As an increasing number of businesses make the transition online, the competition to attract customers has never been more fierce.
From free online delivery to buy now pay later finance options, ecommerce businesses are trying all that they can to stand out from the crowd, while supporting their customers navigate the cost of living crisis, and the possibility of a potential global recession.
In a bid to help companies maximise their potential online, while remaining competitive, Josh Guthrie, UK country manager at payment processor Mollie, has outlined four key ways businesses can attract more customers and increase sales.
1) Invest in your website – and incorporate SEO
A good website makes a brand instantly recognisable, builds trust with consumers, and entices visitors to make a purchase. As such, there is an undeniable need for ecommerce businesses to invest in their site’s design.
While there are lots of great website builders available on the market, for most people, hiring a website designer is the best way to ensure the site looks and performs as desired. For those who decide to build their own, common issues to look out for include pages not being optimised for mobile and contact details being hidden.
Having a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate website is only half the battle though. In order to attract as many visitors as possible as well as maximise conversions, businesses must ensure their site is visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for target keywords. To do this, a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy must be implemented. This will involve a variety of tactics from analysing search intent and consumer queries to optimising on-page content and carrying out keyword research.
Posting content on your site through in-depth guides or even reports on industry topics is also a great way to drive traffic to your website. This can help you increase your ranking in the search engine result pages as well as conversions. Incorporating a content calendar into your SEO strategy is therefore a must.
If you lack the technical knowledge and skills within your own team to make SEO improvements, it is strongly advisable that you hire an SEO specialist or even a digital marketing agency to assist with this process. Although creating and improving your website comes at a price, there’s no doubt that the initial outlay will be well worth it in the long run.
2) Take inspiration from your competition
As mentioned, the ecommerce landscape has become more competitive than ever as a result of the pandemic. Because of this, it is important that companies understand what their competitors’ offerings are and how they can differentiate themselves from them or mitigate any unique selling points (USPs) they might have.
For example, a significant factor for consumers is delivery costs; if your competitors offer free shipping, can you do the same? If not, think about whether you can offer something similar such as free delivery for orders over a certain amount – thus making your business a more attractive option for customers.
Delivery times can also be a sticking point. If you offer quicker shipping times than your competitors or next day delivery, make sure you shout about this and include it in your marketing.
If you’re a business which has recently launched online, it’s essential to recognise that your digital competition may differ from any offline competition. You should therefore take the time to familiarise yourself with the ecommerce businesses competing to rank for the same keywords as you and ultimately the same traffic.
3) Make payment effortless
One of the major issues many ecommerce businesses face surrounds cart abandonment with the latest statistics revealing nine in ten shoppers will abandon a cart due to a lack of payment options. Having lots of traffic on a site is great, but if the checkout process isn’t optimised for sales then you’re going to end up losing lots of potential customers.
Creating an effective checkout process doesn’t need to be complicated though. The first step businesses should take surrounds the payment options they provide. By ensuring you offer all of the most popular payment methods such as PayPal, credit cards and Apple Pay, you’re increasing the trust consumers have in your site – ultimately making them more likely to convert.
Remember, if you’re attracting international shoppers you might need to consider additional payment options that are popular in different countries – like iDEAL in the Netherlands or Sofort in Germany.
4) Use technology to your advantage
As the ecommerce landscape continues to expand, there are an increasing number of resources and tools available to businesses which have been designed to make life easier. Here are four of my favourites which all business owners should be aware of.
- WordPress – With more than 455 million websites worldwide using WordPress, it is clear this content management system is one of the best around. WordPress is easy to use, with an intuitive interface that makes adding new pages, blog posts and images super simple. When using WordPress, you’ll have complete control over the content on your website, and the great news is it’s free!
- Google Analytics – This web analytics service is a must-have for all ecommerce businesses. Google analytics provides a wealth of insight into the behaviour of website visitors, from how they arrived on your site to any conversions they make. You can use this data to identify whether your marketing strategy accurately reflects visitor demographics.
- Trello – Running an online company involves many complexities so it is essential business owners implement an effective system for tracking and managing tasks. Trello is great for this and allows you to organise everything in an easy-to-digest and visual manner. You can create columns for different lists such as tasks that need to be prioritised, with the addition of labels, due dates and more. You can also share your Trello boards with your team, allowing everyone to be kept up-to-date on the progress of each job. It may sound like a simple concept, but Trello is a great tool and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Mailchimp – Email marketing remains one of the most popular and effective tools to promote your business’s products and services. MailChimp is an excellent option for companies looking to get started with email marketing and is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Through MailChimp, you can schedule emails and send trigger emails based on factors such as cart abandonment or sign-ups.
While making the transition online may feel like a daunting task, the opportunity for businesses expanding into ecommerce is huge. By focussing on the four key priorities identified above businesses owners can put themselves in a fantastic position for growth. Although the competition amongst brands is only going to become more fierce in the years to come, there really hasn’t been a better time to establish your online presence!