7 Tips for Effective E-Commerce
With the e-commerce industry growing at an absurd rate, ensuring that your company is set up for success has never been more important. A recent report by Forrester Research states that by 2016 online shopping in the U.S. will increase by 45 percent to a whopping $327 billion.
So how can you get the most out of your e-commerce business? Is your e-commerce as effective as possible?
Standing out among the competition can be difficult, but by following some of these tips you can put you in a position for success. Gaining separation from competitors then allows focus to be placed on growth and management of your business; also valuable pieces of the equation.
7 Effective E-Commerce Tips
- Using Photos – Photos are a way to display and brand your products. High-quality photos are a must to display products. They should have the ability to be enlarged without becoming distorted so customers have fewer questions. Also using multiple angles helps display components and relative size. Finally, each photo should be retouched and edited to conform to a singular style with a logo placed in the corner. Perhaps you use the same background or border on each photo. This essentially brands your photos making them more memorable to consumers and shows care and consistency in your products.
- Product Descriptions – Product descriptions should be well-crafted and customized to improve your SEO and help connect specifically to your target audience. Ideally you want 100 to 200 words of copy that integrates details such as size, weight and shipping along with the description of the item itself. While writing intricate copy is time consuming, it can also be outsourced.
- Search Functionality – If you carry a lot of products then it makes sense that you want people to be able to find them. While having multiple pages of products people can click through to browse is nice, many customers want to track down something specific and then see the type of things customers who bought that product also purchased. Think of a large site like Amazon and how well the search function works to help you find a product and also offer recommendations based on purchase history of other customers.
- Clear Call-to-Action – Buttons or links to “shop now”, “buy now” or “order here” should appear on every page and should be visible on the top half of the page as well as the bottom. Ideally each page should lead to an action such as a purchase or at least joining a newsletter or mailing list. You don’t need to bash people over the head with it, but it does need to be easy to find and consistent.
- Accessible Policies – It should not be hard to find information about your business. FAQs, policies, information on returns, shipping estimate and customer service information such as hours and contact info should be readily available. Imagine if you are the consumer and have a question. Do you want that question answered quickly? Of course you do, so make sure your customers can find what they need quickly and painlessly.
- Customer Support – When people do have complaints or questions, a fast response time can save your business. This can apply to negative complaints or reviews as well. In a world that is socially connected at a high level combined with how easy it is to anonymously bash someone online, great customer support can turn a negative situation into an opportunity to demonstrate good customer service and create a positive shopping experience.
- Contact Information – Contact information should be listed on every single page. Numerous people will not use an e-commerce site without a phone number and business address due to concerns over integrity. By including contact information on each page, people never have to click back which makes communication and purchases more likely and efficient.
The Bottom Line
Effective e-commerce really involves a lot of “make sense” decisions. Think of your own experiences as a consumer and what you like or don’t like; poll family and friends to understand other people’s concerns. Consider sites you prefer to shop on and why you enjoy being there. More than likely those sites incorporate many of the tips we just listed because they are all part of an effective e-commerce business approach.