Navigating a poorly designed e-commerce site is like driving car at night with no headlights. You swerve and squint, desperately trying to find your way, until you finally pull over and call it a day. In e-commerce, that’s the equivalent of abandoning your shopping cart―and, according to research, it happens as often as six out of 10 times. So what’s the secret to running an online store?
For shoppers to reach the finish line, you need to provide a clearly lit highway. The following do’s and don’ts will put you―and your customers―on the road to success:
- DO NOT assume people will find you: Imagine if you set up shop in the middle of the woods. Even if you rocked the interior design and your products were perfectly displayed, you would hardly get a single customer. The same goes for your e-commerce site. You need to be where your customers are. Build a following of social media, pay for online advertising, optimize the SEO of your site―the more virtual roads that you create, the more likely you are to be successful.
- DO pay attention to appearance: The same standards that apply brick-and-mortar stores also apply to your online shop. A messy store does not instill confidence, nor does a disorganized e-commerce site. If you cannot write enticing product descriptions or take high-quality images, let someone else do the job. When your customers don’t have the opportunity to touch the product, clear and detailed product descriptions and a variety of images matter even more.
- DO NOT skimp on shipping: Consumers love free shipping. In fact, if they had to choose, they favor free over fast (as long as it doesn’t stretch into weeks). If you do need to charge, beware of waiting to reveal the final tally until the customer is about to hit “complete purchase.” Most customers prefer to get an idea about probable shipping costs before they spend time filling in their address and payment information. Also, make your product’s final journey is as smooth and quick as possible. A delighted customer is good for business.
- DO focus on payment security: Shoppers are rightfully becoming savvier about credit card security in the wake of high-profile breaches. If you store credit card information as a favor, make sure you ask the customer for permission first. By offering SSL security, asking customers to fill in their three or four-digit security code, and providing the option of using a processor like PayPal, you will gain their trust and prevent last-minute shopping cart abandonment.
- DO engage with your customers: Give your customers plenty of opportunity to chime in and react quickly when they provide valuable feedback. Staying engaged, whether it means providing an online chat, answering questions on social media, or making sure e-mails do not go unanswered, fosters brand loyalty and shows that you care.
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