There are a ton of processes that go into a successful eCommerce platform. First, there’s the website and retail front. Then, you have the shipping and arrival experience.
How you package your products matters, especially since unboxing videos are so popular. Then, there’s customer support and marketing.
Finally, there’s market research and analytics to worry about. Do people even like your products?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Successful eCommerce relies not just on practical solutions, but creative and innovative ones, as well. Marketing. Sales. Shipping. Manufacturing. Product quality. Customer support. It all matters.
That’s why it’s so difficult to nail down a proper formula for success. There are so many aspects of eCommerce that you need to worry about, and a lot of things can go wrong.
So we put together a short list of the five biggest factors that may be holding your eCommerce site back. But more importantly, we explore what you can do to remedy those problems.
1. Tedious and Frustrating Checkout Process
The checkout is the last interaction customers will have with your eCommerce site before receiving their product. A poor experience here can really damage your progress and brand, so consider this step carefully.
Once someone is ready to hand over their cash, they don’t want to deal with a slow, frustrating process. You want to make it as easy as you possibly can for them.
Focus on offering fewer steps, forms and hoops to jump through, and streamline the entire process. That’s exactly why many retailers — like Amazon — have a one-click checkout process. When people are ready to pay, they want to wrap up their shopping as quickly as possible.
Keep it simple, clean and efficient. Want an example? Jam Factory does an excellent job of streamlining their checkout. Once you find an item or product you want to buy, add it to your cart, go to the checkout menu, login or provide billing information, then confirm your purchase.
While that may seem like any other checkout process, take a closer look. There are no obtrusive ads or suggestions. There are no excess forms to fill out. You’re in and out quickly.
2. Poor Shipping Experience
Think about what happens after you buy a product or item from a big retailer like Amazon, Overstock or Wal-Mart. Once you’ve actually completed a transaction and received your invoice confirmation, does it end there? Absolutely not. That’s why Amazon has established an aggressive shipping strategy.
When a package is on the way to you, you’re probably as excited as a child on Christmas Eve. You probably even check the shipping and tracking info regularly to see when it’s going to arrive or if there are any relevant updates.
Now, imagine if you purchased something and couldn’t track this information. Would you enjoy having no clue where your item is, when it shipped or when it’s going to arrive?
But there’s more to shipping than just tracking a package. The arrival counts too, like what courier you choose and what shipping options you provide. What does the packaging look like — and, more importantly, will it protect the items inside? Is it clearly and properly labeled?
The Modist provides a top-notch shipping experience. They are even transparent with the entire process, allowing you to clearly see how, when and where they will ship products.
3. Second-Rate Imagery and Media
Product descriptions are important, as people need to understand the benefits of what they’re buying. But people also want to see what the item can do.
They want demonstrations and product images. They also want how-to videos and quick guides on getting things set up or working. And, believe it or not, they consume a lot of these materials before making a purchase. These media help reinforce their decision.
You don’t want to waste time with poor-quality product images or related media. While this may not be Hollywood, production value and visual representation still matter.
Just take a quick look at Ceraudo. Look at the images they use for their products — how bright and vivid the details are, and how well they represent the items they are selling.
4. Not Involving a Traditional Experience
With some goods, it’s just better to be there in person and hold the item in your hands before buying it. Maybe it’s because you want to see everything it has to offer firsthand. Maybe you prefer to check the colors, finish or style, and online images don’t present enough examples. Or perhaps you just prefer the in-store, in-person experience to shopping online.
Whatever the case, many online retailers fail to make the personal connection of an in-person shopping experience. Buying online is fast, efficient and convenient, but in situations where it’s not the preferred method, you need to identify why and improve your online process to match the same experience as a conventional one.
Books are a great example. If it’s a basic paperback novel, making a purchase online is no big deal. However, if it’s a stylish coffee-table book that includes lots of photos, it’s better to see it in person.
Mendo has done an inspiring job of evolving their online experience for customers. Notice how every book has at least a handful of images and content you can preview? It’s just like if you were in the store, picked up the book with your hands, and leafed through the pages.
5. Leave Nothing to Chance: Comprehensive Buying Guides and Specs
A well-crafted buying guide is a great resource for customers in the information-gathering phase of the purchasing decision process. For inspiration, look at what Projector Screen Store has done. By providing a buying guide, you’re showing confidence in your products while helping build your brand’s reputation as a trusted authority.
Leave nothing to chance. You don’t want to present a page full of text and bland information, but you don’t want to leave too much up to the imagination, either.
Take a look at the product page for the Beoplay M5. At the top, you have a brief description, key features and a price. As you scroll down, you learn more about the product. This waterfall of information is a great layout. Detail-oriented customers can keep scrolling, while those who are satisfied with what they see can either make the purchase or leave. You’re not wasting anyone’s time or drawing out the experience.
6. Missing or Mismatched Content
A good content marketing strategy is easy to come up with and implement. The challenge lies in actually finding the topics to write about and then getting the published content in the hands of your audience. For that, you need social media, link building, SEO and much more.
The bottom line? Your marketing strategy won’t go anywhere if the content you are producing doesn’t align with your brand. The best way to do this is to match your content strategy with the average buyer’s or customer’s journey.
Follow These Tips to See Results
Of course, these six elements are not the only things you should consider when revamping or improving your eCommerce processes, but they are certainly some of the most important.
Do your best to emulate these examples, and you’ll find success.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.