7 Steps towards a Powerful E-commerce Strategy

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Nov 2014
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Author : Pete Peranzo

With rapid advances in technology, e-commerce, and the increase in usage of smartphones and tablets, people are choosing to shop online rather than visit a ‘brick and mortar’ store. This has led to an eCommerce revolution of sorts wherein more and more merchants are making their way online to sell products and services.

There is tremendous competition in the world of eCommerce, which means the need of the hour for eCommerce businesses is to have a powerful eCommerce strategy to stand out from the fierce online competition.

Here are 7 steps to help you build robust eCommerce strategies for your online store:

1. Research about Your Target Audience and Competitors

To design a perfect eCommerce store, you need to gather the right information about your target audience and competitors. This research will help you decide the channels you should use to penetrate into the market and the strategies you should develop to attract the attention of your customers.

Here are a few questions you must ask if you want to understand your target market better:

  • What is the age group of your target audience?
  • What other interests do they have?
  • When will they purchase your product?
  • Where and how will they be using your product?
  • Why should people buy products from you?

Answers to the above questions will help you design your website in a way such that it will attract the maximum number of visitors and enable you to implement the necessary tactics that can help your business go one up over your competition.

2. Craft a Responsive Website

E- Commerce stores must appeal to their potential customers irrespective of the device being used to access them. What we are witnessing now is a mobile commerce revolution, which is a subset of the eCommerce revolution.

  • Four out of five smartphone owners use their devices to shop.
  • 30% of all eCommerce traffic came from mobile devices in 2013.

These figures make it very clear that your website needs to leverage the potential of desktop as well as mobile users.

It is imperative that online retailers use a responsive layout for their website to provide a seamless experience across all devices to potential customers.

On the other hand, having an unresponsive eCommerce platform will deliver a poor shopping experience to mobile users as they won’t be able to navigate through the site easily; this will increase your site’s bounce rate.

Online shopping is all about convenience. Your eCommerce store can only be profitable if it is creating a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for your visitors.

3. Creating a Customer-Oriented Experience

An eCommerce store that subscribes to a customer-oriented business model helps drives brand loyalty, which shores up its bottom line.

One of the ways this can be done is by delivering a personalized user experience to customers. Your online store must help shoppers find the products they are looking for and which they will love using. This can be done by offering them product recommendations based on their buying behavior.

Another way of providing a good user-experience to your customers is by offering high-quality customer support. Some of the ways you can offer customer support is:

  • Product Enquiry Option – Let customers get answers related to products by posing questions directly.
  • Social Media – Provide customer service through social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Chat Feature or Displaying Customer Service Number – Place it at a prominent position on your product page and pre-checkout page to help customers at the point of purchase. For instance, Apple provides ‘Talk to a Specialist’ option on its pre-checkout page.

If you fail to provide a good customer experience, customers will be forced to look at your competitors. Alternatively, making customers feel valued and special will create a customer for life.

4. Quality Content

When customers are shopping online, they cannot physically see and touch the products; makes it difficult eCommerce merchants to convince prospective customers that a particular product is perfect for their needs.

This is where content comes in to help save the day.

Research shows people are more likely to purchase products from websites that produce quality content. High quality content is a very effective way of convincing and converting visitors.

An eCommerce store should therefore leverage content to sell and market products. Content will help generate a level of curiosity and interest in potential customers about the product. It should be used to help customers make an informed decision whether to buy your products/services.

The use of high quality images and high-resolution videos of products not only improves the user engagement of your eCommerce site but also persuades visitors to complete the sales funnel.

5. Marketing

It is nice to have a well-designed and content rich eCommerce site. But that would be meaningless if no one visited your site. Marketing is one of the most challenging aspects of running an eCommerce business.

One of the ways to get traffic to your eCommerce site and improve sales is to have a business page on all the social channels that your target audience is using. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram need to be leveraged by all online businesses irrespective of their size.

Another way you can market your products is by incentivizing their purchase. A discount or loyalty program for customers will increase word-of-mouth promotion and will make your target audience take a look at your products.

There are many other ways of delivering promotional marketing messages to potential customers like PPC ads, email marketing, display advertising, etc.

6. Retargeting

According to a report from Listrak, shoppers may abandon a checkout process up to 73% of the time. High shopping cart abandonment leads to low visitor-to-customer conversion rates. An eCommerce store should therefore resort to a retargeting strategy for reaching out to visitors that have looked at specific products but haven’t purchased them.

Effective retargeting can significantly boost the overall conversion rate of an eCommerce store.

There are various ways an eCommerce store can encourage shoppers to return:

  • An eCommerce store can utilize personalized and dynamic email content for retargeting. This may persuade the potential shopper to revisit the site and continue the trip down the sales funnel.
  • Showing banner ads of the ‘viewed’ products to visitors after they have abandoned the shopping cart can be an effective way to get their attention again, especially if the ad mentions a product discount or incentive.

7. Continuous Evolution

Technologies and trends keep on changing. Keep your strategies updated with these changes to stay relevant in your industry. Gaining feedback from customers and conducting vigilant research helps companies stay relevant with the use of emerging technologies and effective strategy.

Monitoring and analyzing the performance of your online business will also help you keep modifying your strategy and making improvements to it as and when required.

Preparing an effective strategy for online businesses is complex. The 7 steps mentioned this article will point you in the right direction towards a successful eCommerce strategy that delivers sustainable results.

 

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