It’s not easy to run an online business, but many online shops have achieved great success simply by observing a couple of tricks.
Here, we’ll be sharing with you 10 of the best practices in e-commerce:
1. Letting customers know what your business is about
An interesting backstory behind your online business, or some emphasis on your shop’s points of differentiation is a good way to draw people towards your shop.
This is where an “About Us” page comes in, as it allows you to let customers know the unique story behind your online business that differentiates you from the rest.
For example, on the “About Us” page of Green Pantry, they tell customers about their purpose, what they stand for and what you can expect as a customer. They highlight their main differentiating factor as a keen desire to empower oppressed communities.
The About Us page is already implemented in My Pages under Menus & Pages on your admin dashboard. All you need to do is tell your story!
2. Making Terms & Conditions visible and concise on your site
Another good practice to have in e-commerce is to create a page solely on concise terms and conditions that customers have to abide by when they purchase something from you.
This includes information on delivery, payment, defects, product care and more. It is also necessary to provide contact information with respect to logistical errors, so customers will know what to do should they face any issues.
There is also a Terms and Conditions page implemented in My Pages. Carefully think of terms and conditions to set for your customers and simply fill them in the page!
This is a good practice as it prevents any misunderstandings between the merchant and the customer, and reduces the time-consuming process of handling any complaints or disputes that may arise in future.
Also, it lets customers know their rights when they purchase something from their shop, and provides them with greater knowledge on what to do should they experience any complications during their online purchase.
This brings us to the next practice – which is
3. Allowing customers to contact you quickly and easily
This can be done by making use of the Contact Us page under My Pages as well. Include details such as your company address, email addresses for enquiries as well as a customer service hotline.
This is especially useful in the event of errors in logistics, so that customer welfare can be effectively and efficiently maintained.
By answering customers’ inquiries and responding to them as adeptly as possible, customer loyalty and trust can be built.
Also, customers can directly contact you to provide you with feedback to ensure that improvements can be made for the benefit of your online business.
4. Providing exemplary customer service
Another good e-commerce practice is to provide exemplary customer service. This can be done by responding quickly, and by providing detailed and relevant answers.
Being an online business means that customers expect to be able to interact with you quickly and with minimal waiting time.
It is the fast-paced and interactive nature of the online realm that assumes and demands more efficient customer service.
On top of that, online businesses have to provide customers with convenience and an ease of mind when purchasing from you.
This may be challenging since online businesses transactions are done virtually, and merchants often remain anonymous.
Customer service does not just mean responding to customers’ queries and needs when they arise. Going the extra mile for customers by catering to their convenience while making transactions is another form of good customer service.
For example, by managing customers’ order history and allowing customers to track their order history, as well as saving their information so they do not have to go through the trouble of re-filling their information on their next purchase, online shopping is a whole lot faster and convenient for them.
This can be done by making use of the Customers page on your dashboard to manage your customers, and you can leverage on their order history and information to decide on memberships and loyalty programmes if applicable.
Through good customer service, not only will this establish trust in customers, it helps to retain existing customers too.
5. Offering promotions to loyal customers
On the topic of loyal customers, another practice that online businesses should consider is to incorporate a loyalty programme within their business.
Give returning customers loyalty points that can be exchanged for discounts on future purchases to retain these customers and increase sales for your online business.
On the Customers page in your dashboard, select the Loyalty Points tool to allocate loyalty points to different membership tiers. You can set rules, and decide if loyalty points are applicable to the public, or just for members.
To convert these loyalty points into discounts on their purchases, make use of the Point Discount tool in the Promotions page on your dashboard.
You decide the number of loyalty points that can be traded in for the promotion. Be sure to let your customers know of this too!
Another way to reward loyal customers is to encourage them to create an account or a membership with you and opt to be included in the mailing list for newsletters or notifications on any promotions.
You can even provide discount codes or membership prices just for members and/or customers on the mailing list.
This creates a sense of exclusivity, and gives them an incentive to continue making purchases with you in future.
How do you make these discounts and special prices work, though?
Simply access the Promotions page from your dashboard, and select the Member’s Price tool to choose the type or tier of members you want the discount to apply to.
You can choose to enable a limited time period, a minimum purchase or a usage limit on these promotions – it’s up to you!
For exclusive discount codes mailed to members or customers on the mailing list, use the Coupon Code tool. Insert your preferred text that represents the discount code in the Coupon Code Settings, and the discount code will apply immediately when your customer enters it!
Similarly, you can choose to enable a limited time period, a minimum purchase or a usage limit on this discount code. You can also specify the section where you want your promotion to be applied to under Target Settings.
6. Allowing customers to provide ratings and reviews for your products
Besides paying attention to loyalty, honest reviews are equally important.
By allowing customers to provide reviews for your products, not only do you gain valuable feedback regarding your products, it also offers an honest opinion on your products for the benefit of potential customers, which may lead to greater sales.
Through this, you can also monitor which products are popular, and account for the stocks to meet the demand.
Keep track of customers’ ratings and reviews with the use of the Product Rating and Reviews tool under My Products on your dashboard.
7. Choosing relevant product categories for products
Product categories are important to help customers locate what they want more efficiently. Examples of product categories include New Arrivals, Sale, Bestsellers and more.
These categories allow for easy navigation to the exact products that customers are looking for.
This is easily achieved by using the Product Category tool at the Products page on your dashboard.
Assign your products to different categories (they can belong to more than one category) by adding the category tags. Create your own category tags and categories specially for your products.
By including Search-Engine-Friendly (SEF) categories, Google can capture and locate products when customers search for a particular keyword relevant to the category.
The keyword of your category can be configured using the Category SEF tool.
8. Using creative and communicative ways to describe products
To capture the attention of customers, use original and engaging descriptions for your products.
You can also create a ‘hype’ around your product by linking it to a popular trend or a particular value you are trying to promote.
For example, TwoNineSix uses the “70s Hollywood glam” trend and names of big stars to make this product more attractive. It is also described to be produced in limited quantity, making it more unique and desirable.
Also, providing accurate information with respect to the measurements, dimensions and types of material of your products is necessary for customers to gain a better understanding of what you are selling, and therefore make more sound judgments and decisions before purchasing.
To add a captivating description of your product, simply access the Products page on your admin dashboard, add a product, get creative and fill the Product Description box up! Also, create an interesting Product Name for your product, and add a Product SEF too if you like.
Remember to use keywords that are most relevant to, and best describe your product!
9. Introducing seasonal collections and promotions
On top of that, keeping in touch with market trends by offering special promotions or types of product at different times of the year is an important practice to have.
For example, having sales during Christmas or Chinese New Year would be a good idea to drive even more traffic towards your shop.
However, you don’t always have to wait for special occasions to offer promotions.
Offering promotions too often may be counter-effective and could possibly do more harm than good for your business.
To keep your online business consistently fresh and current, it”s good practice to keep track of seasonal trends and fads. For example, a range of products made just for Summer or Valentine’s Day, as these are prominent periods for shopping.
10. Marketing via Social Media
Last but not the least, social media marketing is a good practice to have. However, this strategy should be used sparingly because of the faddish nature of social media trends.
Consistently promoting your online business can help to stay relevant to your target market but too much of it may be considered ‘spam’.
Email marketing would be a more casual and direct way to give your target audience a friendly nudge.
To focus more on your target audience, engage online influencers and encourage interaction among customers.
Encourage customers to use social media to tell their friends about your online business by providing them with exclusive discount codes or loyalty points for discounts on future purchases whenever they share about your products.
This is easily achieved via the Share Promotion tool on the Promotions page.
There you have it – 10 awesome practices to adopt for better e-commerce success!