Is your eCommerce website living up to its potential as a sales channel? No matter how well-developed your page is, and whether it's your primary commercial outlet or an extension of an omnichannel brand, there are likely some changes and improvements you can implement right away. You can tune every element of a modern eCommerce site maximum performance and redesign features to appeal to digital-native customers, whose standards have never been higher.
Six possible solutions
Essential strategies to improve your eCommerce presence break down into categories, each focused on pleasing your customers in specific way. The following are six large-scale areas to consider:
Does every customer who visits your website see the same thing? If so, you're missing out on extra sales. Capturing information from incoming visitors – with their consent, to comply with digital regulations – allows eCommerce merchants to change the online experience based on demographic information or past consumer behavior.
As the OptinMonster blog recently pointed out, many elements of sites can bring in extra revenue when personalized. For instance, it's possible to change the sorting order of product catalogs based on shoppers' past interests, or to display a splash page tailored to a consumer's perceived preferences. Accenture found that when personalization is lacking, customers can leave en masse – 33 percent of customers who quit working with a site did so over a lack of customization.
Engaging customers through social media is one of the most compelling and relevant ways to improve the connection between brand and audience. Pew research found 69 percent of U.S. adults used social media in the most recent data, from 2017. That's up from a mere 7 percent in the first year of data, from 2005. Companies should make sure they meet consumers on their own territory by using their shoppers' preferred channels.
Ecommerce Platforms noted that social media doesn't just serve a single purpose. Brands can and should use optimized social accounts to collect audience data, perform real-time service interactions and promote products. An overarching content strategy prioritizing social media can create a coherent and compelling brand identity, and modern eCommerce platforms can integrate social features more closely than ever.
Product review integration may make you nervous, as they can vary in content and tone. If you feature customer reviews of products on your eCommerce site, shoppers' words can become a powerful sign of trustworthiness that attracts future customers. Forrester noted that 80 percent of U.S. internet-using adults look at companies reviews and ratings, and 36 percent would rather read fellow customers' words than professionals' assessments.
As digital marketing expert Neil Patel pointed out on his blog, including reviews is a clear way to boost customer trust. He noted that since a majority of customers do read reviews, your company can take the middleman out of the equation and show this feedback yourself, keeping shoppers on the site and providing verification from fellow customers that the products are worthwhile.
When your brand goes global, your website should come along. Every territory is different, each with its own dominant language or languages, preferred payment methods and ideal shipping choices. A site that doesn't change based on where its customers are located may lose business to local options – or better customized international competitors.
Forrester's report on localization noted that the best performers go beyond a surface-level translation, ensuring every element of their sites is optimized. Search engine optimization and customer service should shift based on region, along with currency and shipping considerations. With Common Sense Advisory revealing 75 percent of shoppers in counties where English isn't the native language prefer translated sites, localization is clearly important.
Recurring billing and subscription models lock customers in for the long haul, and can deliver repeat value to your eCommerce store. If the site doesn't offer subscription models for continuous, repeat purchases, people may still choose to return in the future to reorder – but if the site does provide these features, the uncertainty decreases significantly.
Consumers are looking for convenience, and if you don't give them a reason to cancel your subscription, they can stay month after month. With this revenue locked in, you can turn marketing effort to capturing new business. Companies have taken note of the opportunity, with McKinsey noting subscription revenue among large retailers rose over 100 percent between 2011 and 2016.
Securing loyalty can be fun – and there is value in creating such an enjoyable experience for your customers. When your eCommerce site includes rewards plans that contain plenty of choice and a compelling visual style, you can keep your shoppers coming back for more. More clearly gamelike elements, such as "spin to win" promotions, are other ways to make customer retention interactive and enjoyable. Gamification is big and getting bigger – Digital Commerce 360 noted the functionality was a $1.7 billion market in 2015 and will rise to $11 billion by 2020.
Consider making a change
Whether your website has been static for years or you revised it mere months ago, it's worth considering your eCommerce presence in terms of the above six areas. Switching to a new eCommerce platform and adding these capabilities can revolutionize the way your store operates.