In order to have a successful eCommerce business, your website must provide customers with an easy-to-use graphical interface that is beautiful to look at, is well-designed in its functionality, and is a pleasure to navigate through. If your website is slow to load, has poor quality images, has product demos that do not work, and a design that feels uneven or is laid out in a poor fashion, you are not going to give your customers a good experience. Your customers may come away thinking that you do not care about them or the fact that they are willing to spend money with you, if you do not use the best eCommerce practices.
So, let’s take a look at what type of practices you can implement to help make your customers happy and boost your sales volume.
What elements make up the interface of a website? Mostly images and text, which are knitted together into a cohesive, coherent, and beautifully made template design. Since we rely heavily on our visual sense when we use the internet to browse websites, it is only natural that images tend to speak more to us as shoppers. When we are searching for a particular product or browsing in general, a product that is accompanied by a high-quality image of it, is always going to engage us and draw us in over a product title, customer reviews, a product description. This is why you want to use multiple, high-quality, images of your products to draw your customers into your website and into what you are selling.
In addition to this, a website that has its own images is always going to do better than a website that uses stock photography to sell a product. The reason for this, is when you use your own images, you can build these images around your company’s branding, making you instantly recognizable for the imagery you present. For example, a beverage company that uses their own product images alongside a campaign that blends their product with their company colors and text, is going to be way more engaging and likable than a beverage company that uses a stock photo. You can’t get a feel for what the product actually is from a generic stock photo and thus, you won’t sell as much.
While fantastic looking product images are going to pull your customers in, you also want to use product demos to actually showcase how a product works in order to positively impact your customers’ buying decision. One way of doing this is by integrating video reviews of your products into your website and hire actors to play the part. This will place your goods in front of your customers in real time and it goes above and beyond traditional marketing methods.
Another way you can use your website’s interface to your advantage is by including product dimensions and product packaging details. You can either include a sizing chart, or you can allow customers to use a virtual module to see if their everyday items will fit into the product you are selling. This works really well if you are selling backpacks, purses, handbags, or clutches. It also may be advantageous to show off how the product looks in its packaging, as this gives you the opportunity to show off additional accessories, or whether the product comes with a gift box. This works really well with eCommerce websites that sell items that are commonly gifted, like wrist watches or jewelry.
One of the most infuriating aspects about a website that is lacking a home button or a back button on their website, is that it makes it very difficult to get back to a previous page or move between product categories. When you have an eCommerce website with a large catalogue of products, you want customers to be able to jump between the product types quickly, seamlessly, and with ease. So, make sure that you build your navigation menus with this in mind. One way of making your navigation menus easier to use, is by extending your navigation menu bar to include more than parent categories. For instance, if you are a clothing store, don’t just include a Kids, Men, and Women section but also include categories like Bags, Jewelry, Gifts, Lingerie, and Shoes.
An absolute must is to include filters, so that customers can find exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Filters make it so that customers do not have to look through every single category in your navigation menu, as they can simply check off which filters work for the product that they are looking for. Again, if you are a clothing eCommerce store, a set of filters should include brand, size, occasion, and type. You may also want to offer advanced filters like material types, designers, product compatibility, closure styles (think zippers), themes, pricing, and special features like whether a product is eco-friendly. Another way to filter items is by offering customers the ability to favorite their preferred type of product either by brand, designer, or category type, and then all they have to do is head on over to their preferred list to get product recommendations.
You cannot have an eCommerce website with a large catalogue that does not include product descriptions. The thing with product descriptions is that they are usually very dull and only give you the sizing, or technical aspects of a product. This does not necessarily encourage the customer to actually purchase the item because it doesn’t foster a connection between the customer and the product. To fix this issue, market your product descriptions as if you are talking to another human being and appeal to the customer’s emotional side. For instance, if you are selling an air fryer, it may be better to explain to the customer that they will get a ton of diverse and delicious meals out of the appliance and then move onto the technical specifications.
Another way to personalize your eCommerce website is by providing your customers with a viewing history of previous products that they have looked at. This recommendation type structure keeps the customer on the website and viewing items that they would have similar interest in. For example, if a customer views an air fryer, having an air fryer cookbook, recipes, or a similar appliance like an Instant Pot would be a good way to personalize your customer’s experience.
An example of how Netflix provides personalization is through their recommended shows that are taken strictly from categories that are similar to previous content that you have watched. By doing this, they offer personalized content that suits your tastes, and keeps you using their service. It also protects you from viewing content that you would otherwise hate.
Do not forget about including customer reviews and opinions. One of the first things that customers look for when looking at a product are the reviews. If a product is well-rated, they are more likely to spend more time evaluating the product for purchase. By including customer reviews on your website, you can also build up loyalty and trust with your customers and gives you the ability to respond to customers in a professional way that shows that you care about their opinions.
One of the reasons why customers like to shop online is for the convenience of the experience. But the only way that it ends up being better or more advantageous for the customer is if there are goodies involved. For instance, free shipping is one goodie that customers love to take advantage of because it makes it way easier for them to actually hit the green-go button on the purchase, if they know that it is saving them time without any extra monetary expense. When shipping rates are expensive or are displayed at the end of the shopping cart experience, customers are going to abandon their carts. To get around this, either offer free shipping, or build shipping price into your products so that the only increase in the final price is for taxes. The less additional fees one sees at checkout, the more likely they are to make the purchase.
When you provide guest checkout options that don’t require the need for an account, mobile payments, and a simplified checkout process that does not ask the customer 20-questions (remember those multi-page checkout carts?!), you are far more likely to increase your sales. The best way to simplify the checkout process is with mobile payment processors, as these allow customers to quickly pay for foods in both online and offline stores.
One way to differentiate your online eCommerce website from your competitors is by offering signature or premium packaging options that make your products look beautiful when they are shipped. While a lot of eCommerce websites that offer luxury items do this, regular eCommerce websites can too, and it is a great way to play on customers’ emotions. When a customer can get their product in tailored packaging, this makes them feel unique and special. Another, smaller and cheaper way to do this, is to offer gift messages with orders.
By offering free samples of your products to your customers, not only do you introduce them to your product range, but you also foster a sense of importance and loyalty within the customer. Customers may also be more willingness to spend more on your products as a way of saying thank you for your free sample generosity. Another great way to go about this is by letting your customers actually select a range of products to sample from, as they are more likely to pick an item that they are interested in buying and may enjoy the sample so much that you convert them into a stable and converting customer.
When you generate positive customer experiences on an ongoing basis, that customer is more likely to feel loyal to your brand because they can trust you and the products that you provide. For new customers who are not familiar with your brand or range of products yet, offering a loyalty program is a good way to encourage them to adopt the mentality that repeat transactions will result in a positive experience. While many companies look at loyalty programs as a channel for giving away product, it is rather, a channel for creating strong customer relationships. Examples of loyalty programs include point-based systems that can be redeemed for discounts or a tiered-based system that rewards based on which loyalty tier the customer is in. You can also combine these to create a hybrid loyalty program, but always remember to make the program easy to understand.
Referral programs are extremely powerful, in that they can be one of the most effective ways to touch base with new customers through your existing customer base. It is a great way to use the loyalty that you’ve built up with your current customers, to find new leads and new audiences. With referral marketing, the sales that you earn will come from those connected to your current customers, like their friends, family members, or colleagues. In most cases, referrals will either come from word of mouth or from social media channels.
An example of a typical referral program is when one customer signs up their friend for a paid account of some kind, and they receive points that can be used or redeemed for a paid account of their own (Evernote does this). Another type of referral program is offering both the customer and the person they are referring a voucher for a specific amount of money in exchange for doing something, such as booking a trip for the first time.
The influencer market is definitely something that you want to tap into as an eCommerce business as it provides you with another avenue for generating traffic and reaching a large audience. Influencers generally have the trust of a large following due to the credibility that they have built up over time in reviewing products and services. While an influencer does not have to be a celebrity, there are celebrity influencers out there. When an influencer makes a recommendation for a product or service, their audience is likely to listen and purchase as a result of their recommendation. This can be a fantastic way to boost sales and market to a large target audience.
You will generally see influencer marketing occur around a lot of food product goods, supplements, and clothing. It works by giving away a free product to an influencer and asking them to review the product and give information about it to their following.
While E-Commerce can be a challenging experience due to the fact that you must generate traffic, find new leads, and convert customers that are retainable, there are plenty of methods and practices that you can use both on your website and through programs, that will help you boost your sales. Just keep in mind that you want to provide a very seamless and smooth shopping experience that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and easy to use and combine this with free goodies, discounts on shipping, and loyalty programs.
At Let’ Nurture, we create customer-friendly and responsive Ecommerce applications for the full suite of iOS, Android and Windows devices. For more details and queries regarding E-commerce Application development, please get in touch with us.