E-commerce is growing to unbelievable proportions with an annual growth of 17% and worldwide sales that amounted in $1,2 trillion in 2013. This also means that e-commerce niche is becoming much more competitive and only the biggest market players will be able to score significant revenue by using this business model. One of the major benefits of e-commerce was the way it made small retail business competitive to corporations. Now when all the big retail chains entered the race, small businesses need to try much harder to maintain rivalry and earn more customer loyalty. In this article I’ve listed some of the most important aspects of effective e-commerce websites, and a few examples on how to run a successful website in this niche.
One of the major advantages of big retail chains compared to small businesses is their almost inexhaustible source of income that enables them to fund expensive marketing campaigns. They often have partnerships with shipping companies, which means they get beneficiary prices for many shipping services. So, if small businesses want to stay competitive. they need to provide top notch services to customers.
Since the use of mobile internet is constantly growing, m-commerce is slowly over-shadowing e-commerce and reaching the highest growth ever recorded. That’s why only highly responsive e-commerce store designs can compete on the harsh mobile internet market. Recent Google algorithm change, also known as “Mobilegeddon” further increased the ranking of responsive online stores. Great example how nice responsive design can increase sales of mobile and tablet users is the UK-based fashion store called Fallen Hero, which increased the number of sales from tablets for 143%, just by adding intuitive and responsive design features to their website.
Plenty of Product Information
One of the best customer benefits of e-commerce websites is that they are able to provide much more product information than one seller in location-based store can learn. Unfortunately, lots of e-commerce entrepreneurs don’t use these features and provide only basic list of product specs. Accept more detailed product specs, online stores should also link their product pages to manufacturer’s website, where customers can find even more information. On the other hand there are online stores that use this e-commerce benefit to the maximum with providing all necessary information wrapped in very creative articles like AO.com for example. Bellroy also deserves a place in this paragraph because of the unique way their wallets are presented, by showing how many objects they can carry.
One of the major disadvantages of this way of sales is that customers can’t see the product in person or touch and feel it before the purchase. One way to bridge this gap is adding plenty of detailed images to the product page. Customer should be able to see the product from all possible angles which is why 360 degree product views can do miracles for online store’s conversion rates. Website administrators also need to add photos where product is being put in use, and this is especially important for fashion retailers, so customer can see how it will match with different pieces of clothing. Website Schuh is a great example how detailed images and 360 degree views can boost e-commerce sales. Schuh has great product pages with plenty of detailed imagery and 360 degree product views.
Easy Check Out
Check-out process is very important for the reputation of e-commerce store. All website navigation leads to check-out page, which should provide customers with several ways to pay the desired goods. Simple credit card+PayPal options are not good enough anymore, especially for websites that sell more expensive goods. These stores should offer more secure payment systems, such as Escrow, for example. The design of the check-out page is also very important. Customers should pay for their goods with a press of one button, and without any additional complications, that might include entering more personal information than necessary. Fallen Hero, the online fashion store I mentioned earlier on, has a great check-out page design.
With increasing competition, small e-commerce retailers need to have innovative and fresh approach to this business, and that is the only way for them to stay competitive in this aspiring market. I hope that the examples provided in this article will inspire e-commerce entrepreneurs to be as creative as possible in boosting their online sales.