Everyday a customer’s experience with the marketplace becomes more mobile, social and visual, which helps to improve the process for customers and complicate the process for business owners trying to keep up with latest developments in e-commerce as they grow their business.
There are many features that will distinguish your ecommerce website from that of your competitors and many important elements that will go a long way in making your site the preferred ecommerce retailer. But it is important to focus your efforts in the beginning to ensure you can scale your business online to add more features in the future.
Users nowadays prefer to have a site that educates, engages, provides some sort of instant gratification and makes your website look good in the process too.
Here are nine best practices for improving your ecommerce website and taking your business to a new level:
1 – Use Attractive Pictures for your products and services
Having beautiful photo doesn’t mean you need to hire a really expensive photographer, but it does mean a time investment in capturing the right photos of your various products or services to help people to look through your offerings and buy. Product photos should give a high level view of a product, as well as a close up detail shot, as well as multiple different angles (like 360 degree) of the item to ensure a person can see as much of it as possible since they are shopping online.
2 – Merchandise your product and services
Your sites interface is going to be the first impression to your customer (and potential investors) and the seller/ traders. So it’s obvious that the site should be easy to work on with a rich visual effect that loads quickly. While there are some sites that set a benchmark in simplicity of user interfaces, it’s best to consider that your ecommerce site should focus on key elements that work.
Merchandising is all about designing an enjoyable experience for you customers to ensure that your website is usable for their shopping needs. Make sure all the relevant information about your products and services is eye-level in every category and that you’re never making your customers search for the information they need to make an informed decision about your product.
3 – Make your website user friendly and easy to navigate
An ecommerce website begins with dependable hosting and an ineffaceable domain name. The selected online solution must have high speed servers. It should also ensure that your online business is always running. Additionally it should offer quick and easy set up with the domain name in order to make your ecommerce solution hassle-free and smooth. You must be able to meticulously manage inventory, maintain user profile and track orders. Clients appreciate sold out order alerts and inventory count. Some of the other important features include loyalty programs, ability to create and maintain coupon codes, discounts as well as change variables like sizes, colours and automatically calculate shipping costs and taxes. Use convenient mode of payment options include, mobile payments, credit cards, debit cards, Net banking and PayPal.
Ensure that the structure of your website is organized in such a way that it is both easy for visitors to browse and easy for search engines to understand. Submitting a sitemap of your existing structure can help the search engines better map out how your website is organized. This is important in terms of visibility. Organize your website into different high level categories and then from there, into smaller sub categories that fit within each larger category of your website.
4 – Provide one step ahead better customer service
Having world class customer service can help blow your competition out of the water with your customer base and improve each visitor’s experience with your website. When it comes to customer service, think outside the box and look into how you can improve the usability of your website by helping your customers throughout every part of the sales funnel. This is extremely important for your ecommerce business. Whether you have billing inquiries or require tech support, it is always disappointing when immediate customer service is not available. All ecommerce solutions do not have the same customer support; hence you must ensure that the one you pick is there whenever you need help. The more helpful your team is to your customers and the more information your customer base is empowered with, the more likely your customers will be happy with your company and purchase your offerings over others.
5 – Optimize your website for Search Engines
The best way to approach SEO for your ecommerce store is to ensure that your website structure is usable, you’re constantly creating content for your blog, and that you’re correctly naming the pages of your website with accurate keyword rich titles and descriptions that work for both the user and the search engines. Here your product will be seen alongside your competitors, so it makes sense to focus on getting this right. It’s not cakewalk and does require a good amount of smart tactics to squeeze the most out of these advertising options.
6 – Use PPC advertising as a balance to SEO
Pay per click advertising is similar to search engine optimization except it is paid ads. Pay per click advertising is present at the top of the search results for different groups of keywords that advertisers specify at the beginning of a campaign. The Google Special Offers like Merchant Promotions are a tried and tested Google Shopping feature on which ecommerce site/ product owners can promote their products. The tab is seen on the right hand side of the page in Google Search ads, usually displaying special offers or promotions along with the price, store and product details. When spending on PPC your ads turn on immediately, but they turn off just as quickly when the campaign is complete, losing all your company’s rankings for particular keywords that were paid for through PPC. Decide how to properly balance your SEO and PPC activities to get the most visibility and best value for your efforts.
7 – Use Social Media Marketing to connect with people and share your content
If you are struggling with social media, focus on three key areas: promotion, customer service, and measurement. Use major social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and blogs to promote your best content, products, and services a few times a week on each channel. Use social media to offer support to your customers and listen to what they have to say. It is not enough to share your content, but also interact with the content your audience is sharing about you. Read their reviews, check out their Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages to see what products are most liked/commented/shared, and check out what customer conversations are happening on Twitter and compare it to what you’re seeing with your own brand. The feedback can help you tailor both your marketing and merchandising efforts!
8 – Build a Genuine list of customers by Email Marketing
Give value to visitors and existing customers that are exclusive to your company’s email list to help incite sign ups. Begin by offering exclusive specials, sales, discounts, and content to email subscribers that can’t be found on your other marketing channels. Having a strong email list is important for the continued growth of your business because your email list is the most likely channel to convert subscribers into customers. Also the direct line of communication, a person’s inbox, is a powerful way of building a strong connection with your customer base that can help lead to long-term customer retention.
9 – Learn from your Competitors
Compare your product or service with a few of your close competitors to figure out if yours needs a little tweaking without having to lose its originality. This actually helps you achieve a better prospect in the market. There is always scope to improve on your ideas by contemplating their brochures, website, ads and pamphlets to understand their strategy of marketing, prices, discounts, and more. Try to gauge for the weakness of your competitor and check if you could stay on top of them in that particular area to use it for your value.
After a thorough investigation into the digital depths, you should have a solid understanding of where you and your competitors stand. Use your research to your advantage: learn how to be better! Run a better business, be a better member of your community, and have greater success online – however you measure it. Feel like a competitor is getting all the business in town? Learn from those who do it better, improve some things of those who do worse.