Successful e-commerce businesses do three things (amongst others) really well. Below we outline why each of these disciplines; traffic, trust and user experience, is so vital to selling products and services online.
You can have the most beautiful website selling quality products, but what is it worth if customers can’t find you? The best e-retailers understand this and invest heavily in search marketing. With 40% of customers visiting e-commerce sites via search engines, it’s no wonder. Search marketing tends to cover two distinct disciplines; Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. The good news is that both of these, particularly PPC, rate highly for their ability to measure return on investment. The bad news is that because businesses are really waking up to the importance of search, keywords are becoming a lot more competitive in order to rank organically and to bid on as part of PPC campaigns. Successful search marketing leverages certain tools and data points, underpinned by a highly skilled set of employees. This is why a lot of companies choose to outsource this work because developing such expertise in-house can be difficult.
A new customer visiting your e-commerce website for the first time very quickly tries to ascertain whether this is a brand they can trust. A slow loading site, with a design like something from the 90s, is likely to have a high bounce rate (customers landing on the site and immediately leaving).
But if keeping customers on your site for more than a few seconds is proving a task, converting visits to sales probably feels impossible. To this end, make sure you have the fundamentals in place. That little padlock in the top left of your browser, that’s an SSL certificate and it displays to customers your site is secure. A variety of payment methods appeases customers who perceive credit cards and PayPal as safer options.
When shopping online, naturally the user experience is nuanced versus buying something in store. We have already referenced the importance of having a well designed site – this should go beyond aesthetics – giving consideration to usability. At the heart of this is convenience. Customers want to be able to quickly find the product they are looking for and they want detailed product information and high-resolution images to be able to justify their purchase decision. They also want an effortless checkout experience, fast, reliable shipping and first class after-sales support.
In summary therefore, effective e-commerce starts with an effective search strategy. Then, once you’re being discovered, and the traffic is coming in, you need to convert these passive shoppers through to consideration and decision buying stages. This can be achieved with a professional site and demonstrable data security. Finally, deliver to customers a seamless and easy online/offline experience, from transaction right through to delivery and customer support.