it’s own challenges. Unlike offline selling, online selling changes the rules of game in many ways and smart retailers need to follow these new rules to succeed.
Here is a concise guide help you understand 12 proven strategies to help you succeed and excel in e-commerce business:
1. Create a unique online brand
Having a good online brand is not optional, it’s a necessity if you are aiming big. Get your online store designed and styled to match your business. 39shops’ handy design engine makes it extremely flexible to help you create a unique online brand.
2. Product photography
The biggest game changer in online selling is the fact that your customers can’t see the goods physically while they are shopping. It absolutely important to get the best photographs for your products. Best online retailers have at least 2-3 different angles for each product so that customers get a good idea about the product, simply by looking at the image.
3. Write product description
The only way for someone shopping online to get a good idea about the product is by reading it’s description. Write good product description free of grammatical mistakes. Provide as much details as possible in fewer words. Better product understanding = more purchases.
4. Prominent shopping and checkout buttons
Make it easy for your customers to find the ‘Add to cart’ and ‘Checkout’ buttons. These are the two most important buttons your shopper should be able to spot even from a distance. Make it extremely intuitive for them to click on the button. Have the colors of these buttons bright and differentiated such that they stand out from the rest of the interface.
5. Quick Product discovery
Let your products be discovered naturally and quickly by the customer in your product catalog. 39shops has built-in product filtering engine that allows your customers to narrow down their choices. You can also use ‘related products’ and ‘last viewed products’ features to ensure that your customers can purchase more products by deploying up-sell and cross-sell strategies.
6. Branded Checkout
Checkout page should radiate trust and it’s important that your checkout page is consistent with the rest of the online store. Match your checkout page in tune with the look and feel of your online store. 39shops has a handy styling file to help you customize your checkout page to match with stores aesthetics.
7. Online customer service
Show customer service contact numbers and e-mail addresses prominently on the website, and more specifically on the shopping cart and checkout pages. These are the places where shoppers have the most questions and they may want to contact you. Clearly mention approximate shipping and delivery periods in your shopping and checkout pages as well as order confirmation e-mails. Such information re-assures shopper that they are buying from someone who cares and they can rely on.
8. Shipping and return policy
Put up a well-defined shipping and return policy which is consistent with your customer service philosophy. Write these policies in a clear and concise manner so that your customers can read, understand and interpret them correctly. You don’t need to create long legal documents with complicated set of rules. Your policies should be a set of simple guidelines customers can read and follow. Such policies become helpful at the time of distress when something didn’t go well with a customer.
9. Under-commit, Over-deliver
Shipping and delivery are the most critical aspects of your e-commerce presence. Always ship your products as fast as you can and ensure that the product reach at least one day earlier than the originally committed time. If you promise your customer 4 days delivery period and she receives the merchandise in 3 days, you’ve just delighted them. If you are not able to ship products on time, communicate, apologize and re-assure the new delivery period. Shipping is a powerful weapon through which you can delight your customers very easily. Use 39shops order processing interface to quickly and efficiently process orders. Always print invoice and include it with the merchandise. You can also include small goodies along with your product package to delight your customers.
10. Be in touch
Keep in regular touch with your customers through an e-mail marketing software. Send periodic e-mails based on customer’s purchase patterns and ensure that they come back to you to buy more. Aim to delight customers through your e-mails instead of hard selling. A few delighted customers will bring few hundred more and the value cycle will continue to grow organically.
11. Keep it fresh
Ensure that your online store is shuffled regularly with new products and there is always something new for customers to see when they visit your store. Things change online faster and you need to keep up the pace. Ideal frequency to shuffle your product collection is one week. If your customers find same products or promo banner on your home page after one month, they will start looking you with some skepticism. Keep your online store fresh and a happening place!
12. Measure & improve
Study your visitors statistics using tools such as Google Analytics. Try to understand where your customers are coming from, what do they look for, where are they clicking (click patterns) and what are they shopping for. Once you measure these parameters, you can optimize the shopping experience based on visitor behaviors and improve conversions. There are no standard rules here. Simply experiment, implement, rinse and repeat.
These 12 strategies are the key towards building and running a long-term successful e-commerce business.
If you have further questions, contact us now. We are committed to help you deploy the right tools and strategies for your e-commerce success.