Thanks to established and proven eCommerce best practices and the availability of online tools and resources, starting an eCommerce business has never been as accessible and as easy for aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs as it is today. However, there’s also never been such a competitive business environment in Australia.
Small business owners rely on these eCommerce best practices in order to be competitive in today’s market. Over time, however, many business owners have taken these best practices for granted and have not bothered to make the necessary changes that gives them a competitive advantage over their rivals.
Here are a few eCommerce best practices that should be updated to be relevant in today’s business environment
Your professional eCommerce website design looks unprofessional
When you’re an established corporate eCommerce giant, it seems that all you have to do is slap your logo onto a webpage and wait for customers to come rushing in. After all, they recognise the logo and their brand so trust it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to build up that brand loyalty for your small eCommerce business website.
Today’s online customer’s are still very much driven by their perception more than the actual content of your website. This highlights the importance of really impressing your customers as soon as they land on your website.
While too many eCommerce businesses that are just starting out try to show off their social proof to potential customers, not a lot of businesses take the time to consider the psychology of how to persuade customers to take action on your eCommerce store.
Addressing the common worries that customers feel will go a long way to alleviating their fears of using your site for the first time.
How to use customer reviews the right way
User reviews are a very important aspect of an eCommerce business. Numerous studies have shown how they are more likely to influence a customer’s buying decision than the standard product info tab.
User reviews are widely considered an important component of eCommerce best practices because they help increase conversion rates, which essentially shows the level of success of your eCommerce business store by tracking the percentage of website visits that result in a transaction.
For a small retail business, however, this may present a bit of a problem as they may not yet have as many online user reviews as their larger and more established rivals. One on hand, you should avoid showing pages with “no user reviews yet”; but on the other hand, you don’t want to appear misleading or suspicious by displaying a product with a 5-star rating based off just one user review.
To get quality customer reviews, there is no better substitute than asking customers to review you.
Here are some great tips to get the reviews that matter and will help grow your bottom line:
- Make it easy for customers to leave a review: Automate your customer reviews by enabling your customers to be able to submit their thoughts right from from the convenience of their own email inbox. A great way to do this would be by including several social media links on your email signatures that your customers can easily click on.
- Send personal emails: Regular customers appreciate it when business owners take the time to send them a personal thank you email. This makes them more likely to provide an honest review about your products and will even provide opinions that may help improve your business.
- Provide quality service: Make your customer feel like a big customer in your small eCommerce business by providing them with royalty-grade customer service and quality products. They will be far more likely to refer your business to their friends and relatives and come back fro repeat business.
The importance of a great product shipping experience
A poor shipping experience can easily ruin a customer’s great shopping experience. Although most merchants know that they need to offer low shipping costs, quick delivery times and round the clock customer support, few of them are actually doing it right.
Common issues such as unexpected delays, damaged or lost items can lead to bad online reviews and a tarnished customer service reputation for the company even when it may not even be their own fault!
That’s because merchants rely on third party couriers to ship their products to their customers locally and abroad. In effect, not only are these couriers responsible for the physical delivery of the merchant’s products, they also play a crucial role in helping to shape the customer’s overall shopping experience.
With so many things that can potentially go wrong, it is crucial for eCommerce business owners to do thorough research on professional and reliable shipping couriers.
Some of the features that modern-day customers look for include:
- A shipping policy section on your website: Meeting customer’s expectations creates trust and loyalty. The more they know what to expect, the less they can make any reasonable arguments.
- Multiple shipping options: Today’s customers like instant gratification, but they are willing to wait a day or two more to get what they want without having to fork over the extra cash for next-day shipping. So don’t make a next-day or 5-7 day wait periods your only options to ship your items.
- Transparency with shipping charges: Customers like surprises, just not surprise credit card charges on their statement. Be upfront and transparent with the customer about ALL the included charges before they place their orders.
No matter how excellent your service actually is, you will still get customer complaints. But if you want a fighting chance of your small retail shop being able to compete with the larger stores, go beyond the standard services they offer and watch your business gradually gain market share.
While it is always a good idea to adhere to proven business best practices, you should always take a flexible approach to update them according to client preferences and the ever-evolving eCommerce market. Getting best practices wrong, or using irrelevant ones can often do more harm than good.
The focus should always be on what the customer wants and being able to anticipate their needs. By following these eCommerce best practices, you can help ensure that your sales keep climbing and that your brand awareness keeps growing.
eCommerce photo from Shutterstock