So far, 2017 has been another banner year for digital retailers. With massive online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba expanding logistics and storage facilities across the world, and with new entrants like Shopify snapping up market share left and right, it is clear that the online pie is only set to grow further.
In fact surveys show that 65% of consumers prefer to purchase globally rather than locally as long as the price is right. A further 53% have made at least one online purchase in the last year. With statistics like these, is it any wonder that e-commerce has grown into a 2 trillion dollar industry?
But if you’re looking to launch an online venture of your own, it’s important to understand the potential challenges you may face, and the guiding principles you must follow to ensure the success of your business.
Guarantee Your User Experience
According to Canadian researchers, customers decide whether they like or dislike your website within one-twentieth of a second. That’s an awfully short amount of time to guarantee you make an impact. Robbed of other elements such as touch and smell, users place all their attention on site design and interface.
Make sure not to overload users with too many images, or too much content. This will only encourage confusion and hasty exits. Instead, look for a simple streamlined interface — a simple explanatory video can boost customer recall and provide your mission statement in a clear fashion.
Your website should be optimized for navigation and functionality. A search bar which incorporates filtering based on type, brand and price is a must. Make sure customers know exactly where to go next, in order to buy products. Finally, make sure that your pages load fast, 91% of online vendors say that website speed is the most important factor for their success.
Boost Your Marketing Efforts
A full 64% of online traffic is generated through organic marketing. 34% through search engine placements and a further 40% through customers typing in links directly. So, while paying for advertising can earn you a respectable bump in traffic and conversions, your focus should still be on developing content and design for SEO.
Make sure your products show up with clear images and detailed descriptions. Set up pages on online review sites in order to garner organic testimonials, and link these back to your website as well. Do your research and identify keywords which customers search for most in your industry, and optimize your content for titles, descriptions, and links for these words.
Mobile accounts for a 1/3rd of all website visits so make sure your website’s design and functionality carry over onto mobile platforms. Text and images should be large enough to read easily, and links should be easy to click.
If you don’t have one already, make sure to set up at least a couple of social media accounts on major networks. In the digital era, customers are clamouring for opportunities to connect with businesses and provide valuable feedback. Ignoring customer interaction can make your business seem distant and unengaged.
13% of shoppers will remain loyal to your business if you deliver well-wrapped goods, on time and with accuracy. With websites like Amazon focusing massively on optimizing turnaround times, customers are becoming increasingly used to quick, seamless deliveries. If your e-commerce venture wants to compete, you need to make sure that you focus on developing a TQM environment: employees and managers alike, need to understand the importance of getting things right, the first time.
An ISO certification in quality management can really help optimize your business’s operations from the top down. By gearing your products and delivery channels towards a quality driven approach, you can ensure your reputation and credibility grow exponentially. In a crowded marketplace, these subtle advantages can make the difference between survival and massive profits.