Your business’s e-commerce website should be beyond functional – it must create a seamless customer experience that builds loyalty and brand affinity. In a world where online services often dominate, it’s essential that senior leadership teams develop e-commerce offerings that rival those in the physical world. Achim Weiß, CEO of 1&1 IONOS, Europe’s leading cloud service provider, picks out what every business leader should consider for their e-commerce website to ensure customers keep coming back.
- Don’t forget the basics
Creating a website that looks great visually, is easy to use and functions effectively attracts and retains customers, ensuring you don’t miss out on valuable business. When reviewing your e-commerce offering, starting with the simpler aspects of your business website might seem obvious, but they are often overlooked. Finessing website ‘must-haves’ can help avoid customer frustration, and reduce the risk of potential purchasers leaving before they find the products or services they’re looking for.
One simple example is ensuring the e-commerce section of your site provides detailed product overviews and is supported by strong, attention-grabbing visuals that sell your services. Adding a shopping cart function – a digital collection of all a customer’s orders that they can review and add to – combined with a single page checkout streamlines the purchase process. Leading customers to a checkout page for payment processing and considering adding a ‘my account’ area enables customers to have direct access to all the details they need at the click of the button. According to Statista, 75% of online orders are abandoned and therefore not converted into sales. Adding an abandoned cart recovery feature is a clever solution to help stop this; automatic emails are sent to customers to remind them about the items that they have left in their cart while they were shopping. These functions should be a staple part of your e-commerce offering, providing a clear and intuitive experience for customers and saving any possible sales leads.
- Mobile matters
An online store that is optimised for mobile is essential. WorldPay’s Global Payments Report 2018 stated that the UK is the third-largest mobile commerce market globally and is expected to be worth $314.5billion by 2022, a rise of 55 per cent since 2018.
However, it’s not just customers who reach your business online. Don’t forget that employees will be just as active on their phones too. That’s why it’s vital you choose an e-commerce platform that can be edited and updated on mobile, improving efficiency and making it easier for your staff to track sales as and when they happen.
Store administration apps allow merchants to check and manage key administration tasks from anywhere on the go, to monitor stock and add or modify products directly from a smartphone. It can be as simple as scanning a barcode, taking a picture and adding a description. Products can be online quicker than ever before, keeping up with the fast-paced nature of the e-commerce world.
Part of the increase in mobile demand is due to the rise of social selling and promotion. Recent Business Insider Intelligence research found that social networks are the fastest growing channel for driving traffic to retail websites.
With that in mind, it’s essential that your business joins the dots between its social channels and website to create a strong online presence and a seamless shopper experience. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process either. Businesses can easily meet growing demands for social commerce by uploading and syncing business product catalogues to the social channels. These are added to the mobile friendly ‘shop’ section on the Facebook business page or connect to Instagram’s business profile, allowing you to tag products in posts. This dynamic advertising strategy means that with one convenient click that first impulsive glance, while scrolling on Instagram, can quickly turn into a sale.
- Expand your reach
The online experience is more fluid and integrated than ever before, with well-informed customers looking on different platforms for the best prices. Having a presence on the most popular marketplaces through syncing and integrating your online shop with Amazon, eBay or price comparison portals such as Google Shopping means you’re easily accessible and don’t miss out on sales that could quickly go to competitors.
Customers want choice and variety so choose a system that allows you to list a variety of products as desired, with the option to grow. A system should provide you with the basics that serve all your needs such as a free domain or free business mailboxes. However, with your increasing success as a merchant it should scale up easily in terms of the amount of products or features, without the need to change the shop system or migrate your data to another platform.
- Personalisation to encourage business growth
Whether you work with direct consumers or more specialised B2B audiences, creating a personalised service makes customers feel valued, and can increase brand loyalty, boosting sales in the long run. To achieve a truly personalised offering, consider introducing elements such as volume discounting, tailored pricing – or multi-tier-pricing – and custom loyalty programmes for different levels and types of customers.
Add a login function to your shop to allow returning customers to view further detailed information on pricing, easily review historical orders and pick back up where they left off on current orders.
As customers look to finalise a purchase, delivery options can turn a browser into a buyer. It can easily be an issue if services don’t have convenient shipping methods in place, allowing customers to choose whether they receive their goods that day or would prefer to head in store to collect. So, make sure you have a website system that supports multiple delivery options.
A well-built e-commerce offering can transform a business online. Take your e-commerce platform to the next level by providing a personalised, streamlined service by making simple edits and additions to attract customers and keep them coming back.
To find out more about how to improve your e-commerce website, visit 1&1 IONOS: https://www.ionos.co.uk/ecommerce-solutions/ecommerce-website-builder
 Statista (2018), Online shopping cart abandonment rate in selected industries in 2018 https://www.statista.com/statistics/457078/category-cart-abandonment-rate-worldwide/