Ecommerce is growing rapidly in Australia – with a 14 per cent growth in online purchases in the 2017 financial year. Forrester predicts that a quarter of total retail sales in Asia Pacific will be completed online by 2022. The arrival of Amazon in Australia will most likely accelerate this growth trajectory. How do Australian e-tailers meet customer needs, increase market share and fully capitalise on their investment? Here are eight must-haves for your ecommerce site.
1. On-point User Experience
Generally speaking, if people don’t find what they’re looking for within 10 seconds of landing on your site, they’ll leave. That’s why User Experience (UX) design has the ability to make or break your ecommerce operation.
When applying UX to an ecommerce site’s design, it’s about ensuring visitors have the best possible experience. In order to understand a customer’s exact needs, you need to uncover as much information about them as possible. What sources are they coming from? Where are they located? What do they need or hope to find once they land on your site? Once you gather this matrix of insights, you are well on your way to understanding your online visitors’ goals, their information needs and expectations. You can then design or enhance your site’s navigation structure and content to align.
2. Consistency from mobile to desktop
It’s also critical that your site, whether accessed on a desktop, tablet or mobile, loads fast and without lag. Today, a page that takes six seconds to load is predicted to experience a 50 per cent loss in conversion.
Retail customers are increasingly using mobile devices for online purchases and so you need to create an experience where shopping using a smartphone or tablet is just as fast, seamless and intuitive as the desktop web experience. Forrester predicts that 80 per cent of online retail sales in Asia Pacific will be made from a mobile device by 2022, so it’s important for retailers to get this right.
3. Imagery that draws you in
We live in a visual world. So when a customer lands on your site, their attention first gravitates to your imagery. If they like what they see, they’ll stick around and hopefully make a purchase.
Invest in beautiful and high quality product photography on your site. These can also be utilised across all of your marketing channels, from social media to email campaigns. These are all important touch points that help nurture buyers along their decision-making journey, so naturally they’ll be more effective if they look consistently great.
4. Integrated online catalogue and site
Many retailers are realising the benefits of digital catalogue campaigns, as they are further reaching and more cost effective than printed catalogues.
To help convert browsers into buyers, it’s critical digital catalogues allow customers to flip through and then continue onto the ecommerce site to browse further and make a purchase. Go an extra step and integrate digital catalogues with your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and inventory management, to ensure that products featured are available. Eliminating the possibility of friction points is the surest way to drive sales and brand loyalty.
5. A never ending flow of customer reviews
Comments and reviews left by your customers are a valuable third party endorsement of your products and service. It helps buyers learn more about why your brand and products are right for them. If you’re delivering a 100 per cent customer focused experience, fulfilling orders and getting them delivered on time, your customers will want to tell the world.
That’s why it makes sense to have an ecommerce site that can handle customer comments, and links back into your CRM system. You can also promote great customer testimonials across other channels. Endorsements and reviews can be solicited from your loyal customers. If you have a new product you’d like to market, why not send samples to your best reviewers for them to try and then write about?
6. Wish lists to boost engagement
Allowing your shoppers to create wish lists gives them the ability to file products away for future reference, and also gives friends and family great gift ideas.
Showing customers ‘related items’ to the ones they’re browsing also boosts the likelihood of a purchase, or an addition to their wish list. Sometimes people don’t know they want something until they’re shown it, so a related items tag is a great way to get your products in front of more customers.
7. Delivery tracking to empower customers
By integrating your ecommerce and delivery solution, your customers can go online to track where their package is and when it will be delivered. This means customers don’t have to pick up the phone to find out when their goods are going to arrive and it also helps to build their anticipation and excitement.
People are becoming more accustomed to immediacy so if you’re not offering same day delivery to customers, it’s time to up your game.
8. Tap into the muscle of Amazon
Some Australian businesses are struggling to reach customers across the country quickly and with ease. An Amazon Australia store could be your answer. Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) allows retailers to have their products stored in an Amazon warehouse and have the giant do all the heavy lifting when it comes to pick, pack and dispatch. Amazon will even look after returns on your behalf.
By tapping into these tips, retailers of any size can compete online on an even footing with bigger competitors and increase their revenue.
About the author
Chris Stolke is the Manager and Head Digital Strategist at Pronto Woven, a one stop digital marketing solution provider for everything including integrated ecommerce solutions. He is passionate about guiding businesses of all sizes towards a sensible and innovative approach in terms of managing their Digital Strategy.