We have heard it all before, eCommerce is the future of retail sales. In 2018 the worldwide online retail sales amounted to 2.84 trillion US dollars. By 2021, the market will evolve to 4.88 trillion US dollars in worldwide online retail sales. This is a growth rate of 72% in just three years!
The big question now is, how can you be a part of this exponential growth and enjoy a piece of the cake? There are many different alternatives to exploit eCommerce sales. One is to sell through established marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Walmart; the other option is to build your own eCommerce store. It is even possible to do both at the same time, thereby creating a truly omnichannel experience.
Whatever online sales channels you pursue, one thing is clear – the eCommerce industry is marked by growth, also in terms of buyers. In 2017, 21.8% of the world’s population made an online purchase. By 2021 this figure is projected to increase to 28.2%. As more people buy online, there will be more businesses that will move their retail stores online. This will foster a competitive environment, where only the best will survive.
To boost your eCommerce business and maintain a strong market position, there are a range of tips and tricks that can be applied. These will pave the way for success!
Source the RIGHT products
As you might assume, the specific products you sell have an effect on your sales. But how do you know which products to source in the first place?
Well, products that are high in demand, low in competition and sell at a profitable margin. Of course, this is easier said than done. In fact, such analyses require in-depth product market research. However, manual estimations of product sales data are subject to human error and will require extensive effort.
However, there is a solution to this problem! Product market research BI platforms like Algopix provide actionable data that sellers can leverage to identify the RIGHT products to sell. Algopix shows product specific profit analyses, demand levels, sales performances, average seller ratings, number of competitive offerings, keyword insights and product details.
The platform services 16 international Amazon, eBay and Walmart marketplaces. This data can be exploited to either develop smart sales strategies in established marketplaces or get insights needed to build your own eCommerce store.
The success of your eCommerce business starts with sourcing the RIGHT products: They are the foundation of your business and should be selected with careful consideration. Making use of BI platforms like Algopix will significantly improve your ability to source high demand and margin products that are low in competition. Naturally, your products will sell better.
Generate high-quality traffic
It is a number one priority to generate traffic! If there is no traffic to your online store, nobody will look at your products and your sales will be low or even close to zero.
However, increased traffic is not enough! If the traffic to your website is not relevant to the offered product or service, customers will likely not engage on the website (i.e. sign-up, subscribe, etc.). The quality of the traffic also plays a critical role and companies should aim to concentrate their marketing efforts on targeted customer groups.
So, how do you stimulate traffic and get buyers to your online store? The best ways to do this is to exploit a range of different marketing channels and improve SEO.
The list of different marketing channels is long. Companies can make use of paid advertising, email campaigns, social media coverage, affiliate programs, influencer marketing and content creation (e.g. guest blogs). By harnessing these channels, online store owners can target specific audiences and draw them to their website. Of course, the importance of these channels depends on unique business needs.
Marketing channels are not the only ways to attract buyers. In fact, 70%-80% of Google users are solely focused on organic search results. This shows that SEO is the most important factor in generating traffic. To position your company perfectly and allow your target audience to navigate to your online store easily, SEO is critical but not easy to master. In fact, SEO should be handled by professionals to promote an online store through effective channels, thereby organically navigating buyers to the online store.
Content is king
The content of an online store plays a fundamental role in customer acquisition and retention. The most important factor is that the content is targeted to the right audience and is relevant to them. Next to the written content, visual content is nearly as important and of course, should also be in high resolutions. Why should anybody buy a product that is not clearly described or displayed?
To create exceptional content on your website, there are a couple of tips and tricks that can be applied. First, it is vital to have convincing landing pages! The first impression of a customer on your online store often determines if you are able to convert him or not. Also, good landing pages will lower your bounce rate and keep customers engaged, moving them down the sales funnel. It is also important to note that convincing landing pages will need to have effective Call to Action (CTA) buttons. Especially the UI and UX are critical for driving conversions.
Another tip is to make use of videos to explain a complex service to customers. They don’t want to read long texts and be bothered by minor details. Instead, make a short video explaining the value of your product or service that can be accessed fast and understood easily.
Businesses or online stores that have a blog are more likely to generate traffic towards their website. In fact, these companies will have improved SEO because Blog posts on selected topics will likely have high rankings in search results. It is also an excellent way to engage readers and inform them about news, developments or any other topic of interest.
Foster trust among your customers
Trust is one of the biggest hurdles in eCommerce. Due to the fact that online retail businesses find it hard to replicate an in-store customer experience, they have to convince their buyers in different ways.
One such way is through customer reviews and testimonials: Inside knowledge on a product or service is valuable and a key decision maker in online purchases. According to a study, 77% of shoppers take the time to read product reviews before they make any purchases online. This shows that reviews and testimonials will make or break your online business. To avoid any negative reviews, make sure to offer exceptional customer service.
This includes being available on phone, email and chat for any inquiries, no matter how superficial they are. Customers want immediate service as well. The longer you keep them waiting, the more likely they will feel irrelevant. In contrast, if you reply fast, customers will remember the outstanding experience they had and the capable company they were buying from.
Good customer service can also be expressed by offering a free return policy and free shipping. These are like unspoken rules of eCommerce. In fact, 9 out of 10 customerssay that free shipping is the top incentive to shop online. Return policies have a similar effect because it reduces the risk for the buyer. If the product does not fit or is broken, it can simply be returned at the expense of the seller.
There are also other ways to signal trust to your customer base. One of them is to work with established brands and integrate them. For example, offering payment services such as PayPal signals to the buyer that there is a secure payment channel. This will improve your brand reputation because you have trusted companies in your ecosystem which customers probably have already had contact with. Similarly, quality badges or rewards from reputable institutions or organizations will signal trust.
The average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is 2.86%, which is close to nothing! To get a different view, 97.14% of the customers visiting your landing page do not subscribe to the newsletter, do not sign-up and will not make a purchase. This shows how hard it is to move customers through the sales funnel and convert them. There are some tips and tricks though…
Discounts are a great way to incentivize conversions. Everybody likes to shop at reduced prices and customers are willing to search for the best deal that they can find out there. 88% of online buyers compare different marketplaces and online stores to find the offer with the best price. Hence, discounts attract buyers and drive sales.
Another effective way to drive conversions is to create a sense of urgency on your landing pages and website. A good example would be a discount that is restricted in time (e.g. get 30% discounts if you buy in the next hour). Subconsciously, this influences buyers to engage and convert quickly.
The UX and UI of a landing page or website are also important to encourage conversions. Customers should not have to search for CTA buttons and the whole experience should be effortless. This will allow customers to navigate your online store intuitively and keep engaged until conversion. UX and UI are also not tasks that can be delivered in perfection. It is important to objectively evaluate the performance of different landing pages, CTA buttons and illustrations based on A/B testing. Only this will reliably show how effective they are and what preferences your customers have.
Frictionless checkout process
The checkout process or shopping cart on your website is the last step before completing a purchase. Buyers have come all the way through the sales funnel and are now finally ready to make a purchase! Or are they…? A study by the Baymard Institute shows that 27% of customers leave the customer checkout process because it is too long and complex.
You, as an online seller, do not want to lose those sales! To avoid this, make your checkout process as smooth as possible. Most important is reducing the number of stages in the checkout process to the bare minimum. Get rid of anything that seems unnecessary, as it only annoys customers.
To make this possible, online businesses will have to include the option to checkout without signing-up. Just enable them to make a purchase as a guest user. It will likely take customers 2-3 minutes to sign-up and they will feel unnecessary commitment. Therefore, enable the option to checkout directly and fast as a guest.
Lastly, a progress bar in the checkout can be extremely helpful because it shows the buyer progress. It comes naturally that he will be less likely to abandon the shopping cart if he has already completed 80% of it. These are small details that can make a big difference in purchasing decisions.
eCommerce success is not a piece of cake
These six tips and tricks will boost your eCommerce business and empower your success. Of course, there are also other recommendations, but these are the most valuable ones along the sourcing and buying process. They often intersect and are dependent on each other, because online sellers need to create a completely integrated and fluid sales process that runs smoothly. To achieve this, sellers will most likely have to facilitate technology and BI as well. It is a journey and there is competition, but don’t forget: The market is huge and the opportunities are endless. Therefore, your effort will be rewarded!