Knowing Your E-Commerce Customer

Knowing the e-commerce customer has become critically important today for two major reasons:

  • Online marketing is no longer simply about selling; it now requires a thorough understanding of e-commerce customers, their in-store behavior, and their perception of your products or services.
  • Online businesses are now just as privileged as brick-and-mortar stores in their ability to understand the e-commerce customer – thanks to latest web analytics tools and customer behavior metrics available.

What does an e-commerce business need to know about its customers? Useful information includes age, occupation, location, hobbies, and favorite places to shop.

eCommerce Customer
Knowing Your E-Commerce Customer

On the basis of such information, you can enhance your marketing, SEO, content, design, and the in-store customer experience. Such knowledge makes it easier to plan marketing and other strategies. Understanding the e-commerce customer’s shopping habits gives precious insights into his/her particular preferences. Here are a few general observations:

  • Many e-commerce customers shop late; the benefit of midnight sales and the time available after office hours are possible causes of such behavior.
  • Your e-commerce customer may be shopping while watching TV or chatting with friends on social media sites. Catching his/her attention at such times is a challenge. Timing and placement of products, calls to action, and other attractive sections are therefore important.
  • Online shoppers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to shop online. These gadgets make it extremely easy to look up information on products and actually purchase them. But you need an app or a mobile website for that purpose.
  • Security is a major concern for most e-commerce customers. Confidentiality of their personal and credit card information, for example, is particularly important to them.
  • There is a difference between the preferences of male and female customers as well. Based on the products you sell, it is important to figure in these preferences of e-commerce customers.
  • The time to deliver and product quality are equally important factors. Quality of both the product and the service influence an e-commerce customer’s preference of online store and the kind of reviews left.

You have probably made your own observations as well, regarding your own e-commerce customers. If you need help with any particular requirements of your e-commerce customers, please share them with us in the comments.

How to Optimize the Checkout Process for Better Performance – I

The checkout process is a stage in online shopping that your customer wants to go through carefully and easily. Any annoyances at this stage could make the customer leave. Optimizing the checkout process for better performance is therefore critically important to the success of your ecommerce business.

This two-part post gives you twelve ‘things to do’ to optimize your checkout process for best results. Here are the first six:

eCommerce Checkout
How to Optimize the Checkout Process for Better Performance – I
  • Ensure that your checkout pages load quickly. The performance of these pages affects your conversion rate more directly than any other factor. Plus, you don’t want to lose customers to other stores where the pages load quickly.
  • Let your visitor complete checkout without having to register. Registration would be necessary only on stores that sell electronic kind of things. Implementing this facility will significantly boost sales and encourage the visitor to visit again.
  • Your customer information form should contain only those fields that you absolutely require. Don’t ask for information that you do not need or make customers fill in the same information twice. Also ensure that if there’s an error, the customer does not have to fill in all the details all over again.
  • Features such as the progress bar indicate the customer’s progress. It is important to provide every little thing that will help the customer shop comfortably.
  • Indicate the shipping cost early on. If the customer expects free shipping and then finds out that he/she has to pay for it, the order may not be completed. After the first product is added to the shopping cart, you could display a message such as “X dollars to go before you qualify for free shipping.”
  • Provide clear calls to action. Checkout and Continue Shopping buttons should have different colors. Proceeding to the next page or step in the checkout should be very intuitive.

Finally, it is important to test every feature you provide and ensure that it works the way you want it to. Also test elements such as different fonts, colors, and textual content on buttons and pages in the checkout process.

Your checkout process should be built with great care and work like magic. Then, of course, it works its own magic! Watch this space for the next six ways to optimize your checkout process.

Website Updates for 2013

All websites need to be updated periodically. This is necessary from the point of view of both Google and your regular visitors or customers. Updating websites involves adding latest content, new images, and using the latest tech to ensure that your website is fresh and inviting.

Your website allows you to easily and effectively communicate what exactly you do. It is also an affordable way to promote your products and services, announce events, and provide such other information.

In addition, everyone knows that search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) love website that are regularly updated. Your customers also love fresh, relevant, and timely content that they can use. Regularly providing such content and updating websites helps improve your rankings on these search engines.

Website Update for 2013
Website Update for 2013

So what website updates and maintenance procedures are recommended for 2013? Based on website maintenance experts’ analysis of the trend so far, we have shortlisted a few essential website updates that are a must if you want your website to be relevant in 2013.

How do I Update my Website?

1. Switch to mobile
Get a mobile version of your website. Alternately, you could also get an app developed for platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. New trends indicate that online shopping from mobile devices is increasing. That’s why updating websites for mobile is important.

2. Improve checkout
Ensure that your checkout process is fast and secure. This website update will help boost sales and improve performance in 2013. Your competitors are most likely doing it – one of the most important website maintenance tasks for the New Year.

3. Enlarge your best images
Get rid of those faceless Zoo Zoo dolls and other images that were meant only as a decoration. Instead, update the website using photographs with people in them. Also use infographics, well-designed flowcharts, and diagrams where relevant.

4. K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it Short and Simple)
Your navigation, layout, buttons, icons, and other website features absolutely and positively MUST be simple and attractive. Anything that might confuse shoppers must go when you get your website updated for 2013.

5. Replace old fonts
Shoppers are not only youngsters using their iPads. New trends suggest that shoppers may include older people who are not quite as comfortable with computers. There are thousands of new fonts available that look bigger and still accommodate all your content.

These five are some of the most urgent website updates and maintenance procedures to take up now, to be ready with a greatly improved performance in 2013. If you require any assistance with your website maintenance, just call us.

How to Compete with Big-Daddy e-Tailers

Small businesses cannot expect to compete with e-tail giants such as eBay and Amazon. The scale at which they operate cannot be matched by any small business. But that disadvantage can be turned on its head if a small business wanted to compete with them.

Niche businesses can work in ways that those larger corporations cannot. Therefore, they can adopt certain approaches that help them differentiate and even compete with e-retail giants. Here are a few examples:

Market the specialist in you
When you possess genuine knowledge of your products or niche, you have an important advantage. You have the ability to address specific issues faced by your customers and you are in a position to help them. Your website reflects your expertise. People feel more confident buying from someone who knows his products.

Sell your own products
Okay, this is not for every e-tailer, but it sure helps to sell your own product. Then you don’t have to face much competition. If you can make a product that will sell and have a monopoly as the only manufacturer, you are positioned very well to compete with even the big daddies. You can use Amazon and eBay for distribution but sell a majority of products from your own store, for example.

Create an aura
Shoppers are just as easily influenced by the vibes they get from your store as the discounts you offer. For instance, if your store has a story to tell that touches a nerve, it will help you sell. If you are donating to charity on every sale you make, people will be more inclined to buy in your store.

Begin locally, sell globally
Word of mouth is a powerful advertising medium. When people get to know about your product from a friend or an acquaintance, it is the best kind of publicity you can wish for. Many businesses have gone from local to global as a result. Making a name for your business in one area of the country can be useful to go sell in other areas.