Ecommerce has become such a widespread phenomenon that it’s hard to find an industry unaffected by this type of electronic commerce. Business-to-business and business-to-consumer eCommerce has been around for some time, which is why we know the dos and don’ts of eCommerce so well today. But you can also do a lot wrong when selling your products and services directly to consumers: If your website doesn’t inspire confidence in your visitors, they won’t make the purchase – no matter how cheap or ingenious your product is.
The following tips are drawn from experience with consumer internet marketing. We have compiled some Do’s & Don’ts of Ecommerce, which you should keep in mind when designing or updating your website.
Don’t offer too many choices
Your customers will get confused and frustrated if you offer them too many choices. They might go elsewhere, no matter how cheap your product is. Ecommerce consultant Annette Hensgens says: “Always make a point of offering your visitors a limited choice of options.” In other words: Be clear, concise, and stick to the essentials. In most cases, this is one option – but for more complicated products, it can be two or more options from which the customer may choose.
Do stick to a single call-to-action
Another thing that can derail any eCommerce project is inconsistency. You must always keep in mind what you want to achieve and include only those elements on your site that contribute to this objective. For example: Do not use both a ‘call-to-action and an image of the product as a link if both serve precisely the same purpose: Choose one or the other. Keep things simple and consistent. Refer to RemoteDBA.com for your business database needs.
Don’t make your website too complicated
Your customers will quickly lose patience with complicated navigation systems – unless they offer them some advantage such as saving time. “If users find themselves having to click more than three times, chances are they’ll leave your site before finding what they need,” says O’Brien. “A complicated website will simply not convert visitors into customers.”
Do offer an easy return policy
Almost two-thirds of all shoppers (61%) say that product returns are somewhat or significant to them, according to research by the ePolicy Institute. It’s therefore worth offering your customers a simple solution for returning items they do not want. Furthermore, you can boost customer confidence with clear information about your Business Ethics / Corporate Social Responsibility / Conduct in accordance with international standards and regulations and invite consumers to contact you if they have any questions about this before making a purchase.
Don’t block pop-up windows
If you’re tempted to block pop-up windows on your website because they’re an annoyance, think again. The fact is that many consumers prefer using pop-up windows to determine which site they want to visit. For example, pop-ups are popular with travel sites because most consumers who use them find their way back to the site via a search engine later on. Pop-ups can therefore deliver traffic for your website – so don’t block them.
Do harness social networks
These days, a powerful marketing tool is Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network that offers you global reach at a minimal cost. However, before you start promoting your products on Facebook or Google+, be sure to create engaging content that makes people want more information about your company and its products/services.
Don’t forget mobile users
Today, more people are surfing the Internet on mobile devices than ever before – so you should not ignore this market for your eCommerce project. “Many companies have a mobile site, but it is often difficult to navigate and does not offer enough information,” says Hensgens.
In addition, most consumers now use their smartphones as their primary cameras. To ensure that all your customers can quickly find what they’re looking for, be sure to offer them a smartphone-optimized web design or app with which they can easily share images of your products via social media.
Do personalize the buying experience
One way in which eCommerce has overtaken traditional shopping is through personalized customer service. Not only can you use email to create a dialogue with your customers, but also social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide excellent opportunities for communicating directly with your target group … “In a competitive market, one of the best things you can do is stand out from the crowd,” says eMarketing expert Alan Vey from AVA Digital.
“Mobile devices are now everyone’s primary camera. So ensure all your customers can easily share photos of your products via social media.”
Customer needs vary significantly according to their geographic location. For example, what might be entirely normal in Asia may well seem bizarre to Europeans. Also: Do not presume that you know everything about the culture and people of another country simply because it is located on the same continent.
Don’t forget your cyber reputation
Practical eCommerce has a lot more to do with what goes on behind the scenes than most people think – especially in terms of safeguarding your online reputation. “For example, if someone purchases an item from you that they are not entirely happy with or does not live up to their expectations, they may leave negative feedback about that product,” says Vey. “But this will also impact on future sales for you. This is why it is essential to manage your online reputation.”
Do consider offering international shipping
Although international shipping might seem like a logistical nightmare, it can be highly lucrative for eCommerce shops if done right. However, a large proportion of consumers expect their orders to be shipped to any country whenever they make a purchase.
Don’t forget your offline marketing
While there’s no denying that eCommerce has changed the face of business as we know it, you mustn’t ignore other forms of marketing – such as traditional advertising and word-of-mouth referrals. “In terms of maintaining a successful online shop, offline marketing is essential,” says Vey. “You need to find ways in which your brand can stand out and engage with customers.”