E-commerce has grown substantially over the past few years – and why not! With minimal effort, stores that had access to thousands of people during limited hours now have access to hundreds of millions of potential customers, 24/7/365. That being said, an e-commerce is not for everyone – it requires a substantial investment and the payoffs are often long-term.
Before you decide whether your business would benefit from an online sales channel, let’s take a look at the top E-commerce trends:
Smart Phones and Consumer power
You know how it works: consumers have the power now more than ever to choose who they purchase from by conducting research, comparing reviews and searching for social media accounts to see what other people are saying about a company. Recently, there was a switch from mobile sites to apps, where consumers find it easier to make purchases. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to redesign their mobile site and settle for a mere mobile version of their website. This creates consumer frustration, specifically when the mobile site is not optimized for a small screen, has a slow network speed and unfamiliar terms. Turn this around for your business and focus on the best version of your mobile site. Shopify explains that 33% of orders came from a mobile device rather than a computer – a 12% raise from the prior year.
Quick Tip: Be sure to have mobile site that is responsive, user-friendly & easy to load and most importantly: treat your customers like kings & queens.
Free shipping, sale sections, discount codes and price protections are one of the many perks of E-commerce. Though your customers have to wait to receive their items (and sometimes it can take a while ), the price advantage is a major plus, not to mention the excitement they feel when they finally receive the package. Think about adding a Same-day shipping or in-store pickup option – it will definitely increase client satisfaction. Also, your customers will be able to purchase your products on-the-go or in the comfort of their own home.
Quick tip: offer sales and discount codes on your social media platform to encourage your customers to follow you and get awesome perks in return!
Now that there is a massive amount of competition online, think about going the extra mile to be differentiated with regards to your rivals – conduct research, keep an eye out for your competition and what they are doing, ask your customers what they want to see or expect from you. A/B testing is a very low-cost and effective tool you can use for your E commerce site, it is simply creating two versions of your site with different colors, design or placement of buttons to see which version generates higher ROI.
Quick tip: Try to be innovative with your website & mobile site to and focus on offerings that your competitors do not have.
Extensive return policies
A recent research was revealed on Shipwire where consumers preferred free shipping, online discounts and easy to use websites but shifted to a completely new preference: same-day shipping, scheduled delivery time and price drop notifications. All three of those new 2014 wants were relatively nonexistent in 2013 – a great example of the constant change in consumer needs. Note that the original three were still very present and in fact, grew substantially from 60% to 135%. Another plus is that your customers will be more comfortable buying from you if they know that they can return the item without a fuss and without a fee.
Quick tip: Make sure that your business understands consumer needs – even if they don’t generate great returns. Lack of the mentioned wants will result in less overall profit as your customers will not be happy.
Having customers who buy from you here and there is good – but what you really need to focus on with your E commerce site is to keep ‘em coming! Value is key to generating a loyal customer base. If they see enormous value in buying your products versus someone else’s, you win. Get personal with your loyal customers, share their stories with others, offer them perks that one-time purchasers don’t get. Remember how powerful WOM is and focus on never upsetting clients who have been standing behind you for years. All companies should know just how they are the backbone of their business.
Quick tip: Think long term and acknowledge the potential of having loyal customers, make them feel valued and exclusive.
Ready to take the e-commerce plunge? Let’s start with a conversation – contact us today to find out what your best move is!