Unlike marketplaces, sellers with their own online stores have a different game. They have complete control over their business and its operations. Starting from brand building to the customer experience, they have the freedom to shape and maintain their image.
However, with this freedom, store owners may not have the expertise to scale it up and outperform.
In today’s world of e-commerce, there are thousands of ways to scale, some focus on product margins, whereas some focus of delivering better customer experience, some focus on the specific product line and the list go on.
Neither way is necessarily right or wrong.
Here are some e-commerce pro tips to make your online store a super success.
These tips cover how to shape buyers experience while opening new doors for the future of your online store.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
AI and machine learning is the one that will have outrageous implications the way online sellers sell their products and the way customers buy them.
The visual search engine is one of the most talked about trends in e-commerce.
The key here is to utilise the combined power of the machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
This will help to understand the context of how your customers express their needs and requirements.
Image source: Slyce.it
Above image is equivalent to a thousand words explanation.
Personalised product recommendations:
Give your customers personalised product recommendations through recommendation signals which identify the preference of each customer. What products they are searching for, which category they prefer, the price they are comfortable with and so on.
Image source: Myntra
Make the shopping experience for your customers more interactive and pleasant with voice-powered personal shopping assistance.
“At Amazon, we’ve been engaged in the practical application of machine learning for many years now. Some of this work is highly visible: our autonomous Prime Air delivery drones; the Amazon Go convenience store that uses machine vision to eliminate checkout lines; and Alexa, our cloud-based AI assistant. However, much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more. Though less visible, much of the impact of machine learning will be of this type – quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, Letter to Shareholders (2016)
AI and machine learning in e-commerce will profoundly impact the success of online stores.
With the introduction of artificial intelligence in e-commerce, it will change the way we buy and sell online.
Once your customer is ready to buy, remove every barrier
Dear e-commerce entrepreneurs, chasing abandoned cart is not at all easy.
Work on your checkout page. You need to spend time on your checkout page so that your customers won’t.
It is essential to keep the checkout page easy to go for your customers.
When it comes to shopping online, your website’s checkout page surpasses any other element concerning customer conversion.
Keep it extremely simple for your customers to reach to the order confirmation.
Once you have a customer, who is ready to buy from you, remove every obstacle that could stand in the way. This includes,
- Unnecessary form fields (keep them short)
- Consider using auto-completion of fields
- One-page checkout
- Keep it mobile optimised
Convert your site visitors into customers with a streamlined checkout page.
Let your checkout page least painful part of your customers’ e-commerce journey.
Get the basics right before jumping into new trends
Let me tell you, no tip will work if you miss the basics.
Before jumping into something new, do not forget what features are most important to your business?
So, what are the basics of an online store?
#1. Good experience for mobile shoppers
#2. Easy checkout process
#3. Content management capabilities
#4. High-resolution product images
#5. Clear return policy
#6. Detailed product description
#7. Clear design and easy navigation
#8. Search engine optimised code and layout
#9. Multiple payment options
#10. Promotion and discount code tools
#11. Website security
To take your e-commerce website to the next level, you need to understand what is important and what not.
You might be excited to jump on new trends, but many e-commerce sites still struggle to meet the basic needs and make errors which affect their performance.
Talk to people
It is really really important to talk to your customers.
Respond to people fast on social media channels.
What is your average response time on social media channels?
Do you know poor response time is harming your social media engagement with your potential customers?
Research says that approximately 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most critical thing they expect from the companies.
Improve your social media average response time.
An instant response gives your customers a sense of responsibility towards your brand.
If not instant, at least response within 30 minutes.
For Facebook, “very responsive to messages” badge is what you should aim for.
To get this badge, you must follow these two things for seven days.
#1. A response rate of 90%
#2. An average response time of 15 minutes
This is a bragging point which your customers look at your website.
It represents that you respond consistently and quickly to the people’s queries.
Tips to improve average response rate & time:
#1. Monitor your page inbox regularly throughout the day
#2. Have a dedicated resource to manage social media page
#3. Setup email alerts
Apart from social media engagement, you need to communicate to the audience, customers through emails.
Inform customers when their shipment is out for delivery, when delivered and so on.
It is imperative to talk to people no matter wherever they are.
Be there when they need your support.
Solve each query, no matter how negligible it may sound to you.
Protect your customers’ data
In the world of e-commerce, a number of transactions are taking place. For which you need access to consumers’ personal & financial data.
However, many users have concerns about providing such information.
It is highly recommending to take necessary steps to protect your customers’ data.
Avoid misusing, advertising purpose and unlawfully supplying customer data to third parties.
Stay on the top of the subject of customer data protection.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union’s new data protection law which will impact how big and small companies collect and manage users’ personal data.
There are some tips to ensure the safety for e-commerce owners and customers.
#1. Collect only data which is necessary
#2. Avoid storing customers’ credit card information
#3. HTTP + SSL = HTTPS
#4. Be PCI DSS compliant
#5. Stay up to date regarding data security and protection laws
#6. Demand strong password from customers
Take advantage of user-generated content
User-generated content allows online users to communicate and express their personal experience and opinions they had with your product.
SHIEN is one of the excellent examples of this.
Image source: Shien.in
It’s not only about Expressing the emotions; Online customers often create content because in return they get a reward that business offer.
If you have a tight budget, user-generated content allows you to develop fresh content on a regular basis with no additional cost involved.
Apart from this, there are many other reasons to consider UGC for your online store.
#1. It helps to understand the target audience
#2. Increases customer engagement
#3. Builds community
#4. Customer spends more time on your website
#5. People trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
If leveraged correctly, user-generated content promotes customer engagement and also boost your brand visibility and reliability.
It improves site SEO and lead generation efforts.
Focus on re-engagement
Why do companies use “loyalty program”, “come back and receive a “free gift” programs?
The answer is customer re-engagement.
Alternatively, should I say repeat purchase?
Companies use these programs to re-engage/attract their existing customers.
Research says that attracting new customers is four times costlier than retaining current customers.
Well yeah, that is true.
It is easy for you because you already had multiple interactions with your customers in the past.
Moreover, if you have been successful in delivering a great shopping experience to them, then you are more likely to get a yes as an answer.
Also, it is easy for the customers too.
Because they already have made up their mind for your brand and its products.
Start win-back campaigns for your customers.
Reach-out to customers once they have stopped shopping from you.
Send them friendly reminders about your new products, styles.
Tatacliq is an excellent example of this.
Image source: My Gmail
Remember, conversion takes more than one touch-point. Recart is a recommended tool to engage in customer re-engagement activities.
Stick to four pillars
Trying to run and scale your e-commerce business is a big undertaking.
However, the irremovable factor to your success story is the aim for the ongoing growth.
I recommend the four pillars you need to stick to drive success.
#1. Be obsessed with customer experience
Take care of your customers. If you do not treat them well, someone else likely will.
Focus on being a company that creates value rather than merely transferring value.
#3. Optimize every aspect of the business
Not only the sales and customer experience, but you also need to focus on every aspect of your business.
Optimization helps to reduce costs and lead to higher profits in this competitive era.
#4. Repeat every single day
Do not underestimate the power of content marketing
Many retailers make the mistake of concentrating only on product benefits and functionality while selling their products.
Online retailers often forget the importance of emotional connection with their audience.
Look for stories which customers can relate to your products.
Build your brand’s credibility with great storytelling efforts.
Look at each story from your customers’ eyes, keep it interesting, relevant and informative.
Those brands are easily ignored by people who are only interested in selling their stuff because people seek value as much as your product.
Do not brag about your company and products. Sell solutions. This will help you to make a real connection with the audience.
Great content is not about how great your products are.
Curate your content in such a way that demonstrates an understanding of customers’ problem and how your products can solve them.
Read more about e-commerce content marketing strategy.
The success stories which you hear about people, making e-commerce success and earning in five, six-digit figures, are so real.
What you need is to figure out what can work the best for you.
Besides that, You have already taken a big step with the launch of your online store.
Just keep going. The e-commerce industry in India has immense potential in coming years.
So what are you waiting for? Pick from the tips above and make your dreams reality.
Make it happen.
We wish you all the best.
What different are you doing to boost your e-commerce business? Share your views on the comment below.
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