Ecommerce: The Essential Components Your Site Needs to Turn Visitors Into Buying Customers

Making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should be at the top of any ecommerce leader’s to-do list. 

Making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should be at the top of any ecommerce leader’s to-do list.

We’ve all been there. You head to a company’s website to check out a product or service offering and while the website may avoid the dreaded slow page-load, it’s not exactly a wealth of information. A website that is poorly designed or just plain lackluster isn’t doing your brand any favors and certainly won’t entice customers to conduct their business with you.

There’s no shortage of articles on the web of how to attract more website traffic, and while a strong SEO strategy truly is essential, it’s too easy to overlook what it is that keeps people coming back. After all, your business would prefer regular visitors to its website rather than someone who visits once and never again, right? (Of course, you would!)

Related: Building an Ecommerce Website: 8 Technical Aspects You Need to Know

Everyone knows that ecommerce has been on the rise for years, but nobody expected 2020 to turn out the way it has, and in relation to the topic at hand, its impact on ecommerce. According to TechCrunch, ecommerce sales in April jumped nearly 50 percent. While that jump didn’t continue to climb at such a rapid rate in the following months, this year is expected to see an overall jump in ecommerce sales of 18 percent. With those kinds of numbers, making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should certainly be at the top of any leader’s to-do list.

Long story short, if customers don’t have a pleasant experience on your website and find it to be of value, they won’t give you their business. Which is why entrepreneurs and business owners should be asking themselves: “What’s my website offering to the customer?

Customers want to learn something when they visit

The reason you’re on this article is the same reason visitors come to your brand’s website — to hopefully learn something. That could be as simple as your business’s contact information. However, your chances of turning a website visitor into an actual customer are going to substantially increase if you teach them something of real value. What products or services do you offer? What separates you from the competition? What new industry insights or developments should potential customers know about?

Related: What Comes Next for Ecommerce and Digital Retail?

Don’t make the mistake of simply thinking of this as marketing, what your website should be providing is insight and context. Take for example furniture. You could simply create website marketing that highlights the appeal of a leather couch, but a more effective strategy would be a buying guide that offers both the advantages and disadvantages of a leather couch compared to one with fabric upholstery. Customers who are more educated are going to make a wiser purchase decision, which in turn, is going to increase the likelihood they’re happy with their choice and your business.

If customers don’t learn something visiting your website (or at least feel it was worth their time) they won’t be back. So teach them something.

Don’t let a lack of customer support result in a lack of customers

The rise of ecommerce is due in large part to the convenience it offers, and a big part of the equation to factor in is customer support. If your business makes it difficult for visitors to reach out and make contact, then it’s really shooting itself in the foot. Studies have shown that 89 percent of consumers would take their business elsewhere within a week if they received poor customer service. Avoiding that starts with offering complete contact information: email, social media channels, phone number, and yes, a physical address. Reliable contact information is one of the things consumers demand on a business website, so do your brand a favor and provide it.

Companies should also consider using live chat to provide 24/7 support to visitors. Most businesses probably don’t have the manpower to operate an in-house customer support team around the clock, but artificial intelligence has come a long way in recent years. Providing AI customer service can also help keep track of recurring issues visitors may be having and provide valuable feedback for customer support managers.

Wow them, but don’t overwhelm them

Imagine if you walked into a brick-and-mortar store (remember those?) and all the products were haphazardly tossed all over the place, no signage, no organization, just as much stuff as possible randomly scattered about. You’d probably do a 180 and move on to someplace else. That’s exactly the sort of thing that potential customers are going to do if your website tries to cram too much onto a single page — especially if it’s the ever-so-important homepage.

Related: 10 Tools to Help Your eCommerce Business Get off the Ground 

Take Apple for example. Its website is incredibly clean with large images that pop. It wows the visitor without overwhelming them. Even the copy is kept rather minimal and crisp, yet folks can still easily find what they’re looking for with the navigation bar at the top.

One of the best things you can offer visitors to your brand’s website is visual appeal. We’re visual creatures and our brains process images infinitely faster than text — around 60,000 times faster. Even if your business offers as many products as Amazon, you don’t want to make the mistake of bombarding visitors to your website with all of them at once. Let a few kew images do the talking.

The right SEO strategy is key for driving traffic to your business’ website, but if visitors are disappointed once they get there, they’ll never return. In this day and age, a brand’s website is often its most powerful selling tool, so take the necessary steps to ensure that it offers real value to existing and new customers.

5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

While a responsive website is an excellent starting point in your m-commerce journey, having a mobile app has distinct advantages over mobile websites. Here is a list of compelling reasons why your ecommerce business needs to go for mobile-app development in addition to having a mobile-responsive website.

The convenience fueled by widespread adoption of smart devices has resulted in a revolution.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce websites and mobile commerce, or m-commerce, options aren’t an either/or situation. Both play different roles in the customer journey and cater to different audiences. What is essential is that you don’t overlook mobile experiences while designing the ecommerce strategy for your business.

According to Pew research, 8 out of 10 Americans are online shoppers, and 51 percent of them use mobile devices for shopping. If you aren’t leveraging mobile traffic, your business is likely missing out vital conversions even as you are reading this.

While a responsive website is an excellent starting point in your m-commerce journey, having a mobile app has distinct advantages over mobile websites. Here is a list of compelling reasons why your ecommerce business needs to go for mobile-app development in addition to having a mobile-responsive website.

Related: Here’s What You Need to Do to Launch a Mobile App

1. Ease of use and better user experience

Even if you have a responsive website, every time the user logs onto it, the browser would prompt the user to sign into the account to continue with the shopping. In the case of mobile apps, the user details are stored in the app and the users only have to sign in once, when they download the app.

Since the users don’t need to sign in every time they shop, the ease of use is higher and the resultant user satisfaction is also high. Mobile applications also allow the users to switch between the different tabs, making navigation and overall user experience simpler as compared to that of the website.

2. Access to phone-native features

The phone’s native capabilities can be leveraged using mobile apps, which isn’t a possibility in the case of mobile websites. The integration of built-in smartphone components like GPS and cameras provides the user with enhanced user experience. Interactive shopping using augmented and virtual reality is an app-only feature.

Another advantage is the fact that native apps are available for offline use. While the apps do take up space on the user’s device, they can be used even when the phone is not connected to the internet, resulting in an on-the-go shopping experience for the users.

3. Using mobile apps as a marketing channel

Mobile apps give you a chance to deliver a unified omnichannel experience to the customers. Apps can allow social media integration that combines the different channels of customer engagement. The customer preferences are saved within the app, leading to tailored content being displayed to the relevant customers.

Using geofencing and push notifications sent out to the user’s device when they are in proximity of the physical stores or in case of any special offer can also result in a more engaged customer base.

Related: Why Your Small Business Needs a Mobile App

4. Seamless checkout with multiple payment options

Shopping-cart abandonment is the biggest issue that retail businesses face. Whether in-store or on an ecommerce platform, customers are more likely to give up on completing shopping if the checkout process seems cumbersome.

Mobile apps remove friction from the checkout process by making it interactive. The widespread popularity of mobile wallets exists only because they allow fast processing of transactions. Features such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition help remove friction from the checkout and payment process by enabling faster authentication.

5. Incorporation of advanced tech for interactive customer experience

Mobile apps and technology go hand-in-hand. Incorporation of augmented reality in smartphone apps is already taking place, with brands such as IKEA and Sephora spearheading the transformation. The incorporation of AR/VR in apps makes them more interactive and results in engaging customer experiences.

Apps also allow for the integration of artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots in order to facilitate the customer in searching for their preferred items and getting them through the checkout. Personalized shopping assistants that are powered by machine-learning algorithms would soon become the norm, making shopping easy and fun — as it should be.