E-commerce is no longer exclusively about innovative start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures; today most companies big or small that sell a product have on online presence. In today’s 2.0 era if you’re not online then you may as well not exist in the market, and increasingly if you don’t do online well, then you will be missing out on valuable revenue. Whether it’s in high-class photography or just snappy, minimalist web design, businesses really need to step up their game. It’s not enough to just have an online store. You need to make sure that online store is just as good, if not better, than what your competitors can offer.
Business Review Australia gives you ten top tips about ways to improve your e-commerce site and drive profitability to your business >>>
#1. Make sure your site is picture perfect
Top quality images are incredibly important. You cannot get away with posting a pixelated image on your website – it looks amateur and people will go to a competitor. And it’s not just the quality of the image that’s important – you need to make sure you showcase your product from every angle. The image is 99 percent on the sale, so make sure your product is portrayed in the best possible light.
Hiring a professional photographer to take your photographs is a worthwhile investment, as is purchasing software, which allows the customer to view their product from all angles online. It is very important that buyers understand what they are buying before they hand over their well-earned cash.
#2. Navigation is key
Research suggests that online consumers are put off by having to click multiple times to reach their destination. Make sure you make it quick and easy for customers to reach your checkout within as few clicks as possible. In fact, experts suggest that customers should be able to view their product, purchase it, make payment and enter shipping information within just two pages.
Giving customers a step-by-step breakdown is vital too. Customers like to know how long a process is going to take – page one of two isn’t that daunting, however an endless maze of information input may put customers off.
#3. Keep the shopping cart on every page
When you go to a supermarket, you keep your shopping cart with you at all times – it shouldn’t be any different online! Your shopping cart should be easily navigable and should be present on the top right hand side of you page no matter where you are on site.
Word of warning, don’t try and be clever and mess with consumers expectations, follow the trend.
Website design is really important
#4. Keep an eye on analytics
Know where your traffic is coming from and understand your customers shopping patterns. Check your analytics and work out of the majority of your customers use a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. Once you know that optimize your site for easy usability for the largest target audience.
#5. Sharpen up your design
There is literally no excuse for poor website design in today’s market. There are a plethora of online sites that can help even the most un-tech savvy businessperson create a site that looks modern, fresh and up to date. An out of date website is one of the biggest turn offs for consumers so make sure yours doesn’t let your product down.
If you are afraid of building your own site, invest in a professional web designer and make sure you provide them with a detailed and well-considered brief. If you get one thing right it must be your web design.
#6. Develop your brand
Branding is super important – I cannot stress that enough. Building a brand is key to customer retention and will see your hard work yield greater financial results. There are a few things you can do to boost your brand online. Firstly, web design, make sure your site looks good and secondly make sure your logo is on every page. It is also important to follow a theme, whether that is a colour scheme or a template format for web design and image layout – consumers like something they can related to and something they recognise.
Make sure you site looks good on all platforms and browsers
#7. Nail legibility and font
First things first: Font. There is nothing worse than a website with an outdated or hard to read font. For any website its annoying, but for an e-commerce site it could end up costing you money. Also remember to test the readability of a font on a number of different browsers and devices – what looks good and legible on one device, may be too small on another for example.
#8. Develop a strong content strategy
Don’t just stick with the manufactures product description on your site, there are two main problems with this. The first is that Google really hates duplicate content. So if you’re picking a description from another site and then placing it on your own, then you’re not going to be viewed as the original source of that content – which is horrible for your rankings.
The second problem with this is that it simply doesn’t look good. It’s boring. Check some of the group buying sites and see how original they are with content. This is all part of your brand image – if you make your product descriptions informative, engaging and entertaining you will draw more potential customers.
#9. Track your data
Websites are able to track a range of data. If you’re not taking advantage of that, then you really should be. You can find out everything from who is viewing your site, at what time, what they are buying, how long they spend on site, where they leave. You name is, you can find it out. Knowledge is power, so use it to your advantage.
#10. Take your time to implement change
This goes back to a previous point, don’t overwhelm your customers by changing everything all at once. Identify where you need to make improvements and do them gradually – if you just turn your site on its head you could put off your previously loyal customers.