The transaction of buying, selling or exchanging items or services online is defined as eCommerce. The past several years have witnessed amazing, sweeping and bordering on epidemic level changes to the eCommerce industry.
Noticing the incredible upswing in the eCommerce area of business, countless companies are racing to integrate robust, enhanced and advanced eCommerce departments into their business’ structures and plans.
Insurmountable Exponential Growth
With the current economic climate containing insurmountable exponential growth in eCommerce, companies are seeing the need to standardize seemingly archaic networks to sellers and buyers. It is a tall order to make your brand eCommerce-friendly and user-friendly; this is because companies must somehow arrange for their brand offerings to users to be based on a respective user’s interests and needs.
Thus, the best way to garner success in the eCommerce area is to perfect your brand’s site. When people think about eCommerce does the 800-pound gorilla aka Amazon come to mind?
Here are 20 ways that a smaller eCommerce startups can compete with the "Amazons" of the world.
A website’s design is absolutely critical for the user-friendly factor.
A negative online purchasing or selling website experience will almost certainly harm any revenue brought in via eCommerce. This is because the original user is likely to not return to the site and not recommend the site to others.
With eCommerce, businesses are looking to gain long-term customers; therefore, a poor user-experience will prevent this outcome. An innovative and up-to-date brand will be the brand that implements strategical and tactical decisions. These are the decisions which are very likely to create the user-experience which keeps customers returning.
The Idea Of This Post Is To Virtually Guarantee That Your eCommerce Tools Are Cutting Edge And Above The Rest.
So if you building an eCommerce startup then take a look at these 7 tactics to give your brand tips to prepare you for new developments in eCommerce, using several established name brand companies like Amazon, Birchbox, New Balance, SoulCycle, and Reebok.
1. Make your User Pathways Strategic
Most eCommerce companies offer many products, not just one. This creates the need to divide a target audience into different and defined segments.
Defining segments includes identifying unique groups in your target audience by determining their needs and wants...this will allow users to be directed to content that is uniquely relevant to their current needs and wants. A user-friendly website should not make the user or buyer have to search and search for an item on your website.
Customer experience mapping is a process for discovering how your potential customers or new users feel as they engage with your product or service’s sales funnel touchpoints.
Amazon is a great example of a company that is nearly perfectly tailored to the user. When on the Amazon website, the user has the choice of several pathways. The way to navigate the site is clear and understandable.
Consider the “Electronics & Computers” section of their website, as seen below. The user goes to the broad category of “Electronics & Computers” and then sees that this broad category is then broken down into several smaller segments. This hierarchy arrangement makes the user experience basically seamless from end to beginning.
2. Use IP Tracking to Monitor User Location
Marketers for a website can track the location of respective users using the IP addresses associated with those users. A user’s location can tell a marketer a plethora of information! Because a visitor’s location is available to a business’s marketing team, that marketing team can then make educated guesses as to the visitor’s geographic and, sometimes, demographic needs and wants as far as products, information and resources go.
The ability to use IP tracking technology has given many companies far more profound and valuable insight into a site’s visitors. In turn, studies have indicated that customers instill a higher level of trust in companies that know what they want, making the likelihood of such customers to be repeat customers.
SoulCycle is an excellent example of a brand that has been quite successful using IP tracking. With SoulCycle, visitors are able to go online and purchase class credits. During this process, users are shown a customized and detailed list of alternate cycling studios in the user’s vicinity.
As a growing brand, having IP tracking allows the company to easily market a proper target audience for a new location, in addition to already existing locations. From start to finish, the customer experience is hassle-free; users enter their billing information and book a class at a location of their choosing.
3. Base User Behavior on Personalized Content
Today’s “norm” for the user experience is that the experience meets the criteria for which individual users are looking. Users no longer want to be part of an audience, they look for sites which are optimized to meet them as individuals. Therefore, a content management system (CMS) based on the historical patterns of a user is a powerful method that eCommerce brands use for offering the most effective visitor experience.
CMS software for marketers is readily available and, due to the complexity of creating highly tailored CMS programs, software is probably a company’s best bet. Let it be known though, that no cost is lost on the purchase on such software -- it has been proven that monumental increases in revenue are generated when a CMS is implemented. Why is the reason behind this? The reason is that your user is far more likely to convert if their experience online is personalized.
Amazon comes to mind again, when thinking of an example of successful CMS implementation. Amazon has a rotating banner on top of its user’s page. The banner is colorful, catchy and customized. Amazon uses the CMS technology in many instances but this section will focus on CMS and Amazon’s Kindle.
With the Kindle, when customers run a query for the latest and newest kindle, Amazon also shows a trade in offer for trading in an older Kindle model and receiving a discount on a new one. This array of content is personalized to the user, in this case: current Kindle owners. There is a high degree of relevancy and the user is more likely to convert into a customer.
4. Use Visitor Engagement Features
Another new development in the eCommerce world is for brands to demonstrate to potential customers how existing customers use a specific product. This means showing how existing customers wear the brand product, work with the brand product and generally use the brand product. Using visitor engagement features differentiates the brand and highlights the offerings of the brand. Showing how and why a product is worthwhile is a way of using user engagement features.
ACTIVCHILL, a Reebok product line, can be used to demonstrate the benefit of using a CMS. ACTIVCHILL manufacturers a special technology which is built into the very fabric of its product offerings. Basically, a product owner can remain substantially cooler while wearing ACTIVCHILL clothing. However, This Reebok subset doesn’t just market its products with words, it offers high-level visualization of existing users wearing these ACTIVCHILL products.
For instance, the brand site showcases its technology in the form of an individual wearing ACTIVCHILL and how the technology works. Furthermore, the brand’s website also has videos uploaded so the potential customer can learn more about the technology.
5. Add Resources With Value
Keeping in mind that a user’s eCommerce experience should involve a visitor engaging with a brand; a brand should be recognized for providing legitimate value to users, instead of solely just services or goods.
Examples of adding resources with value would be adding items to a site to make the purchasing or exploring aspect's of a user’s visit easier.
Brands should think about adding items like:
SoulCycle is very good at providing resources with value. Potential buyers do not appreciate feeling like they are being targeted or forced to make a purchase by an overzealous website. SoulCycle has a website with educational videos and content regarding healthy living -- all meant to educate the user.
It also offers music choices and fashion for fitness showcases -- but nowhere does one witness the brand “pushing” the user to buy a product. Users appreciate the extra knowledge they gain from resources with value which makes them more likely to convert.
6. Integrate Social Media
Social Media is a “must” if a business wants to establish a successful eCommerce segment. Like eCommerce, social media’s marketing channels have exponentially increased in importance for a successful online brand presence. A brand’s site should be integrated into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Users can then share their experiences or a product they like or purchased, and possibly garner more visitors to the brand’s website.
User-generated content is another way to integrate social media into your website functionality. The idea of user-generated content has become quite important in the world of eCommerce and is incredibly effective at instilling an added sense of trust in your products. Pictures, posts, or reviews that customers share on social platforms about your products are unbiased and therefore hold a lot more credibility than a post that your brand would share on its own. Birchbox, for example, does a great job of using giveaways to drive a huge amount of engagement and growth on Instagram.
They ask for three simple things:
Follow the Birchbox account
Share using the hashtag #birchbox
Tag 2 friends in the comments
Highlighting this type of content and building it into the design of certain onsite pages can hold a lot of potential for companies to engage users, encourage them to share, and move them closer to a conversion.
This can be especially important with marketing to millennials;
84% of Millennials report that user-generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy and where
43% of people are more likely to purchase a new product when they have learned about it through social channels or from friends and family
7. Dynamically retarget With Specifically Personalized Product Ads
You may already be familiar with or using remarketing display advertising, but are you using Dynamic Remarketing? Say you are in the market for a new pair of running shoes and you stumble upon a site that sells New Balance running shoes, and then you get a typical banner ad like this retargeted you on another website you are browsing.
Recently some innovative advertisers have caught onto my browsing behavior and have begun using Dynamic Remarketing to bring me back to their site.
This feature creates automatically creates ads that feature the products that I was looking or viewing during my last visit. These are incredibly effective, as they remind just how much me just how much I liked the product in the first place and tempt me to return and purchase.
Google describes it as “Dynamic remarketing takes remarketing a step further, letting you show previous visitors ads based on products or services they viewed on your website. With messages tailored to your audience, dynamic remarketing helps you build leads and sales by bringing previous visitors back to your website to complete what they started.” I find it’s especially useful if you’re selling a product or service at a high price point.
Build an eCommerce Brand for Tomorrow
The possibilities for the future of eCommerce are limitless. Are you building the next Birchbox, Warby parker, lululemon or Amazon?
Using the tactics described, your brand will be well on its way to becoming successful in the eCommerce arena. The future of eCommerce is vast. If brands keep the idea of offering a phenomenal and relevant user experience at the forefront of their focus, they’ll find it easier to convert users and retain customers on a long-term basis.
It’s crucial to note that every company has a different target audience, complete with varying interests, habits, and demographics. It’s important to use that behavioral data to provide a platform for users that most closely mirrors their own needs. What technologies are you seeing or using for your startups to differentiate and grow?