Gone are the days when sales representatives had to go door-to-door to sell a bunch of toasters and when people had to build lemonade stands to make quick cash and contribute to the community.
E-commerce has been a goal that both micro businesses and big companies focus on. That is because, in the last three decades or so, a steady shift towards online retail has been taking over the globe. It all started with banner ads that aimed to advertise a local cereal in the ’90s. Fast-forward to the online shops of today that sell merchandise from electronics to Anime figurines.
In the last two years, with the pandemic forcing people to stay within their homes, online sales platforms have become even more influential and became the foundation on which businesses operate. Most people choose to buy online for their lifestyle and livelihood needs.
With 2.14 billion online shoppers logging in to check out new products and services, the internet has become a legitimate business arena. According to findings, 18% of all retail sales come from e-commerce.
You can’t ignore that businesses of all shapes and sizes need to get on the e-commerce train so they can maximize their gains and profit. They have to embrace the fact that e-commerce is not going anywhere. The sooner they start mastering the art of online selling, the faster they will find their brand reaching global audiences and prospering indefinitely.
Given that online sales platforms are undeniably effective for businesses let me share with you 12 of the most fundamental tips that you should be donned with in the world of e-commerce.
- Customers: They always come first
The saying is as old as, and you may call this a cliche all you want, but yes, the customer will always be right. This applies to any sales platform available now.
In e-commerce, customer satisfaction can be quite hard to acquire. The internet speed, visuals of your site and shop, and even your delivery time are all part of the criteria on whether you will get a 5-star rating from customers or not.
However, there’s also a beauty to it. Getting feedback from online selling is easy with the customers can review products and sites almost instantly, even before or after a purchase is made.
As the online seller, be sure to value all feedback from your customers. They say everything you are doing wrong and what you can do to improve your operations. In no time, if you treat the feedback well enough and act on it, more and more customers will be coming because of your good track record, as reflected by what your customers have to say.
- Get valuable information across fast
Knowing how to get customers on your site or page is one thing, but it’s another to make them feel comfortable once they arrive there.
Most of the time, advertisers and marketers create pages and shops that are so messy that it’s already off-putting without having to go beyond the main landing page.
If you want to hook customers in, give them what they want to see, and provide an easy-to-understand interface that gets them where they want to go without difficulty. You should consider looking at other successful websites, learn how people on the internet behave, and what graphic design principles could play into creating a great online shop.
- Work on your ad game
Advertisements are crucial to success in any business scenario. E-commerce is no exception. In many ways, advertisements are much more flexible on the internet and can boost sales significantly if you know how to use them correctly.
The key with ads is to catch customers’ attention in a good way. Most of the time, online users will be annoyed with ads because they disrupt their browsing experience. One way you can counteract that is through interactive ads. Whether it be a flashy video, an advertisement with excellent audio, or even a game that users can play, interactive ads don’t have to be a disturbance if they want to generate leads and sales. They’re so much better and can lead to up to 47% better performance than bland ads.
Another trick you can do is ad extensions, which make your ad look slightly more significant than the rest, allowing more emphasis for customers to notice you. Mind you, it’s been proven to improve click-through rate (CTR). The best thing? It’s free, simple, and can provide enough information to convince a potential customer to stay in your shop.
- Provide urgency
On social media, impulse is big for shoppers. This is possible through marketing it on center and with focus. Buyers can quickly make purchases on flash deals, limited edition products, or simply hyped-up products. This means you need to have an incentive as one of your cards when you’re in the e-commerce gig.
This is a great way to increase online sales because if the customers know it’s a one-time deal, you will entice them to get that offer. Therefore, you should make things sweet, exciting, and more valuable than they already are by changing the pricing or manipulating the product or promo availability.
- Fewer choices
Most businesses think that having more products for customers to choose from is better to get sales and profit. Of course, you are to believe that this will bring more people in, and although this may be true, they are more likely to leave without having purchased anything because of how indecisive they can get while making a choice.
If you opt for a denser, more contained product pool, customers will have no problem making second thoughts because they do not have to check out other similar products. With a singular product available on the table, they’ll just choose it, add it to cart, and then checkout. It’s a simple concept that can help you out in the long run, and it ties in nicely to the urgency mentioned above.
So, emphasize the products that matter, make them easy to find, and have your site or shop heavily market them to create a veil of significance and urgency around it.
- Top-notch product images
Customers would always want to see what they will buy, right? Sure, that is simple enough, but having the quality 1080p images of your products makes your shop look authentic and professional in the best possible way.
When zooming in pictures, customers need to see every inch and detail of the product they are buying online so they know that they can trust the random shop they found on the internet. Knowing that customers will be zooming in on pictures of your product, you need to download applications that can post-process your images and make them look ten times better than they did before.
Do consider taking multiple angles of your product because your customers will be zooming in pictures without leaving any possible fault out.
- Be truthful and consistent
Sometimes, advertisers make the mistake of putting an ad somewhere only to have customers click on it and be misled and redirected to a page about something completely different.
It is annoying for the shoppers, making your online shop look like a scam. Your customers will definitely think twice about you the next time around if you commit that mistake.
Because of this, despite whatever advertisement campaign you plan to run, make sure that you post something that you can deliver. Even though you market it as something slightly less cool than other products, false promises are more critical. Moreover, you need to implement consistent messaging across all platforms you are operating on. This establishes that you know what you are selling and that you are one hundred percent behind it and will deliver.
The bottom line is no to expectation vs. reality. Always be honest, and everything else will follow.
- Giveaways and free stuff
If there is one way to connect with people and reach their hearts, it is through kindness.
Though being kind on something as lucrative and digital as e-commerce sounds like a weird mix, it is a great way to build rapport with customers. It puts you in a positive light in their eyes.
Whether it is giveaways, free memberships, rewards for loyalty, or specific events, customers love it when shops of any kind participate in some kindness here and there. This verifies the simple fact that we are human, and something we just need is that extra slice of bread.
- Social media connection
Looking good on social media means you will look good anywhere you go. That is how influential social media is these days. With the number of people on various social media platforms available, building a reputation might be challenging but will surely provide great opportunities for your brand.
Not only is this good for social presence, but platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are also integrating e-commerce more and more into their interface. Those two social media sites already included features such as Instagram shops and live selling.
You should check out what it takes to build a hefty and formidable social media account. You should master the art of using hyperlinks so that customers can reach your shop and website. You will also learn more about yourself and your business while creating more and more traffic in the process. It is a win for you in more ways than one.
- Switch to mobile
People use their phones all day. Using phones, they could already be shopping while in their cars, on the toilet, or even on a boat sailing on a lonely lake in Iceland. The world is mobile. Lives are mobile, and sales are mobile.
E-commerce is heavily transacted through mobile mediums, with 61% percent of all e-commerce traffic coming from mobile devices. This is not a hard thing to wrap your head around, and you need to find ways to operate on mobile devices as soon as possible.
However, remember that you also need to optimize your site for mobile devices. If you already have a website live, it might look awkward on phone screens if you do not refit and redesign it to suit mobile dimensions. See that this would not be a problem for customers who want to check out your shop and pages on their phones.
- Risk aversion
To be frank, nothing on the internet is entirely reliable. It can happen that you’re buying from a shop that’s potentially located in another country, owned by a completely inexperienced teenager who seems to be selling the latest iPhone but turns out to be a broken iPhone 7.
Besides, mere color changes or even something unfortunate can happen while shipment can cause your customer to be unsatisfied with the product. Even if it were not your fault, they would still hold it against you, and there’s a big possibility that they won’t purchase from your shop again.
How can you avert this disaster from happening? Well, go to the root of the problem. It’s a financial scare, and customers do not want their money wasted, so the simple solution here is to offer a money-back guarantee. It can be considered foolproof insurance.
When customers have little to no risk of financial loss, they would not think twice about pressing the purchase button because they are assured that their money is protected. This tip seems like a no-brainer if you want to attain your customers’ trust and goodwill.
- An easy checkout experience
Do you know 69.80% of carts get abandoned before purchase? Around 49% of shoppers do so because of extra costs in shipment.
It’s the last step before making a purchase, and still, so many customers will give up on the last lap. This is because they do not have credit cards, or sometimes the payment methods they prefer do not apply.
To fix this, simply try to optimize your site to cater to as many payment options as possible.
Work Towards the Future
E-commerce sales are already projected to grow to 5.4 trillion in the coming year. That number will only keep growing and growing as we develop into a more digital and online society. If you don’t start now, you’ll be clueless and lost, and the world will leave you behind if you don’t know how to read and work with people online.
From now on, be mindful of your business plans, and make sure to put the layout of your website as number one on your things to do.
Shelly Solis is a digital marketer who loves a good read, whether a book or a case study. She is the CEO and co-founder of SaaSLaunchr, a digital marketing agency offering professional writing, marketing, and SaaS SEO services.