It may not be as simple to start out a business as it was 5 years ago, but today there are many opportunities to become successful through e-commerce. As the current market has shifted to digital transformation, almost every single business has had to adapt to online transactions to continue selling.
A 2020 Statista article on e-commerce worldwide reports internet retail sales have exceeded 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars and over 2 billion people purchased goods online last year. After 2020, businesses have been unable to catch a break with the pandemic and financial uncertainties; people, however, continue to use the internet to obtain those goods and services they may need. Services like business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) models for example, there’s no turning back. To be able to fit into the new digital era, it’s inevitable to turn to e-commerce.
Not everybody uses the same tactics to provide their services online, but there are essential things you should anticipate in this constantly changing market. In this article, not only will you be able to know what’s needed to succeed with your e-commerce site, you’ll understand how to improve it’s features and increase your profits.
1- An Accessible, Mobile-Friendly Site
Marketing conditions are favorable despite the overall economic uncertainty. Visibility online on all devices can’t be ignored when launching your e-commerce website. Users enjoy website accessibility, meaning when your site is easy and straight-forward to access service or products from. Having a device-friendly site facilitates the decision-making process before purchase and allows users to reach you more easily.
A key marketing effort is having a site that can be accessed on many devices, not just a computer, but a smartphone or tablet. A Statista article on mobile e-commerce traffic confirms that “in 2021, smartphones accounted for almost 70% of all retail website visits worldwide”.
Especially with pandemic restrictions, many businesses have turned to doing business online for social distancing reasons, even if they didn’t want to do so in the past. Now more than ever, a website or landing page that raises awareness of your service or brand in a clear and concise way will drive more users to your site.
Investing in your user’s experience online strengthens how they perceive and come to know your brand in the future.
Home page design and layout is an aspect that determines how others first experience your brand and it should be accessible to everyone. A Search Engine Journal article points out that “76% of consumers say that the most important characteristic of a website is ease of use”. Therefore, besides being an accessible site, your site’s design and layout also contribute to user experience, gaining their trust and interest with an arranged and laid out homepage.
The structure of your website almost defines how easily accessible you are. Your offers and call-to-action should be on this homepage, so that new traffic comes through successfully and with trackable results. Call-to-action buttons can be the regular “Buy Now” or “Sign Up” button for example, followed or preceded by your offer.
You must have a clear understanding of the goal or offer you want to display on your e-commerce site. Who benefits from hearing about you or stumbling upon your website? Make sure to define your offer because the site should be made with a specific marketing strategy or formatting for it to convert accordingly.
2- High Quality Photos and Content
Enhancing the visible aspects of your website with quality photos and good content guarantees more visitors. Using high-quality content and professional images will make your goods or services stand out for themselves. In product descriptions, make sure to provide every detail as you can with good copy, even include photos from many different angles, if applicable.
Showcase insights on your brand and use facts that sets yours apart from other competitors. Remember to keep in mind your website’s structure and content formatting. Content does not just mean good copy, but great formating.
Having good and visible content in this way will likely create more engagement, because you are providing honest value and engaging information related to your product. The more engagement you get from your leads, better are your chances of conversions, meaning site visitors who are now paying customers.
You can provide details on your product or service using grids or lists as well. Like providing categories and different landing pages for different products or services. Users will be interested and are more likely to engage with your site when you show them the advantages in a creative and memorable way.
A recent Hongkiat article affirms that you need to tap into your market audience by “showing them what they are missing out on”. By informing your readers with insightful content, the higher the chances are for them to engage with what you offer and even share your website to others.
3- Brand and Logo
To make a personal and meaningful connection with your customers, you should have a logo or image that reflects your brand. This also ties with whatever goals you want the e-commerce site to accomplish and offer.
It’s up to you. You can choose a single word, an abbreviation as lettermarks (typography based logo) or abstract images. It all depends on the goods or services of your website and how you want users to engage with your brand.
Use a simple picture or logo to incite users to look into your website or know more about you. If you want others to remember you, try using emotional elements to make more of an impression. Especially online, it’s important to have a recognizable logo to inspire trust and ensure quality. A simple example can be Amazon’s logo that resembles a smile and greets shoppers when they visit the store.
4- Custom Links and About Us Section
Your users will thank you and speak wonders of your e-commerce site if you create links for customer support, a “Contact Us” and “About Us” Section. Having external links that lead to specific information or landing pages, allows users to feel more trust and a reliable sense of engagement from your site.
Have these reference links at the bottom or top of the page, where your audience is likely to look for custom links. It’s become an instinct to look out for these in websites. They mark a sign of a thought-out quality experience. Users can access “Frequently Asked Questions” easily and turn to resources before needing to escalate things or turn to chat support.
Take advantage of the “About Us” section to let your customers know about you and the values your company stands for. This way others can know more about why you do or offer the things you do. Storytelling makes more of an impression in this area. You could include pictures of yourself or your team behind the scenes. It should be in line with your goals as a brand or service but try to have fun with it! Let it be a reflection of what you want your business to be like.
Your site’s “About Us” section should be accessible and relatable to audiences that think similar or look for what you provide best. This way you will reach a wider audience, narrowing down to the value and importance of what you offer. Spend considerable time on this section. Believe it or not, this can make a great difference in a buyer’s decision, or what influences them the most before making a choice of purchase.
5- Log-Ins, Shopping Cart and Deals
What’s an online store without a virtual shopping cart? Another essential aspect to your e-commerce site is a platform with the ability to make an order or purchase. Always keep the possibility open for orders without the necessity of users to log-in to a specific portal. Although, having an account or portal to log in-to, buyers can better manage their orders and receive your customer service deals or email marketing.
There are many platforms like Magento that assist with sales and other site functionalities like custom product pages, inventory and order tracking. Website platforms like Odoo, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce and SiteCore are some of the best out there that can get you started and set up shipping.
Once your customer has chosen to purchase, you have to facilitate the process as much as possible. Another option you can implement is upsells or bump orders (using pop-ups or check-out boxes) during the checkout process, displaying related items that could benefit the order or customer experience.
Not all users will buy immediately. Some like to linger and consider their options during what marketers call the consideration stage. You can create a wishlist option for your site as well, to help users by keeping a list of items they hope to purchase in the future. This can be a great advantage if you have many products available.
Depending on your platform, you can even automize abandoned carts to convert sales. Mailing them whenever things have been left in the shopping cart to take advantage of a discount or for availability reasons.
Search boxes also make it easier for returning customers to visit the site again and purchase faster. They allow users to find things easily by just typing what they want to look for in whatever way they want to look for information.
6- Payment and Shipping Options
One of the most important functions in your e-commerce site are your payment methods. Allow users to easily buy your product or service with an easy check-out process and thank-you page. If you haven’t considered using a specific platform for creating products, you can use WordPress and WooCommerce to set up your offer and start selling.
Using a website platform like Odoo can be most beneficial in this area. You’ll be able to create product pages and checkout processes from scratch, plus you won’t have to set up shipping yourself.
E-commerce platforms like Odoo are already affiliated with many shipping methods that also allow tracking your order like DHL, UPS, USPS and FedEx. Anyone who purchases online enjoys following through with their order, knowing if it’s on the way and when it’ll be delivered.
Many businesses use Paypal, Ogone, Adyen, Buckaroo and Authorize.net for payment. However, besides the debit/credit card processing option, bank transfer or check, settle on any other payment method your customers may use so others aren’t discouraged or excluded. You should consider all aspects of your buyer and what they may face during your site’s buying process.
7- An Omnichannel Approach for a Seamless Shopping Experience
You simply cannot have a single point of contact with clients. Companies interact with customers through different mediums, whether it be live chat on your site, SMS, email or phone. Having an omnichannel approach to your sales means you provide different methods of promoting and distributing your service or products.
With an omni-channel support you can build a comprehensive strategy focused on results. Let’s say a customer is looking through your inventory online and decides to call the store for any details. Afterwards, the customer may choose to pick-up the product in store and drive to the brick-and-mortar shop to get it.
You should not pick and choose what you think is best. There are some customers who like to chat and some who may need a phone call to follow through with their requests. So make sure you don’t leave primary points of communication out of your service.
Odoo, for example, also provides help with customer management by automating certain tasks like Email and SMS marketing and Live Chat. These features all make your website platform experience much easier, given that everything is in one place. The various channels should remain consistent and fulfill their role in assisting with customer service.
Strengthen Your E-Commerce Functionalities Now
E-commerce is now a must for companies. What’s stalling you from creating your own? Even if you just got your new domain or are starting out using a website builder, you need to understand there is no going back to traditional marketing or staying offline. Your business needs to remain visible and reachable. Nativo offers quality assistance for your e-commerce development through web design services, mobile app creation or digital marketing.
Take advantage of this growing market, not just to sell products but to provide a service others may need. There are many sectors where e-commerce can also benefit such as remote work, gaming assistance, distance learning, streaming services and online conferencing.
Everybody is shifting to this business model, not only in North America and parts of the western world but Central and South America as well. To back this up, an article on UNCTAD press on global e-commerce confirms growth in online activities and how important it is for developing countries “to have such information as they rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Now more than ever, countries in Latin America and in other parts of the world will join the digital transformation era and begin applying these functionalities to their sites, to stay level with new market trends and satisfy consumer behavior.
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