The concept of eCommerce has grown and adapted over the last few years, and most businesses perform at least some transactions online. Whether this is a B2B service or a business to consumer strategy, setting up an e-store is an amazing opportunity. However, the eCommerce industry can be overwhelming and making the wrong choice may easily freeze your efforts. To avoid common misconceptions, follow these strategic enhancements for your eCommerce business.
#1. Hiring a Strategic Consulting & Coaching Service Provider
A lot of entrepreneurs and inexperienced business owners believe that consulting and coaching are a waste of money. The reality, however, is that proper business coaching is what leads to both cost savings and growing profits.
When you discuss your revenue goals with a professional consulting and coaching service provider, you’re securing profit maximization and even budget distribution. This is an essential first step that makes sense in the context of the other strategic enhancements listed on this page.
An experienced consultant will be always available to answer questions that may arise between the scheduled phone sessions and conference calls. Also, most agencies will offer access to advanced online resources and daily email coaching to enhance your eCommerce platform even more.
#2. Ensure You’re Using the Right Platforms/Services
As basic as this advice may sound, it’s important to mention that not all eCommerce platforms are created equal (including merchant services of all sorts). There are hundreds of great ones, and for this blog, it’s best to focus on the ones to avoid.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid any solutions that are “built-in” to the service you host your website on. It’s not that these are particularly bad, it’s just that they’re not as specialized as a third-party service.
For example, if you need a service provider for processing online transactions and credit cards securely, choose a company that specializes in such services. Always choose service providers who built themselves from the ground up for the service you need. That’s expertise your business can rely on and get support when you need it.
To get started with a platform or a service provider, you need to answer the following three questions:
What is your budget?
What type of products are you selling?
What features does your online store need?
#3. Give an Innovative Design & Great User Experience
If this is not clear enough, a poor website experience is certain to drive customers away. Unless you’re the only retailer of certain goods with no competition whatsoever and you’re sure there is a search for such goods, you won’t make any sales with a slow and outdated website. That’s certain.
The first thing you have to do is ensure that your eCommerce website is laid out in a style that is both visually appealing and easy to navigate. A website visitor should be able to instantly learn about your products or services and see the benefits of becoming a customer.
There are many drag-and-drop website builders with integrated eCommerce functionality. These may be a good choice for someone who is just starting out and looking for a budget-friendly website. However, for better results, it’s recommended that you start building your website from scratch.
Building a website from scratch is the most effective method, providing complete control over every aspect of its design and functionality. This way, you or your developer can fine-tune details to a degree that every visitor can feel the site was built specifically for them.
Another vital factor is the loading speed of a website. A faster website is not just a great user experience but also a major SEO ranking factor. This is why you should ensure your site is not suffering from lengthy outages. Investing in a secure and reliable web hosting service provider is a must.
And last but not least, you have to think about ways to secure your website. Incorporating high-level security features is the right thing to do. Some research on the latest trends and service providers will be more than enough to get you started.
#4. Data Analytics & Customer Retention
Collecting data and paying attention to analytics is vital in every customer retention strategy. This is the act of encouraging existing clients to choose you time after time. With the right data tracking and proper retention strategy, you should focus on profit increase, reward, special offers, and creative ways to keep your existing customers.
Unlike with customer acquisition, you’ve already done the legwork to convince your customers to buy from you once. This is what makes customer retention a much cheaper approach than a new campaign. All you have to do is remind your customers you exist and offer a quality product.
Knowing what consumers want to buy most, when they’re most likely to make a purchase, what payment methods they prefer, and other similar stats will give you a leg up in predicting customer behavior.
Any eCommerce platform will have some sort of analytics function built-in and provide some results. However, keeping your eye on other, third-party options is what you should do to further enhance your capabilities. Google Analytics is a great place to start, and the data-giants even offer free courses for beginner and advanced webmasters.
#5. Target Consumers Directly
Keeping track of data is a double-edged sword. Knowing which segment of your consumer base will respond to which marketing strategy often tempts inexperienced digital marketers to go for a one-size-fits-all approach. This is never a good idea, and customizing every campaign is a must.
A precise and direct approach is the way to ensure that you convert more visitors into customers. Always run ad campaigns that speak directly to your potential customers as everyone loves the feeling of being catered to. This is a guaranteed way to let them know you’re paying attention as a service provider.
Impersonal correspondence will immediately signal a sign of insignificance. In the digital world, personalized engagement is one of the most important strategies. In other words, keep your message positive and show that you care.
There are many ways to approach and engage with your customers, but as long as you treat your customers right, you will kick things off. Address people by their names in emails and brainstorm for other creative ways to put a personal touch on every single engagement method you use.
#6. Go After Abandoned Carts
It’s not uncommon for site visitors to load up their carts and abandon their orders. It’s also not uncommon for people to count them as lost customers, but that’s just wrong. Instead, you should pursue abandoned carts and optimize the experience.
A shopping cart should be easy to navigate. Period. Think of the simplest way to provide such an experience. An order that is too complicated is the most common cause for customers to abandon ship.
Cut down the form, include a variety of payment options, and pay close attention to your failure rate decrease. Of course, you can also try and win back some of the “leavers” with a friendly email announcing your shopping cart update.
Speaking of emails, using an add-on or third-party software for drafting, scheduling, and sending reminder emails is a great way to re-engage those consumers.
#7 – Manage your Inventory and Supply Chain Efficiently
You might do your level best in all the above-mentioned. However, there is another critical factor that you need to always stay on top, and that is your inventory and supply chain. Unless you are in the service industry, this factor is critical, since your customers will be expecting consumption of the product(s) you’re selling soon after they make a purchase.
Failure to which, you’ll be giving them reasons to give chance to your competitors. As with everything else featured on our website, there is an innovative way to go about managing your inventory and supply chain. We hereby introduce you to eprocurement vendors, a cutting edge information system to manage your inventory.
Wrapping Up & Thinking About the Future
A fully functioning eCommerce website is not enough to succeed, but following these 7 strategic enhancements is a great start. Again, before anything else, you should set up your goals and preferably use a third-party coaching service provider.
Once your goals are clear, invest in a great user experience, target consumers directly, and make sure your efforts are also focused on keeping those clients by keeping an eye on your data stats. As for the users that didn’t convert, research what made them abandon their carts and try winning them back.
What’s even more important to remember is that our world is changing constantly and as evergreen as these enhancement ideas are, you should always research new trends and try to improve your eCommerce business.