As the internet continues to become a more and more essential part of our daily lives with every passing day, increasing numbers of people are beginning to show interest in starting an eCommerce business of their own in order to capitalize on the popularity of online shopping. While some of the basics of eCommerce may seem simple, there are a number of advanced tips and tricks that can be used in order to better appeal to customers, resulting in higher sales and better customer retention rate.
Those who shop online typically expect a certain kind of experience during their time on a site, much like they would expect a certain experience when walking into a brick and mortar store. If a store is not organized neatly with attractive displays and helpful staff, it is likely to lose business as a result of unmet expectations. This goes for eCommerce as well, and there are a number of ways a successful eCommerce business should appeal to customers in order to increase business.
The first set of expectations that must be met in order to maintain a successful eCommerce store involve the appearance and performance of the store itself. Some aspects of successful online businesses include:
- Fast and responsive pages that do not take extended periods of time to load.
- Pages that have infinite (or extended) scrolling, rather than short pages that must be re-loaded to reach the next page.
- Images of products being used by real customers, in addition to traditional studio photography.
- Honest product reviews that give an idea of the product's true to life quality.
When pages load quickly, customers are more likely to stick around long enough to see the next page. Most readers will leave a page if it takes more than a second or two to load, making it pertinent that all eCommerce stores load quickly if they wish to attract customers; this ties into the second point, as infinite scrolling is far more efficient to most buyers than having to switch pages to see another set of products. Finally, there should be some indication of the product's quality from other customers, as reviews and images are a key way to convert interest into sales. Customers are more likely to purchase an item with excellent reviews, so be sure to encourage buyers to review their product purchases after they have had a chance to use them
While the aesthetic and performance of the site are important to attract and retain customers, there are also a number of very practical ways the shopping experience can be made better for the customer:
- “Buy Now” buttons are a must, particularly on social media.
- Customer service should be reliable, friendly, and quick to respond.
- Each customer's experience should be personalized with recommendations and coupons.
- Payment options should be fast and secure, and there should be a number of ways in which customers can pay for their order.
- Same-day delivery is a must.
By incorporating all of the tips above, any eCommerce site can go from average to extraordinary in just a few weeks. Customers will appreciate having a responsive and enjoyable experience with the site, and will therefore be more likely to make and order, rather than abandon the store in favor of something better.