Here are seven tips for making e-commerce work for your small business. These tips may seem obvious but once you start to follow them you will quickly notice how your customers react.
- Create a user journey you would like to take
- Be responsive
- Ensure the look and feel of the website is in keeping with the brand
- Test every aspect of the website more than once
- Get social and remember SEO
- Don't forget mobile
- Pivot with your customer base
Create a user journey you would like to take
If your website presents a user journey that you would not like to be on yourself, you need to change that! Smooth, streamlined user journeys are expected by consumers. Clear categories, filter options and interactive content are key for getting people to stay on your website, and importantly, keep coming back. Use heatmaps to test what's working, what's not, and keep working to optimise the user journey.
Have you ever reached out to a hairdresser or restaurant to make a booking and have not received any response? Have you ever then proceeded to contact them again? The likely answer is no.
E-commerce allows people to shop all over the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To make it in an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive, you need to ensure your customer service is not compromised. Make sure you have enough people to cover the communications between your brand and the people who are interested in engaging with it.
Ensure the look and feel of the website is in keeping with the brand
In 2020, aesthetic is everything. People who enjoy the look and feel of a website are more likely to make a purchase.
According to research, 38% of people will exit a website if they don't like the design, and it only takes users 50 milliseconds to make up their mind about whether or not they like a website.
Ensure your branding is consistent throughout your website to help build brand associations among your customers. Brand guidelines should also be circulated among the entire team to ensure the voice of the business trickles throughout every medium, whether it's socials, the website, email newsletters or even business cards.
Test every aspect of the website more than once
No one has time to wait for a website to load; you have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression from a design perspective, but that also goes for load times. It is so important to ensure website load times are firing up to standard, that it's easy to sign up for email newsletters, and pop-ups are easy to minimise if a consumer is not interested in your call to action.
Faulty websites are a sure-fire way of losing potential customers, therefore it is important to make sure the experience potential customers are having online mirrors what they might expect in a face-to-face exchange.
Get social and remember SEO
A huge number of potential customers have their first interaction with a product or service online, and so having an omni-channel presence gives you the best opportunity of broadening your reach and growing your customer base.
Create social media accounts on the channels that are appropriate for your product or service and ensure you have the scope to have a team member who can dedicate time to creating relevant content calendars and engage with your audience through direct messaging and comments.
An estimated 43% of e-commerce traffic comes through organic (free) search so it is equally important to put budget behind an SEO strategy. As the e-commerce space becomes more highly competitive, it's time to get competitive and try to gain ownership over the keywords that are associated with your business and brand.
Don't forget mobile
The majority of adults (85%) think a company's website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop website, so it is essential that your website is optimised for mobile.
Ensure the design of your website makes sense on desktop, tablet and mobile. What may work on desktop make be too crowded on mobile. It's important to prioritise mobile in your design spec to ensure the user experience is consistent regardless of the channel they find you through.
Pivot with your customer base
E-commerce offers up a great opportunity to obtain customer research. You can see which products people are visiting the most, on which web pages people spend the most time, and how often customers return, among many other valuable insights.
Learn from the data generated by your users and use it to your advantage. Depending on your product or service, you can create packages or additional services that fit the needs and wants of your customers. What's more, the digital space allows you to ask more people a wider set of questions. Don't be afraid to engage your customers with online polls and surveys to find out how you can better their experience with your brand.
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