Why e-commerce isn’t what you think it is

Many people have a dream to run an e-commerce store.

They have a dream to have this store make sales while they sleep, outsource the packaging and posting to someone else and just let the sales roll in. The e-commerce store makes them money and they travel or lay on a beach or generally just sit back and let the money roll in.

Now don’t get me wrong you can have dreams and you can have an amazingly successful e-commerce store that makes you plenty of sales while you sleep. There are plenty of success stories and if you do the work you can achieve great things. You can live the lifestyle you dream of and let your online store do the work for you.

However, there are many people who think you just need a website, some stock and the sales will roll in.

It takes a whole lot more than that and you won’t achieve it laying down. You have to put the hard work in before you get to live the lifestyle of your dreams.

If you have set up your store or you are planning to set one up, add these tasks to your ‘To Do’ list.

Product descriptions

Too often I see websites with next to no information on each product. You need to make each and every product have a lengthy description that includes enough to help the customer decide if the product is for them.

Measurements, colours, quality, materials, who it is ideal for, the benefits, the problems it solves and anything else that someone may ask.

FAQ Page

Many websites, not just e-commerce ones can benefit from a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page.

If you are regularly getting the same types of questions then a FAQ page on your website can be a real time saver. You can also provide a link to this page within your product descriptions to ensure your website visitors know where to look.

Videos and Images

You can almost never have too many product images and videos.

These videos and images go hand in hand with your product descriptions in helping people to understand your products. Your images and videos should show the features, designs, colours and more.

If you have a fashion store make sure you are showing people of different sizes and shapes. Videos are great for discovering products and for seeing how fashion looks when it is moving. All these things help to gain trust and turn your visitors into customers.

Have a search option

E-commerce stores have benefited from having a search bar option. If someone is looking for something specific they may not take the time to scroll through every one of your products. Instead, they can utilise your search bar to potentially find what they are looking for.

If your website has the ability to store your search query information you can also see what people are looking for. This knowledge can help with your future buying plans to ensure you stock what people are regularly searching for on your website.

Social media

It should go without saying that you need to harness the power of social media for your e-commerce store.

  • You should be aiming to post daily your photos and videos
  • Create great descriptions
  • Utilise hashtags
  • Do paid promotions and campaigns for your products
  • See if using influencers will suit your brand
  • Connect shopping to your social accounts and tag your products
  • Ask for reviews
  • Ask for user content that you can reshare

Product reviews

Sending a follow-up email after a purchase asking for a review is the best way to gain a product review. You can offer incentives like discounts or coupons for people to submit a review.

These reviews can go on your website, Google or Facebook.

Customer proof

Have you been on a website and there is a little pop-up to say that someone from somewhere just purchased something? This can create a fear of missing out with a customer and in turn boost your website conversions.

As mentioned above under social media, user-generated content is a great way to provide trust and guide people into purchasing your products. By sharing these customer images as part of a review or via your social media it helps to legitimise that people love what you are selling.

Incentives to buy

Why should anyone buy from you in the first place? An incentive can be the key to providing confidence.

  • Free shipping – note this should be obvious across your website.
  • Great returns policy
  • A discount code for the first purchase
  • A gift with purchase

Along with an incentive to buy is the incentive to buy again from you. Think about making sure your packaging is in line with your brand. Some brands add samples or a little chocolate as a gift in the packaging which your customers will love.

A professional website

Building a professional website can take time and money. It is however essential to your success and a poorly built website will not help to convert your visitors into buyers.

Platforms like Shopify are designed for e-commerce success. Along with WordPress if they are designed professionally they will help to ensure that you are not leaving your customers frustrated with usability on your website.

The navigation throughout your website should be organised and smooth. Your products should be categorised and grouped where they can be so it is easy to navigate. As mentioned above having the option to search can also make it easier for your website visitors to find items.

As part of your professional website, the checkout process would be quick and easy. There should be no unexpected costs and there should be an option to check out as a guest, not everyone wants to create an account with you.

Paid ads

It is vital that you have a budget to use paid ads for your business. These can be Google ads or social media ads but you need to spend money.

Social media is a great way to promote your new products or releases and use a video to illustrate them.

Using paid advertising is not just for new businesses, you need to use it to stay top of mind with your existing clients too and it goes hand in hand with all marketing.

Why e-commerce isn’t what you think it is

Far too many people go into having an e-commerce store and think that it is going to be an easy and fast success.

Just like any business, it can take years and years of hard work, doing all the things I have listed above and so much more to grow your business. There are no guarantees that it will be a success and you may end up with an expensive lesson. However, if you can persist and keep working hard you may just find the results that you dream of.

If you need help with your marketing, please contact Kelly @ My Sassy Business.

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