Let’s face it, we all love to shop online.
It’s convenient, it saves time and money, and you can shop anywhere in the world without leaving your couch (or desk). As long as you have an internet connection with some sort of computer device and a fired-up credit card, then you can shop anytime, anywhere.
For consumers, it comes down to finding the right deal with the best value. Note, the keyword in that sentence is: “finding” – we’ll touch on this shortly.
For business owners, it’s a much more serious matter and comes down to traffic and conversions. For this to happen successfully, the e-commerce website needs to be “found” – we’ll also touch on this shortly.
According to a study done by Australia Post; At some point or another, most people have purchased something online or are thinking about doing it in the near future. The online shopping trend is here to stay and is becoming increasingly popular on mobile devices.
How e-commerce shifted to mobile
Between 2016 and 2017, Australian consumers spent $21.3 billion buying goods online, and this figure is predicted to increase in 2018 – 2019.
Interestingly, prior to 2016, consumers were content browsing e-commerce websites using their mobile phones, but they were more reserved in making an actual purchase. Jump forward to 2019 (only three years later) and we see a huge increase in the use of mobile phones and online purchases, so much so that now one in five online purchases are made from a mobile device. This is why it’s so important to ensure your e-commerce website is 100% mobile-friendly.
Missing out on a sale for your business just because your e-commerce website was hard to use on a mobile is not a great statistic. It may also be one of the reasons why sales are not happening or the cart is being abandoned. If you have an e-commerce website, make sure it is mobile friendly and that it is easy to use.
What you need to know to succeed in e-commerce
Whether you have an e-commerce website already up and running or you are thinking about it, there is a number of things that need to be done before and after it is live on the internet.
We’ve put together a hot checklist to get you thinking about your e-commerce website and possibly rethink your approach, so you can increase sales.
The seven points below are all very important factors and the key to success in the world of e-commerce. If you are reading this and you’re a long-time owner of an e-commerce website, then it will all make complete sense to you. But no worries if you’re just starting out – we urge you to read on, plan it out properly and get a professional e-commerce website team on board.
Has your website been built by a professional?
Let’s start with the basics – your website.
Have you had your e-commerce website built by an e-commerce expert who knows what they are doing? If not, then it will be an expensive exercise for you. If your e-commerce website is not structured correctly to enhance the online shopping experience for your customers, you may end up with a lot of visitors who leave the site quickly, ultimately leading to no sales.
Or, maybe you have used or you are thinking of using one of those “build-it-yourself” websites to get your e-commerce website up and running? If you have done this, then you might be reading this feeling like your website just isn’t what you wanted and it’s letting you down. Sadly, this is extremely common and it’s one of the top mistakes business owners make; trying to build their own e-commerce website with an online DIY system to try and save some money.
Customised web development
We strongly believe setting up your e-commerce store with a ready-to-use template will set you off on the wrong foot, we even devoted a whole article to this on our blog. But, to get straight to the nitty-gritty of it right now; you will never have a top-performing e-commerce website with an online “do-it-yourself” website. They are simply not made that way and you will use your valuable time trying to work it out, ultimately not getting what you really wanted.
A custom-made e-commerce website built by an e-commerce expert means that it is designed and built to work for your exact product and your target market. Like anything in life, if you get it done properly from the beginning, you will be hitting the ground running from the start and ultimately be paying less for a better working product.
In order to ensure a well-working website from the start, we’d recommend taking a team of professional web developers on board. And we happen to know some…
How do you plan on getting your eCommerce website found online?
So now we’re getting to the part we mentioned earlier in the article. Being “found” in the complexity of the world wide web, and consumers being able to “find” their way to your website is the most important aspect of getting your e-commerce website up and running.
Once the website has been launched and it’s live on the internet, consumers need to know that your e-commerce website exists – which doesn’t magically happen on Google. You don’t automatically get visitors to your website just because it has been launched.
This is a major misconception that a lot of business owners fail to see and is one of the top reasons why we see their businesses struggle.
SEO and SEM
You need a marketing plan that includes SEO and SEM (search engine optimisation and search engine marketing) and you need to allow for it in your business budget. Leaving this out of your business plan, you will make you struggle to get traffic to your website and ultimately affect your sales.
Getting a start with your SEO can be done by finding out about the best practices and techniques online – we even wrote a complete Beginner’s Guide for it – or you can decide to go hard an hire a team of SEO professionals.
Once you start getting high traffic loads to your website, you will need something competitive to keep your customers there, so they buy from you and not from your rival. Which brings us to the next point…
Do you have a competitive edge or a competitive plan?
Now that you have traffic coming to your e-commerce website, we want to make sure you’re actually making sales. Do you have something that will entice the customer to purchase from you and not the next website they visit? Think about it – why would a consumer buy the product from you when all they have to do is Google it and see it on five other sites for a better deal, faster shipping or even free shipping.
Of course, if you have a unique product that is hard to come by, then it’s likely that the customer will buy from you. But, if you have a fairly standard product that can be found on a lot of other websites, you will need that competitive edge that will make them buy from you and not the next guy.
And that leads us to the next point…
Do you know who your customers are?
This may sound strange, but if you don’t know who your customers are your marketing plan is going to be hard.
Knowing who your customers are will give you an enormous advantage with your marketing approach. It will give you understanding as to how your customers like to shop, what type of words to use in your advertising and how to market to that exact demographic.
You don’t need to know who they are personally, you just need to be able to profile your customers’ traits and know the type of personality that is attracted to your product. When you understand who your customers are, you can then communicate to them more effectively and give them what they want.
In order to get a better understanding of your target audience and how to reach them, we would recommend starting with the development of ‘customer personas’. Creating these fictional customers will help you to create a marketing strategy that focuses on your audience.
How unique is your product?
We touched on this above, but let’s dive into the core of your business in more detail – your products.
If you have a product that is fairly common within a highly competitive market, you will need to prepare yourself to do a little extra work with your marketing plan. You will need to know what your competitors are doing, so you can do it better.
If you have a reasonably unique product, then this might work in your favour. It may be easier on your marketing budget for SEO, as your competitor list could be short. It also means that there is potential for your Google ranking to rise quicker too. In saying that, it does depend on how often consumers are searching for your product – since people might not even know about it.
Ultimately, knowing who your customer is and what makes them tick is the key to being competitive and getting those high traffic loads with conversions.
How do you plan on dealing with shipping?
Another important aspect of your e-commerce store will be your shipping policy. Will you have free shipping or will each product have a different shipping price? Will you have a flat rate shipping cost regardless of the spend or will the shipping cost accumulate with each product? What about free shipping over a certain price?
These are all things to consider carefully, taking both your budget and customer experience into account. Once you have decided on the above, how do you plan on getting the product to your customer? Will it be via Australia Post or do you have a courier account organised? And, don’t forget about the cost of the shipping material. It’s going to cost you money to physically wrap the product up securely.
Do you have enough content to promote your products?
Lastly, we want to point out the importance of having good content for the promotional side of things.
Have you got professional photos of your products with more than one image per product? Do the photos show the whole product, as well as some close-up detail images? Or are you using your mobile phone that has a fingerprint smudge on the lens to take one photo of each product? Are the product descriptions informative enough?
Enhance the online shopping experience with images
This is a big selling factor for consumers. Think about it – as an individual, what do you do in a traditional bricks and mortar shop; you pick the product up and you check it out. You look over it and you decide whether or not to buy it.
That’s exactly what online shoppers are doing with the images. They need to check the product out and see what they are buying. And, having multiple images for the one product will increase the buying success rate – eBay discovered this selling tactic years ago and it works!
People like to see the front, back and sides of any product, and some close-up detail images too.
Using your mobile phone to take photos is not a bad thing, just make sure you get good quality photos from every angle…you can never have too many photos for your product.
At the end of the day, the reason why you have or want to have an e-commerce website is to make money. And, for that to work out you need to invest both time and money. Proper planning luckily never put anyone in a bad position – and we advise to get a great team on your side in order to get a head start.
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