This article is contributed by Rodney Laws. Rodney is an e-commerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio."
It’s an all-too-familiar story for many new eCommerce store owners.
You’ve finally launched your eCommerce business. You’ve got a well-built online store with a variety of products and great content people are dying to read. Any minute now you’ll be swarmed with digital customers completing orders.
Any minute now…
Unfortunately, not all eCommerce stores find instant success. Even though we live in a digital world, it’s still difficult to get an online store off the ground without significant funds for advertising. The competition is vast and fierce, and one wrong move can leave you with digital shelves full of products and a less than appealing bounce rate.
Here are some ways to solve common issues that new eCommerce stores usually confront.
Ever bought a coffee recommended by a colleague? Or changed your order in a restaurant because the table next to you looked so happy with their meal? That’s social proof in action.
In the digital marketplace, social proof does a lot more than changing your morning coffee routine. Social proof isn’t just about making yourself more appealing in a traditional marketing sense. It’s a weapon that helps you gain competitive advantage and convince skeptical customers by instilling trust in your brand and products. Unlike celebrity endorsement, social proof tells real customer experience about a product. More and more online shoppers will look for such social proof on your store on their first visit. Increase in high profile scams also urges them to search for persuasion before they invest in a product.
To build social proof, fill your website and marketing materials with a copious number of star ratings, reviews, testimonials, and official seller seals for specialized products. How do you get this social proof? The answer is more simple than you think - just ask for it! With a review app like Judge.me, you can schedule unlimited review requests from customers with fulfilled orders. Once you’ve got the reviews, you can showcase them in the Review Widget, Preview Badge (on your product pages and collection page) and Reviews Carousel (on your homepage). Besides asking for reviews, you can add custom questions that give more insights about how products and services are performing.
Digital customers want it all, and they want it now. Hence, the key to success in this digital age is to be attentive, prepared and present. Great customer service begins with the moment your customers arrive on your website. That doesn’t mean you need to follow them around like a newborn puppy. Instead, provide prompts and information sources to guide your customers along the way, for example:
Customer service is all about clear communication and availability. If you can’t be on the other end of an email or phone call, you need to have the constant communication in place for consumers to find what they need on their own. With no-one there to physically provide customer service, everything on your store has to be customer service.
When you’re working in a field as crowded and swarming with ideas as eCommerce, you need something to stand out, whether it’s a particular design quirk or a specific product line. You need to have a unique selling point - what sets you apart from other competitors. Are your products anything to get excited about (especially at that inflated price point)?
There are certain design elements that every great eCommerce store needs: natural navigation, clear product pages and a basket system that cuts out frustration. But there are some areas where you can make subtle tweaks to improve your ability to retain first-time visitors. Content is one of them. Many stores have found success with video content, particularly showing off how a product works or providing a peek behind the curtain of their operations. This allows for a greater degree of creativity, whether you produce a short web series or simply experiment with new camera and editing techniques to better display a product’s features.
A huge number of online stores fail because their marketing fails. Reasons for their failure can be advertising to the wrong groups, picking the wrong ads, or not being able to deliver what they promise.
Google and social media advertising have become such a crucial part of getting an online store off the ground. You need to hit the SEO technicalities required to reach new consumers, but great advertising is about proposing a problem or question and providing the answer in the form of a product or service. You just need to make sure you’re actually providing an answer.
Take a customer looking for a watch for their partner. They may be greeted by an ad claiming to have the ‘Perfect Watch for a 40th Birthday’ and click through that ad. When that click lands them on a generic homepage, they’re going to be frustrated, as in their mind they were ready to see a selection of watches. This is the exact situation where you want to play to expectations. Consumers want to be grabbed by the hand and lead to the exact product or service they’re looking for. Couple this with presence on the right platforms and you’re on to a winning eCommerce marketing strategy.
Truth is, a lot of eCommerce stores will continue to fail every single year. They’ll be victims of an oversaturated market, poor design choices and lackluster advertising. To make sure you’re not one of them, follow these tips and choose the right automatic tools that take much of the responsibility out of your hands and leave the creative (read: fun) part to you.