Online sales are continuing to grow at around 20% a year, while the high street declines. Whether your business is bricks, clicks or both, there is no question that future growth will depend more on your e-commerce performance than local footfall. And while e-commerce performance can fluctuate wildly in an ever changing environment you need to keep up-to-date.
It has never been easier to set up your own online shop and start earning. And social media makes spreading the word about your business instant and effective, promising better financial returns. With so many people developing their own online businesses, it’s important to stand out from the crowd.
Key Areas to Improve Your E-Commerce Performance
Beyond the initial dos and don’ts of starting up, there are some specific things you can do to make sure your e-commerce business grows into a success. We have summarised the main points here so you can start focusing on improving your site instantly.
The amount of website traffic from mobile and tablet users is growing constantly, with more and more people opting to browse and shop while on the go. Consequently, it is essential that you make your site mobile compatible so people can easily reach and navigate it from any device. If you look at today’s templates for creating online shops, you’ll find that many companies will include multi-device optimised options as part of their hosting services. Alternatively, use a mobile plugin for the platform your site is hosted on.
Leverage Social Media
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse: use it well and it will instantly extend your audience reach by large proportions, while neglecting to keep it updated or letting your service slide could result in a torrent of negative reviews. Add social sharing widgets to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in strategic areas across your site and interact with your customers, encouraging them to share positive experiences about your business. It is estimated that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, demonstrating the power that leveraging this social trust could hold.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, can make the difference between your site enjoying a high rate of traffic every month and none at all. Ideally, you want to see customers returning to your site frequently, along with a constant stream of new, organic visitors. In order for Google to read your website well and give it a high search ranking, you need to make sure all your content is well optimised around the key search terms customers are likely to use, with good use of headlines and tags. Ensure pages are well categorised with products logically listed, to make both search engine and customer navigation of the site easier. And create a buzz about what you do with strategic use of social media and public relations. Mentions and connections from other trusted sites are among the most powerful SEO indicators.
Aside from all the technical points surrounding the setup and maintenance of your site, it’s also enormously important to be receptive to feedback. This means you shouldn’t be afraid to adapt your company focus and strategy if data insights are signalling it. Use Google Analytics to analyse how customers navigate your site and keep adapting and adjusting language, look and images to get the best results. Ultimately, your business should be catered to your customers’ needs and wants. For this reason, adaptability is often cited as one of the key skills anyone in business should be looking to develop.
In the e-commerce age, success is more than ever connected to your ability to listen, learn and keep adapting. Free resources like the Digital Business Academy can keep you sharp. And as your business grows, make sure that your internal or virtual team includes people with the online skills to get and keep your business ahead.