The advent of eCommerce has virtually transformed the definition of shopping. The shopping habits and preferences of people across the globe have drastically been affected with availability of almost everything of interest online, with a wide variety to choose from at the click of a button. Research indicates that it is the fastest growing shopping channel poised, to exceed $327 Billion by 2016 in the US alone. That being the case, the competition has also arrived on the scene and it takes much more than having a portal to succeed in the ecommerce space. There are no downright proven formulas for success in this ever changing world of online competition, but a few essentials will always keep you over the horizon and get your site noticed above the competitors. The design and layout of your portal along with online visibility are some of the key factors in getting traffic to your site who may then proceed to place an order. Growth Street Marketing CEO Michelle Heath states,
Ah, the land of eCommerce. What once was a place where online retailers bought gobs of PPC ads, cornered the market on display inventory and tried to outwit Google for rankings, is over-shadowed by laser-focus on AOV, LTV, COA and CPM.
This is the first step towards getting yourself noticed. The right branding efforts are vital to create a reputation of your portal in terms of reliability. The Logo plays an important role in the online branding process. A unique and catchy logo creates an instant connect with the clients, making them identify with your business. The design stage is critical for any eCommerce portal where efforts towards making the right Logo that catches the eye and gets etched in the memory must be created. Additionally, right branding campaign needs to be undertaken over various channels in order to familiarize your target audience with your business logo. The website with your logo then becomes the face of your business online, and people will actually connect more to the Logo rather than the firm itself. That is a sign of success.
There are millions of online stores currently vying to catch the attention of the buyer. In such an environment, it becomes imperative that you devise means of grabbing the attention and making the client stay on your site. This can be achieved through a variety of means. Innovation is the key to really stay in focus in cyber world. Creating competitions and announcing give-aways is a proven technique of turning heads. Freebies are yet another way of getting customers pulled to your site. Astonishing deals and free delivery can make people decide faster when they are browsing through any shopping portal. If you can convince the visitor that he gets a better deal with you irrespective of the season or location then the chances of holding his attention for longer are high. Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to getting attention for your eCommerce site. Creating a large fan following and having regular product and event updates at the more popular sites is being employed by most of the online stores currently.
This forms the core your business plan. Despite all other efforts at marketing the portal, it is the product that ultimately matters in the long term. Product quality is not the only thing that matters anymore. The online shopper wants the best range with the latest upgrades available at all times. Due to the peculiar nature of online shopping where variety is almost endless and new updates are placed online every hour, your site will have to cater to the dynamic world of eCommerce. This is an ongoing process and cannot be overlooked at any stage of your business plan. Manufacturers are quick to advertise their latest releases, and you will have to match up by having those prominently displayed in order to satisfy the ever growing demands of the online shopper. Director of Marketing for Sevenly, Justin Palmer, stated the following,
I believe one of the biggest sins in web design is promoting mission-critical products and promotions only on the homepage. I typically see sites where an email signup or free shipping promotion is highlighted only on the homepage. This is a tragedy.
User experience at any online shopping portal has been proven to be a decisive factor in its success. A cleverly designed web store will engage with the visitor giving him a pleasant experience which is conducive for the buying decision. This largely depends on the kind of web design that you have undertaken. The layout, graphics, navigation etc, count towards the overall experience on any site. The quality of content in the product descriptions and its presentation on the page vis-a-vis the product itself can influence the decision of the shopper hugely. Placement of the search box, log in button and the shopping cart are essential to make it easy to shop at your portal. The payment systems button and options must be placed conveniently so as not to lose a single purchase decision.
With options galore the success of any store online also depends on the kind of support that it can provide to its customers. The support functions include consignment tracking, complaint handling and any other kind of response mechanism which directly leads to customer satisfaction. This can do more damage if not catered for than wrong deliveries or poor a quality product.
The customer today wants to be heard. Ongoing support builds up a favorable market buzz about your site. Having customer support available 24/7 with special hotlines and chat facilities will ensure that not a single customer is left unsatisfied whatever the query may be. All contact options must be clearly and prominently displayed on the site in order to help a client easily get in touch with a representative. John Lowe, Senior Manager within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Retail Practice, predicts that,
By focusing on speed, accuracy, network design, automation, SKU proliferation and reverse logistics, retailers can implement sales fulfillment strategies that anticipate and exceed consumer demands.
Another issue pertaining to online shopping is the trustworthiness of the payment options. Most people hesitate to put in their card details online. Your site must have all the trustmarks of reputed agencies such as Geotrust, Verisign, Truste, McAfee and BBB etc, which must be displayed in order to give the customer a sense of security while placing an order and making the online payment. The world of eCommerce is evolving everyday with several new innovations, making the online shopping experience better for the customers.