E-commerce is no longer a new thing. The convenience that online shopping provides has made it a standard household activity. But with the rising demand for shopping convenience there has also been an influx of new e-commerce businesses; which means one thing: fierce competition.
So how can you boost online sales? Here’s a look at a few simple ways:
1. Create a safe browsing experience
Nothing is more distressing than browsing through a website that is not trustworthy and secure … especially if you’re selling products and capturing sensitive customer data.
Make user experience (UX) a top priority. A “UXMag.com article reminds us that we have to ‘think about security and design as complementary halves of a unified whole,’ and to that end, keep design principles in mind, always,” according to Digital Telethapy.
One of the easiest ways to start is to lace all transactions in your website with SSL, which “stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a method used to secure and encrypt sensitive information like credit cards, usernames, passwords, and other private data sent over the Internet.” A website that is secured by an SSL certificate will benefit from improved search engine rankings.
You can even go a step further and get an Extended Validation (EV SSL) certificate. An EV SSL certificate legally certifies that a website has a verified legal identity. It offers the highest available levels of trust and authentication to your website. Security is a top priority for online shoppers, so it should be one for your e-commerce company too.
2. Encourage online shoppers to stay awhile
If you want to encourage people to spend more time on your website, ensuring a professional image is essential.
A website that looks like it means business would put its best foot forward in terms of design, product, incentives, customer service, mobile apps, etc.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Customers may stumble upon a website via an online search, lured by deals, but what makes them stay is the user-friendliness and an appealing website design. A website should be designed in such a manner that users enjoy browsing through it.
Visual appeal is important. Do not clutter the website. Create irresistible content. Chaos will easily put off interested buyers. It is important that a buyer can sail smoothly from product page, to the cart button and to the checkout button.
Make sure product pages are designed with high resolution photographs that represent the product correctly. For example, if a product is beige, make sure it looks beige on the product page and not red.
Simple details when overlooked can jeopardize a simple transaction and create negative customer reviews; making you seem incapable of delivering on your promises. Not to mention, 61% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
Sales and discounts
Your online marketing plan should map out regular incentives to entice customers to buy. Do online visitors get the stated value for every purchase? How do you reward loyal customers? These are questions that every e-commerce company must consider if long-term sales growth is a priority.
The trick here is to give buyers something that matters to them and is unique from your competitors. Research your ideal customers. Find out what interests them. For some customers, coupons with every purchase may work. For others, a loyalty program might be best. There are many creative ways you can add value.
Customers want their voices to be heard, especially as it relates to an online purchase.
How can customers inquire on the status of their delivery? Do you have a simple return/exchange policy that is easily accessible to shoppers? How easy is post-sale follow-up? Do you respond quickly and consistently to customers?
If these things are an afterthought, you are not winning their trust.
With the definition of convenience surpassing its own definition, thanks to advances in technology, it is not surprising that many customers prefer to shop directly from their mobile phones.
Internet Retailer reported that in 2015, U.S. mobile commerce sales was projected to total $104.05 billion. “Mobile commerce continues to gain momentum as a mainstream way for consumers to shop online. In fact mobile commerce now accounts for nearly one-third of all U.S. e-commerce sales, according to an analysis of data from Internet Retailer’s newly published 2016 Mobile 500.”
This makes it increasingly important for every e-commerce website to have a mobile-first design and a mobile app. If not, you’re leaving money on the table.
This article has been edited.
Jihn Siepen is a social media strategist and small business owner. He is a regular contributor to numerous online magazines and journals. He has been helping small business owners plan their strategies for success since 2009.
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