Simply put E-commerce has taken over the world. The old school way of shopping is essentially dying. Malls and retail giants are now closing their doors and focusing on online sales channels.
Long time kings of brick-and-mortar stores are closing, selling off or simply going bankrupt no more evident than what has happened to Sears in the 2018. Let’s talk about Sears for a second, after more than half a century of dominance they filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the United States a move no one would have ever seen 10 years ago. Sears was once a powerhouse selling fashionable designs, home appliances and tools with their Kenmore brand.
Now on the opposite end of the spectrum let’s take a look at Amazon. This king of everything online, expanding so rapidly into various industries it’s scary. The online marketplace is a giant and offers business owners a secondary source of income selling through various Amazon channels.
About 5 years ago most brick-and-mortar stores were forced into concentrating heavily in online sales, the ones who succeeded like Home Depot are thriving. The ones who did not like Sears are set to become distant memories.
Hitting it big online is not easy, you have to understand trade secrets and have to understand the metrics of how to reach higher rankings. You have to be able to utilize all the information you gather online to benefit your company and/or brand.
First, let’s highlight some of the reasons why so many e-commerce businesses struggle in the first place.
Why do a ton of e-commerce businesses struggle?
There are a number of reasons why many e-commerce businesses struggle, and different industries and sectors face different type of struggles and hardships.
Today, I’d like to cover some of the general battles that most struggling e-commerce sites are fighting.
Some of you may ask why are we talking about this? The answer to this question is very simple almost 80% of all e-commerce businesses fail. And most of them fail because they share the same three common reasons why customers do not convert on their website.
These are not huge things and are easy to fix. But unfortunately, most webmasters do not spend the time and or do not understand the metrics to make these changes for you.
Let’s go ahead and dive right into this. For starters, website visitors are not making judgments on your business initiatives or on your products or service on their own merits. Customers buy on a no patience approach; meaning they want what they want when they want it.
Everyone has very high expectations, especially online. People think because its online they are entitled to discounts, or massive savings.
One of the things that will help your website is have no more than 2 shipping options. For example, is a customer is willing to spend $100 or more on your website you offer them free shipping. If they spend under that amount you offer a flat rate. The more shipping options you have on your website will deter clients, especially those who want their products quickly.
Studies by various online research firms have shown that as much as 80% of the American online shopper base say shipping price and speed are huge factors in their decision to purchase or not.
This is why as a business owner you should offer fast and free shipping when and where you can. Like ultra-popular brand Nike, which offers free shipping to members all you have to do is sign up for free.
As business owners running an e-commerce website you must remember that when you offer free shipping customers are more likely to pull the trigger on items that they cannot see in touch, touch or feel.
The fact of the matter is the more popular online shopping is getting the less consumer patience online shoppers have. Simply because if one cannot deliver a product on time the fastest way possible, they can simply find another company who can.
Besides long wait times, and dozens of shipping options, struggling businesses any size fail to consume and take into account the following topics:
Okay, there is still good news. Ready? Well, the good news is starting a e-commerce store is still easily achievable. If you take into account a few basic principles you set up your foundation for success.
The very first step is building a brand, in fact building your brand and putting some great value behind it.
1. What is your purpose??…Your brand!
Ones e-commerce website that sells products or services has a brand at the very core of its online identity, whether you know and understand that or not.
To find out exactly what that brand is, you have to take a step back and fully understand exactly what it is what you do and why you do it.
Your brand is your online identity and it embodies a set of core values related to your business’s central endeavors. The reason why some older brands are now starting to become obsolete is because they do not really have a clear mission anymore.
Or they do have a mission, but they fail to disclose it.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) brings in the traffic
Google is like a head master that decides exactly which websites get to hang out at the top of organic search engine results.
The problem for most people is that with constant updates to their algorithm it is very hard to keep up with google. A good place to start is by reviewing Google’s Search Quality Guidelines on a regular basis.
Most of the stuff involving a business or product is based on keyword searches. This is when someone visits Google or another search engine, types in something specific and the search engine algorithms pull up content from various places on the internet which is most relevant to that of your search.
The main thing to remember which is very obvious but often overlooked by a lot of people is that your brand is also one of your main keywords. It sends highly qualified traffic and leads to your website, so ensure that you rank well in that.
All in all, search engine optimization is not something that one should ever cut corners on. It is something that you cannot just trust in the hands of people who say they are experts and guarantee you keyword rankings. Remember no one can guarantee you first page rankings, no matter what they say or promise you. SEO is something that it is worth spending a little bit of money on to ensure first it is setup right, and secondly you are not penalized by Google for having pages that are using exploitative or lazy tactics.
3. Customers absolutely love a great user experience
If you want users to perform a specific action on your website you need to setup types of tunnels which will achieve your desired action. To do this you need to optimize your user experience.
As soon as someone visits your website and they get confused or annoyed because they cannot find what they want, it is almost a guarantee that they will leave. Have easy site navigation is a must, a site can be as pretty as a bow but if one has to navigate that pages like the knot in the center of the bow you can say good-bye to the customer.
Make sure your website clearly labels the products you sell or the services you provide. Sounds dumb right? You will be incredibly surprised how many people forget to do this.
Reinforce your brand on various pages and throughout your website. It may be very obvious to you what you do but it’s a different situation for those who are visiting your website for the first time.
Embedding interactive and unique content is a great little trick. If embedding things like videos, games or even animated images is appropriate it is something that should always be considered. Always try to use various forms of A/B testing to see what works best and build on that!
4. How do you build trust? Transparency builds trust
The easiest and most proficient way to become transparent is to list your contact details in visible locations on your website. Do not just put an email or a contact form. Some people like to see mailing addresses, while other want a phone number there so they can have the ability to call you.
Your visitors should be able to find your contact details easily and quickly. Not listing anything will not only deter people from your website during that visit but probably forever.
5. Boosting user and overall engagement
Social media has really flipped the script on this in recent years. What is the best way to boost your engagement? How about creating valuable and targeted social media posts on various platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube to name a few.
Content is king. Content really matters. If you already haven’t setup a blog on your website and talk about your business your brand your industry. Let people know about your product lines, and your business as much as possible.
Tell your customers about new products and services you are about to launch and start creating the buzz before the product is even launched.
And more than anything collects emails, emails and emails! Have a newsletter sign up and send out something weekly, or bi-weekly or even monthly. Which highlights what the coming days have in store for your business and your brand.