New to Ecommerce? Here’s What Merchants Need to Know

It’s a great time to get a piece of the pie in ecommerce. As the high street continues to decline, more than 80% of the UK population are now shopping on line and the value of purchases continues to push ever upwards. With ecommerce as a whole on the upswing, it’s a good time to enter the market—provided you have a solid product and are ready to execute it.

Here’s what merchants should know, especially when they’re new to ecommerce.

Mobile Ecommerce Is on the Rise

Ecommerce looks different now than it did even a few years ago. The desktop experience used to be paramount. Mobile devices used to be primarily tools for conducting quick research on the go. But over time, more shoppers are making the jump to mobile shopping. People are now using smartphones and tablets to navigate the shopping journey from start to finish.

A mobile-friendly ecommerce website is a must-have. Why? First of all, Google actually penalizes non-mobile-friendly sites. This will actively work against your search engine optimization strategy and leave you ranking below your competitors in search engine results.

Furthermore, it will make mobile shopping difficult for your customers, costing you valuable conversions and repeat business. Mobile websites must be responsive and easy to navigate, especially product pages. Similarly, the simpler your mobile checkout process, the greater the likelihood people will stick around to finish a transaction.

Your Platform Is Your Foundation

Choosing an ecommerce platform is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. The cloud ecommerce software you use to run your store will affect every future action; from how you add products on the back-end to the appearance of your storefront. Your platform must be scalable because it’s impossible to predict growth; you want your store to have room to grow and handle an influx of new visitors.

Customer Retention Has Great Value

When you’re first starting out in the ecommerce world, it’s tempting to focus almost exclusively on customer acquisition. After all, you haven’t yet established your customer base. Attracting new customers in the first place is very important. But customer retention has a greater long-term value. Unfortunately, many retailers fail to prioritize customer retention as part of their overall marketing and selling strategy.

It can cost seven times more to acquire customers than it does to retain them. So, how can ecommerce retailers encourage shoppers to come back beyond their initial purchase? The staples of customer retention are:

  • Having the products customers want and need
  • Offering flexible order fulfillment options
  • Facilitating responsive customer service
  • Creating a website that’s easy to navigate and understand
  • Incentivizing people to stay with a loyalty program

Content Creation is Key

Creating content is an excellent way to provide value to customers while also boosting your search engine rankings. For example, how-to guides serve to capture traffic and help customers understand how to best utilize your products. Buyer guides and product comparison articles help inform consumers on the finer points of your product lineup. Your content strategy can also feature photographs and videos to supplement the written word.

Above all, it’s important to ensure your content aligns with your target audience’s needs. Otherwise it will be a wasted effort. Here’s a word of advice from Moz: “Create content that helps people. Do it efficiently. Never write an ultimate guide where a single image could more powerfully convey the same value.”

Long story short: Whatever you publish must hold true value for the customer, whether it’s short- or long-form.

To succeed in ecommerce you need to find the right products, for the right customers at the right time – and to market to them effectively. If you have those fundamentals in place and follow our optimisation tips then your odds of building a sustainable retail business online will be massively increased.

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