One of the largest growth sectors in 2015 is the sale of goods and services online. Online stores are popping up all over the place in Australia and internationally.
Just about anything can be bought or sold online and all sorts of people from small start-ups to mums and dads to businesses and large corporations are all out there testing the waters. And why not, according to recent surveys up to 71% of shoppers truly believe that by shopping online they get better pricing and deals. 80% of consumers indicate that they have made a purchase online. Many are returning with stats showing 50% are return customers.
But for all the new stores the pop-up online by people with great aspirations, there are almost as many that close down due ultimately to lack of response and importantly a lack of sales.
So what are the keys to success for selling online?
It’s an absolute must nowadays that online stores look good. A poor design just doesn’t cut it anymore and simply raises questions as to the legitimacy of the store or even worse if the website owner is still in business…
And because online shoppers can’t physically touch your product, you need to come up with a way to ensure that it looks visually appealing online and allows them that necessary experience to make a buying decision.
Ease of navigation
Nothing frustrates a potential customer more online than not been able to navigate a website to find exactly what they’re after quickly. Aim to ensure that your website is easy to navigate, simple menus easy to understand buttons and banners and a search feature is important.
Again it can’t be underestimated the importance of simplicity on your online store. Nowhere is this more important than when you’ve got a customer to add to cart and then it comes time for the checkout. Recent surveys indicate that shopping cart abandonment is upwards of 80% indicating that this is an area that requires a lot of thought.
Many potential online purchases are put off by a long and confusing checkout process a trait evidenced in many older online stores and e-commerce platforms. So exactly what details do you really need? Ensure you know exactly what you need, that it’s the bare minimum that you need and then make sure that that is reflected your online store’s checkout process.
Some of the major reasons for shopping cart abandonment include: that the calculated shipping costs made the total of the purchase much more than the shopper had expected, the shopper didn’t qualify for free shipping, and shipping costs were only shown very late in the checkout process. It’s interesting that the major reasons for shopping cart abandonment relate to shipping – something that many store owners do not spend enough time thinking about.
Get social and build a following
There is absolutely no doubt that the most successful online stores are the ones that have identified ways to engage with online shoppers both potential and existing.
Online research has established that your average shopper is most likely to make an online purchase when they have encountered social proof to confirm the quality of that service or product. So incorporating testimonials and social media including social reviews on your website even down to the level of an individual product page can be a really great way to get people buying from your store.
Don’t forget mobile
Notwithstanding the recent Google algorithm updates from April 21, 2015 highlighting the importance of a website that meets Google standards on a mobile device including a tablet – with up to 50% of the websites visitors now coming from a mobile or tablet device the experience for these shoppers needs to be a good one.
At native we work with several e-commerce platforms that have proven their success to us and to our clients. Some of these platforms like BigCommerce are cloud hosted while others like Magento and WordPress-based WooCommerce are typically self hosted. The best solution always comes back to a client’s individual needs and purposes for that online store.