According to a study from Forrester, total ecommerce sales topped $250 billion in 2013, 13% higher than in 2012, and are projected to increase by at least 10% annually over the next five years.
There are two principal sources of this growth. Some result from existing ecommerce sites that have adopted increasingly sophisticated strategies to increase sales. The rest is from businesses new to ecommerce, both large and small, which are discovering the power of ecommerce to add to the bottom line.
Not All Ecommerce is Equal
Needless to say, some ecommerce sites are more successful than others. Those created by designers who think slapping a “buy now” button on their websites is the gateway to unlimited profits tend to fail. Those that succeed follow established rules of engagement and best practice strategies.
If you’re considering establishing an ecommerce website, or enhancing your current one, here are three strategies which will maximize your chances of success:
1. Pick a Web Development Platform that Works for Your Business: Web development platforms come in all shapes and sizes, and not every platform is right for your business. You need to work with an experienced ecommerce provider who will give you a number of options customized to the products you want to sell online. At minimum, your platform should promote unique content creation, offer security and provide a variety of custom themes that you can easily integrate with your business’s brand.
2. Embrace mobile ecommerce: Last year, PCs took a back seat to smart phones and tablets in terms of overall sales. And in 2014, more than half of all online retail sales in the UK have come from mobile devices. This further indicates the importance of effective design for a site that works as well on these mobile devices as on PCs to take advantage of all that traffic. If your ecommerce site isn’t optimized for mobile, online shoppers will become frustrated and abandon your site in favor of a competitor who makes the purchase process easier and more convenient.
3. Minimize Cart Abandonment and Maximize Customer Retention: Ecommerce marketers spend a lot of time and effort driving customers to their sites, but too often ignore strategies aimed at completing the sale, and promoting customer retention. That’s a huge mistake. According to the Baymard Institute, more than two thirds of online shoppers abandon the shopping cart prior to purchase. There are many ways to promote the completion of online sales and get customers to come back for more in the future—one of the best is by giving customers additional value, such as coupons and discounts for subsequent purchases. You can check your site's Google Analytics to see how many customers are abandoning carts before checkout.
The numbers don’t lie; ecommerce continues to claim an increasingly larger proportion of retail sales every year. Businesses that recognize the power of ecommerce to drive sales need to create sites that work, giving online customers shopping experiences that are effectively branded, easy to use and convenient, and that provide incentives to complete online purchases and build customer loyalty.Photo Credit: atmtx via Compfight cc