The easiest thing one can do today is to start their own online business. With the availability of advanced and easy-to-use website builders such as WordPress, Shopify, Shopintegrator, BigCommerce etc., it has become easier than ever to build your online store. But even though most online business owners dream big, only a few can survive the tremendous competition. In fact, about 50 percent of online businesses don’t last beyond the first five years. However, for those who do, the opportunities are endless.
At present, eCommerce is a trillion dollar industry (according to eMarketer) and it grows every year. The estimated US eCommerce sales touched $304.1 billion in 2014, which is expected to reach $491.5 billion by 2018. As the penetration of mobile devices increases among Gen X and Gen Y, the global e-commerce sales made via mobile device is expected to reach a whopping $638 billion by 2018, according to Goldman Sachs. Moreover, about 51 percent of American adults prefer shopping online and more than 95 percent of Americans have made online purchases at some point in their lives.
Making your online business stand out has a lot more to do than just providing high-quality products at the most affordable prices. What matters the most today is the quality of experience you offer to the customers. The secret to the success of your online business is how you make your customers feel once they land on your website. Everyone out there is struggling to offer the best of the best, so how will you make your online business stand out? Let’s find out.
3 Tips to Make Your eCommerce Business Stand Out
Search for any product online and you will find hundreds of websites listed on the search pages. Some would boast about offering the lowest prices, whereas some would offer great deals to attract attention. Being a business owner the obvious question that pops up in your mind is – what should I do to make customers flock to my website? The answer isn’t simple; however there are certain factors which when leveraged can help you achieve your goals.
To start with, determine your brand’s touch points, things that your niche lacks and the things that the customers are actually searching for. These will help you craft an experience that will leave the audience spellbound. Next, you need to refine it to turn the audience into loyal customers. Here are 3 tips that will help you make your business stand out from the clutter and attract more customers:
1. Offer Free Shipping
Shipping costs impact customer’s satisfaction and affect the customer’s purchase decision. Statistics indicate that 28 percent shoppers abandon their shopping cart when presented with unexpected shipping costs. Even though this might not seem to a big number, you can get the real scenario if you compare this to the other factors that lead to shopping cart abandonment.
It is not that people are not willing to pay shipping costs, but they would prefer purchasing products from stores that charge minimum for delivering products or offer free shipping. This is where you can nail it. In fact, 93 percent shoppers would be encouraged to purchase online when offered with free shipping, according to a survey by Compete.
Customers would be willing to pay more for high-quality products, so if you are confident about the quality of your products, you can set the sale price a bit higher than the bare minimum and offer free shipping of the products. A study by Accenture reveals the average order value for online purchase without free shipping is approximately $86.58; whereas the same purchase can be offered for $112.55 of you offer free shipping. In other words, a customer would be willing to spend 30 percent more, if they get the products delivered for “Free”!
Remember, everyone loves to have things delivered at their doorsteps for FREE (without having to pay exorbitant rates for the product of course)! But make sure this does not affect your business adversely. Do your calculations and find out whether you can afford free shipping.
2. Social Proof
With more than a million eCommerce websites competing against each other, increasing the credibility of your online businesses is a must. Improved credibility will encourage customers to visit your website and place orders. Now the next question is how to get some social backing for your online business? Here is how:
Customer reviews: This is the easiest and the most dependable form of social proof. Encourage your existing customers to write unbiased reviews about their shopping experiences and the products offered on your site. Remember, both good and bad reviews are important; since having good reviews only can make it look fake.
Celebrity endorsements: Do you have any celebrity customers? If you do you can leverage on this and attract more customers. Many celebrities would also be willing to endorse your brand if you are ready to pay them. But remember, living up to the expectations is crucial; so stand up to your promises and the quality you promise.
‘Likes’: In this digital world, where everyone craves for ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, you can use these features to your advantage. Allow visitors and customers to ‘like’ products and add them to the ‘favorites’. Display the total number of likes and favorites to give an idea about how popular the products are among the people.
Remember, today’s shoppers are much more intelligent than you think them to be; so avoid foul play. Do not post comments or involve your own people to increase the number of likes and shares of the products. Stick to ethical methods and rely on reviews from real people.
3. The Third Party Advantage
There’s no doubt that your own eCommerce website is your best marketing tool; but in order to improve branding and credibility, it is sometimes advantageous to show your products on third party platforms. A number of well-known eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, etc. allow businesses to sell their products through their platforms.
If you are not willing to sell directly on third party channels, you can choose guest-posting for them. By offering value to their customers, you not only attract attention and encourage people to visit your website but you also boost your search rankings. The authority links you get from reputed websites helps in improving the rankings. You can also use badges to showcase the publishers that mentioned your brand.
The biggest challenge for the online businesses is to get noticed, especially when the market is overcrowded. Determine the uniqueness of your business and use it to have a competitive advantage. Staying relevant and focused is the first step towards success and by following the above tips you can improve your chances of becoming successful.
Author Bio: Mansi Dhorda works at E2M – A Digital Marketing Agency. A social media enthusiast, she is well-versed in content marketing and other internet marketing niches. You can interact with her on Twitter.