Not only is having a presence online important for doing business in the 21st century, but acquiring new customers via ecommerce is becoming increasingly essential as well. The ecommerce market is growing by approximately 19% every year. Unfortunately, many business owners rush into “setting up shop” with the goal of boosting sales and do not put enough forethought into what kind of shopping experience they are providing for their customers.
Ditch the Pop-Ups
While you might want to advertise your latest special or encourage customers to sign up for your mailing list, don’t visually smack them upside the head with a pop-up window. One of the most annoying things in the world is going to a site to find something and having to look all over the screen for a way to close the pop-up window before you can start shopping. Customers come to shop, so show them your products right away.
Make Things Easy to Find
People various search for items in various ways. For people who know exactly what they want, include a search bar on your store pages so they can find items quickly. Other shoppers prefer to browse by category or see items on sale. Keep your website’s navigation clean and simple. Make it easy for people to find what they want. If you can offer suggestion based on their previous shopping history, without violating privacy laws, that is a good feature to implement as well.
Have a Secure Website
If you want one-time customers to become repeat customers, allowing them to create an account and store their debit/credit card information is a good idea. The key to making this work is that you have to have strict security measures like secure socket layer protection and data encryption between their computer and your server. If customers don’t feel comfortable sharing their credit card information on your website, they are not going to buy anything.
Most businesses realize that they have to process and ship orders efficiently, but they often fail to implement equally effective measures for customer returns. Take Amazon.com for example. If a customer receives a damaged item, they can easily return the item without even paying postage; no questions asked. While many companies don’t have Amazon’s resources, the important thing to learn is that customers should be able to return faulty items as easily as they can buy them.
Obviously, your goal is to maximize profits, but one of the best ways to do that is by assuring customer satisfaction from initial contact through order fulfillment and post-sale support. Word of mouth referrals are still the best advertising that money can’t buy. If you keep your customers happy, you will not only earn their loyalty, but they will recommend you to others as well. Small businesses have used this approach for centuries and it still works well in today’s ecommerce era.
About the Author: Alicia Rao is an ecommerce web designer who loves to help her clients combine their products, simple web shopping cart functions, and stellar content to provide a user experience that will keep customers coming back again and again.