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The world of e-commerce sales grows each and every year. As the Internet continues to become more readily available, consumers have chosen online shopping as their preferred purchase method. And it is not hard to understand why.
Online shopping gives buyers the freedom to shop whenever and wherever they want, 24 hours a day, at home or on the move. It also gives them the ability to compare products and prices in real time so they can find the one that offers them the most value and best satisfies their needs. E-commerce has empowered consumers and they are taking full advantage.
With so many global retailers and other e-commerce websites out there, it can feel like your efforts won’t really make a difference but that is simply not true. The growth of the online marketplace doesn’t just mean more competition; it also means more potential customers. For every product, there is a buyer — they just have to be able to find you.
Here are some steps you can take to improve your website, increase traffic flow, boost sales, and make a real name for yourself:
Create a friendly space
This may seem like a no-brainer but unfortunately, for some, it is not. First and foremost, you should make your site look attractive. Keep things clean. You do not want too many things competing for the visitor’s attention. Use pleasing imagery and colors that work well together. You want a design that people can look at without too much strain on the eyes. Make sure that any text on the site is in a color that is legible against your chosen background. If people have to work too hard to read your site, they are not going to stay long enough to make a purchase.
Create content on your website that educates, informs, or entertains your visitors. It is not enough to simply display your product. Write blog posts and share videos that help potential customers understand why they need your product. If it solves a problem, demonstrate how. Show them all the ways it can improve their lives. If you are selling products that are not necessarily solution oriented, like clothing for example, offer advice and tips on how to wear the item or showcase how it can fit into an already stylish wardrobe. Even if the visitor buys nothing from you this time, they have learned something useful. You have rewarded them for their visit and they will remember you the next time they are looking to purchase items like the ones you have on offer.
Make sure your website is as easy to navigate. Create a clear path through the site. Be sure to optimize your pages for viewing on mobile devices. An increased number of purchases are coming from smart phones and tablets so if images are not loading properly or text is being cut off or is overlapping, it is a pretty safe bet that your visitors will move on to a different site.
The checkout process should be a simple as possible. While getting someone to sign up for your mailing list is significant in terms of your marketing strategy, try not to let it get in the way of your sale. Every additional step a customer has to take, increases the likelihood that they will abandon their cart.
Develop your SEO and content marketing skills
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be at the heart of every decision you make with regards to your website. You want to make sure that your website is appearing on the first page of any and all search results. Organic traffic from search engines has the highest conversion rate of all types of traffic.
Pay close attention to your product titles and descriptions. Make sure that they contain the keywords potential buyers are likely to use when conducting a search.
This is another place where easy site navigation becomes important. Like customers, search engine bots and spiders need to be able to move easily through your website. Structure your internal links in an organized way. Categorize items in a way that makes sense.
New and fresh content is another way to improve your SEO. As mentioned above, creating this content can improve customer satisfaction but it also helps you appear more frequently in search results as it increases your relevancy and shows that you are an active site.
Take advantage of social media
Creating a business page on Facebook and a profile on Instagram are great ways to grow brand recognition and drive traffic to your site.
With Facebook you can engage with your followers, developing a valuable trusting relationship and create Facebook ads that target the audience of your choice. You can send them to current followers or create a look alike audience to grow your base and send brand new traffic to your website. Facebook gives you several options so try a few different tools to see what will work best for you. If you have multiple products, try carousel ads to showcase all of your top selling items. Video based ads can help you stand out in the Facebook timeline and acquisition campaigns can funnel visitors toward content and collection pages so you can remarket to them at a later date. Advertising on Facebook is relatively cheap so it is easy to try a few things and find a combination that works for you.
Instagram is quickly becoming a heavy hitter in the e-commerce world and if don’t have an account for your brand, you are missing an opportunity to connect with an enthusiastic customer base. Instagram is in the process of developing features and tools specifically for e-commerce sellers but there are things you can do while you wait for these upgrades. Post regularly, at least 3 times a day and make sure you make use of Instagram Stories. Scope your competitor’s posts and comment and like posts from their most engaged followers. This will put your name out there, increase your followers, and boost brand recognition.
Learn from the competition
Pay close attention to your biggest competitors and the top sellers of products similar to yours. How is their site constructed? How do they organize their products? Can you identify keywords that you are not using?
If they have mailing lists, sign up for them. See if you can deconstruct their marketing strategy.
Copying them directly is not the best route to take but any information you are able to gather might be enough to give you some of your own ideas. Seeing what works for someone else can help you determine what might work for you.
Some of the most successful e-commerce companies saw a need in the market and found a creative way to address that need. Even if your product isn’t innovating and new, it doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it and sell it in ways that are innovating and new. Step outside of the box and give your customers an experience they cannot get anywhere else. When people discover something exciting, they often talk, share, and post about their amazing find. If you can get people talking about your store, you can get people shopping in your store.
Find whatever detail it is that sets you apart from everyone else and push that. Differences are strengths, play to them.
Every one of these suggestions can help you get the most from your e-commerce website. The competition is fierce but the payoff is more than worth it.
Thank you Andrew for an amazing article. If you’d like this content, please leave a comment below or read more from our blog:
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This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting here.