Nine Areas a Small Business Can Improve Their E-commerce
When we think of E-commerce, we think of online sales. Yes, part of E-commerce is sales. A big part. But it’s more than just the transaction between a shopping cart and credit card.
In talking with small business owners, especially in rural areas, they are on the lookout for ways to build a better E-commerce presence and experience in order to extend their reach and create additional revenue streams.
Looking deeper than the surface of the sale – there is more to E-commerce than a shopping cart transaction.
Here are nine points of a profitable E-commerce plan that should remain in your sights as you prepare a strategy for your business:
Sales – Whether you’re selling a product, a subscription, or a service – making the sale is the goal of many a web page. Maybe the transaction you and your customer are looking for on your website or app is simply making an appointment or phone call. Make sure your call(s)-to-action is clear and easy.
Search – Being findable is a key ingredient to any E-commerce strategy. SEO and developing a frequent and consistent content marketing plan are important pieces to make the sales. Search is a moving target with the changes that search engines are constantly going through to provide a better experience for the user. Your job? Rather than trying to “game” the SEO, write to the human you both serve.
Shopping – In all probability, the reason they are looking around your site (thank you, search), is because they are shopping around. Maybe they are at their desk or on the train, in any case, they are in decision-making mode – and here’s to hoping your site or app is bringing them closer to deciding in your favor.
Showrooming – This may be a relatively new term to many small town business owners, but it’s a booming trend in the hands and hearts of shoppers. It’s essentially when a shopper examines merchandise in a store without purchasing it, but then shops online to find a lower price. Before the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, get out from behind the counter and become an assistant buyer. You’ll earn the favor of a buyer who hasn’t made their decision yet. Your help may work the transaction in your favor.
Showcasing – Having a presence in multiple places online and offline, tapping into multiple mediums and modalities will give your E-commerce plan a boost with sometimes unintended audiences. This includes podcasts, Ebooks, videos, joint ventures with companies who target a similar audience.
Social Media – A stream of updates and connections that bring it all together, Social Media is in part Showcasing, aides in your findability in searches, offers proof and credibility as potential buyers are Shopping, has the potential of positive reviews as customers are Showrooming, and builds relationships that may lead to Sales. It also helps to synchornize your communication and efforts across web, mobile and your offline efforts.
Sync – Your brand, your voice, and the customer experience should be similar across the board, online and offline. Your mobile app and mobile site should make it easy to contact you and have a similar feel of being in front of your counter or desk.
Service – After the sale is made, how is the after-sale service? Can your customers still reach you easily if they have questions? Retaining current customers so they keep returning is a smarter way of doing business, and they are likely to share their wonderful experience – if you make it easy to share.
Sharing – Ambassadors abound in the era of social media. Making it easy – and if possible, rewarding – for customers to share their stories about your care for them does a lot for your Search findability and Showcasing. Consider an app, destination site, or unique hashtag that will allow your tribe or fan base to connect around your brand.
Building a well-rounded and well-grounded E-commerce plan is going to bring better numbers and a better customer experience than simply a having a shopping cart on your site.