Posted by On Oct 23, 2014 In Digital, Guest blog


Coming from nothing just a few short years ago, ecommerce now permeates into our everyday lives, whether we are big online shoppers or not. The growth of ecommerce has provided opportunities for even the smallest of entrepreneurs to break into business, but it’s obvious that some ecommerce ventures have been more successful than others. Here James Hyde from James and James Fulfilment gives us his top tips for maximising your chances of running a successful ecommerce business.

As an ecommerce support business we have seen first-hand the difference in business levels that separates a successful online business from an ineffective one. Sometimes these differences can be fundamental but often they are more subtle and pretty easy to tweak.

For an ecommerce business, sales pretty much depend entirely on your website. Your website is your shop front, showroom, and sales counter. The amount of people you can convince to continue all the way from finding your website to parting with their payment details at the online checkout depends on a positive customer experience. Much like a bricks and mortar shop, the ease of finding products, clear pricing information, and ease of handing over payment is key. If customers find your website slow to load, hard to navigate, and lacking the information that they need to be confident in making a purchase, you will experience a lot of lost custom. The problem is that without looking closely at your website analytics, you may not even know how many people you are losing, and how.

So first of all, take a look at your website analytics and find out where people are dropping out of the sales process. If there’s a particular page which has a high dropout rate, then investigate further. Maybe it’s a page that’s laden with typos, or poor quality images, or maybe the buttons don’t work properly? Check your website regularly for any bugs that have crept in that are frustrating your customers.

Make sure your website is responsive for mobile devices. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to make online purchases, and if your website is hard to use on a mobile device with a smaller screen, then you’re going to lose out on sales. Borrow some different devices so you can see for yourself, or ask friends to test it out for you.

Images are important but don’t overuse them or your website load time will become frustrating. Low resolution images will be fine for a product gallery, and you can provide good, high-resolution zoomable images on the product page once the customer has clicked through. If you find yourself having to use a lot of images in order to show off every feature of a product, then why not create an informational video instead?

Product information is very important as customers won’t necessarily be able to ask questions about specific products, and if the information is lacking they will shop elsewhere. Good quality, well-written copy that answers the questions a customer may have about a specific product is vital, and more general questions need to be covered in a FAQ page or similar. If you have the resources, it’s a good idea to have a live chat function where customers can ask a question in real time. At the very least, you will need to provide an email address or contact form, and you need to check it regularly.

A review page for your products, and for your business, gives customers confidence. You can set your own review page up, or integrate an established review site or two. If you have a good rating on a particular review site, then generate and add the code to your site. Keep an eye on your reviews and address any issues that arise.

But what gets you those good reviews that convince others to buy from you? Even with an optimised, user-friendly website, good products delivered efficiently to your customers delight is the solid basis of a successful ecommerce operation. Poor quality products, and delivery disappointments lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of custom you fought hard to win. Impress your customers with your slick, user-friendly sales process, and great products delivered in a timely and efficient fashion and you’re on your way to being an ecommerce success.

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