Getting started with an e-commerce business is no small feat. There is a lot of planning and hard work that goes into it, and setting up a website where customers can purchase your goods can be an exercise in technical problem-solving like few others that you will encounter in your career. Even if you’re using some of the more user-friendly plugins, you might feel like you’re qualified to get a job as a front-end web developer when it’s all said and done.
So you’ve laid the groundwork. Your website is set up, and your online storefront is loaded with merchandise. How do you take your e-commerce business to the next level? How do you start making sales–and if you’re already making sales, how do you start making more sales? Here are a few tips to help you improve your business.
Read a Book Called “Delivering Happiness”
One of the most successful e-commerce businesses that ever existed is an online shoe company called Zappos. The thing is, it wasn’t the only place online where you could buy shoes. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest e-commerce shoe company. Yet it became an incredibly successful business and was purchased by Amazon in 2009–ten years after it was founded–for $940 million. Why was Zappos so successful? One of the answers is that the company’s core wasn’t built around shoes so much as it was built around exceptional customer service. Tony Hsieh was the CEO of Zappos credited with making it so successful, and in his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” he talks about why his e-commerce company was so successful.
Improve Your Page-Load Times
It might behoove you to investigate the speed with which the pages on your e-commerce website load. If you’ve been developing your website in an office (or living room) with high internet speeds, consider your customers: They won’t always have this luxury. How do you find out if you need improvement in this area? (Spoiler alert: you should always work to improve page-load speeds.) You can ask complete strangers to pull up your website or you can use tools to measure website speeds; the latter is usually preferable. Don’t be discouraged about this. It is common for new website owners to unwittingly use hosting platforms that cost them customers because of slow response times–partly due to affordability concerns. Consider a website like Zappos.com, however, and look at how quickly their pages load. You should work daily over the span of your career to inch closer to those kinds of speeds.
Add a Chatbot
Studies are showing that a chatbot can have a greater impact on your e-commerce sales than many other methods of customer interaction–including email marketing. In some cases, new customers who are just browsing a website have been shown to be more likely to buy something due to the efforts of the chatbot. In further case studies, chatbots are performing better than email marketing campaigns. The technology is worth looking into if you’re serious about e-commerce.
Cut Down on the Friction
Increasing page load performance and using chatbot technology are two ways you can cut down on the friction for your e-commerce customers, but what are some others? Think about why so many customers shop on Amazon as opposed to other retailers online: they’re already logged in! They don’t have to type in their address, create a password, or dig out their credit card in order to make the purchase. All they have to do is click a few buttons and, voila, their purchase is on the way. In addition, these customers don’t have to worry about getting ripped off. Amazon is really good about refunds, and you generally are certain that Amazon isn’t going to take your money and disappear into the night. If you’re a brand new online retailer, you may want to consider using the “Login with Amazon” feature that is available through Shopify. Not only will your customers be able to quickly log in, they’ll be able to select an option to pay through Amazon. You’ve saved them a ton of friction.
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