Ask Appath – Our Top Tips for eCommerce Success
Here at Appath, we are often contacted by new start ups seeking advice with regards to their eCommerce management and production. In this post, I’ve collated 3 of the most frequently asked questions, along with our professional advice and guidance on each issue. If you would like us to address a query specific to your business (completely free of charge), please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comments section.
How do I promote my site?
We get about 10 different variations of this question, but it all boils down to the same thing ‘how do I get buyers to my site’. ‘Buyers’ is the key word here, because it doesn’t matter how good your site looks or how much promotion you’re doing – if you’re not reaching your target audience, driving them to your site and holding on to them once they get there (i.e. attraction, conversion and retention). It’s really that simple. With that in mind, there are two main things you can begin with which are crucial in the success of any eCommerce business:
- Tell your Existing Customers where you are. If you already have an ‘on the ground’ business that’s doing well, you need to ensure you carry your customers over to online also – because they’ll move over regardless of whether they go to you or a competitor. Once they do use your site and like it, they’ll tell their friends, who will tell their friends…and the referral leads will start piling in. Remember also, these are warm leads – trust builds trust, so this is a crucial element of your promotional strategy. To implement this, your website/online store details should be on every single piece of advertising you do, whether it’s on the side of a truck, on a business card or simply in your email signature.
- Register with search engines. This part is a little wearisome and can take a bit of time, but it’s free – and it works. In our experience, this can increase traffic to your site by over 50% when it’s done properly. The key thing to do it and to do it right; many businesses ‘skip’ this part because they think it takes too much time, so by simply adding it to the mix you’re already ahead of the crowd.
How can I make my site stand out against my competitors?
Make everything easy. Think about it, most people shop online because they hate the stress of walking around in crowded department stores, laden down with bags and coming home with just 1 thing ticked off their actual list… but with about $500 knocked off their credit card. Your website needs to be a walk in the park. It needs to be fast, the graphics need to be sharp but not overpowering and the checkout process needs to be as simple as possible. You literally need to create a pathway directly from page 1 to ‘thank you for your purchase’.
How do I manage our customer service?
This is probably one of the most overlooked and yet most important part of building your business. You must provide your customer with the same level of customer service online that they would receive if they were standing there in front of you. Just because you can’t see the smoke coming out of their ears, doesn’t mean that their complaints or issues aren’t very, very real – with very real consequences if not addressed appropriately. Just like your customers need a map to follow with the buying process, they also need directions to the helpdesk. This is something you need to figure out from day 1. If there is a customer issue, who do they speak to? How do they contact you? What’s the time period you’ll guarantee feedback within?
Everyone is a fan of social media marketing because they think it’s ‘easy’. It’s not; in fact, it’s a disaster waiting to happen if you don’t have the right resources in place. So if you don’t have the means to handle customer service via social media platforms, then don’t set these up yet. It would be much better to have a well managed helpdesk email account set up, than to have various un-monitored social media accounts just sitting there waiting to be bombarded once something goes wrong. And something will go wrong; you’ll get something wrong and the customer will be right – and even if you haven’t got it wrong, the customer will still be right. The customer is always right. Once you stick to that rule and deliver a consistently positive customer experience, you’ll find it much easier to manage this element of your business.