The rising expenses of online advertising and competition are current eCommerce trends. This means eCommerce companies are spending more money on marketing campaigns than before and benefit less from the same amount of advertising expense.
So companies in such a paradigm must distinguish themselves from their rivals in some other, novel ways. In this article, we present the top 5 eCommerce best practices to help business professionals design effective eCommerce strategies to:
- Enhance their sales.
- And increase their customer retention.
1. Embrace design thinking
Design thinking is developing goods/services while putting yourself into the customers’ shoes. By doing so, you aim to have an end product that is marketable and customer-friendly.
Design thinking is made up of 5 steps: (see Figure 1):
- Empathize with customers: Understand what users want by running polls, surveys, and analytics.
- Define customers’ problems: Pinpoint one problem you’ve found in the previous step
- Generate solution: Come up with a solution.
- Design Product: Implement the solution with a design of the product.
- Test it: Test the solution, such as running A/B tests.
Figure 1: Steps of design thinking.
Even though each targeted community’s needs vary, here we introduce some general solutions for online customers’ problems:
Design simple menus/filters
42% of e-commerce sites do not use category-specific filters/menus. Categorizing items helps people find their goods more easily. (But don’t overdo it, as too many categories can equally confuse people).
You can design simple, customer-friendly, and specific filters/menus so that customers can concentrate on the goods they are interested in.
Have a search bar
Having too many items will not necessarily translate to sales if users can’t see them. Adding a search bar allows your customers to navigate through your diverse set of offerings, giving higher visibility to your products.
Nike’s website is a good example for companies as to how they can utilize filters and a search bar (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: An example of the implementation of a product filter and a search bar.
Ensure ease of checkout
The average cart abandonment rate is approximately 70%. A challenging checkout process undoubtedly contributes to this unfavorable high ratio.
Some eCommerce platforms require users to register or login before continuing with the checkout process. Ideally, websites should allow users to make a purchase either by allowing them to “continue as guests,” or using APIs to quickly register them via their social media accounts.
All that should remain then is a click (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: An example of ease of checkout with one click.
Give customers all costs upfront
One of the key concepts for describing human activities in behavioral economics is the idea of reference points – how everyone views something is relative to their mentality, experiences, expectations, etc.
For instance, if Elon Musk and I both find out that our wealth has become $100 million today, we will both cry, one from joy, the other from sadness. That is because our lives have programmed our reference points differently.
The same principle applies to online shopping; let’s assume customers click to purchase an item because it costs $20, and that becomes their reference point. If you add shipping costs and taxes at checkout, because the 20$ has already become a reference point, they will not pay over that price.
Therefore, avoid including shipping and tax expenses during the checkout process and reflect these prices up front to prevent distorting your clients’ baseline expectations.
2. Invest in conversational commerce
Conversational commerce aims to improve customer experience and sales by communicating with as many consumers as possible on messaging platforms.
Figure 4 illustrates the straightforward reasoning behind it. Messaging programs like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and others are used by literally billions of people. And it makes sense for businesses to be where their clients are.
Figure 4: Number of users of messaging apps.
Conversational commerce is almost always associated with the deployment of sales chatbots on messaging apps like WhatsApp since having reps conduct thousands of conversations/per month would be unsustainable for companies.
Conversational commerce use cases
Conversational commerce has the following eCommerce use cases:
- Introducing products.
- Providing personal recommendations.
- Providing 7/24 customer support.
- Ensuring easy checkout, and so on.
If you want to make a deep dive into conversational commerce use cases, read our 10 Conversational Commerce Use Cases for Different Industries article.
If you want to learn more about conversational commerce examples in detail you can read our Top 5 Conversational Commerce Examples & Success Stories article.
You can read our article, Conversational Commerce Platforms: Data-driven Benchmarking, if you are looking for the top conversational commerce platforms to increase your sales.
3. Consider to develop a mobile app
As of today, almost 6.5 billion smartphones are being used. Only 6 years ago this number was around 3.5 billions. And the more people have smartphones, the more likely they are to purchase stuff from mobile apps.
Mobile apps are often looked at as being more user-friendly because people can use their phones practically anywhere and at any time. Companies can improve their apps via mobile app chatbots. Most importantly, as seen in Figure 5, people increasingly purchase goods through mobile apps, and this trend is expected to continue.
Therefore, AIMultiple sees mobile apps as one of the most crucial eCommerce technologies and we recommend companies to build one as an eCommerce best practice.
Figure 5: Mobile vs desktop for sales.
4. Work on your SEO
We recommend companies engage with customers via messaging apps and custom mobile apps as eCommerce best practices.
However, it does not mean companies should abandon web pages and web content, as 40% of online sales still take place on desktops.
You can use design thinking to enhance web pages. However, since more than 45% of customers begin the purchasing process by using a search engine like Google, site content is equally significant.
This means your Google ranking has a big impact on your sales.
Here are some good SEO practices:
- Add text and as much product data as possible to describe the features to describe the features of the product in detail.
- Ensure you use keywords while writing text. But keep in mind that repeating keywords frequently might make you sound like a bot and harm your SEO.
- Enrich your content with images since more than 20% of searches on Google are image searches.
- Add alt texts to images to help Google understand your image and increase your outreach to users with disabilities. This will improve your webpage’s and image’s positioning.
5. Improve your corporate sustainability
As we discussed in our 5 Ways ESG Reporting Boosts Your Business Performance article, sustainability and fair trade practices of companies impact brand image significantly. Therefore, companies that improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) posture can put premium prices or increase sales thanks to favorable brand image.
ECommerce companies can enhance their ESG posture by:
- Creating a “supplier code of conduct” that outlines your eCommerce platform’s principles, such as, not partnering with those who:
- Picking companies that deliver your products by considering their corporate carbon footprint.
- Using a carbon offset strategy to reduce your negative impact on the environment.
- Improving your social ESG metrics such as CEO pay ratio, gender pay ratio, etc. By using, tracking, and sharing transparent KPIs with your customers, you can demonstrate your bona-fides.
If you want to learn more about ESG best practices you can read our Top 6 ESG Reporting Best Practices that Protect Your Business article.
If you need more information about chatbots you can download our conversational AI whitepaper:
If you have any questions concerning eCommerce best practices you can reach us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
To stay up-to-date on B2B tech & accelerate your enterprise:Follow on
Next to Read
Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.