While the world of e-commerce has been steadily becoming an increasing part of the modern shopping experience for several years now, the coronavirus pandemic has turbocharged online shopping.
How to Excel at Online Retail
If you run an online storefront, you know that your website needs to be appealing and easy to use in order to gain the trust and loyalty of your customers. However, sometimes that seems easier said than done.
What are some concrete steps you can take in the world of online retail to ensure that your shop is a success?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
Know Your Audience
Many new businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too broad of an audience. However, it’s actually way better for your online storefront to attract fewer of the right audience than more of the wrong ones.
For example, if you are selling tractor parts, is it better to receive 50 people from a farming forum or 50,000 people from a prominent fashion website?
As you can see, more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. The first step in reaching the right people is understanding who they are and what they are like.
Who is your primary target audience? What matters to them and what do they want? What are the problems they want to be solved in their lives?
Knowing your audience is an essential part of having a successful business. Not only does it help you meet their needs better, but it also helps you target your advertising to reach them.
Focus on Creating the Best User Experience Possible
When you run a digital storefront, your website is the face of your brand. You can think about your site just like you would a brick-and-mortar store.
If you run a physical shop, wouldn’t you want your customers to be able to understand how to move through the store and have a pleasant and problem-free experience in doing so?
If your website is clunky, poorly designed, or buggy, you’re probably not making as many sales as you want to. People need to know they can trust websites where they are entering personal financial information like credit card numbers, and they will be much less likely to trust you if the interface is riddled with problems.
Curious about how you can take your site’s user experience to the next level? If so, check out this helpful article.
Use Automation to Your Advantage
There are a lot of tasks these days that can be automated in a way that can seriously improve your company’s efficiency. Instead of having your employees spend time fulfilling repetitive shipping tasks, consider drop shipping or 3rd party fulfillment options.
You also might want to automate some of the basic customer service tasks so that people’s common questions can be responded to quickly and automatically.
Make Shipping Information Easily Accessible
One essential aspect of e-commerce is the shipping details. You’ll want to be very clear about the shipping options are that you offer. On top of that, you want to set realistic expectations about how quickly you can get shipments to their location.
Have you ever abandoned a shopping cart because you didn’t like the shipping options available? If you haven’t, there’s a good chance someone you know has.
Be mindful of how the shipping options you provide could increase or decrease your sales. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that this information is front and center for your customer to view.
Consider the Impact of Having Relaxed Return Policies
Deciding what kind of return policy to have is an important aspect for anyone involved in digital retail. While you don’t want to incentivize people constantly sending back items that have nothing wrong with them, it’s important to understand that many people only make purchases if they know they have the option to return.
You’ll want to come up with a return policy that is both reasonable and relaxed. This might mean different things to different companies. Rather than hiding your return policy in the fine print, display it in a prominent location on your site so users are never confused about the rules.
You can learn more about some of the research behind how return policies affect consumer behavior here.
When people are spending money on a website, they want to know the store is authentic, legitimate, and trustworthy.
It is essential when you are listing products for sale that you provide all of the necessary information so that they can make an informed purchasing decision. The less information you are giving the customer, the less likely they are to trust you.
Make Quick Customer Support a Priority
If you aren’t responding to customers quickly when they have support questions, there’s a good chance you have some dissatisfied customers out there. If the experience bugs them enough, you might see them starting to translate into negative reviews about your shop.
You might consider using an automated service for customer support questions, but it’s important to also have humans tasked with dealing with customer questions as well.
If you are going to prioritize any aspect of your business over all the others, consider making that aspect having tremendous and outstanding customer support.
How Can You Improve Your Online Retail Store?
Taking stock of your digital storefront is essential to make sure that you are offering the best possible experience to your customers. You’ll want to ensure that you’re investing your resources in the right places.
When you don’t have a physical storefront, it can be more difficult to gain the trust and loyalty of consumers. However, there are a number of ways that you can create this same outcome in the digital sphere.
Did you find this article about excelling at online retail helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for all the information you could ever need as an entrepreneur!