It’s guest post week again here on New Venture Mentor and today we’ll hear from Sarah Jensen who has some helpful info for anyone launching an ecommerce website. Here’s Sarah:
The ecommerce industry has grown exponentially over the last few years. In actual sense, the growth witnessed cannot be compared to what lies ahead for this industry. This trajectory is driven by a number of factors. For example, the internet is accessible in almost all parts of the world so being a global village is no longer a buzz word. Secondly, the growth in internet marketing, mobile technology and electronic money transfer methods have led to evolution of the ecommerce trading platform.
New ecommerce site owners have to push through the clutter, and stiff competition, for the top ranks on the search engines and to get a good share of the market on social media networks. Here are 7 things that a new ecommerce site owner should think about.
Set out your policies clearly
Clearly spell out your company policies about confidentiality, use of collected information, cookies, returns, damaged goods, etc. You can have your privacy and return policies at the footer where a user can see when accessing any page of your site. In addition, provide a FAQs page detailing most of the queries from product types to confidentially of personal information such as credit card details. One safety measure for ecommerce sites, though it is frowned upon by most users, is having a tick box for a customer to acknowledge the terms and conditions before completing a transaction.
Make the site user friendly
A client should take the least amount of time to navigate the site from the landing page to the checkout process. Therefore, evaluate the purchase process and ensure the steps flow towards check-out. For example, when a client selects a product, details about the colour, price, and shipping cost should be indicated clearly before the client adds an item to the cart.
In addition, it should be easy to find pages within a website. Use page breadcrumbs, a search box, navigation bar, sidebars and top bar menus so that a client can retrace steps when he/she goes too deep into the website. For instance, let a client know the page number currently in view, and he/she can easily move from page 2 back to page 1 of the products list. You can also run a ‘recently viewed’ sidebar for the client to go back to previous products. In that case, browser history becomes an important element when collecting information about your site’s visitors. If a client exits before completing a purchase, essentially, have the items still in the cart when the next session starts.
Do not launch before you test the website
Make a mock purchase to test the whole process. Test both the front as well as the back end of our website. Check the page loading speed, the layout of product pages, and whether the cart automatically reflects an increase or decrease in items as a shopper goes about the purchase process. Such features may seem trivial, but remember there are thousands of other websites a customer can jump to, in seconds.
If you have a live chat function or a virtual help desk, call and test the system. There are numerous analytics and testing tools you can add to the back end of your website or access randomly to test your website. Some other important tools for ecommerce sites are Google Analytics and the Search Console. See what search queries or online pathways bring shoppers to your website. These tools also show how long shoppers stay on the site as well as the pages they visit.
Interact with your audience & request for reviews
Social media is one of the most powerful and interactive marketing platform. Ecommerce needs social networks not only to draw traffic to the site but also to engage and answer customer queries. Respond to queries by the hour. Ideally, share diverse content with you audience. Do not limit interactions to sales pitches; sometimes, post content that targets your audience’s emotions. It can be funny pictures, short how-to videos, inforgraphics or quizzes. Remember to show the social buttons on our site.
Additionally, ask shoppers to review your products, their shopping experience and your website. You can have review on social media as well as on the site.
Have an online marketing strategy from day 1
Your marketing plan should have elements like social media marketing, SEO, paid advertising and promotions. One of the most popular on-site sales tactics is free shipping. It can be our unique selling point especially in a competitive market. You can use this promotion tactic in your online advertisements as well as on social media. As part of your SEO plan, you also need a link building strategy. Get links from highly relevant websites, from influencers and bloggers to boost ranks in the long term, and to generate traffic. In conclusion, allocate a sizeable share of your start-up capital to marketing.
Automate some processes with tools
Automation increase efficiency for both your team and shoppers. It can also increase conversions and improve the customer experience. For instance, when you automate abandonment carts, clients receive emails and they may decide to continue with the shopping process presently or in future. Some of the other processes that you can automate are processing of orders, inventory management and vendors access to the website. However, automation does not mean removing the human aspect all together; clients need to feel human presence once in a while.
Optimise for mobile users
Previously, more people accessed the internet through their phones to read E-mails and browse ecommerce sites. Now, more people are making purchases from mobile phones. Hence, ecommerce sites have to embrace a mobile friendly design. Some elements to add to your mobile friendly design are a fixed navigation bar with a link to the homepage, to checkout and a view-cart button. Focus on the visual appeal, minimize text and use high resolution images. The web world is leaning towards accelerated mobile pages (AMP). AMP ensures pages are lightweight so that they loading fast for mobile users.
Think about these elements, and see how you can improve your ecommerce website. You can find more tips and get advice at Orb Online.