We can safely say that our shopping habits have changed over the past decade. Most us have made an online purchase at one time or another, and as we transition into the digital shopping realm, the value of the said market is sky-high. To put things in perspective, online retail sales are expected to exceed $4 trillion in 2020, taking up almost 15% of the annual spending for the year. In such a potent climate, online stores might assume that the profit is simply up for grabs – yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact that we make more buys online doesn’t imply that we don’t put any effort into making the right choice. On the contrary, we do more research today than we’ve ever done, we read those reviews, we ask around on social media, we look for proof that a brand is worth a purchase, let alone our loyalty. Long-term ecommerce-customer bonds are more fragile than ever precisely because of so many choices. With so much competition and so much profit at stake, ecommerce brands need to step up their game in order to earn their reputations and grow their profits for 2019.
When a new product comes out, and you have some interest in making a purchase, what’s the first thing you do? Go online and check if anyone has already used it and if their experience with the product is a positive one. This is just a digital version of what we do with our brick-and-mortar favorites. We ask around if the shoes are durable or just easy on the eyes, or if the cupcakes are as fudgy as their maker claims them to be. The online way to establish that level of transparency is by featuring reviews and testimonials on your website as well as on other platforms such as Google.
Post feedback on your homepage, on a dedicated testimonials page, and feature snippets of those reviews for each product you’ve sold. Encourage feedback and reviews in general through incentives, and do your best to engage with regular customers who have the potential to become your brand ambassadors. Such word-of-mouth is still vital in the online sphere and has the potential to drastically grow your sales.
Refine the checkout journey
Website visitors are one of your greatest assets. However, you might be underutilizing this asset if you’re providing a subpar checkout experience for them, which may deter many of your visitors from becoming actual buyers. You need to make sure that all of the steps in the checkout process are simple, straightforward, and preferably very brief. A purchase should be completed after a few clicks only, without any unnecessary delays or insisting upon your visitors to open an account with your site.
Most importantly, you need to make sure that your cash flow is stable and that all of the parties involved pay in time and in full. There are various methods of finance for business entities that enable you to allow various payment options, get your payments in time, and retain cash flow, even if your customers would like to delay their payment. As long as you provide ample flexibility in how they can cover their bill, you’ll make them happy enough to come back to your stores for more.
Content still reigns supreme
We’ve already covered one form of content that your ecommerce store greatly benefits from: your reviews. This user-generated content is one of the more recent varieties that aims to increase your credibility and make your business a trustworthy entity in the eyes of the consumer. However, diversification is not reserved for payment methods, but applies to your content strategy as well. What that means is that you still need to produce original, quality content that provides value to your customers on a regular basis.
Content marketing at its finest can do so much more than fill the pages of your blog and give some “meat” to search engines to rank you more efficiently. In fact, quality and quantity combined, proper placement, smart scheduling, and engaging on social platforms are all key components of a successful content strategy that will drive sales for your business. Also, as you give your customers advice and news relevant for your industry, include CTAs whenever you can to inspire a conversation around different topics. This will in turn lead to more user-generated content and greater credibility.
Focus on retention
Too many businesses over-invest in the less profitable aspect of increasing sales, or to be more specific, in customer acquisition. Even though a portion of your budget should by all means go into this particular funnel, customer retention and building loyalty are what you need to focus on for the most part. Why? Because it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
This single shift in focus will not only cut your expenses in terms of budgeting, but also bring you more profit overall. That is not to say that you should exclusively focus on your existing customer base. However, devoting more time to nurturing those bonds is key in keeping them happy and reminding them that they have enjoyed a purchase from your brand.
Ecommerce has only shown a potential to grow in the future, and with such tendencies, brands need to put their best foot forward to keep their customers happy. Use these essential tips, and your 2019 profit report will be all the more impressive for it.