What makes an ecommerce website a success?
What exactly is it that allows one site to thrive and maintain a loyal, long-term customer base while another online business diminishes?
You may be surprised to know that it’s not the price of the products that determine how successful an e-commerce business is. If you examine the e-commerce industry over the past 20 years, it shows that simply having a lower price point than the competition is not the sole factor in why a company flourishes. Similarly, it is not just how beautiful a site may be—there are many e-commerce sites that have launched with all the bells and whistles, yet still have not thrived. Case in point, take a look at Amazon. While not the most beautiful site in terms of visual aesthetics, it sure does perform.
So in order to stand out amongst the rest, consider these three effective strategies below to help your ecommerce brand foster higher conversions, greater sales, and increased traffic:
1. Excellent Customer Service
Providing your customers with service that goes above and beyond is essential—you must exceed the expectations of your visitors. When Zappos first launched, it was a brand unfamiliar to the average consumer. After driving visitors to their site through traditional marketing efforts, they went out of their way to show the visitor just how dedicated they were to ensuring incredible customer service, using text in bold letters that prominently represented their policies.
As shown above, Zappos highlights their major selling points—fast and free shipping, and how easy it is to return a product for free if the customer isn’t 100% satisfied with their purchase. Zappos proved that with superb customer service, a company could be successful, and this core value that they were built on is still what they stand behind today. When it comes to trusting a business online, returning to that site, and even recommending that site to peers, studies have shown that customer service is the first and foremost factor.
Another important element of customer service that a lot of online brands tend to overlook is making it easy for customers to reach you. Too often companies think that because there is no in-person presence, this aspect of their customer service isn’t essential, but it is. This means having a phone number that is easily accessible, and when the user dials it they get a real person to speak with. Connecting your potential customers with a person that is knowledgeable about your products and provides genuine responses that aren’t canned and rehearsed can go a long way.
Bonobos makes it incredibly simple for customers to get in touch with customer service representatives—or what they call “ninjas.” This commitment to serving customers to the best of their ability has helped Bonobos to thrive from an online retailer to one that’s opening storefronts as well.
Ultimately, if you’re an ecommerce brand, be sure that you have the infrastructure in place to support your sales and fulfil the needs of your customers.
2. An Easy-To-Use & Clean Website
I mention this time and time again when talking about website design because it’s not something that should be taken lightly—your website must be responsive. A responsive design ensures that your site renders appropriately on all devices and platforms. Without this type of design, you’re likely to experience a high bounce rate due to poor usability when customers access your site from their mobile devices. Whether it’s excessive zooming in or zooming out, button sizes that aren’t appropriate for the screen, or other rendering issues, this can be detrimental to the user-experience. In order to be strategic when reaching your customers, it’s critical that your site be optimized for whatever device they may be using.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your messaging, products, or services are showing the user exactly what they want to see. Each category of your products should have its own landing page that breaks down the product line and makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. Nixon, as shown in the example below, does a great job at embodying these traits. Not only do they have a clean design that is optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, their menu breaks down their watches by categories, making it simple for users to navigate.
Aside from a great user-experience when users land on your site organically, a clean design and navigation is essential for the success of other digital marketing campaigns that aim to drive website traffic and conversions. For example, if you’re launching a PPC campaign targeted at customers looking for stainless steel men’s watches, you want to seamlessly send them to a landing page that is going to present them with all products that fit that description.
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3. Understand Your Customers & Market To Them Accordingly
Knowing who your customers are and following up with them appropriately is important. Most companies don’t truly know their customers, and fail to track which are frequent purchasers and which are one-time buyers, along with other insights related to purchase behavior.
Existing customers shouldn’t all be marketed to in the exact same way. Marketing tactics should be used that reflect individual purchasing patterns based on historical onsite behaviors. If you have loyal customers that make purchases more regularly than the average customer does, serve them with special promotions or exclusive offers. Going out of your way to show that you value your customers is crucial. Take the time to understand who is purchasing and what segment they fall into. Perhaps one customer is ideal for a certain product line based on past behavior, or maybe they purchase the same product time and time again—whatever the behavior, implement follow-up marketing tactics that reflect this understanding.
Your existing customers are the lowest cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for new sales. You spend money driving new leads to your site, so when you acquire a customer, you want to retain them. Marketing tactics should reflect your understanding of particular segments within your audience and convey how much you value them as customers.
A Strategic Approach to Improving Ecommerce Business
For any brand within the ecommerce sector, generating online sales and maintaining a loyal customer base can be difficult. Without the support of strong customer service, diligent marketing tactics that are tailored to individuals, and a user-friendly website design, accomplishing business goals is near impossible. Keeping your customers and their needs as the primary focus of all initiatives is incredibly important when connecting with and engaging your customers online.