Selling online is no longer an easy task. We now live in a world where customers search and decide for online businesses (not the other way around), a world where 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. We now compete in a market where having a good product is not the only deciding factor. A Market full of sophisticated, demanding and informed users. We have worked with numerous E-Commerce projects; from small retail stores to large enterprise ones and, in every one of these, the key to success was PLANNING. I will share with you 5 key concepts you should include in your planning phase that will give you a greater chance of making your E-Commerce project a success:
THINK LONG TERM
Before even starting to look for the right E-Commerce solution, it is crucial to know how many categories, products and possible variations of them you will have in the store. Will you offer these to end users, businesses or distributors? Do NOT think short term but rather long term as choosing an E-Commerce solution based on your current needs does not mean that it will work in the long run. Flexibility in the solution is key: Do you need an enterprise solution such as Magento that will allow you to grow? Or do you need a smaller, assisted solution such as Shoppify? Maybe you prefer a solution that will offer you more flexibility such as Woocommerce or OpenCart? One of the first strategic steps we take when planning an Ecommerce solutions is to ask the right questions so we know exactly what is necessary now and also what will be required in the future. Make sure you do so as well.
HAVE A BUDGET IN MIND FOR POST LAUNCH
What’s the point of having a cutting edge E-Commerce site if users don’t even know about it? Why spend all those years perfecting the right product if your potential customers are not aware that it exists? You get my point: Investing in post-launch marketing is as important as investing in the platform. Make sure to save money for your Social Media, Search Engine and email-marketing strategies.
Depending on your budget, you might want to put money aside to start creating a Social Media Audience and to boost your posts. Facebook ramped up their revenue strategy so it makes it very hard to grow organically unless you invest money in your strategy.
A well-planned and structured paid search campaign can also increase your reach but make sure you understand how Paid Search works and that you have a clear goal before you embark on this journey. I can’t stress enough how many times we had E-Commerce Paid Search projects with new brands that had wrong expectations and never gave the campaign enough time to get optimized and mature. Do your homework and demand concise goals with a timeline.
There is a very useful site put together by the Google Research team that can help shape your conversion strategy and come up with a post launch plan: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/tools/customer-journey-to-online-purchase.html
LESS CLICKS, MORE PURCHASES
One of the main issues with E-Commerce designs (and redesigns) is the lack of planning when it comes to User Experience and Interface Design (UX/UI) I will mention something that I always tell my customers: You do not have to reinvent the wheel to differentiate your platform from the rest! One thing is to have a visually attractive design; another is changing the way E-Commerce experience is done. Human beings are used to a certain way of purchasing things: We see a product, then we click on it, we see product details, then we add it to the cart and check out, we enter our billing and shipping information, DONE. A lot of times, designers confuse innovation with changing the flow of traditional online shopping: The less clicks you give users to get exactly what they need, the better the chance of closing the deal and keeping them happy. Because it is impossible to predict accurately how your users will interact with your site, the next step is key to adapting your UX/UI strategy.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS INSIDE OUT
Just like technology changes, so do your users. A successful E-Commerce business is always
listening and adapting to what their customers want. On the business side, what products/services are sold the most? Is there a pattern in user choice? What is your target audience post launch? Do you know which users are abandoning your cart?
Most E-Commerce platforms provide backend analytics but I always recommend combining them with External reporting from either Google or Adobe Analytics. On the development side: Where are your users coming from? Are they bouncing out once they reach your site? What are your users doing once they reach your site? Google Analytics and heat map solutions (such as Google In Page Analytics) are always great tools to answer these questions. Never stop being curious about your customers; the more you get to know them, the better chance for success.
DARE TO INNOVATE
We already talked about not having to re-invent the wheel when it comes to E-Commerce UX/UI but this does not mean you can’t be an innovator and improve how you sell online. With so much competition and channels to compete in, why not try to differentiate yourself by creating different ways to offer your products & services? 360 galleries, video integration and Augmented Reality are among many new trends in e-commerce. Not long ago we started offering “Chat Bot solutions” to some of our E-Commerce customers, which gave them the opportunity to sell on social media channels through a trained ro[bot]. Wondering how it works? Check out one of our Facebook chat demos below. Both Pizza Hat and Whole Foods have started to use these solutions and they are seeing an increase in conversion rates.
The E-Commerce world can seem complex and intimidating but, if you take the time to plan your strategy, you could differentiate yourself from the rest and make it a success. If you have any questions about your E-Commerce strategy let us know!