More often than not, proficient e-commerce resumes to a website featuring a great product, brilliant design and an amazing domain. Without denying that these three factors have an important role to play in the equation, there are still other essential elements that can make or break an e-commerce project, as you are about to find out.
1. A post-launch marketing strategy
In all fairness, nobody can expect an avalanche of orders simply because they provide customers with a new method of acquiring their products. Because potential customers need to find out first, you must identify a method of getting your newly launched e-commerce website to them. To put it simply, to turn your project into a success you should plan for a post-launch strategy.
Although you’re bound to reach many interested users via offline advertising, newsletters, SEO, pay-per-click, etc., you should continue to improve your website. In fact, enhancing your site is an ongoing process that entails continuous testing and tweaking, in accordance to your visitors’ behavior patterns.
2. Optimal product categorization
Even when you don’t have a wide variety of products in your inventory, providing users with a simple and clear route to a product is still essential. In case you do have numerous items, then adding filters or a faceted navigation system becomes mandatory. To make sure you’re offering the best user experience, you have to determine the most important features based on which customers would want to filter what’s on your site. For example, if you’re selling clothes, then you should include filters that permit users to locate their favorite item in accordance to size and color.
On a side note, if you decide not to introduce filters, then your best bet is to refrain from dividing the product range too much. Then, don’t put too many items in a single category, so visitors can actually find them.
3. Ongoing site management
As previously mentioned, managing the e-commerce website is a continuous process. Based on the visitors’ reactions and the sales, you might have to perform modifications such as adding better and clearer descriptions, using higher quality photos or updating the home page. Keeping the content fresh is by far the most challenging task in this sense. However, it is critical for an e-commerce site that wants ongoing customers. Don’t forget that content also keeps search engines ‘interested’, making your website easier to discover.
Maintaining an online shop might not involve the same practices as its brick and walls counterpart. Nevertheless, you simply can’t afford to allocate just 5 minutes of your time per week for this practice either.
4. Timely delivery
According to statistics, one of the most viewed pages of an e-commerce website is the delivery section. Since almost all customers will access it, take the time to provide clear, concise and easy to understand information regarding your delivery policy. In addition to price, you should consider including time estimates and extra options in terms of delivery. For example, you could provide fixed dates, fast-track or in-store reservation services, as they’re all highly convenient and appreciated by modern customers. Lastly, conduct some research about reliable delivery services and refrain from choosing a provider based on pricing alone.
5. Excellent customer service
Although customer service is often overlooked, its importance stems from the fact that it helps you engage visitors and build long-term business relationships. Having a service that is always on, and ready to address questions and issues is what usually assists e-commerce sites in sealing a deal. Regardless of whether you opt for live chat, a ticketing system, use social media or provide quick Outlook access, the idea is the same; don’t forget to inform your staff about the implementation and make them aware of how it fits in with the rest of your operations.
6. Reliable return policy
In addition to excellent customer service, it is recommended to plan on how you’re going to deal with returns, complaints and even credit card fraud. To avoid getting caught off guard the first time it happens, take the time to establish a steadfast strategy regarding how client paperwork should be handled. By organizing the data you send to your customers, you can eliminate a lot of nuisance, and save clients time and money in the long run.