As of 2020, 25% of the world population shop online, resulting in e-commerce making up over 15% of all retail sales across the globe. These figures are only continuing to grow as the years go on and with more people opting to shop online, there is no better time to ensure that your e-commerce business stands out and draws in potential customers. In such a dense and competitive market you need to be a cut above the rest.
When you are operating in a field where thousands of competitors are available to your target market it is important to remember that websites are for the users and so need to be created with them in mind. You need to make sure you know your audience well enough to cater to them. Traffic is a desire for all online businesses, but irrelevant traffic is as useless as no traffic at all, as it won’t bring any money into your business. Adapting or creating a site that aims to directly appeal to those you are selling to will maximize your business’s chances of bringing in those users with the intent to purchase products. The homepage of your website is key. Users should be able to identify the purpose of your site within 5 seconds of clicking onto it.
The accessibility and convenience of online shopping are what makes it so popular, so it’s important your website lives up to these values too. Customers enjoy that they no longer have to leave their houses to complete purchases and that products are available to buy 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. Injecting features that prioritise user convenience on your site can, therefore, help it to stand out from the competition. If you’re unsure how to do this, certain website builders, such as Squarespace or Wix can help you make the experiences of your users as seamless as possible, and consequently as profitable as possible for you, as case studies have shown. Some other ways to prioritise positive user experience are:
· Easy and fast deliveries – It’s all well and good being able to browse for a new outfit at any time of the day, but users will stop opting for online shopping if the delivery wait is long and checking out is a challenge. Offering customers next-day delivery or speedy delivery (even at an extra cost) will improve their experience, making the process of buying items as easy as it can be. Checking out can be made simple too- with log-in systems, allowing your customers to have their details saved, as opposed to them having to spend their time re-entering their personal information every time. Over 25% of abandoned carts are due to the check out process being too complicated, so don’t risk losing customers at the final hurdle.
· Hassle-free returns – Convenience and experience should be maintained after a customer’s shopping experience is over. This means offering continued support, such as having an easy returning policy and money-back system. It has also been discovered that a return policy can impact whether users complete their purchase, with over 15% of abandoned carts being down to unsatisfactory return terms.
· Online live chats – Alongside the convenience this feature provides, due to customers being able to receive instant answers to their queries, it has been proven that customers trust businesses that offer easy means of contacting them. Hands-on customer service should be even more of a priority for your business online, as e-commerce can be an impersonal experience if not done effectively.
The world is not only e-commerce crazy, but it’s also smartphone mad. Not only is the trend of buying online catching on globally, but it is now becoming increasingly popular to do so using mobile devices as opposed to a laptop or computer. To achieve flexibility and convenience for your users, you need to ensure that your site is optimized for mobile, or you have a separate app for customers to access as an alternative to meet the requirements users expect and competitors provide.
Another example of revolutionary technology that is helping e-commerce businesses stand out is the introduction of VR – virtual reality– into the online shopping experience. When buying fashion items it is hard to tell if certain items are going to suit you and so it has been introduced into some websites to enable users to view what they would look like in the products. This is not limited to retail fashion business either- the furniture/interior design industry has found their use for it as well. For example, some companies are allowing customers to scan their room and place their desired product in the room to see if it matches and fits. This is a hugely advantageous method of boosting user experience and working towards making your online store stand out in the sea of competitors.
Ultimately, your business needs to keep up with the times and take full advantage of all the available technological advancements, because if you don’t then your competitors will.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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