How Can I Improve My Website's E-commerce for the Holidays?
BY: BRIAN HUGHES ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2015
Think about the last time you made an online purchase: was it a one-click purchase on Amazon? Did you tap your Starbucks app this morning to grab a coffee? Or were you stuck filling in all your shipping and payment details (again) through a lengthy sign-up form that took more time to complete than the actual product selection? As today’s online shopping process becomes increasingly visual, mobile and social, purchasing ease is key to boosting sales.
“A complicated checkout process will kill sales,” says Bryan Loconto, the founder of Mac Decals. “That’s why we don’t require mandatory account registration and give customers the option to login with Facebook and quickly check out with PayPal. The fewer barriers the better.”
With more businesses following Loconto’s approach to simplified checkout, B2C e-commerce sales are expected to hit 1.92 trillion dollars in the United States by 2018, according to Statista. Is your business maximizing its slice of the e-commerce pie? If your sales are missing the mark, these three simple tweaks can drive big performance changes.
Expand upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
Amazon credits up to 35% of their sales as the direct result of upsells and cross-sells. How does your business compare? Upselling is the process of prompting shoppers to buy a similar product to the one they are considering that has a higher markup or selling price. Cross-selling is the process of prompting shoppers to purchase complementary produces that go with the product they are considering, but they would otherwise not have purchased. Brick-and-mortar retail stores are masters of upselling and cross selling.
Consider this: your $500 luxury espresso machine isn’t selling because it’s at the top price point for your store. So you introduce an $800 luxury machine right next to it; now, customers suddenly think the $500 machine is a “steal” and sales soar. You can do this online, too.
When shoppers click on a high-end product, immediately display several other more expensive options underneath it, along with complementary items (e.g., shoes for a dress, matching towels for sheets, etc.) People routinely struggle to make rational purchasing choices when faced with multiple options; if your sales are flagging, use this to your advantage!
Be available 24/7/365 for customer support.
Your potential customers want answers now– not 24 hours from now via email. And they definitely do not want to sit on hold with an overseas call center trying to get an answer to a simple problem. LivePerson and BoldChat are two affordable options for putting an end to customer service hold times.
With an “always on” connection, you can proactively offer help, better anticipate customer needs, and know if your customers are happy. Plus, since LivePerson and BoldChat allow more than one customer service rep to handle multiple conversations at once, these teams are able to provide more efficient and responsive care. Eliminate customer service headaches, delight your customers, and boost revenue.
Maximize mobile compatibility.
Most mobile shoppers arrive at your website via a generic Google category search. Two out of three customers prefer accessing a mobile website rather than a mobile application. Your shoppers want the mobile experience without the barrier of a mobile app, so be sure you’re giving that to them. Be sure your mobile site uses responsive design (to automatically adjust for screen size differences), features intuitive navigation, and an easy path to conversion.
Eliminate barriers to purchase, like lengthy forms, or prompt users to login if they’ve already set up a shopping account through your desktop site. Finally, don’t forget about mobile coupons! Three out of four mobile shoppers have used a mobile coupon. Get creative with your discounts through strategic email list segmentation.
Choose the right backend platform.
Clever e-commerce sales tricks can’t make up for a sluggish backend system that complicates the sales process, restricts shipping options, or prevents the use of discount codes and gift cards. If you want the ability to sell anything anywhere, you need an extendable, adaptable and powerful backend platform.
One of my personal favorites is WooCommerce, which powers over 30% of all online stores making it the most popular e-commerce platform on the web. WooCommerce comes bundled with PayPal for easy payment processing, automatic tax calculations based on shipping address, and the flexibility to offer free or flat rate shipping.
Another great option is Shopify, which offers free app integration for creating discount codes, offering gift cards, installing cart recovery systems, editing shipping options and selling on Facebook. Both WooCommerce and Shopify are fast, flexible and user-friendly.
Bottom line: These simple site tweaks are beneficial for B2B businesses, too. With everyone from the C-suite to middle management weighing in on B2B purchases, more stakeholders are involved than your typical B2C purchase. However, B2B purchasers still expect the same streamlined e-commerce experience they receive from big name B2C sites like Amazon. If your B2B sales are flagging, expanding upselling opportunities, improving 24/7 real-time support, ensuring mobile compatibility, and upgrading your backend sales platform can make a difference here, too.
Image via Shutterstock