It’s easier than ever before to start an eCommerce business, thanks to platforms like Shopify. Anyone can either create their own online store in a matter of minutes or work with eCommerce business brokers to buy an existing site. This is both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, if you’re interested in starting a business, you can have one up and running in a short amount of time. On the other, this means anyone else is free to do the same, leading to an increase in competition. In fact, there are over 500,000 stores on Shopify alone.
If you want a successful eCommerce business, it’s not enough to simply create a great looking website. You have to do a few things that will take your eCommerce business to the next level and make it stand out from the crowd. Here are a few suggestions for how you can do this.
Improve Your Site Experience
Too many eCommerce businesses will create a basic website and then settle for “good enough”. To get your store noticed, you need to go a little above and beyond when it comes to the site experience.
There are 3 major components you should focus on to improve site experience.
First, you should work to improve the speed of your website. Studies have shown that customers don’t like to wait for websites to load. The longer your site takes to load each page, the more likely it is that your customer will simply leave and shop elsewhere. On top of that, search engines like Google are now using site speed when determining where to rank your website in their search results. Getting on page one of Google is essential if you want to generate traffic from search engines, and your site speed could be the thing holding you back.
To find out the speed of your website, you can use a tool like the Google Page Speed test. If it’s determined that your site is slow, you’ll want to take steps to change that as soon as you can. You can do this in a number of ways, but the best are probably:
- Switching to a faster website server
- Reducing the file size of images on your website
- And only using necessary plugins and features
Ease of Use
The next aspect of your website to consider is how easy it is to use. Shoppers don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to find something or have to go through a lot of steps in order to check out. A goal when designing your eCommerce store should be to make it as easy to use as possible.
You can start by ensuring that navigation around your site is easy. Add a helpful menu to the top of the page, and group pages together using categories and sub-categories. After that, you should do a thorough examination of your checkout process. Look for ways to limit the number of steps and make sure there are no bumps along the way. If you’re stuck, do some competitive analysis and see how your competition handles things.
When looking for ways to make your site easier to use, don’t forget about mobile users. Many people now do their shopping from mobile devices, which means much smaller screens. If your website is full of small buttons or hard to find links, your mobile users will have a tough time.
Finally, look to provide your customers with more checkout options. For example, rather than only accepting credit card payments, look to add in PayPal or ApplePay. You can also look for ways to accept different forms of currency, thereby making yourself accessible to global markets. The more options you have at checkout, the more people you can reach.
Add More Customer Service Options
A key aspect of any eCommerce site is customer service. Your customers are going to have questions about your products or issues with their purchase. However, not all customers want to interact with you in the same way. If you can add more customer service options, you can take your site to the next level.
For example, you could add a live chat feature to your website. With a live chat feature, your customers can talk to a customer support representative in real-time, rather than having to wait on the phone or for a response email. Another option is to set up social media channels and regularly monitor them for customer service requests. Adding in more options will cost some money, but it will make your customers happier in the long run.
To really take your eCommerce business into the future, look into augmented reality. If you haven’t heard of augmented reality before, here’s how it works. Users will open up the application through their smartphone, which will then turn on their camera. The camera screen will then be digitally augmented with information or graphics.
For example, let’s say you were traveling around New York City. If you had an augmented reality travel app, you could open it up and view the area around you. The app would then provide information on the screen based on what your camera is seeing, such as details about landmarks or historical events that happened there.
Ecommerce businesses can use this technology in a different way. Let’s say you’re an eCommerce business that sells clothing. Through augmented reality, customers could see what the clothing would look like on them before making a purchase. This would help them in their purchasing decision and likely reduce your return rate.
Augmented reality for eCommerce is fairly new, but it’s growing in popularity. In fact, recently Shopify introduces augmented reality support, which is good news for the hundreds of thousands of customers currently on that platform.
Keeping Your eCommerce Business Ahead
With the above strategies, you should be able to take your eCommerce business to the next level. However, once you get there, you don’t want to stop. It’s important that you always look for ways to improve and stay ahead of the game. Hopefully, this guide was able to get you started in the right direction, and before long your eCommerce store will be blowing past all those ordinary shops.