You feel like going out to grab a bite, but it’s raining, and you don’t see wet shoes as dessert. Luckily, you’re merely a few clicks away from ordering your favorite dish, and you never have to leave the couch, except when it’s time to tip the deliverer. This preference of ours has shaped the online shopping ecosystem into a fast-evolving world of businesses from all spheres and industries. That fact alone makes the challenge of running a successful online store all the greater, both for newcomers and the veterans who’ve joined the eCommerce ranks a long time ago.
That means that merely opening an online store and “existing” online will not cut it for brands that have to face fierce competition both offline and in the digital world. You need a more creative approach, focusing on diversifying your strategy, and making your brand more visible in this growing sea of eCommerce stores. Here are a few tips to make your strategy more successful and your eCommerce business more prominent no matter the industry you come from.
User experience front and center
Without investing in UX, you cannot expect search engines to reward your website with a prominent position in the SERPs. Even more importantly, you cannot expect your customers to stay on the website for too long if it’s impossible for them to find what they need or if they’re expected to wait for your pages to load for too long. Instead, you need to make sure that the UX of your website is pristine, and in accordance with the latest trends and search engine prerequisites.
For starters, your website needs to be sleek, easy to use, and in line with your brand identity. While its main purpose may be to let your clients make a purchase online, it also needs to be well-designed, appealing, and simple. Other features such as the loading speed of your pages, if your website is mobile-friendly, and the quality of content you provide will also make a difference in how your customers perceive your store.
Ensure consistent branding
If you are accustomed to selling offline, in your brick-and-mortar stores, you will need to be careful when it’s time to migrate your brand online. While the process of creating an eCommerce store may be a simple one today, you need to make sure that your existing customers will instantly recognize your business through consistent branding. This is especially important for very specific niches that target very specific clientele.
As an example, brands can successfully sell even the unlikeliest of products online such as oilfield equipment if they successfully create a digital presence that conveys the same messages as their offline one. Using the same slogans, brand colors, content, and the like, can all help your brand gain the recognition it needs for your eCommerce store to flourish. Without awareness and visibility, a brand cannot survive the competitive eCommerce realm.
Rely on reputable partners
Is your supplier your long-term partner you’d gladly recommend? How about your digital marketing agency? Everything that needs to be outsourced or that is handled by an external, albeit vital part of your organization should be another reflection of your entire business. If one cog in your machine underperforms, the entire construction will suffer the consequences. For example, if the partner that handles shipping and delivery fails to stick to a schedule, your customers might go to another vendor because this misstep affects your own reputation.
Leverage the high level of competition that’s currently present in almost every industry. Chances are that you’ll meet potentially perfect business partners at the next networking event, if you’re prepared to take a strategic approach. Evaluate your current partner network and see if there’s a need to make a switch to a new vendor and improve your overall eCommerce service to your customers.
Up your social media game
Even though a beautiful, functional website is indeed a pivotal piece of the puzzle, brands still need to remember that social networks are a vital channel of communication. We use them every day to make purchasing decisions that can ultimately help us decide if a brand is worthy of our loyalty or if we’d rather try another business instead. Encourage social media reviews, post engaging content to inspire communication, and be there to communicate on a regular basis.
However, another important role of social media is how you use these platforms to answer customer questions or resolve issues. Social networks have become the key touchpoint in communication in the role of customer support. Your presence there might make or break your long-term relationships with your customers, so keep your brand presence engaging and helpful.
Thanks to fast-advancing technology, a growing number of people who use online as a shopping mall, and new companies throwing their hats in the ring, eCommerce has become a complex, and very competitive playground. Use these tips to run a powerful eCommerce presence and make sure that you reach your audience and stay relevant in their digital lives.