Electronic commerce, more commonly known as E-commerce or eCommerce, is the buying and selling of products through an electronic medium, without the use of of paper documents. The internet is the primary medium through which eCommerce occurs.
Within eCommerce are 3 sub categories:
- Business to business (B2B) – Think Intel
- Business to consumer (B2C) – Think Amazon
- Consumer to consumer (C2C) – Think eBay
eCommerce is growing year on year. In the UK, online sales account for 13% of the total UK economy. This percentage is expected to increase a further 2% by 2017. To put that in perspective, in 2013, UK shoppers spent £91bn!
Demonstrate your USP
Why should a consumer buy from you? Your company’s unique selling point can mean make or break for your sales figures. Whether you offer a unique product, trustworthy reviews, special pricing, or fast shipping, your eCommerce website needs to convey this. It’s about convincing the consumer that they should buy a product from you vs another retailer.
Can the consumer easily find the product they’re looking for? Depending on the type of products you offer, you will attract customers that range from knowing exactly what they’re looking for, to not having a clue. For your eCommerce website to be successful you need to cater to all.
A good place to start is a search bar that offers predictive input. For the indecisive customer, you need to present them with browsable content, a featured product page, or personalised product recommendations. Help them find related products that will make their browsing experience more enjoyable.
Security and Privacy for your eCommerce website
If your eCommerce website fails to provide users adequate security, your chance of a sale diminishes considerably. This security must be communicated to the user, feeling secure is almost as important as being secure.
Equally important is privacy. Most websites will offer a privacy statement detailing what they will do with the data they obtain from you. This could be something as simple as not passing your details on to a 3rd party, or not sending promotional material without consent.
If your eCommerce website offers a simple returns policy, or better yet, a returns policy superior to your closest competitors, thats an extra ‘tick’ in the ‘buy from you’ box. This also feeds back into the consumers feeling of security. If you reduce a customer’s perceived risk, they are more likely to buy from you.
Additional Costs – Be Transparent
Additional costs, like shipping or administration charges, need to be transparent. If a user is happy with a product and more specifically the price of that product, slapping on a host of unexpected costs just before the end of the transaction is likely to put them off. Be transparent and make the user aware of any additional costs so they know what to expect.
Additional eCommerce Store Features
These are the optional features that go above and beyond the norm to help secure a sale. Additional store features promote both flexibility and functionality, and can speak volumes about the company that is willing to go the extra mile for a customer.
Additional store features include, but are not limited to: Gift wrapping, order tracking, order history, wish lists, product recommendations – ‘Customers who purchased this product also looked at…’, loyalty schemes, gift cards, and a range of different payment methods.
Help and Support
In this day and age, proper customer service is essential. Whether it’s through: E-mail, phone, live chat, or FAQ’s, effective customer service can demonstrate the reliability of your eCommerce website. Helping potential customers in a friendly and efficient manner boosts your chance of a sale, and adds return value.
If your business makes an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, shout about it! An eco-friendly message can influence a customer’s decision to buy.
“29% of all UK smartphone owners have made a purchase on the mobile web”. That percentage is fast approaching a third of all smartphone owners. This also excludes the use of tablets which are another growing market. From that statistic it’s clear that your eCommerce website design needs to incorporate a mobile friendly version.
Keep your eCommerce URLs simple.
Social media platforms offer a free and effective way to interact with your target market. “72% of all internet users are active on a social media platform”. When engaging with your target market, social media has the potential to attract long term followers that can help generate profit for your eCommerce website design.
Even if you don’t intend to use social media to promote your business it’s still important to register the relevant social media handles for several reasons: To minimise the likelihood of someone impersonating you, and because somewhere down the line you may realise the benefits of social media marketing.
Look at any well established eCommerce website; they all have fresh, new content. Whether it’s a blog, news feed, or addition of new products, all these things contribute to a resourceful site and promote SEO.
Create a Lasting Impression
Give the user a reason to come back, return value is massive. Followers that buy from you consistently not only make for a more healthy bank balance, they help spread your message; recommending you to friends and family.
Original Copy to Sell Products
Written copy for a product is your pitch to the consumer. Imagine you’re on Dragon’s Den, you’re going to ‘sell’ your product to the Dragons till you go blue in the face. You need to demonstrate that level of desire in your eCommerce website design. Ok, maybe not until you’re blue in the face, but demonstrate your passion toward the product.
Providing the consumer with quality written copy, that intrigues and engages them, gives you a much better chance at a sale.
Build the Right Team
We can’t stress this last point enough – When expanding your eCommerce business, get the right people on board; people that share your passion for your business and the products it sells.