10 Top Ecommerce Tips

Ecommerce Best Practice

Ecommerce Best Practice

So, you have negotiated all of your stock with your suppliers, worked out your pricing, and are ready to start trading – so, you will need an ecommerce website.

But how are you going to take on the giants of ecommerce like Amazon, eBay, Marks and Spencer or Tesco?  Well, big budgets obviously helps with ecommerce development, but there are a lot of basics that if you get right, you can start to level the playing field.

Here are ten top tips for your ecommerce website:

1) Mobile is the norm: With the tremendous rise of shopping on mobile devices, if your site is a miserable experience on a mobile device, then you are missing out on a lot of revenue.  Your site should be responsive and still offer the key features that your desktop website offers, but not all of the detail to present a clear and usable experience – this is a basic customer expectation, don’t disappoint.

2) Build Trust: Even though ecommerce has grown dramatically over the last decade, people are still concerned about trusting a website before they commit to a purchase.  Make sure that you have customer reviews (one of the key success factors in Amazon’s success), customer testimonials and details about your payment security and encryption certificates.

3) Be Transparent: Your website needs to have the content on it to convince the consumer to make a purchase.  With some purchases come issues of exchange, delivery costs, etc.  Your policies for these and your contact information should be clear and accessible on every page, possibly in the page footer.

4) Encourage the Purchase: By the simple use of cookies or a secure log-in, when a consumer returns to your site, you can show them what they ordered previously to help encourage repeat purchases.  Seriously consider showing which products are popular right now, and ‘when people bought x, they also bought y’ which should boost your average basket size.

5) Don’t get in the Way: There are a lot of websites which I have been on which have so much going on that it’s almost like the website wants to get in the way of a purchase.  To prevent this, have clear call to actions and a very simple product selection and checkout process – the more steps in this process, the more likely you will lose consumers along the way.

6) Display in the Best Light: With the rise of the smartphone came the rise of the amateur photographer, just look at Instagram!  However, not everyone is great at photography, particularly product photography and especially video.  You want your product to be viewed in the best possible way, so money spent making your product more attractive is an investment – scrimp here and you undersell your products.

7) Sell Your Products: This sounds like a simple one, but there are a lot of sites who use functional language to describe their products.  You should instead use more persuasive language, lead with the benefits of the product and how it can contribute towards the happiness of the consumer.  Most purchases are not needed for human survival, so your copy needs to create need.

8) Have a Smart Filtering System: You should spend some time thinking about how your customer segment your products – is it by size, colour, price, brand, etc.?  If you have a filer system for your products, along with how many product falls into each filter, you will make your customer’s life easier and they will reward you.

9) Landing Pages: You should have a thorough inbound marketing strategy – how are you going to get people to come to your website as opposed to your competition?  The pages that they land on when they visit your site are critical to your success – spend time working on these pages, if they are not right, you will have blown your chance (and the money spent getting them to your site).

10) Keep Testing: There is one factor that all successful ecommerce sites have in common – they all test and make changes to their websites.  With access to analytics packages being low / no cost, there is no excuse not to do this.  Change the layout of a handful of pages, change the colours, change the copy style and see what effect this has on consumer engagement and purchase levels.  Fact-based is the best way of making decisions.

Please remember that these are just ten tips – they don’t include getting your website seen by search engines, promoting your site, linking to social media channels and a host of other areas.  There is a lot to ecommerce, but just implementing the above will put you ahead of most ecommerce sites!  Good luck!

Image via ventureburn.com

What You Can Learn From Amazon

What You Can Learn From Amazon

What You Can Learn From Amazon

Amazon is one of the (many!) Marmites of the internet age – for some people, it is a pioneer of ecommerce and a ground-breaker of modern retail, but for others, it is a corporate animal which destroys traditional industries. Maybe it’s because of the industry that I work in, but I tend to lean towards the former – as a digital marketer, it is difficult to be too critical of such a commercially successful website.

So what can every website learn from such an institution?  Here are 4 elements that you can learn and implement fairly easily.

Navigation: This can make or break a website.  When using the search bar, the navigation will offer the likely departments where that keyword would appear as well as a list of 5 popular items.  This is really smart and makes finding your product as easy as typing the name of it.  You might not be able to stretch to this, but think about how your customer categorise your products – not how you categorise them.  If you are unsure, ask a sample of customers to tell you how they think the products should be structured.

Suggestions: This is all about linking the CRM system up to your customer-facing website.  For Amazon, this is a complex algorithmic process, but for your company it might not need to be so complex.  Imagine the way that you would segment your email database when you are running an email campaign – you will filter it so that your audience is relevant to your message, and this is the first stage of suggestions.  It may be beyond your current IT capability but if you don’t look at it, you’ll never know!

Easy add to basket: It really is very simple, with as little as one click ordering.  What Amazon do really well is not get in the way of the customer – they let the customer add it to their basket, suggest any other items that you might be interested in as you are clearly in the buying mood, choose an address, shipping speed, payment and done.  Although I think Amazon could be more transparent about their shipping prices – you don’t find out the cost until the payment screen (Jeff Bezos – don’t worry about thanking me for the feedback!).

Customer reviews: Perhaps the most powerful tool that Amazon has is the scale of the customer reviews of the products that it sells.  Naturally this scale is going to be difficult to build, but you should ask for reviews of your product.  Seeing someone else who has bought it and had a positive experience will influence your prospective buyer positively – and yes, you need to accept the negative feedback too, but that is how you learn.  Adding reviews takes nerve, but it works.

There are lots of areas which you can ‘borrow’ from massive websites – remember they are pumping millions of pounds of research into their websites, so why not learn the lessons from one of the best?