Let's admit it - running an online store is not easy! While there might be tons of article (like this one) telling you how easy it is to open an online store, running it can still be a chore if you want to be successful.
With so many factors out there that can affect how successful your online business is, it is hard to focus on all of them, especially for small business owners where resources are limited. Here's a list of 5 e-commerce best practices to keep in mind. Tackle these, and you will be on the right track!
Mobility is Key
One funny thing happened when I looked around during a birthday party - literally everyone in the room was doing something on their smartphone. If you're not taking advantage of mobility in your e-commerce strategy, you are playing a game you can't win.
I have covered earlier on another blog post on the importance of mobile-friendly online stores and I have to say it again - mobility is key! People are on these devices constantly. Get mobile or get lost in the shuffle.
Fortunately, nopCommerce has good support for mobile-friendliness and all our nopCommerce themes are mobile-ready!
Customer service, that is. Strange how shopping has transformed so much today away from brick and mortar and into many more online transactions. One thing remains the same, however - customer service is still everything! People still want their service contacts to be easy, pleasant, and available.
To put it short - they want reliability and certainty. They don't want to get lost in your shop; and if they unfortunately did, they need someone to help them!
Online chats are great. Email and phone conversations still work wonderfully too, but whatever the method of communication is; make sure it is a pleasant, simple, and successful one.
For us, we have mainly used Zendesk to provide free e-mail supports and our customers have been happy so far! (See below for proof!)
It is no doubt that free shipping can be a great way to lure your customer to buy. In fact, the majority of customers have shown in the past that they will actually increase their order if they know it will get them free shipping.
But simply offering free shipping is not enough. You need a strategy! Done correctly, free shipping is a great way to make your customers happy and feel like you are literally giving something away in exchange for their loyalty. But it can increase your over-head per order on the flip side.
Need an inspiration? Read this article for ideas on how to strike a balance between happy customers and low overhead.
Allow your customers the ability to track their orders. Let them see that the order has shipped and give them its whereabouts. This sort of peace of mind can be invaluable to relieving the stress of your customers and making them want to come back to you again.
As with customer service, reliability and certainly are keys! There are many shipping APIs (such as AfterShip) that you can make use of to provide up-to-date shipping information.
The good thing about shipping APIs is that they provide a single point for you to access shipping info across multiple shipping providers. So if you are offering a few shipping options for your customers, shipping APIs like AfterShip can cut down on your development time.
Make it Easy
Perhaps this is that one golden rule that should really sum up all the others! Make it easy, be it with the browing of products, checkout process, contacting customer service, tracking packages. Just make it easy for your customers!
The harsh truth is that people are choosing e-commerce mainly because it is far easier to buy than it is compared to shopping mall. If it isn't easy, then it defeats the purpose of online shopping in the first place!
Make sure your customers' e-commerce experience is as good as possible with the best in web design and user experience you can offer.
PS:/ All our nopCommerce themes are designed from user experience (UX) point of view, and we continuously push the limits of our offerings.
Again, this list is far from complete for what you need to do with your online store to make it successful. But you really need to get these 5 correct before you can even advance to the next level!