Retail sales are beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. However, more and more of those sales are taking place on eCommerce websites not in traditional brick & mortar stores. This is a trend most industry experts agree will be permanent. In fact, this holiday season is expected to shatter all previous online sales records by a large margin. In response, many retailers are launching, or considering launching, eCommerce websites now so they are ready before the holiday season.
We’ve put together some tips to help ensure those who are new, or looking to expand, their eCommerce efforts are successful. Check out our beginners guide to eCommerce below and contact us to help you take your online store to the next level!
Set Clear Return Policies
Customers cannot be 100% sure of their online purchases until they receive their packages. It is for this reason that buying online with limited or no return policies is quite risky. Your customers will feel that if they have no option of returning the items they purchase, those items probably are not up to their standards. In fact, most retailers find that offering a generous, extended, return policy helps to drive more sales and repeat customers. Besides offering a good return policy, you may also want to come up with a strategy to track the return habits of your customers. Some customers may develop a pattern of returning every purchase they make. By tracking this, you can discourage such people without affecting genuine and innocent customers.
Offer Alternative Fulfillment Options
More and more consumers are choosing to shop at retailers who offer alternative fulfillment options which is why no beginners guide to eCommerce would be complete without mentioning it! Offering conveniences such as curbside and in store pickup will help build a loyal customer base in your local community. These options are the next best thing to being in store, offering customers the conveniences of online shopping with the instant gratification of getting products the same day. Ask your technology provider if they support integrated curbside or in store pickup.
Utilize Email Marketing
While email marketing is nothing new, when done correctly it still delivers (by far) the best return on investment of any marketing channel. However, if you are sending generic, mass email blasts you are wasting your time. The key to modern email marketing is having a marketing automation solution that is integrated into your eCommerce and in store point of sale. This integration allows you to send targeted, personalized emails based on customer data such as past purchases, birthdays, brand preferences etc. Using this data to personalize emails results in a 6x higher transaction rate than traditional mass emails.
Our eCommerce Guide Provides 7 ways to effectively use email marketing:
- Notify customers of important changes to your business
- Segment your customers & sales data in real-time
- Automate workflows based on past purchases
- Create promotions to upsell
- Invite customers to make online reviews
- Remind shoppers of products in cart
- Re-engage lost customers
Organize Your Online Store
The way you organize your eCommerce website can either make it easy or extremely difficult for customers to find the items they are searching for. Depending on what you are focusing on, you should carefully consider how to categorize your products. For instance, categorizing items as those for men or women may not be ideal. Consider other options like brand, season (summer or winter) and type of clothes (shirts, trousers, dresses). There are many more possible classifications. It is better if customers find items using the fewest clicks possible. The proper organization makes your websites appealing, convenient and easy to use so customers will enjoy the experience. This improves the chances of receiving more visits.
Rethink. Revamp. Restart.
Let Us Help! While some retailers have internal teams to accomplish all of this successfully, many retailers have limited resources and need assistance. By leaning on your technology partner, and your vendors, you can quickly create and launch your eCommerce site.
At Celerant, we create your site for you, integrating and leveraging your product data from within your POS, and migrating any existing product data & images you have or we can pull directly from your vendors. To help you ramp up your digital marketing efforts, we offer an email marketing platform, integrated with your customer and sales data in real-time, so you can send personalized emails based on past purchases and sales data. Our team of digital marketing specialists offer assistance with creating the campaigns, building the email segments, and sending the emails out on your behalf. Our specialists will work with you to create your SEO strategy, and make the ongoing changes to help your eCommerce site rank above your competition for your most important search terms. Celerant can truly be your guide to eCommerce to help make your launch successful!