The eCommerce industry is fast becoming the favoured sales channel for a vast majority of customers. In 2016, an estimated 1.61 billion people worldwide made an online purchase, and the number is set to rise. According to projections, global eCommerce sales are set to grow up to 4.06 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020.
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There are numerous predominant reasons for the significant evolutions in e-commerce. It is not only convenient for the customers, but a digital platform offers many opportunities for small businesses to grow and flourish. It enables startups to build their business and provides the established ones with another outlet to increase their annual revenue.
However, the e-commerce industry is also fiercely competitive with hundreds of brands vying for consumer attention. Therefore, you should try to emulate the tactics of the giant online retailers like Amazon, Zappos, Alibaba, and eBay.
Here are five things you can learn from the leaders of the e-commerce industry:
According to Zendesk, 87% of customers want brands to put more emphasis on providing a seamless experience. Moreover, almost three-fourths of consumers spend more on a company that offers impeccable customer service.
The most competent e-commerce businesses realize the importance of being readily available to their customers. Since they do not have brick-and-mortar stores with sales personnel to immediately assist customers with queries, they offer multiple channels of communication to make assistance available readily.
Furthermore, prospective customers often look for ways to judge the reliability of the e-business, such as social proof, and dispel any uncertainty before purchasing. They may also require a detailed explanation of a complex product. Various interactive mediums including emails, phone calls, chatbots, etc., allow the client to approach you in whatever way they find most feasible. Thus, you should offer round-the-clock help and advice to your clients to improve your conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Zappos, an online clothing and shoes store, offers 24/7 service through a plethora of communicative channels. You can call them at any time of the day, and their customer representatives will gladly guide you. You can email them and expect to receive a prompt response. They also offer live chat functionalities.
Forbes asked Rob Siefker, Senior Director of Zappos’ consumer loyalty team, about AI chatbots and their capabilities to imitate the abilities of a human representative. He replied,
“No matter how ‘intelligent’ an auto-response system can be, there’s no way to replicate the warmth and authenticity that a live customer service rep can offer.”
Consequently, 75% of the purchases at Zappos come from repeat customers. These loyal customers also have a higher average size, and thus, every year, there is 30% increase in revenues.
Online shoppers expect e-commerce stores to offer products and deals as per their preferences. They prefer customized homepages and tailored lists of recommended products.
Therefore, e-commerce stores should focus on providing the most personalized user experience as it is a critical variable for the success and revenue growth of the business. Research shows that 65% of online retailers witnessed an increase in the conversion rate by implementing a smart customization strategy.
Amazon is a great example of personalization. Since it sells pretty much everything, it can be overwhelming for the customers to sift through a myriad of products. Therefore, Amazon creates customized homepages for individual users, which offers them a logical starting point for their buying journey.
Once the users reach a product page, they display a list of recommended merchandises that are compatible with the viewed products. They also boost the cart value by showing other items that other consumer bought along with the products being viewed currently.
In addition to the recommendations that come thick and fast, Amazon occasionally offers discounts on bulk orders to influence the customers to buy many items at once.
Finally, if a customer returns to the store, it uses their viewing and buying history to provide them with more, related products options right on the homepage.
Almost 97% of US consumers trust online reviews when shopping. Therefore, encourage your customers to review your product a few days after delivery. Highlight positive reviews on every product page. This enables other consumers to make their buying decision based on authentic reviews.
Social proof is also a great form of content marketing for individual products as well as the brand as a whole. This increases your chances of appearing high on the search engine result pages ( SERPs) when someone searches the particular product.
Also, you can utilize the negative reviews to improve your product or service. Buyers also appreciate businesses that value customer experience and implement them to enhance their brand.
eBay provides comprehensive product reviews and sellers’ ratings, which helps the user make an informed decision. Customers can rate their experience with the product as positive, neutral or negative. Buyers can evaluate the sellers on various criteria including dispatch time, item as described and communication. eBay features the percentage of positive reviews beside each seller’s username prominently. Even the buyers are judged based on the feedback they receive.
The entire reviewing system imparts a sense of authenticity, which is a crucial factor for the scalability of an online store with no physical presence.
With the increased use of mobile devices, it is imperative for e-commerce businesses to optimize their website to fit small screens. If you do not do that, you will be missing out over 2 million consumers who reportedly use mobiles for e-commerce transactions.
Moreover, a significant portion of the online buyers begin their purchase journey on one screen and end it on another device. Hence, you need to incorporate all your features on the mobile website as well to provide the same fluidity and feel as on the desktop.
Google also puts great emphasis on mobile-friendliness for determining the site ranking. You will also lose valuable user traction if you do not score high on the search listings.
Therefore, all the major online retailers have highly optimized mobile websites for seamless site surfing and hassle-free buying.
Etsy has a prominent search bar and clean layout with grid format to ensure proper picture display. Product pages are highly descriptive, with large, vibrant images and a visibly placed call-to-action buttons. It is also relatively simple and straightforward to add items to the cards despite navigating on a small screen.
Free shipping and return
Hassle-free shipping and returns are two of the most converting features of an online store.
One of the challenges of online shopping is that the product may not be the same, as it appears to be in the website image or as the customer perceived it. Some consumers may also be reluctant to buy specific items without trying them out or assessing their quality.
An easy return policy allows the shoppers to order the product without any inhibition. E-commerce sites should highlight their return policy throughout the sales pipeline. This can be easily managed by a sales pipeline template.
Free shipping is also a significant variable for customer conversion. Almost 90% of the consumers say that free shipping is an influencing factor to shop online more.
Both, Amazon and Zappos, have a generous return policy without any additional charges. This results in a highly beneficial impact on their business as customers are more willing to trust their brand.
The phenomenal success of the e-commerce giants is no secret. They have a strategic approach to every aspect of their operations, and their business model is exceptionally user-centric.
Any online retailer can replicate the points mentioned above, as you do not require vast resources to imitate them. You just need the willingness to adopt new technology and an unwavering commitment to providing the customers with the best e-commerce experience.
ABOUT Erica Silva
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place.
Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1