Let’s face facts; the days of entering a retail space and purchasing products with hard cash is gradually becoming a thing of the past.
After all, every single aspect of the traditional shopping experience is being challenged by social and technological trends, from the way in which customers research items to their preferred purchasing methods.
Even back in 2014 retailers reported that contactless payments more than trebled, for example, while the Internet is now established as the most popular technique for researching products and comparing prices.
Each of these factors lend themselves to e-commerce, which is gradually becoming the key driver of retail revenues throughout the Western world. As if to reaffirm this, an estimated 70% of respondents in a recent UPS commerce study revealed that they now preferred shopping online, underling the viability of e-commerce venture and their potentially lucrative nature.
Success can never be guaranteed in any market or commercial space, however, even in one with as much potential as e-commerce. With this in mind, here are three fundamental tips for e-commerce start-ups that are hell-bent on being successful: –
1. Never sacrifice website performance for design
One of the key rules of e-commerce is that customer cannot touch your products, and you may be tempted to compensate for this by investing in a stylish and premium website design.
While design is important, however, it must never come at the expense of performance, as a plethora of slow-loading graphics and animations can drastically increase landing page loading times and create an entirely negative customer experience.
Compuware claims that every two seconds of additional load time equates to an 8% abandonment rate, with faster and high-performance websites helping to increase conversions by as much as 74%.
In this respect, you need to focus on a simple but responsive design that optimises performance and reflects the underlying goal of the venture to sell products and build consumer loyalty. Paying attention to the simplicity of the checkout process is also key, as is your site’s ability to accept a myriad of payment options.
2. Design your e-commerce site with mobile in mind
When we talk about e-commerce, we must recognise that this marketplace is increasingly driven by smartphone and tablet transactions. The statistics suggest that mobile transactions already account for 30% of all e-commerce activity in the U.S, for example, with m-commerce also set to grow 300% faster than similar markets.
If nothing else, this underlines the importance of designing your e-commerce site with mobile in mind. It is also worth noticing that Google is continuing to updates its algorithms to improve the ranking of mobile-friendly websites, both in terms of their ease of use and the responsiveness of their design.
These are two key areas for e-commerce start-ups to focus on, as you look to integrate navigation sidebars and quick-loading product pages to drive a positive mobile experience.
You should also strive to use analytical CRM in a bid to recognise consumer behaviour and respond directly to this, creating an evolutionary design that even includes interactive elements that replicate corporeal shopping through a handheld device.
3. From day one, aim to build a community around your e-commerce venture
The consistency of branding and company ethos throughout your e-commerce proposition is crucial, especially if you are to create a loyal and trusting customer base.
This is hard to achieve if you chase variable and constantly shifting trends within the e-commerce space, so the key is to focus on tangible strategies that build trust, loyalty and recognition.
In this respect, it is crucial that you build a community around your e-commerce venture, and one that exists outside of individual products and ranges.
There are several ways through which this can be achieved, starting with the integration of a blog into your e-commerce site and the publication of relevant, targeted and insightful content.
This is the bedrock of thought leadership and the cultivation of meaningful relationships with customers, and this may prove crucial in a competitive e-commerce space.
Additionally, you can build a community by sharing narratives surrounding the design and manufacturing of your products, while also introducing the people who contribute to these processes.
This adds a distinctly human element to your e-commerce brand, helping to distinguish it while it establishes itself against more recognisable rivals.
It is also crucial that you deliver a high calibre of customer service, and this starts by identifying a reliable logistics partner that can deliver your goods efficiently and on-time. Service providers such as Parcel2Go offer an excellent medium through which you can achieve this, as they enable you to compare the market according to your unique cost restrictions and requirements.