E-commerce is the new frontier for doing business. Firms with small stores thousands of miles away can easily gain clients and markets around the world through e-commerce. The rise of simple smartphones, affordable and readily available e-commerce platforms, the spread of internet and large online store ecosystems have made it easy for any firm to run an e-commerce store. The task of building, managing and growing an e-commerce store is quite a daunting and technical task. It’s very critical that you digitise as much of the CRM, marketing and client experience to the online store. Here are the 8 top tips for running an e-commerce site.
I. Organize Your Catalog into Product Categories.
A cluttered e-commerce products list is such a turnoff. User-friendliness and great user navigation is such a core aspect of e-commerce experience. That’s why you must list products based on several categories. This could be usage, e.g. kitchen tools, farming tools, automobile parts, toiletries, cosmetics and so on. Research shows that you should have a maximum of seven categories. The products should have clear, compelling and large photos. If necessary, you can create a short video or a gif of the product for your customers. You can never compromise on navigation and image quality since research shows that they drive conversion.
II. Provide Multiple Payment Options.
No site can be considered an e-commerce store if it doesn’t have payment systems. You will need to ensure that you have the widest variety possible of online payment systems. This includes the common platforms like Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express. You should also allow for cheques, snail mail, debit cards and other forms of payment on the platform. The payment options should be readily available among the people in your target market. The payment options also need to be backed up by a fraud checking facility to avoid card frauds and card thefts.
III. List out Clearly Outlined Policies.
You will need to establish clear transaction policies appertaining to your e-commerce store. First, you’ll need to stipulate the privacy policies. These include data sharing policies, client confidentiality and sharing of promotional material. Secondly, you will need to address the issue of card security using security systems like SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Card safety is such a core part of e-commerce operations. Lastly, you have to stipulate the terms and conditions including the legal framework that guides transactions. This helps you to protect your firm from possible litigation in the case of breaches.
IV. Promote your Site Every Day.
This is one of the core aspects of e-commerce. The online store market is a fiercely competitive business segment. This makes visibility, brand recognition, customer loyalty and general marketing very difficult to achieve for most e-commerce store owners. Strong marketing is an effective means of driving traffic and publicity for your website. You must carry out affiliate marketing, content marketing, offer discounts, carry out promotions, and social media marketing. One of the biggest strengths that you have is email marketing. You should use the client emails to run an effective email marketing campaign.
V. Measure Results and Reorganize.
The best e-commerce sites are run using business intelligence (BI) software and analytics features. This includes user journey mapping which helps you see which products the site visitors are flocking to. You are also able to measure the bounce rates, conversion rates, the checkout systems, modes of payment, and geographical distribution of buyers. These kinds of insights and intelligence come in handy when you need to tweak the site and the products on offer. Rely on as many analytics that are relevant to your site as possible. You should also consider having a rating and review bar so that clients can give you feedback on the service that they get.
VI. Keep a Simple yet Effective Web Design.
The success of your online store depends on your ability to put together a powerful e-commerce store that has great functionality, impressive aesthetics, remarkable user navigation and effective analytics. Most site visitors get frustrated when a page takes more than 3 seconds to open. They are likely to check out after 6 seconds. Most notably 86% of site visitors never return to a site that had a hard time loading. Your site must have clear images and a unique selling proposition. It should have plain HTML, simple design, proper font and a cool, catchy and punchy domain name.
VII. Use a Reliable Hosting Service.
You must contract an effective and experience hosting firm that offers lots of features, security, and efficiency with little down time. Make sure that the hosting firm can provide adequate customer support at all hours of day and night. Even though web hosting is getting cheaper, it's better to pay more for a host service that provides faster browsing speeds and greater security. Slow sites with long downtimes are such a turnoff for many online store clients. You will need to compare a few hosting sites before settling on one that will best meet your needs.
VIII. Make Navigation Experience Seamless.
There are several things you’ll need to do to achieve this. First, you need to minimise the sign-in requirements. The less clicks the better. While at it minimise the checkout system. You also need to reduce the number of popups since they tend to make your site look tacky and less promotional. One of the best ways of going about enhancing navigation is to provide sitemaps for the site traffic. You should use plugins and extensions that provide site user journey mapping so that you can understand how site visitors navigate the website once logged in.
At the end of the day, the different e-commerce store platforms offer different themes, services, features, and extensions. You have to select the platform that can effectively meet your firm’s needs. Depending on the level of technicality some platforms might require you to hire an in-house developer to manage the store for you. Transfer as much of your customer experience as you can into seamless digital shopping experience on the e-commerce store.