There are estimated to be tens of millions of eCommerce sites in the world. Perhaps a million generate sales exceeding $1,000 annually. However, eCommerce has never been so easy to set up and maintain. Here are some ideas for ensuring your online store falls into that money-making minority:
Don’t underestimate the power to market your eCommerce offering across other online channels. The fact that your shoppers are frequenting your online store implies they’re comfortable with the web. Social media is highly targeted and permits opportunities to get your message in front of potential target markets, pushing them to your eCommerce site. Look at options for social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and more.
Know Your Audience
The first rule for any smart business is, “know your customer.” On eCommerce, this means having a sense of what type of market you attract. Is your audience composed of youth culture (skateboards, video games), young families (strollers, toys), tech types (computers, USB cables) or something else entirely? Know who you’re selling to, then build the online experience for that persona.
Amazon.com, the crowned king of eCommerce, uses algorithms to upsell buyers – “if you liked that Nickelback album, you’ll probably like The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky.” Perhaps you can’t bring big data to bear quite so well, but you can make intuitive decisions about what a buyer might want, based on what he just bought. A person who buys underwear might need a tee-shirt. Someone who just got an umbrella could require a raincoat. Never miss an opportunity to increase an online shopper’s spend.
In web developer circles, they call it UX (or User Experience). At the heart of UX is the question of whether the online experience is simple and seamless. The user should have to perform the minimum work to achieve the desired results (in this case, hitting the buy button). Your eCommerce site should be easy to use. An example is registration – do you need it? If forcing a user to register in order to purchase (rather than optional registration), that’s a step which might cause the shopper to leave the site. Have friends and colleagues try your eCommerce site and weigh in on ease-of-use.