The ecommerce industry is thriving, which means more people than ever would like to try their hand at opening an online store. The competition can be tough.
To stand out from your competitors and build a loyal customer base, you need high-quality web design and a strong online marketing strategy.
The best way to succeed as an ecommerce retailer is to be intentional at every step. From the beginning of your business planning to your ongoing website maintenance, you should consider your goals with every decision that you make.
Here are 23 ecommerce tips that will help you to build a successful online business!
1. Build your brand and understand your target market
Keeping your target market in mind at all times will help you stay focused during the process of creating your ecommerce website. Different audiences have different needs, wants, and behaviors.
Something that appeals strongly to one demographic may be less engaging for another.
A successful ecommerce entrepreneur understands their own brand as well as their audience. Your brand includes your store’s core identity, values, and goals. It can help to write a mission statement that clearly outlines what your business is and what it plans to accomplish.
I also recommend creating a buyer persona before you design your ecommerce store. A buyer persona is a detailed representation of your typical or ideal customer.
It’s easier to think about your audience when you have a specific person in mind, even if that person isn’t real. Think about how your buyer persona will interact with your website and what they’re looking for in an ecommerce store.
2. Use a clutter-free website design
Ecommerce sites include a lot of information and pages, so it’s very easy for them to become cluttered. Keep your design as simple as possible to help visitors navigate your site more easily.
Don’t be afraid of empty space on your website!
Each page should have a main point of focus, such as a “contact” button or a “browse our products” button. Simple design will draw more attention to these important features, which can increase sales.
3. Keep your menus simple
The purpose of a menu is to help shoppers quickly find what they're looking for.
However, some ecommerce retailers opt for massive, complex, and confusing menus. This defeats the purpose of having a menu at all because it overwhelms the customer and makes it more difficult to find items.
Use very broad categories for the main points in your menu. Then, you can allow the shopper to narrow down their search with more specific terms.
For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, one of your main categories could be “pants.” After the customer selects that category, they could either browse all of the pants or select specifics like “jeans” or “khakis.”
4. Include a search bar
Many people shop online when they know exactly what they're looking for. If someone visits your page, there’s a good chance they already have an interest in what you’re selling. At this point, your goal should be to make it as simple as possible for them to find the item they want.
Including a search bar at the top of the page will help your customers immediately locate the product that they have in mind. The search bar should appear clearly at the top of each page of your site and should be marked with a magnifying glass icon to clearly display its intention.
5. Use a high-quality ecommerce platform
An ecommerce platform is a software application that allows businesses to manage operations for their online sales. While there are all kinds of ecommerce platforms out there, you’ll want to be sure that you go with one that suits your individual needs.
Whether you’re new to the ecommerce game or a seasoned pro, WiziShop is an excellent platform choice!
We offer 400+ tools, expert in-house optimization for SEO, and the flexibility to adapt to your online store’s requirements.
In addition, we accompany our beloved WiziShoppers (store owners) every step of the way. Our dedicated team of Business Coaches is happy to assist with any questions you may have throughout your ecommerce journey with us.
6. Simplify the checkout process
Unfortunately, some shoppers will abandon their cart if checking out takes too long or requires too much information. We live in an era of extremely short attention spans, so your checkout should be carefully designed to keep customers motivated to the very end.
The checkout should only ask for essential information. This includes the shopper’s payment information and shipping address.
You may want to include a checkbox that states the following: “The billing and shipping addresses are the same.” This can prevent the customer from having to re-enter the same information multiple times.
7. Don’t make profile creation mandatory for customers
Being required to create a profile to check out is one of the most frustrating experiences for shoppers. Many will simply leave your site instead of making an account. To make checkout quick and easy, allow shoppers to complete their purchase as a guest.
You can still encourage your customers to create a profile, though. One way to promote account creation is to offer an express checkout, which will save the shopper's information in their profile for a faster checkout next time.
8. Send an email for shopping cart abandonment
Don’t give up hope if a customer abandons their cart. They may have just gotten distracted or needed more time to think about the purchase.
An email reminder can be a great way to get shoppers to return to your site. You could even email a code for a small discount to further entice customers who abandon their shopping carts.
9. Make SEO a priority
Search engines may be the best way to increase your store’s visibility and bring more customers to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) involves a broad group of marketing strategies that aim to increase your site’s ranking for relevant search terms on sites like Google.
When you rank on the first page of Google results, you make yourself more visible to people who are actively searching for your product. Search engine optimization is a highly effective marketing tool because it targets customers who are likely to make a purchase.
In fact, SEO is a crucial item to include in your ecommerce marketing checklist for your business!
It involves web design, content creation, user experience, and a number of other factors. A good SEO strategy can take a long time to implement, but you should keep SEO in mind from the very beginning of the web design process.
Note that when you create your online store with WiziShop, we’ll take care of all the technical elements of SEO for you!
10. Add blog posts regularly
A blog has a number of benefits for your ecommerce store. It can be a great opportunity to add helpful, keyword-rich content to your site, which can boost your search engine rankings.
It also can expand your following. If you write engaging, unique, and valuable blog posts every week, your audience will have a reason to regularly return to your site.
11. Increase customer engagement through social media
Social media is an excellent resource for customer engagement. It’s a direct link between you and your audience, and it can help you expand your reach and find new customers.
Your ecommerce business should at least have a Facebook and Instagram page. Twitter and YouTube are great platforms for customer engagement as well.
Encourage your audience to interact with the posts by asking them questions. Share your blog posts on your social channels to drive more traffic back to your website.
12. Create a list of email subscribers
You should never neglect your existing customers in your efforts to find new customers. If someone has purchased from your business before, they’re likely to do it again.
An email list helps you stay in touch with your existing customers. You can send updates about new items, sales, or promotional events, or you can offer special discounts to your email subscribers.
To deliver highly personalized emails, look into email segmenting. This technique involves breaking up your email list into different categories of customers so that you can send only relevant messages to everyone on your list.
Email segmentation is super simple with the WiziShop platform!
Our handy Auto-Mail Booster tool allows you to program automatic email follow-ups and avail of customer segmentation for added personalization.
13. Provide customers with a variety of payment options
Today’s online shoppers are accustomed to being able to pay for their orders via a plethora of methods. To better cater to your target audience, you’ll want to allow them to use different forms of payment on your site if possible.
Your ecommerce store should accept the major types of credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard. Alternative payment methods like Google Pay and Apple Pay are becoming very popular as well. The more options you offer to your customers, the more likely that they'll be to complete the purchase.
14. Add product descriptions that are interesting and informative
Online retailers have a lot of responsibility when it comes to presenting their products. The shoppers rely on your photos and descriptions to understand the item.
For this reason, it’s critical that your descriptions are clear and informative.
Your customers should be able to immediately understand the benefits of the product by reading the description. The write-up should include important information like size and materials.
In addition, instead of writing a large block of text, consider breaking up the description with bullet points to make it easier to skim through.
15. Be transparent with your contact information
To establish yourself as a trustworthy brand, your contact information should be clear and easily accessible.
Your email address or phone number should be in the footer of every page, and you should have a separate page dedicated to your contact information. This page can also include links to your social media channels.
Be sure to respond to messages in a timely manner as well. If a shopper doesn’t hear back from you quickly, they may search for the product on another site. You should regularly check all of your contact channels to build good relationships with your customers.
16. Optimize your ecommerce website for mobile devices
Smartphones are starting to become the primary device for internet browsing. Optimizing your ecommerce store for mobile use is one of the most important recommendations I can offer.
If your site is slow or difficult to navigate on mobile devices, you may be missing out on a massive number of customers!
Responsive design is the easiest and most reliable way to make your site accessible for mobile phones and tablets. This type of design will adjust your site layout to fit any screen size, so the user experience is virtually the same on all devices.
Did you know that every store created with WiziShop’s ecommerce store is automatically built using the AMP format? Yep, it’s true! This means that your pages will be able to load much more quickly, including for shoppers using mobile devices.
As fast site-loading speeds make up one of the essential pillars of ecommerce, a responsive website is absolutely essential!
17. Develop partnerships with social media influencers
Social media influencers can drive an enormous amount of traffic to your site. Although partnering with an influencer isn’t cheap, it can offer a great return on investment. People trust testimonials from the influencers they follow.
I recommend only working with influencers who are somehow involved in your industry. This ensures that their audience will have an interest in your product. It also will establish more credibility for your brand if the influencer is already knowledgeable about the field.
18. Use high-quality product images
Because your customers can’t view the item in person, your product images must be excellent. Take photos from multiple angles so that the customers can have a good understanding of the entire product. Make sure to highlight the important features and benefits.
Lighting is key when it comes to taking product photos. Use multiple sources of light to avoid shadows. In addition, take the photos in front of a lightly colored, neutral background.
19. Add videos to demonstrate product usage
With some items, images fail to accurately represent the product. Videos allow your shoppers to see the item in action, which can better help them to decide if your product is right for them.
Your product videos should show and explain how the item works. Display the product from all angles so that customers can have a three-dimensional understanding of the item. Product videos should be short and straightforward to keep the viewer’s attention.
20. Include customer reviews
Most online shoppers look at reviews before purchasing an item. To keep customers on your site, include reviews and testimonials as a part of each product listing.
You can generate reviews by sending follow-up emails to your existing customers. Wait about two weeks after the sale to give the buyer enough time to try out the product.
Some of your customers may leave negative reviews. It might seem counterintuitive to include negative reviews on your product listing page.
However, being transparent with testimonials shows your potential customers that you’re trustworthy. When your listing includes a couple negative reviews, shoppers will also be more likely to take the positive reviews to heart.
This is also a helpful way to get feedback about your products. Consistently negative reviews about a particular item may be a sign that something needs improvement.
On the other hand, if an item is only receiving rave reviews, you could feature it on your site to increase sales!
21. Do regular testing to ensure a high conversion rate
If you completely overhaul your website and change everything at once, it can be difficult to determine what’s successful and what’s not. To build a successful store, you should always measure your results and adjust your strategies accordingly.
I suggest A/B testing when you’re trying out new web design techniques. There are several online tools that allow you to display two different versions of your website and measure the results of each. This helps you to isolate each change you make to determine its effectiveness.
22. Host events to get the word out about your business
Even online-only stores can host in-person events to attract new customers and generate buzz. You could hold an in-person event in an event center, community center, or other public location.
During this event, you could give a talk about your products or industry, or you could simply be available to chat with potential customers. Raffles, giveaways, or contests are all great ways to bring attention to your event.
Online events can also be effective for ecommerce stores. You could host a competition on your social media channels or do a livestream that involves giveaways.
Anything that encourages people to take notice of your business can help your brand succeed!
23. Be adaptable
Success is rarely immediate or permanent. For your site to achieve long-term growth, you need to be adaptable. Keep an eye on trends in ecommerce and web design, and make changes to your site to stay current.
The internet is constantly changing, so the strategies that work well today may not be ideal a year from now. The most successful retail websites evolve alongside their industries.
Be prepared to regularly update and adjust your site to keep your existing customers and get new customers for your ecommerce business.
You TOO can find success in ecommerce!
Now is a great time to delve into the world of ecommerce. Millions of customers are turning to the internet for their shopping, and many prefer to buy from small online businesses.
Like any business venture, having a successful ecommerce store takes time and effort.
Be prepared to do your research at every step of the process. Stay informed about web design and online marketing, and avoid rushing into any decisions. Think about your ideal customer and what they would like to see in an ecommerce store.
Lastly, remember to be patient. The early stages of establishing an ecommerce site can be tiring, and it can be tough not to see results right away.
However, thinking for the long term is key. No business becomes successful overnight, but your efforts today will pay off in the future!