Succeeding Online – The Competitive World of E-Commerce

Running an online business can be incredibly frustrating. As the world of e-commerce has continued to develop over the years, countless numbers of businesses now find themselves online in a bid to make their mark. It is hardly surprising, over the next 5 years, we will see online shopping increase by 50%.

Those who have ever attempted to set up their online venture will know only too well, that offering a strong range of products is simply not enough. These days to stand out within the sea of competition, e-commerce entrepreneurs must tick all the boxes to appeal to the ever demanding online consumer.

How is this achieved?

e-commerce check out infographic
Online consumers have become used to a high standard when product photography is concerned.
Big brand e-commerce outlets continue push the boundaries to make the shopping experience better and dedicate large amounts of their budget for photo shoots and video campaigns.

Videos and 360 degree product photography as well as the standard model, lifestyle and still life shots, are a common sight, used to really communicate to customers what the product is and how it looks from a multitude of angles.
The days of the grainy thumbnail product image have long gone. Consumers expect to see exactly what they are buying and there is no excuse for poor quality no matter what the size of your business.

ASOS is the king of retail when it comes to e-commerce. The giant fashion brand has secured a strong reputation online by really providing the consumer with what they want. Their tactic is to really reduce customer doubt and secure sales. They really consider their customer and provide them with what they want.

ASOS provide a catwalk video of each product being worn by a model so customers can view the product in action, their 360 degree product shots show customers what the product looks like from all angles, and model shots give customers an idea of sizing and appearance.
Customers are left with little to doubt, it is clear what the product is, how it functions and how it looks. Therefore sales are more likely.

Customer reviews:
While the big brands have the safety net of an established reputation, smaller businesses strongly benefit from reviews. Those who are unsure of making a purchase from an unknown brand will most likely seek reviews to quash any doubt and provide an insight into the quality of the products and customer service provided by the brand.

One negative review will stick out and put customers off, but small businesses who work hard to create a strong reputation and encourage customers to leave reviews once they have purchased an item will gradually build a reputable and trusted presence online which will encourage sales.

Web Design:
We all know how important the design of a website can be. Colour tones, layouts and language used really impact consumer behaviour. A good website can’t be put together quickly.

If you really want to build a business online, invest in your web design with your budget and your time – a basic template website simply won’t match what your competitors have to offer. It is also worth really researching what your competitors offer, how will your website stand out?

Be Unique:
No one likes writing product descriptions or website content in general, it can be difficult to put together an enticing paragraph to sell a product and it is tempting to copy and paste the standard manufacturer description or be vague.

However not only does unique content benefit a business in terms of SEO, but it is also helpful for customers. They will want to know product sizes, weights and materials and a general introduction about the product, where is it made, if there are any unique manufacturing methods, how is the product used etc.
Content writers can be beneficial when putting together website descriptions if it is something that you find difficult.

E-Commerce Checkout:

67.4% is the average rate of checkout abandonment. This is a worrying figure as it indicates a wide number of online brands are failing to lure their customers through to the payment stage. They might have succeeded in enticing customers to add product to their cart, but from here they lose vital custom.

There are a wide number of reasons for this as indicated at the right within the latest infographic by Vouchercloud. However the main cause for this is that the checkout section of a website is often not given the planning and design consideration it should.

Many brands will consult user testing companies to test the main website and product pages, but the checkout section itself is usually omitted from such testing. While the checkout is an extension of the website itself, layouts, number of steps, payment options, shipping fees, delivery times and refund policies all have a significant part in whether a customer will make a purchase or not.

Considering such a high percentage of sales are lost throughout the checkout process, it is really worth revisiting the checkout process you have in place. Is it difficult to navigate? Does it take too long to complete? Is it asking for unnecessary information?

It is worth remembering 96% of smart phones users have made purchases or considered a purchase, using their mobile device. Entering vast amounts of information using a small screen and keypad can be difficult, therefore sites which ask for a lot of personal information to process a sale, might find customers abandon their cart due to frustration.
Make it easy for customers. Keep it simple.

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One thought on “Succeeding Online – The Competitive World of E-Commerce

  1. Sunday says:

    Give or take, e-commerce success should center around the consumer. The brands that promote this concept are those making impact today. Among these steps discussed for e-commerce marketers, I see the checkout process as very essential for conversion. Brands should promote better value through the checkout process.

    This is not to say that promoting visual contents, user-based web design, and objective customer reviews, etc, are not important. These should all be combined to provide the ultimate goal of gaining the attention of today’s customer.

    In – the social bookmarking and content aggregation website for Internet marketers, this post was shared and I have also left the above comment.

    Sunday – contributor

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