In the last 5 years, e-commerce has grown to become as popular, if not more, than traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. With convenience, variety, and lower prices, it’s easy to see why every business would want a piece of the digital marketplace.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a big business in order to reap the benefits. Here are 10 successful e-commerce business practices for small businesses.
1. Make your E-commerce Site Easy to Use
Easily the best place to start for improving your business’s e-commerce
A cluttered and confusing shopping experience will turn off every kind of visitor. For those who are browsing, make sure to keep your products organized in easily understandable categories. Similarly, for customers who know exactly what they are looking for, try to eliminate unnecessary hurdles that may keep them from buying, such as a flood of pop-ups, options, or unnecessary purchasing steps.
2. Focus on Retaining Customers
Many businesses, online or offline, believe acquiring new customers is the best way to increase revenue. But in contrast, acquiring new customers costs five times more than it costs to retain customers who have already made a purchase.
Some common techniques to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer include upselling, discounts, and subscription models.
3. Leverage Your Existing Customers
We live in a world of aggressive marketing.
A constant bombardment of marketing has caused consumers to lean towards businesses that convey an image of trustworthiness through real human interactions.
Use your existing customers to spread word-of-mouth through testimonials. Whether it be on your own site or on any of the major review sites, consumers will be more inclined to interact with you if they can see that real people have had a positive experience with your business.
Furthermore, make it easy for happy customers to share their experiences with your business by incorporating social media buttons on your website.
4. Tune to Your Customer’s Favorite Channel
The office water cooler has also moved to the digital space. Your customers are somewhere on the internet, you just need to find where. Focus on one to two channels that you know your customers use to avoid wasting time with the wrong crowd.
Social media can be a powerful tool, but it’s not a sales tool. Use social media to connect with your customers and foster a strong brand image. Avoid using social media channels to push promotions and ads. Instead, use this opportunity to obtain feedback, deepen relationships, and strengthen your brand image.
5. Assist Leads with Email Marketing
Despite what many people say about email, it actually takes the number 2 spot for E-commerce, right after search.
The success of an email campaign is highly dependent on how well the content of the email aligns with the person receiving it. The messaging needs to be tailored to specifically what stage the customer is in their buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, or Delight.
6. Customer Service is Key
As mentioned earlier, customers are moving away from impersonal businesses for more human establishments. One of the key reasons is because customers are caring more about how they are served. An average of 80% of customers are less likely to make a purchase from a business that doesn’t respond to complaints.
For small businesses, use your small size to be responsive and respectful to customers. Build a brand with reliable customer service to create a strong brand reputation through positive word-of-mouth and online reviews. Speaking of, don’t be intimidated by negative online reviews. Responding to negative reviews shows that your business is open to resolving whatever problem a customer may have. Positive responses will go a long way to show potential customers that your business cares about the experience your customers have.
7. Settle in the Mobile Landscape
Regardless of whether you have an e-commerce site or not, being optimized for mobile devices should be an absolute priority in today’s landscape. Today, more than half of all e-commerce traffic comes through mobile devices. If your business’s purchasing experience is not optimized for mobile, than you may be losing out on potential customers. Furthermore, sites that are optimized for mobile will have higher click-through rates and rank higher on organic search results.
8. Optimize for Search
Many small businesses fail to recognize the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). Google alone processes an average of 40,000 search queries a second. Your business needs to be optimized so it can be displayed for as many relatable queries as possible.
While hiring an SEO specialist is an option, there are dozens of techniques you can use yourself to better compete for the top spot. A simple search will bring up dozens of online articles with easy SEO techniques you can implement.
9. Eliminate Pre-Purchase Anxiety with Visuals
A quick observation of any successful e-commerce business will immediately show you one thing. Strong visuals. As e-commerce overtakes traditional brick-and-mortar shopping, more customers are drawn to strong visuals of products to ensure quality and reduce the risk of purchasing a product that doesn’t fit their needs.
Here are some easy tips to boost your product pages:
- Give your customers a variety of angles to view the product.
- Incorporate a zoom for ease-of-use.
- Utilize short videos to educate a potential customer about the product.
- Create infographics to show your business’s knowledge about the product category.
- Implement testimonials (photos, videos, or just text) on individual product pages.
10. Nurture Your Customers
Customers nearly never make a purchase after being exposed to a business for the first time. To keep your brand in a potential customer’s mind, you need to establish a consistent brand presence.
Simple brand elements such as logo, colors, and fonts are easy to keep consistent. It’s the intangible elements, such as personality, values, and voice, that are harder to build a consistent image. By keeping a consistent brand presence, you are demonstrating to your customers that your brand is stable and reliable.
Merchant Capital Direct has the small business resources you need to grow your business. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.