Running an online store can be a difficult business. Customers can be hard to predict, and your competitors can often find ways to undercut or undermine your prices.
The following six tips are aimed at helping you revamp and rekindle the mojo for your online store.
Up To The Minute
If your online store is starting to stagnate, or it’s becoming an ongoing drama to keep up to date with competitors, consider engaging a program or provider specialising in web scraping services. Web scraping can help your online store monitor your competitors, meaning that your pricing and product lines can remain competitive without any infuriating guesswork.
Web scraping gives your business the benefit of real-time data mining – you can select the intervals and sites from which you wish to retrieve data, and have it tabled in an easy-to-read and implement form. If your serious about upgrading the currency of your online store, it’s an innovation you can’t afford to ignore.
Design By Experience
If your online store is hard to navigate, you can forget increasing your sales through chance purchases or other low-touch modes of selling.
More than ever, design is now lead by user experience, where consumer journeys and intentions are mapped out and studied in order to present to most easily navigable and serviceable route to users of your site and store. If you’ve yet to engage the help of a user experience (UX) professional, you could be missing an important opportunity to increase the overall effectiveness and performance of your business.
Disturbing The Applecart
One of the most ubiquitous and effective ways of encouraging otherwise reluctant customers is through the use of automated abandoned cart emails. These emails use a combination of tracking cookies and registered user details in order to gently remind the customer of their intended purchases.
Finding the right provider (with the right message and frequency) can be a delicate art – consumers are often put off by pushy or unrelenting reminders of their purchases, and can feel like their privacy has been eroded.
Ignore the power of social media at your own peril. Social media integration for your store means providing an environment online for people to check out your products and read reviews on your customer service.
Providing special promotions to users of your social media channels rewards them for connecting with you and helps to build the sense of community that social media encourages. Small promotions and discounts disseminated via social media also help you to track where your customers are coming from, and provides you with a direction for any future advertising or marketing efforts.
On The Go
Another design consideration to undertake for your store is whether or not to develop a special mobile site (or a site with responsive design).
With more and more customers choosing to place purchases via their mobile device, it’s a good idea to look at the way your store functions on a smaller screen and to consider whether it’s as effective visually as it could be.
A small investment in the design of a mobile-specific website/webstore can add plenty of ongoing value to your business and will signify to your customers that you seriously care for their customer experience.
Loyalty and reward programs are time-tested ways to encourage return visits to your store. Loyalty programs not only offer a way to say ‘thanks’ to valued customers, they also help your store track its potential market, and offer you a way to develop a meaningful relationship with customers. Seasonal discounts and early previews for new products are other ways you can reward valued customers.
Providing a store with good products and service is only half the battle of a successful online retailer. Finding ways to connect with your customers and provide them a pleasant and easy online journey will ensure their satisfaction and (hopefully) their returned patronage.