The e-commerce economy is growing, and is on track to see significant growth in the coming years.

Businesses no longer are restricted by geographical boundaries. The only thing holding them back is their willingness to try new technologies and get creative. Appealing in its freedom and flexibility, e-commerce has the potential to be extremely profitable, if it’s approached in the correct way.

While there are many differences between e-commerce and brick and mortar, there is one thing that remains the same: Making a success of e-commerce is fundamentally no different to brick and mortar – it requires time, planning and adherence to best practices. Whether you’ve done it before or it’s your first venture, there has never been a better time to explore the money-making potential of e-commerce, and at Red Tin Robin we’re here to help you get onto that path.

Focus on your customers

UX is a big deal in the world of e-commerce. The most successful online stores go out of their way for their customers, turning them from loyal consumers into brand ambassadors. Online selling is a whole different ball game to selling in a traditional shop. On the internet, attention is like currency. It must be earned. Your visitors want to get from A to B to C with minimal fuss – so make it easy for them.

Trust and ease of use the two most important factors for getting those all-important conversions. What with the prevalence of dodgy websites and online scammers, creating a website that makes your customers feel comfortable is your first priority.

  • First impressions are everything: a badly-designed website with too much going on is a real turn-off. Minimal design is very popular in e-commerce, as it looks clean and professional.
  • Talk the talk: be open about your brand, your products and your company ethos. Include well-written product descriptions, contact details and pricing information. Transparency is a good way to show that you’re for real. Be sure to spell check all of your content before publishing.
  • Don’t be too pushy: if your products speak for themselves, you don’t need to force them on people. Instead, focus on displaying them to best advantage. That means quality imagery, original descriptions and an intuitive search function. Make it ridiculously easy: modern consumers want things now. Their attention spans are tiny. Once you’ve got someone onto your website, make it super easy for them to find what they want and buy it. The purchase journey should be quick and seamless – so keep form-filling to a minimum and ensure every call to action is clear.

A good content strategy will get you a long way

In the early days of your online store, it’s a mistake to assume that people will effortlessly stumble across it. Among other things, one of the best ways to get organic traffic to your site is with a well thought-out content strategy. It might seem like a big time commitment, but quality content – regularly updated – pays dividends.

A good starting point is to build a blog into your website. This can be updated regularly and include all sorts of topics that relate to your mission, business and product. Come up with relevant, shareable content that can be published on social media for more exposure, and from there build your online profile and work on connecting with other industry influencers.

The future is mobile

As an e-commerce entrepreneur you can do everything right, but if you don’t build your business to accommodate mobile users, then you will become irrelevant very quickly. Mobile commerce is getting bigger and bigger, and it’s unlikely to slow down anytime soon. By 2020, it could make up as much as 45 percent of all e-commerce.

Mobile commerce is not yet as straightforward as online shoppers wish it to be, for many sites at least. For the most part, there is some catching up to do. Mobile users crave simplicity, but since most websites are created for desktops, some do not transfer well. In reality, designers should now be doing the opposite – creating sites that are perfectly attuned for mobile before adapting them to suit the desktop.

So unless you want to alienate just under half of your potential customer base, make sure your e-commerce website is mobile-friendly – particularly when it comes to the checkout process.

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