Posts Tagged ‘ecommerce’
We all know it costs seven times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, and that could not be a truer statement for ecommerce sites in today’s ravenous online ordering culture. One need only to look at the spiraling downfall of Blockbuster Video, one of the least surprising brand name bankruptcies which was largely due to Netflix and iTunes.
Not too long ago, Blockbuster owned the rent-a-video market in North America. However, their inability to adapt to the new technology culture led to a mass exodus of customers to companies like Netflix in the blink of an eye.
So then if brick-and-mortar stores are becoming a thing of the past for certain markets, why are so many ecommerce stores doing so poorly, especially in the SMB world? The answers can be complex, but one reason that rates at the top of the list is a poor after-sales support strategy. Customer service and support drives back repeat business no matter what the format, thus it’s imperative to provide value added services online to keep customers coming back to your website.
One of the many great things about the Internet is that you can quickly research and draw from what’s working online. Take ecommerce giants like Best Buy, Amazon, eBay, Kmart and Future Shop. Those companies didn’t just build online shopping carts, they built online communities.
A large part of building a successful ecommerce community is the use of social media tools like YouTube, Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to connect with online customers after the sale. Sharing useful tips, tricks, and videos as well as providing discussion forums and feedback rating systems goes a long way towards reaping huge benefits in building a loyal online fan base.
Top Ten eCommerce Social Media Features:
- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn Feeds
- Product Videos and Document Downloads
- Customer Review & Feedback eForms
- Discussion Forums and Blog Posts
- Customer Generated Rating Systems
- Wish Lists & Sales Price Watches
- Recommended Accessories or Product Matches
- Product Image Galleries
- Social Bookmarking
- Recent Viewing History
In addition to these features, a properly architected ecommerce site has to overcome many of the benefits of shopping offline, one of them is being able to get in touch with the company after the purchase. Make sure it’s easy and obvious for your customers to reach you if they have any questions or issues. Two of the best ways to do this is with a Live Chat on your website and a toll free phone number clearly marked in the header and footer area of the website.
A few other tips to consider at the planning stage of developing an ecommerce site:
- Write your own product descriptions and craft them to appeal to your target audience.
- Post security seals and trustworthy transaction logos on your website for credibility.
- Make sure you know how your website looks to your shoppers on multiple screen resolutions, browsers and platforms.
- Great photos are the secret to great sales online, the digital equivalent of picking up and examining a product.
- Make sure the checkout process is clear, simple, and has as few steps as possible. Don’t create an ecommerce website that acts as your sales prevention team.
Finally, it’s essential that you understand your site traffic. Knowing the profiles and browsing interests are key components in properly adjusting content as you learn about your visitors and their behaviors. Diligent monitoring of your analytics program will allow for answers to such questions as, “What are the first time visitors doing?” and “Which pathways are they using to get to the checkout page?” Remember, visitors that don’t click on the ‘buy now’ button are just as important as the ones that do. Being aware of the sources they came from, what they searched for, and the content they consumed are all critical in understanding conversions and building ecommerce success.