More than half of Americans would rather shop online than in physical stores. For the younger crowd, that number is larger up to 67 percent for consumers in their 20s and 30s. Those numbers alone are reason enough to consistently test and implement new features.
The online stores that really stand out are doing something differently. If they werenâ€™t, they wouldnâ€™t experience such loyalty.
For 2017, resolve to separate your ecommerce store from the crowd. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
Find your niche audience and showing it lots of love. To be truly competitive, find your niche and stand out to the most important consumers. Sometimes this may narrow your primary target audience. Then again, loyal customers tend to send more shoppers via word of mouth advertising.
Realize consumers increasingly use only smartphones, not computers. Omnichannel shopping is vital, but it should not be your only focus. More people are forgoing desktop computers in 2015 nearly 15 percent of U.S. consumers said they rely solely on a smartphone for Internet access. That means mobile sites not only need to work fluidly with desktop versions, they also need to be able to stand on their own. The goal is focus on the broadest range of users, regardless of how they connect.
Give shoppers reasons to tap â€œcheckoutâ€ on a smartphone. Despite the fact that smartphones and tablets account for nearly 60 percent of all ecommerce traffic, desktops still dominate actual sales transactions. People are still wary about making purchases on mobile devices. Nearly a third of users say theyâ€™re too concerned about privacy and security. Put them at ease by including appropriate text and logos in the mobile checkout.
By the way, the next reason for not purchasing on smartphones is the difficulty of shopping on mobile sites. Make a resolution to simplify mobile shopping.
Give them content they want (and canâ€™t find elsewhere). Yes, you should generate and publish content your target audience expects to find at your site. But you should also produce articles, graphics, and videos that are not directly related to what you sell. If itâ€™s content they wonâ€™t find anywhere else, all the better! Break out of the box with the content you publish. The worse that will happen is visitors wonâ€™t read it.
Give them more ways to pay. With credit card and debit card theft making headlines, itâ€™s important to address concerns, even if few customers have expressed them. Offering a â€œscan your cardâ€ option and allowing them to use stored data at checkout minimizes risk and speeds up the process. Listen to mobile consumers and offer simpler and more secure ways to pay. Stay abreast of the various payment options and implement new ones whenever you can.
Offer financial reasons to come back. Loyalty and rewards programs can play a big role in customer retention. For many, itâ€™s hard to pass up earned â€œcashâ€ that can be used on future purchases.
Provide an easy way to ask questions. Phone number, online chat, email, texting, social messaging: All are useful when conversing with shoppers. People want options. Whatâ€™s easy for one may not be so simple for another. Give as many options as possible, and youâ€™ll be ahead of most competitors.
Ecommerce trends are constantly changing. Fortunately, you donâ€™t have to wait for someone else to come up with the big ideas, and you donâ€™t have to wait for statistics to show you what you should be doing. Typically, by then, itâ€™s already too late to stand out. Instead, listen to your gut and to your customers. Itâ€™s the two things that rarely steer you wrong.