E-commerce is a rapidly growing field and retailers are quick to take advantage of this trend. However, some are more intent on making money than serving customers. They provide poor user experience and fail to come up with strategies that facilitate transactions. As a result, customers leave with no intent of shopping again.
Stand out by providing a customer-centric online shopping experience. Here are steps you can follow to build an online store with your customers in mind.
1. Pin Down Products That There’s a Market For
Before creating your online store, you must first determine what you’re going to sell. This is the most crucial step of the process.
There are a couple of ways to meet this challenge:
- Sell something you’re passionate about.
- Sell something that the market demands.
Many first-time sellers put up an online store because they found something they like and they want to share it to the rest of the world. While the intention is admirable, the market might not respond as expected simply because there’s no need for it. In a study of over 200 failed startups, CB Insights revealed that the number one reason why startups fail is because the market had no need for their product. If no one’s buying, then there’s no reason to be selling.
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Savvy entrepreneurs know that their customers are the reason they stay in business. They look for signs of market frustration and they either innovate or they improve on an existing product to address the dissatisfaction.
2. Optimize User Experience on Your Website
Optimizing user experience helps your customers navigate through your website with ease. This results in a positive experience that’s directly correlated to increases in traffic and sales. A less than optimized user experience frustrates customers and makes them hesitant to return.
Here are few things you should consider when trying to optimize user experience:
- Website loading speed – Research shows that 40% of customers abandon websites that take over 3 seconds to load.
- Image size – Customers need clear images to assess the product. For small thumbnails, the recommended size is 100 x 100 and at least 600 x 600 for medium images.
- Offer location – For discounts and other special offers, research suggests placing them on the left side where people spend most of their viewing time.
- Checkout process – Simplify the process and offer multiple modes of payment. Consider adding a progress bar to indicate the customer’s current stage in the process.
- Optimize for multiple devices – Shoppers are increasingly using tablets and smartphones to purchase. Drive more sales by optimizing for these devices as well.
Whatever design you come up with, enhance user experience with these details in mind.
3. Create a Personalized Shopping Experience
Everyone wants to be treated like a VIP and the same goes for online shoppers. Studies found that personalized recommendations boost average conversion rates by 5.5x.
You can customize shopping experience by:
- Personalized recommendations – There are apps available in e-commerce stores like Shopify that collect and analyze customer data to come up with suggested items. You can also use Google Analytics to perform the analysis yourself.
- Encourage customers to create an account – This facilitates the checkout process during their next purchase to streamline the checkout process.
- Send abandoned cart emails – There are many reasons why customers fail to complete the purchase (other than them not wanting the product). An abandoned cart email displays items added to cart with a call to action asking them to resume their order.
- Display related items at checkout – Related items may remind customers of a product that they need or might need in the future.
Personalization, at its essence, shows that you have your customers’ interests in mind.
4. Provide Informative Content To Give Customers a Better Understanding of Your Product
As a seller, it is your job to guide customers down the sales funnel. Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 shoppers conduct research online before buying. Online shoppers want to fully know what they’re buying. Therefore, it is wise to invest in content providers who can churn detailed product descriptions.
Also consider creating videos about your product. In fact, 30% of online shoppers want more video from ecommerce sites.
Check out this clever advertisement by Nine Line:
You can create a charming video without ever saying a word. All you need is your creativity, a decent camera, and a few props along with your product and you’re all set.
5. Create Customer-Centric Policies
While it is only natural to protect your bottom line, it is not that difficult to draft policies that favors both owner and customer.
Take for example return policies. A new online seller may not consider it as high priority but it should be. Almost 7 out of 10 customers will check your website’s return page. If shoppers find the policy inconvenient, 8 out 10 won’t want to shop at your store ever. So before launching your ecommerce store, create an easy to understand return policy that’s simple, fast, and easy.
Your shipping policy is also important. 9 out 10 shoppers are encouraged to purchase if free shipping is offered. Not all ecommerce stores can afford to offer free shipping but roughly 6 out 10 shoppers are prepared to purchase more items to qualify for it. You can assign a certain threshold and if it is reached, customers get free delivery. Consider top fulfillment services to find an order fulfillment company that’s best for your business.
The customer may not always be right but they will always dictate demand. If you wish to stay in business, make it your priority to look after their interests. Building an online store with your customers in mind will help you increase sales and ultimately have a more successful online shop.