The internet is a quite likely one of the greatest disruptive technology examples that we will ever see. In the past, all transactions were conducted face-to-face in a physical setting, i.e., a store or shopping mall. However, with the rise of e-commerce and the introduction of cashless transactions, business nature as we know it has changed drastically.
Just ten years ago, the prospect of sharing one’s credit card and banking details over the internet would be unheard of. Nowadays, online shopping has become the new norm, and most of us share our banking details with strangers with nary a care in the world.
Thus, it’s clear to see that e-commerce is without a doubt the way of the future. The digital storefront provides online merchants with the kind of availability that previous entrepreneurs could only dream of.
However, in this brave new world, everything comes at a price. The connectivity of the internet that brings us all together also means that just about anyone can set up shop, which means that competition is at an all-time high.
With all of that in mind, let’s now examine how online merchants can improve themselves and remain competitive.
1. Smoothen the checkout experience
Ask any e-commerce entrepreneur, and they’ll you that cart abandonment rates are what keeps them awake at night. If you didn’t already know, shopping cart abandonment is defined as a situation where a potential customer drops out of the checkout process before it can be completed.
This usually comes about for various reasons, one of the most common reasons being an overly convoluted checkout process.
Take this situation, for example; you’ve finally selected what you’ve wanted, and now you’d like to buy it. However, during the checkout process, you’re bombarded with a variety of requests. You find it impossible to continue with your purchase, from being pushed to create a new account to annoying popup ads that pressure you into additional purchases.
Frustrated, you take your business elsewhere and vow to never shop with this merchant again. If you’ve felt this before, you’re most definitely now alone. A poorly optimized checkout experience is one of the most irritating situations to be in and is a sure-fire way of discouraging potential customers.
Hence when designing your own site, always focus on ensuring that the checkout process is as smooth as possible. Having enticed customers to your site, the last thing you’d want to do is to chase them away at the last minute.
2. Have a well-designed site
If there’s one thing customers hate, it most definitely has to be a poorly optimized website. Imagine browsing through what looks like a promising online store only to be bogged down by a website that looks as if an underpaid intern designed it.
Customers need a reason to stay when they visit your store. Besides offering a top-quality selection of products, a smooth interface and intuitive design are essential if you close the deal.
Forget bombarding customers with dozens of notifications and ads. The objective of your website is to encourage customers to continue shopping and looking through your selection. A well-designed website does just that and, in turn, subtly encourages them to make more purchases.
3. Build a mobile-friendly site
Customers enjoy having the freedom of choice and particularly resent being funneled into a chosen direction. Unfortunately, some digital merchants tend to make the mistake of overtly favoring phone apps over mobile-optimized websites.
All too often, whilst browsing Facebook, we’ve come across interesting ads that required us to install an app of some kind if we wanted to learn more. In these situations, one of two things tends to happen; the first is ignoring the ad entirely or making a mental note to visit the site on a PC later.
However, more often than not, most of us would ignore the ad and move on. This highlights the need for merchants to develop sites that are actually compatible with mobile users.
The e-commerce industry is stiff with the competition, just like the NCAAF college football bets. However, the merchant who respects and understands the need of his/her customers will ultimately be able to stand out from the crowd. While these tips are by no means the final word, they will undoubtedly go a long way towards helping you build your e-commerce empire.