So, you’ve gone through all of the trouble of setting up an ecommerce store: You’ve picked out a solid eCommerce platform (although if you haven’t yet, check out Eden’s guide to choosing the best one), you know your audience well, and you’ve organized all of your products and services neatly on their digital shelves.
You may be expecting customers to come flooding through the doors lining up to make online purchases, but the “if you build it, they will come,” technique simply isn’t enough. Whether you are a seasoned business or new to the market, online stores require careful organization and constant maintenance in order to drive traffic and ultimately sales.
Here are a few essentials to consider in order to increase conversions and boost online sales:
1. Map Out the Customer Journey
As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, it is essential to be proactive when it comes to keeping an eye on how your customer shops. To help boost online sales, the first thing you need to do is to carefully map out the customer journey.
2. Categorize and Optimize Product Descriptions
There is nothing worse than searching for something online and stumbling upon a completely irrelevant selection of products and services. Believe it or not, even huge online stores are still making this mistake and costing themselves sales. Organize your products carefully, so that the customer can narrow down the search as closely as possible to what they are looking for. Once there, ensure that all images are clear and quick to load, and tighten up product descriptions in order to make the product or service the easiest possible for a customer to find.
Here is an example of a carefully planned path. As business that relies solely on eCommerce, Wayfair draws a nice clean path for visitors to follow directly to the shopping cart, with multiple ways of narrowing down search criteria in order to get exactly what they were looking for.
3. Provide Solid Customer Service and Support
It is equally true both online and in-person, that there is a fine line between helpful and annoying customer service. The difference is usually whether the sales person is intrusive or essential to the buying experience. Having mapped out the customer journey properly, you now have an idea of the types of needs the visitor may have throughout the process. From here, you can create several touch-points that will leave no questions unanswered. Since everybody has different preferences for getting in touch, ensure that as many channels are open as possible. Start by setting up a comprehensive FAQ section on the site, actively answer any emails and social media messages that come through, and build out a solid plan to ensure that your live chat is friendly, helpful, and non-intrusive or creepy for the visitor.
4. Speed Up Your Website
Website speed is one of the most important factors to ecommerce store success. Three seconds: that’s how long you have before a visitor will typically bounce off of a site that has not yet loaded. Customer satisfaction and retention will significantly decrease, not to mention that overall sales will be negatively affected. There are many tools that can help you determine if your website is running quickly and smoothly, however, the best method is to work with a professional web design and development team.
5. Ramp Up Cyber Security
Cyber security is an increasingly touchy subject when it comes to eCommerce. It’s been proven that consumers are still skeptical whilst online shopping. Having a website with clean and friendly design is one way of combating this, however there are other measures that can be taken. Always make certain that your website is running on a secure https:// URL, rather than an http://, invest in, and display any security certifications that your online store is using (eg. Norton, VeriSign, BBB). Overall, ensure that there is nothing that would cause the customer to distrust you or that prevents them from completing a transaction.
6. Stay Social, Stay Connected, Stay Relevant
Of course, no one is a stranger to the power of social media at this point, however, for busy professionals it can be difficult to find the time and energy to invest in to making the necessary connections between social, digital, and the company website. In reality, every post is another opportunity to generate leads and drive sales, if executed properly. Whatever your overall goals may be, social media can be a valuable asset.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Invest in to a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy
The driving force behind eCommerce sales still remains a solid, well-aligned digital marketing strategy that ties on-page and off-page SEO together to bring relevant visitors to the eCommerce store before attempting any tactics to convert them once there. Set aside a budget and invest in the right channels to gain targeted exposure on Google, Bing and other web sites where your audience will find you and become your customers.
The bottom line is this: If you take the time to get to know the customer, get your brand in front of them, create as pleasant of an online sales experience for them as possible, as well as doing regular upkeep, sales should start flowing more steadily.
Eden’s web designers and developers consider the entire ecommerce experience for your users when we build our custom websites, applying the latest trends and ideologies to achieve that one simple goal: creating a better experience for users.
Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you get your ecommerce website where it needs to be.