We all know the basics of e-commerce. Optimize your website inside out for conversions, create a great mailing list and work that list really well, get onto social media and make turn your fans into your new customers, get your website mobile friendly and so on. But with the multitude of things that an e-commerce business has to juggle on a day to day basis, it is quite easy to miss out on smaller details that are not screaming for attention right now.
Our job as marketers is to never allow any area of the business to fester into a problem child that suddenly throws a tantrum and catches everyone unawares.
Here’s a list of some important things that we sometimes forget to focus on in our e-commerce ventures.
1. Product Reviews and Social Proof
You have a beautiful website with great product shots, witty descriptions, perfect SEO, but the conversions are not so hot. What’s the missing link?
Customers like to shop around online before making a purchase decision. Make their decision easier for them by providing customer reviews. According to Monetate, 59% of online shoppers say that user generated product reviews have a significant or good impact on buying behavior.
2. Curated Collections
Selling your products is one thing. Inspiring your customers is a totally different thing altogether.
Create collections of items that are used together and hence can be bought together on your site.
While this is a great way of cross selling items on your site, it has the added benefit of painting you as an authority figure that can give tips for shopping smart online.
3. Multi-Channel Optimization
Today’s businesses are not, correction; cannot be restricted to just one platform or channel. With users being spoilt for choice between physical outlets, e-commerce stores, mobile commerce, social commerce and more; not being present where your customers are is the road to disappearing from your customers’ consideration set.
When you foray into various channels, unify all of them using simple tools that connect your inventory, sales numbers, invoices and customer data, and give you greater control over your operations.
4. Sign-in options
Forcing customers to create a new account on your site and only then allowing them to proceed with shopping is a by-product of over enthusiastic marketers who are keen on capturing as much customer information as possible using a sign in form.
However, these longwinded registrations have the effect of putting off customers and lead to higher cart abandonment rates. Move on to the benefits of web 2.0 with user data now being available not just from registration forms, but also through sources like social media, click tracking on site, cookies etc. Offer the following sign in options on your site
- Social Login – permitting customers to register on your site using their social media accounts. This mode of sign-ins give you access to the social information store in your users’ social media accounts.
- Single Sign In – for sites that have multiple avatars – geographically, language wise.
- Guest Checkouts – for customers who are in a real hurry and would rather just be done with their shopping ASAP.
5. Triggered Emails for Abandoned Carts
Abandoned shopping carts are an affliction all e-commerce businesses have to live with. According to the Baymard Institute, an average of 67.91% of all online shopping carts are abandoned midway through the shopping process. That’s staggeringly huge.
Most retailers do not have a plan to target these lost customers. But here are 2 compelling reasons why you should change that statistic. Adopt triggered emails reminding customers to complete the shopping in their abandoned carts:
- The Email Experience Council reported Click Rates 119% higher for triggered messages than “Business as Usual” messages in Q1 of 2012. (Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association)
- According to Getelastic.com, retailers earn $5 worth of revenue with every single cart abandonment email sent out.
6. Competitive Benchmarking
A crucial aspect of business that a lot of us skip or do not spend enough time over is competitive benchmarking. While it is important to focus on one’s own business, in today’s competitive e-commerce environment, it is hara-kiri to not know what your competition is up to.
Invest at least 10 minutes of your day in visiting the websites of your top 3 competitors. Check out what they are doing right, learn from the mistakes that they’re committing. Take a look at inventory that they may be carrying, which you don’t and try to fill in the gaps. Follow them on social media to stay on top of latest developments at their end. Use tools like Mozenda, to learn the inside story of your competitors’ sites.
7. An Updated Blog
Blogs are for service oriented companies, right? Wrong. A blog is one of the most powerful content marketing tool in your arsenal. After all, 61% of US consumers made a purchase based on a blog post!
A blog is essentially your soap box. You can use it to publish new information about the company, products or services. You own this little piece of the internet through which you can interact with your users, promote your products, make your products more searchable on the internet as well as build authority for your business thus bringing it more back links from other sites.
8. How-to Guides
A great way of positioning your brand as an authority in a field is to publish useful tutorials and guides in your area of specialization.
Users see such guides as important resources that help them in their day to day lives and the brand that gives these useful tips and tricks becomes a trusted friend. Users who regard your brand as an authority are more likely to return to your site and buy from you.
Electrical tool maker Black & Decker gives detailed guides on home improvement and D-I-Y home craftsmanship on its home page.
Running a successful e-commerce business is like running a triathlon on a daily basis. It requires diverse skill sets, great stamina and unyielding focus on the final prize – customer conversions and loyalty. It can be challenging and may not be everyone’s cup of tea; but then again, success only tastes sweet when it is hard won.