Running an e-commerce business seems much easier than it is in reality. Regardless of the size of the company, building a strong online presence is challenging. Constantly competing against other retailers for the chunk of the market is a stressful and unpredictable affair. Many company owners came to find out that opening the online store and making it profitable are two very different things. The prospect of having a successful business without the large overhead attracted many small and big company owners to try out their business skills online. Unfortunately, the vast majority of e-commerce stores went belly up in the first couple of years.
Luckily, there are some tricks that you can implement to boost your chances of survival in a merciless market of e-commerce sales.
Honesty is the best policy
You might say that this goes without saying, but in many cases, not quite so. Retailers are known to exaggerate, making claims that they cannot substantiate – and customers can see right through it. Actually, consumers have had it with the dishonest sellers trying to sell them on the product. Being an honest salesman is a rarity and an opportunity for your business to stand out.
Represent your business proudly
The previous also applies to how you define your business. If you are a company led by one or two people, let your customers know that emphasizing the personalized service they can expect from you. Do not try to act like your business is this large enterprise with a bunch of employees. Consumers are savvy; you will only seem ridiculous. Be proud of your small store. Many customers are looking to buy from mom-and-pop retailers in order to support small business owners and local communities.
No sales pitch comes even close to being so effective than the consumers’ testimonials. If you got some gushing customers’ feedback make it visible to all potential customers putting it on the front page, or even at the order page to seal the deal. Put as many testimonials as you can, rotating them from time to time including pictures to make it look more realistic and personal. If you have any accreditations, like BBB (Better Business Bureau), put it on the visible spot to gain or increase trust from your clients.
Push for sales
You need to be a bit pushy if you’re in the sales business. Putting a time-limited sale on the front page is considered to be a good move, and the customers are more likely to respond. There is nothing wrong in trying to make prospects actually make a purchase, just don’t overdo it. Offering a free shipping or a fair discount will be sufficient for most customers to turn into buyers. If you are in doubt on how to improve your sales without being too aggressive consider hiring a professional like EngageBay to help you out with handling sales, discounts and emails.
This is at the top of every customers’ list. Bullet-proof, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Online shopping carries some risks that customers buying in brick-and-mortar stores don’t have to bear. People are more likely to purchase the wrong size, wrong color, or simply the wrong fit, in the online store than in the traditional one. By having a money-back policy you’ll put the prospective customers at ease and remove all of the risks involving online shopping. You’re likely to receive some positive feedback even if the customer doesn’t purchase at that time.
There is a major loss hidden in abandoned shopping carts. Actually, trillions of dollars every year were left in the online shopping carts, and only a small portion was recoverable. Why? The checkout process was either too long or too complicated, customers say. The retail industry tried to battle this with not much success. As an online retailer, try to make the process of finishing up the purchase as painless as possible. Avoid unnecessary steps like registering with an email, excessive fields to fill in, or needless steps to take. Customers will appreciate it.
It’s not enough anymore to accept only credit cards as a form of payment. What about Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Bitcoin? Now more than ever customers have more choices when it comes to paying. Offering more payment options, particularly the new mobile ones, will make your customers more comfortable purchasing goods and services from your store. Optimizing your website could be a temporary inconvenience for you but it could yield a lot of traffic bringing potential customers.
Shooting high-quality images of your products is an investment that will be well worth it. A picture says a thousand words, remember? Having a creative presentation will attract more eyes to your website. Small, grainy, or foggy thumbnails are just going to deter customers and send them off to other stores. Consider hiring a professional crew that will take photos from every angle at the right lightning. This is especially important if you’re selling apparel or shoes so that people get an idea of the product.
Describing the product properly means imagining every possible question a customer might ask and answering it upfront. Be as detailed as possible, from the country of origin to materials, colors, possible combinations and recommendations, and discounts and offerings applying to the product, if any. All of this, and more, should be in the product description. If you still get some questions, make sure you answer them promptly. Having a live chat is a great idea since the customers love to get answers instantly.
Depending on what you’re selling think about the stuff or service that you could give away for free. For example, if you’re selling software offer free trial, or if you’re selling cosmetics how about some free samples? It shows to customers that you are not just a profit-chasing business, but rather that you care about them and that you have a long-term plan. Customers will feel special and are more likely to return. Also, if you look at it strictly from a business perspective, it’s a marketing trick to get people introduced to your services or products that they can not do without. If you can’t give anything for free, you might offer two-for-one sales or rewards for any purchase. Be creative and it will pay off twofold.