Do you run an online store, or are hoping to? Operating an ecommerce business entails more than looking up the best products to sell online from home (though it can certainly help) and setting up a speedy Shopify store. Whether you are planning to manufacture your products or dropship them, there is a significant amount of marketing and branding involved, and there are elements that consumers will expect to see on your website. Your products might be high-quality and your social media content compelling, but without transparency on the digital equivalent of your storefront, people might steer away from you. Here are some things potential customers appreciate seeing:
When you shop, do you turn to a generalist or a specialist store? Both have their places—department stores are excellent for excursions when you need to buy a variety of things—but if you are are looking for something specific, niche outlets are more likely to carry what you are looking for. The thing about ecommerce is that people have the entire internet at their disposal and can take advantage of multiple websites for whatever they need, but if you can be really, really good at selling a few things in particular, then you will be people’s first resort for that item.
According to Nicole Hohler from Woocommerce: “Another reason that finding a niche is so crucial to a small business’s success: it makes it far easier to describe to potential customers what you do and sell. ‘We sell women’s clothes’ is a far clearer statement than ‘we sell women’s sweaters’ or (even better) ‘we sell the softest sweaters for women in the world.’”
The likelihood of appearing in an online search for “women’s clothing” is extraordinarily slim due to how saturated the industry is. Hohler notes that fewer people will search for “women’s sweaters,” but those who do know what they are looking for, and you will, therefore, have less competition. Someone who is looking for sweaters is not going to want to sift through skirts and blouses on your website: they want what you sell to be obvious.
Everything clearly displayed
It’s a red flag if an online store does not display contact information or its prices on listings. The ecommerce landscape is full of scams, so people are understandably suspicious of anything that is not transparent. Let people know what your contactable hours are, how to get a hold of you, where your suppliers are located, and more.
People also do not appreciate it when your prices are misleading. They might be happy to pay $40 for a pair of shoes, but suddenly that price is dramatically higher with shipping, warranties, and taxes. Don’t pull a fast one on potential customers and let them know what they will actually be paying upfront.
As mentioned previously, the world of online retail is full of fraud, so consumers are wary. Do your best to go above and beyond when it comes to establishing your credibility so that people feel comfortable doing business with you. Ideas include writing a blog that answers people’s industry-related questions, hosting interviews with experts, and posting how-to videos on social media. People will be more inclined to trust you if you are a thought leader in your field.
Something else that can attest to your credibility is reviews. Share testimonials from happy customers on your website. Consumers are more likely to listen to their peers than brands and even influencers, so let potential customers know what current customers think. If people browse your website and find that reviews are absent, they might assume that no one has tried your products before and are unwilling to risk it or that you have no positive reviews to share.
Visual appeal is critical to your online store because it is tied to your credibility. Would you feel comfortable giving money to a website that looks like an amateur developer built it? You probably prefer transacting with brick-and-mortar shops that are well-decorated and make you feel welcome, and a similar feeling applies online.
Top-notch customer service
People also expect top-notch customer service. If something goes wrong, such as shipping times taking longer or the wrong items arriving at their doorsteps, it is your job to fix it as soon as possible. Even if the product itself is high-quality, customers may not feel inclined to order something from you again if the experience was not worth the hassle. Make sure customers feel good about doing business with you.
Consumers have high expectations for the online retailers they do business with, so it is vital that you meet them if not going above and beyond. What else do you know customers will expect from you?