Tips for e-tailers on meeting the demands of
the online shopper
Think of the internet as being the world’s largest shopping mall. With its tremendous global reach, the growing competition is fierce and consumers are surfing the web to find the best possible deals around. How does your online store compete or stand out from the rest? Unlike brick & mortar where consumers are able to touch and feel merchandise and experience it first hand, online retailers have to work that much harder to make that first impression lasting and memorable.
Providing superior “online experiences” that engage and satisfy the customer and meet their expectations is essential to remaining competitive. E-tailers must look towards transforming their online operations and invest in technology that engages the connected consumer. Here are a few tips towards meeting these online consumer demands:
• You are what you sell - The importance for greater focus on product and assortment differentiation is heating up as online retailers face exploding online competition. Make sure your offer is enticing, trendy, up-to date and available. It’s imperative to maintain adequate stock assortments as no one wants to see that their size or colour preference is “out of stock”, that most definitely would result in a lost sale.
• Service - Just because you are not face to face with your online customer doesn’t mean that you don’t have to provide superior customer service – on the contrary! You need to make sure you offer exceptional customer service whether it`s in the way you handle returns, exchanges, shipping issues or price adjustments you need to be on top of your service.
• Site Performance - Drive the efficiency of your website and increase your conversion rate by making sure your website offers a clear navigation path, search capabilities and filtering options. Ease of use, speed and clarity are also key drivers for increased conversion.
• Influence the check-out - Product assortment, price competitiveness, promotions, free delivery…all contribute to a positive web store experience, make sure you offer your online visitor something that they feel is an added bonus to complete the sale.
• The total cost also counts - Let your online customers know well before they check out how much they are potentially spending. If they know beforehand item by item they are less likely to be discouraged or have second thoughts at the checkout.
• Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment - Make sure your online customer is able to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. If they can`t navigate throughout your site and complete their purchase within a few clicks you are likely to lose them.
• Delivery - Often sales are lost due to the estimated delivery date – as consumers today expect to have the goods in their hand within a few days of purchase if not the same day! Make sure you have the right system in place to deliver the goods before the estimated consumer expectation.
• Fulfillment - Accurate warehouse and order management is key to providing your customers with superior, error free Direct-to-Consumer" (D2C) order fulfillment. Have an Order Management in place that manages, tracks and controls the entire purchase cycle from start to finish so that you can ensure greater efficiency and higher customer satisfaction.
• Security Issues - Even though online sales are taking off, some consumers are still reluctant to make a purchase. Making your visitors feel secure enough at your site to give you their credit card is vital to completing the transaction. Make sure you let them know that their information is being transmitted to a secure server.
• CRM - As retailers you are naturally inclined to want to collect as much information about your customer as possible for future marketing campaigns. Make sure you limit the amount of information you ask from them, keep it simple, shoppers are more likely to abandon the purchase if they are required to fill out significant amounts of personal information.
• Social connection - Create a sense of community with your customers. Most people today are socially connected so developing a social strategy to engage fans, drive sales and increase brand awareness on social platforms is imperative for today’s online retailer. Make sure your products are shareable through all social connections such as Facebook and Pinterest and don’t forget that the customer is always “on” through their mobile devices.
• Post-Purchase Marketing - Great news your customer just left your site and purchased! Now what? Your engagement doesn’t end there, it’s just the beginning. Post-purchase marketing is a vital step towards keeping this new online customer and building a strong long-term relationship. E-tailers must develop and deploy marketing strategies that connect with their customers, create brand loyalty and influence repeat purchases.
Become a master at developing close relationships with your online customers. Invest in a system that delivers the functionality you need to ensure your online customer completes the sale. e-ComDrive is a complete ecommerce order management and back office solution exclusively designed for the online retailer. From Order Management, Warehouse Management, Customer Relationship Management to Planning and Accounting and more, e-comDrive offers everything an e-tailer needs to grow their business in ONE complete system.
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