Ecommerce is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to Digital Commerce 360, online shopping accounted for 49.4 percent of all retail sales growth in 2017, bringing in $453.46 billion, a 16 percent increase from the previous year’s revenue. Creating an ecommerce store has never been easier; the challenge is securing your share of such a competitive market.
Occasionally, you might find other stores selling the same high-quality products for the same low prices as you are, so it will be difficult to offer customers a unique value proposition. Here are three ways you can rise above the competition.
- Make your product page a visual powerhouse.
The biggest disadvantage to online shopping is customers are unable to examine the merchandise before making a purchase. Providing the most accurate visual representation possible ensures customers will recognize the quality of your products and know exactly what they’re buying, which will reduce your return rates.
Website Builder Expert reports 92 percent of consumers name visuals as the most important factor in any purchasing decision, so the appearance of your product page will have a major impact on your sales. Rather than copying and pasting stock photos or photos from your supplier, take your own custom photos and make all of them a uniform size and resolution.
Powered by Search indicates including multiple images for each product increases sales by 58 percent. Provide shots of an item from all possible angles and allow customers to zoom in to view finer details like texture. If the product is available in ten different colors, include ten different photos, not just tiny color swatches.
Most importantly, your photos should reveal what the product looks like in real life. Include familiar objects for size reference. Listing the diameter of a pottery bowl isn’t nearly as helpful as showing that it can hold three pieces of fruit. When selling clothing, use human models of different sizes and body types. If you’re selling t-shirts through a dropshipper and can’t take your own photos, use an online service to create t-shirt design mockups.
- Harness the full power of social proof.
You already know people tend to follow the crowd, but there are many ways you can create a crowd for customers to follow. Optinmonster emphasizes the importance of including customer reviews and ratings, as 70 percent of consumers trust a fellow customer’s recommendation even if the person is a complete stranger. You might provide case studies of specific customers who achieved excellent results, an approach that’s particularly effective if your niche is in health, fitness, beauty, or personal finance.
To exert a little social pressure on customers, always list the most popular items at the top of your product page and add a “bestseller” label to each. Make your sales and discounts limited time offers and include a countdown clock to illustrate that customers must act quickly to take advantage of these savings. No one wants to miss out on a good deal.
The best way to provide social proof is, of course, with social media. 92 percent of consumers trust product recommendations that come from friends. Sellbrite recommends including social media buttons, so your customers can easily share their purchases. You can also provide a specific hashtag for customers to use. When someone tags your store, keep the lines of communication open by posting a comment or giving them a retweet.
- Offer a personalized customer experience.
While customers do tend to follow the crowd, they still want to be recognized as individuals with unique needs and preferences. The more you can make them feel acknowledged and appreciated, the more likely they are to become repeat customers.
Entrepreneur points out the role automation plays in customer service. Set up your store to automatically change language and currency settings based on the customer’s location and display items they recently browsed as well as items they might want to buy based on their purchasing history. Increase the chances customers will read email and mobile notifications by setting them to send at the optimal time for each customer based on past behavior.
If a customer leaves a bad review, follow up to see if you can resolve the situation. In many cases, customers will edit their reviews to say they were satisfied with how things turned out. If customers abandon their shopping carts, send them reminders and offer discounts in order to close the sale.
Better yet, when a customer navigates away from the final steps of making a final purchase, use your automation services to trigger a live chat window to pop up, so a real person can address the issues that have made the customer have second thoughts. Not all personalization requires technology. Referral Candy says a great way to make customers feel valued is to include a personalized note with each purchase.
How have you made sure your online store is a cut above the rest? Share your tips in the comments.