Once upon a time, we chose where to shop by which stores were close to us, or which ones our friends and families recommended. Customers came in by virtue of geography! But that’s not the case anymore. Today, e-commerce is booming and we can shop from anywhere in the world at the click of a button. But with countless options at their fingertips, what draws customers to your online store? These 5 tips can help make your e-commerce business stand out – and lead your visitors to click “buy!”
1. First Impressions Count
When you’re running an online store, your website serves as your virtual storefront. If you were running a brick-and-mortar store, then you’d spend time and money creating curb appeal for your shop to draw customers in. You’d want to make sure your shop was attractively landscaped, that you displayed intriguing signage, and that your store entry way was easily accessible for pedestrian traffic.
As an e-commerce entrepreneur, these same “curb appeal” principles apply to your website. Your business website is your first introduction to customers who find you online. The design, layout, and visual appeal of your online store is critical to your ability to make sales. If potential customers come to your site and aren’t impressed, then they will exit your site without making a purchase.
There are services like Squarespace that provide ready-made templates for professional websites if you want to take the DIY approach. You can also hire a web designer to create a custom design; this may be a good idea if you need unusual functions or a very specific design.
2. Optimize Your Social Media Channels
Social media is one of best ways to bring free promotion to your web site. Social media allows you the opportunity to engage, share, and communicate with your audience, who may then become paying customers.
How do attract your customers to your social media channels? With some simple, actionable measures you can up your social media game:
- Post frequently
- Know that Facebook and Pinterest are the best ways to attract customers
- Maximize the right social media channels for your particular brand
- Interact with your followers
- Use visual elements such as photos, videos, or infographics to peak interest
Simply by being interesting, engaging, and interactive on social media, you’ll create terrific PR and marketing – for free!
3. Stay On Top Of It
Shopping customers like to be in on the next big thing and follow hot trends when they arise. In order to keep your customers coming back to your e-commerce site, you’ll need to update your website and social channels frequently. First, you don’t want customers to visit your shop only to find that your selection is outdated.
Aim to keep content new and update regularly with fresh merchandise so your customers have a reason to come back and shop again. On social, post incentives or teaser shots of “what’s new” to entice your customers to come and shop the must-have trends.
In other words, it’s not enough to set up a great website or social channels and then leave them alone – keep everything current and interesting so your customers have a reason to come back!
4. Blog It
Blogging can seem like more work than keeping up social media channels or updating your selection on your website, but it can be a really useful tool for connecting with customers.
A great blog lets your customers know that your e-commerce site is an authority in the market. Say you’re running a camping supply store – post about camping tips, equipment reviews, and local camping excursions! Or maybe you’re running a boutique – post about the latest trends and how your customers can rock them.
The rules of social media apply to blogging: Update frequently, respond to your comments, and share visual elements for peak conversion. Post your blog on your website and the link on your social media channels for maximum cross-promotion. And always remember your customer base – your blog’s tone should fit your target demographic, whether it’s rugged campers or Millennial fashionistas.
5. Get Visual
One of the challenges of running an ecommerce site is showcasing your products in such a way that customers want to buy them. In a brick-and-mortar shop, if a customer wants to buy a sweater, they can try on that sweater, feel the softness of the fabric, and look at the drape of it on their body. But, in an online store, you have to draw the customer in using creative ways to make that same sale.
Enter video marketing. Video is a compelling sales tool for e-commerce sites because it shows the customer how your product looks in action. You can create a video showing a model wearing the sweater, displaying the fabric, and moving around so the drape displays to the viewer. It’s a great way to stand out in an e-commerce landscape full of still photos.
And don’t worry! You don’t need a Hollywood production budget to make your own product videos. Third party video services like YouTube or Vimeo make it a snap to create and share your own professional quality videos.
Make the Sale!
Attracting customers to your e-commerce site takes work. It’s not enough to keep up with your competition – you’ve got to get a step ahead! So dive into the “e” part of the commerce, get engaged with your customers, dazzle them with your visuals, and make that sale!