Shopping from online stores can be so much fun! I am sure the ladies will really understand what I mean. Having to just sit and keep clicking can be more fun.
Purchasing product or services from online stores have been taken to a whole new dimension with the advent of online stores or shopping and more consumers are taking advantage of this to make life more easy and shopping more convenient for them.
There are numerous eCommerce platforms in the world and even in Nigeria for online customers to select from and these websites engage customers with their range of products and services.
More customers are beginning to understand and see how easy it is to shop from online stores, with the rise of mobile phone shopping, I am sure that in the nearest future, consumers will have anything at their beck and call just with the click of a button.
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With the growing number of online shoppers all over the world and most especially Nigeria, it is evident that your online store should be able to satisfy these growing numbers of persons.
Operating online stores takes a whole lot of innovation that has to be well planned for the customers viewing pleasure which will generate sales for the store.
If by any means your target is to sell, you know you need customers to achieve that and the only way you can attract customers is by being innovative with your products and create a luring website which will keep them glued thereby increasing the number of things they purchase which invariably means you have more revenue.
In order to make sales, you need to keep your users engaged and clicking through. It takes about 50 milliseconds for users to decide if they like your site or not.
You want and need to be as creative as possible. It can be something as simple as the kind of images you use or anything catchy enough.
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One thing I have come to realize is that first impressions count and they can last for years. So invest in the right and most attractive design possible, choose the right template and deliver a unique experience for your users.
People usually decide very quickly whether they like a website or not, that’s why you should grab their attention in a matter of seconds upon their entry to the site; otherwise they will just find some other shop with a more attractive home page. And nothing attracts better and faster than shopping deals.
Millions of people lose their minds during sales and discounted periods, and buy anything at slashed prices just because it’s on sale.
Some are attracted by free shipping, some by the major mark downs — but almost everybody is interested in one kind of promo or another.
In setting up an eCommerce site or app, there are some basic features to put into consideration and in this post, I have selected just six (6) important components that once they have been put in place, your site will consistently be flooded with customers and will be fully equipped for online sales and boost in revenue.
Create deals and freebies
When there is a slash in price or some discount on some products, and special deals, which is basically what some web visitor’s look forward to every single time they come around your store. People love to get almost free stuffs and when there is a slash in price, it makes them want to shop some more.
That discount, stimulates consumers to purchase more from your store. If there is one thing you should do that will yield you more than you expect, it is offering deals and freebies through eCommerce websites.
For example, I frequently check Dealdey for their most recent deals and once I get what I want, I still can’t stop checking because I always want to see more deals and I keep clicking to enjoy other offers.
That’s how it works with every consumer; they want that “wowing factor” that will keep them from page to page. It has been proven that consumers have a psychological inclination to buy products or services when what they seek is offered at a discount or has some freebies alongside the product or service.
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Usually, customers spend only few seconds on a website before moving to an alternative site, and you know nothing works magic like an attractive and persuasive deal.
The deals could be discounts, gifts attached to the product purchased, free shipping or just anything to keep your customers happy.
Such deals give you the opportunity to reach out to your existing customers and even new shoppers which will help your store remain visible.
Most times, existing customers might even be your store evangelist by making referrals to your store based on the extent of user experience.
If they do not enjoy your services, it means you definitely will get bad reviews form them but once you are able to satisfy them, they will come back for more and also spread the word for others to try.
The first time I heard about Jumia, Konga and Aliexpress, it was from a friend who saw some discount on the sites and suggested I check it up, I did and it was worth the try.
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Thus, discounts, freebies, special offers etc are usually the first thing that website visitors look for with all the appealing promises and unique prices to stimulate consumers to spend more time and money in purchasing.
So it practically makes perfect sense for you to create eye-catching banners with discount offers on the upper part of the home page of an online store.
Multiple Payment Methods
From a shopper’s point of view, I think I won’t like to share my credit card details with just any site. There have been a million and one stories about fraud and online identity theft so as a consumer, you will be more careful on how you use your credit card and where you drop your details after your purchase.
These fears actually work against most e-store owners that are looking forward to making maximum sales. As an online merchant, part of your responsibility is to help shoppers move beyond those fears, and one way to establish trust is by making shoppers comfortable with your brand.
Many eCommerce vendors underestimate security and they end up paying a huge price for sheer neglect.
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With the rise in cyber attack, it is important to host the website in a PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant environment, when accepting online payments.
PCI makes the website responsible for complying with the laid down Data Security Standards (DSS). Any merchant that stores or disseminates credit card data has to be PCI DSS compliant.
When it comes to accepting payments online, all you need in order to establish trust is one or two secondary payment methods that are featured on your website. Soon after, your customers will have the reassurance they’re looking for.
Choosing the perfect payment gateway solution for you site will give assurance and peace of mind to your visitors. Choose a merchant account that your visitors are comfortable with.
The easiest & fastest way to be able to accept credit card payments online is via PayPal. With over 188 million active accounts, PayPal has become a trusted global brand and industry leader in regards to payment gateways.
To give you an idea of just how trusted they’ve become, PayPal make up for a staggering 30% of all transactions made annually in the USA and over 45% of eBay’s overall revenue.
PayPal has made it easier for you to get paid and kick start online stores. Not only is it an affordable option that can integrate with any website, it’s a highly regarded company that your buyers will trust when handing over their credit card details.
Also, you can provide your customers with the option to pay on delivery, especially when you are in the same geographical location. Like Jumia, Konga and some other indigenous Nigerian sites, they have that payment option in case the consumer is still in doubt of using his or her credit card to finalize the transaction.
Free or competitive shipping options
It’s annoying when you see something you want to purchase online, then you hit the purchase button and the shipping price is higher than the item you want to purchase.
I remember sometime I wanted to purchase a mobile phone online, the price of the phone was $133.00 while the shipping fee was $57.00 I had to buy from another online store that offered $4.65 for shipping. It wasn’t free but it was reasonable.
UPS conducted a customer experience study called the Pulse of the Online Shopper. According to this study, 81% of online shoppers agree that free shipping is the most important feature of shopping online.
This same study indicates that 58% are willing to add more things to their cart to qualify for free shipping.
What this means in order words is that as an online business owner, free or competitive shipping options, when done well can drive success for your business. You just have to find the formula in your niche that will make customers increase their shopping carts in order to get free shipping.
Clear and easy navigation for online stores
Let’s take this from a simple perspective. Imagine your kept in a maze, how easy will it be to find your way to the exit? Am sure not so easy, that’s the same with creating an e-store that is difficult to navigate through.
It makes the job of the consumer really hard and they can easily become uninterested to continue with the search. Therefore, having a clear and easy navigation can make or break those online stores.
If it becomes extremely hard for your customer to find their way around your store, the reaction of your customer will be to abandon your site and move to your competitor’s site for better outcome or satisfaction. You know what this means right!
You will be losing more leads than attracting them and might lose your visibility online. Hence, make things easy for your customers; design your sites with break downs and categories that will make their search easy.
Nobody wants to keep going round circles just to get one thing or the other. Once I know what I want as a customer I check for it directly without wasting time except I want to see more product offers.
Adding attributes to your products that can be filtered by your customers can give them the option to narrow down the choices and make it less overwhelming.
Engaging Photos & Descriptions are necessary for online stores
A picture is worth a thousand words and it tells more about the story than you can explain except if given 10 sheets of paper for an elaborate explanation session. With pictures, your customer has the privilege of knowing the product they are about to purchase.
The picture creates a mental description of what they are about to buy. This entails the colour, the shape and other necessary variables attached to the product. In most cases, the picture comes with a summary or description of the product.
These are very essential for online stores to put into consideration because nobody will want to purchase something they honestly do not have the slightest idea about.
Images are the first impression for your product so having high quality and focused shots are key to your store’s success. But don’t forget to back these up with well written descriptions.
Not only does it help to have a great sales pitch but if written correctly can help with your Google search ability. SEO needs to be kept in mind when writing product descriptions so you can have more chance of being found.
To ensure you have the best in terms of web picture, you should:
• use an all white background to let your product stand out
• go big in size to catch your user’s interest
• enable zooming so your customers can see every little detail of what they are about to purchase
• provide product photos from all angles
Product images are among the most effective ways to communicate with customers on an eCommerce site.
Although product images are essentially a standard feature on all shopping carts or eCommerce platforms, it is important to find a solution that is flexible enough to allow you or your developer to resize the images, since bigger is usually better. It is also helpful if the cart supports product image zooming.
Online stores need to have clear Policies
Purchasing anything online requires customers to take that one bold step in regards to the quality of the product or service and the satisfaction that the consumer will get from the use of that particular product.
The thing is most customers just do a blind pick; by blind pick I mean purchasing a product that they are not really sure if it is worth it.
Most times, consumers may get products that they eventually have regrets about the purchase and want to return it, some other times; they make the wrong decision on size or colour which they might later want to return.
These are just a few out of the many possibilities in online stores shopping hazards. As an online store owner, what measures have you put in place to checkmate all of such complains that might come up as you go on?
Therefore, implementing policies in regard s to such complains will help you solve such issues when they arise. Create or dedicate a space on your web page where customers can easily see and find such information along with the processes if need be for a refund and other issues.
State clearly your delivery procedures along with clear time scales, so that your customers know when to expect the delivery. This saves you all the stress of having to settle or solve on delivery or purchase issue after another.
In writing such visible policies, you should always consider your customers interest first and make sure your policies are easy to understand and work with.
Make it legible enough for customers to see. Once you have achieved this, then you can be rest assured that other things will fall in place for your business. Am sure you don’t want any harassment by your clients.
Studies by the Nielsen Company have shown that 70% of online shoppers trusted consumer opinion posted online. This shows how reviews can lead to referrals like I earlier discussed.
With this, it it’s a matter of necessity to include a product review space right beneath the product so that other shoppers can review and see the level of satisfaction other shoppers before them have benefited from the purchase of the product.
In some cases, online stores create a five (5) star review where the shoppers can click on the number of stars which will show the level of satisfaction they have gotten.
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Each star stands for a different satisfaction level; also, they provide comment columns where you can probably talk about your overall site experience or product experience.
Most successful online stores make excellent use of product review to attract more customers and grow revenue. These reviews can help shoppers make good buying choices.
Product reviews are a very powerful product marketing tool. In fact, research shows that even bad reviews help to sell more product than not showing reviews for a product at all. You’ll want an eCommerce solution that lets you enable customers to post reviews of the products that you sell.
A ton of businesses begin without considering and implementing strategies that aim to maintain consumer interest. It is rather like cooking a large pot of rice when there’s no stew to eat it with.
While building an online store can be very tasking, it is essential to factor in these features and consistently review them. Remember that the attribute of a successful business is a strong foundation.
Considering the competition and reviewing the above components will help improve your business.
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