With the current consumer lifestyle, there is an increasing number of customers who prefer to shop from the comfort of their own homes. Whether you are a start-up scoping an eCommerce platform or an established online store looking for areas of improvement, continue reading to find out key points of running a successful online business.
Understand your customers
There are some definite advantages and drawbacks to shopping online. Understanding the needs of your consumers, allows you to improve the customer buying journey. An interesting exercise to further your understanding is to create customer personas. Here are a few examples:
Customer Persona (Jane): Jane wants to buy from home because she wants to save time. Instead of going into the city, she likes to browse and order from her laptop. She doesn’t mind waiting a few days to receive the products but likes to be able to return anything she does not like.
Customer Persona (Jack): Jack is a research-oriented shopper. He knows what he wants ahead of time and does not mind waiting to get what he wants. He knows that promotions are seasonal so waits for flash sales from his favorite brands. He enjoys getting a good bargain. He is a loyal customer and will be keen to sign-up for reward points and further discounts and promotions.
Customer Persona (Susan): Susan lives in a remote town and does not have access to shopping malls. She relies on online stores to buy products which she would otherwise not have access to. Susan likes to go to stores that she can depend on that have a wide variety of products.
KPIs and SMART Goals
It is important to track progress to understand the effectiveness of your actions. Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) and creating smart goals allows us to do just that.
Key performance indicators are measurable quantities that we can review on an ongoing basis that lets us track our performance in relation to our company’s goals.
Smart is an acronym for creating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.
Ecommerce SMART goals and KPI examples:
Short term goals
– Update the online catalog with ten different on-demand products. Create related media, descriptions, prices for the eCommerce site and promote via social media channels. Analyze customer engagement with google analytics with an aim of increasing revenue by 5% over the next four weeks.
– Increase revenue by 15% in the next two months by providing free samples and gifts with purchase for a limited time only. Use google analytics to monitor revenue growth.
– Run free give-away competitions to raise consumer engagement on social media channels. Aim to increase online engagement by 10% over the two weeks. Use insights tools to measure increase in engagement in likes, reactions, comments, and shares.
Long term goals
Loyalty Project: Outline the specifications of a rewards system for a loyal customer base in the next six months. Rewards should be in line with the organization’s eco-friendly vision.
New Website Feature Project: Create a FAQ section on-site to answer frequent consumer queries. Collect the top thirty queries sent to the customer services department and include them on the site. Include a search feature that displays answers by relevant keywords.
Key Performance Indicators
– Percentage of revenue increase made this month compared to last month and the same time last year.
– Profit made for planned promotions.
– Visitors per month.
– Average session duration per month.
Identifying Areas of Improvement
Although online stores can provide a variety of products and services, there are key areas of focus that can improve any eCommerce site. Below are a few areas that can improve your customer experience and can add to increasing revenue.
Take time to select the right platform for your business
There is a range of providers for eCommerce platforms and it is important to thoroughly research the alternatives before selecting the right solution for you. You want a solution that is affordable, provides features that will enhance your customer experience, and one that grows and adapts to the needs of your evolving e-commerce needs. Some popular platforms include Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, Volusion, 3dcart, and Big Cartel.
User-friendly Consumer Experience
Your website performance and ease are key to driving revenue. Concentrate on fast loading, clear navigations, easy-to-follow layout, and the seamless checkout experience. Having a user-centric design not only creates a positive consumer experience but also ranks your site higher on search engines and drives organic search results.
Online Payment Integrations
The nature of e-commerce means that you can have visitors from around the globe checking out your products and services. It is much easier to turn those visitors into customers by providing a variety of payment integrations that reflect current trends. A few popular integrations include PayPal, Paymark, Alipay, WeChat, Humm, and GPay.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the factors of driving organic traffic to your site is by optimizing your site for search engines. Each search engine ranks sites based on a point system. By providing quality content that is easy to read, relevant to your audience, easy to load, and linked to trusted sites you can increase your own site ratings and save on marketing expenditure. These are just a few examples. SEO is an ongoing process that keeps your site relevant to your consumers and competitive in the marketplace.
Sometimes customers want to further understand the value that a particular product or service provides. It is easier to drive sales when sufficient information is available as this makes it easier to make purchase decisions. This is especially true for high-end consumer products. Since everyone learns differently, having various types of content addresses the needs of different customer personas. Some examples of content can include blogs, YouTube channels, how-to promos, branding images and posts, solutions that target your specific audience, reviews, and Instagram gallery. You want to create content that resonates with your audience and adds value. This not only improves organic traffic but also builds on brand integrity and trust.
Google My Business
This is a free tool provided by Google. If you are running a brick-and-mortar store as well, you can register on Google My Business to drive traffic from local searches. Having a physical location and reviews adds to building trust online for remote customers. You can link your Google My Business account with your website and social media feed to bring your business to life and connect with your customers. It provides a space to look up important details like business hours, contact details, and location.
Convincing with Product Details
Because your consumers are heavily relying on your site, it is important to provide valuable information while they are pondering adding the item to the cart. Convincing information can include a relevant description, listing ingredients, and adding clear photos of the product on plain backgrounds. You can also explore including a reviews section that showcases consumer feedback.
Driving Engagement Through Social Media
Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are powerful in building communities around your brand and driving customer engagement. There is a range of paid marketing tools integrated into these platforms that amplify your promotions and allow you to track user engagement and increase growth rates over time.
Types of Promotions
Gift with Purchase
Provide free gifts with purchases to promote selling specific products. Common examples include perfume with free sample lotions.
Run 15%, 20% discounts for a limited time. This drives customers into action who were initially hesitant or for bargain-hunting consumer personas.
Loyalty Rewards System
Take time to create a loyalty rewards system either with points, exclusive discounts, or early release products. Find a way to thank the customers that have been loyal to your brand and vision.
Run flash sales to keep customers engaged, drive revenue up and compete with your online competitors.
Provide free product samples. This is an enjoyable consumer experience and increases the likelihood of consumers buying a completely new product.
Running a free delivery promotion is popular for eCommerce stores. This removes the shipping costs and allows the consumer to save on bulk buys.
Surprise and Delight
Provide free samples or gifts to surprise your customers. This adds to a positive consumer experience.
As you can tell, there are many factors involved in building a successful eCommerce marketing strategy. Each business has unique selling points and platform requirements. By evaluating your consumer needs, you can build a strategy that connects with your audience. Improvements can be made to your site to enhance user experience, add meaningful content, run targeted promotions, and measure the effectiveness of your paid and organic marketing efforts. Taking time to plan SMART goals, create KPIs, and track progress will keep you on a steady path to reaching your eCommerce business goals.
About the author:
After completing a bachelor’s in computer science, Veekshani Mudumbai continued to study marketing while working full-time for a tech company. After five years in the industry as a developer, Veekshani saw a growing need for digital marketing services for small businesses. This led to the pursuit of content creation and expansion into the world of digital marketing.