E-Commerce is defined as the process of buying and selling of products or services over electronic media involving electronic fund transfer between participants of the process. It started back in the 1960s when organizations began to use Electronic Data Interchange to transfer documents of their business. The 1990s saw the emergence of online shopping businesses, which is the most common practice of shopping today. eCommerce websites are online portals that allow online transactions of goods and services through the transfer of information and funds over the Internet. Previously, e-Commerce was done through emails and phone calls. Now, with a single website, everything can be executed online. There are different e-Commerce websites for every field: retail selling, auction websites, business-to-business services, music portals, consultancy websites, finance management websites, etc. They can be categorized as follows:
- Business-to-Business (B2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies. Producers and traditional commerce wholesalers mainly operate with this type of e-commerce.
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and consumers.
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between consumers, mostly through a third party.
- Consumer-to-Business (C2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services where individuals offer products or services to companies. This type is prevalent in sites where designers present several proposals for a company logo and where only one of them is selected and effectively purchased. Other platforms are the markets that sell royalty-free photographs, images, media and design elements, etc.
- Business-to-Administration (B2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and public administrations. This involves a large variety of services, particularly in areas such as fiscal, social security, employment, legal documents and registers, etc.
- Consumer-to-Administration (C2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between individuals and public administrations.
E-Commerce Marketing Practices of 2019
Along with growth comes more customers, more revenue and more success. Hence to taste the ultimate growth in e-commerce ux following marketing practices are to be kept in mind:
- Trustworthy website – Unlike Powerful brands, small or medium-sized E-commerce sites have to provide Trust Badges, Positive Press Coverage, Reviews or Testimonials, Contact Numbers, Physical Address in order to enter the circle of trust of the customers.
- Simple Browsing – With several thousand products, it is a difficult task to create a simple sitemap of navigation. But it is highly recommended as it becomes annoying for customers if the buying becomes complicated. Keep your homepage design as minimal as possible and customers are more likely to search the product they desire directly.
- Attractive UI – The user interface should be attractive and beautiful images should be used in appropriate places to make the buying experience satisfying.
- Sale Section – It’s important to have a distinguished and eye-catching sale section on the homepage where you want the customers to be able to access it quickly and easily.
- Page Load speed – It is observed that 47% of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. A simple 1-second delay can result in a 7% reduction in your conversion rate which can potentially cost an e-commerce site to lose $2.5 million in sales every year. Page load speed can be improved by considering factors like minimizing HTTP requests, reducing server response time, enable compression, optimizing images, reducing the number of plugins and redirects, etc. If customers can navigate your homepage with speed and ease they are more likely to make a purchase.
- Search Bar – 30% of customers use internal search. Visitors who use search bars convert better than those who don’t so it’s important to get the internal website search correctly developed. So, your search bar should be present on all your pages, not just the homepage. A search bar that stands out and pushes customers in the right direction will lead to more completed purchases. You can improve your e-commerce website by widening the navigation bar to include more categories.
- Web Hosting – A premium web hosting service should be bought for a seamless and sophisticated experience.
- Creating Scarcity – Customers like exclusive and rare products. Creating scarcity or urgency of the product or a service is supposed to be one of the most effective conversion optimization strategies. They are made to think that the scarce products are valuable. Few tools to enforce scarcity are Flash Sales, Last Day Offers, While Stocks Last, Limited Release, etc.
- Product Description – The SEO of product descriptions for e-commerce stores are important. Customers will likely to consider adding a product to their cart if the description is rich, informative, user-friendly, and concise. So writing product descriptions that inform, create value, and also rank well on search engines is mandatory. According to Nielsen, only 18% of the time was spent on viewing photos and rest was spent on the text on an Amazon product page. The more details you show, the better satisfaction a customer gets to own a product and the more likely they are to buy it.
- Effective FAQs – Detailed information regarding return policies, description, usage, etc should be provided in the form of FAQs for the customers.
- Profile Creation – Customers should not be forced to create a profile but encouraged. Once items are added to a shopping cart, users can finalize their transaction through the guest checkout option.
- Checkout – For the above reasons, the check out option should be simple, easy and secured. Once a website visitor decides to buy something, they should find it easy to complete the purchase. Each additional step in the checkout process will increase the chances of them abandoning the transaction. It is seen that 28% of consumers abandoned a shopping cart during checkout because the process was too long and complicated.
- Competition’s weakness – Alike Swot analysis to determine your own strengths and weaknesses, competitor’s reviews should also be referred to. In public forums or review boards, read feedback of popular e-commerce sites which in turn will help you in improving your service and products.
- Free Shipping – A Forrester research study showed that shipping charges is the top reason behind cart abandonment. Almost 55% of the customers leave cart due to high shipping costs. NuFace – a facial lifting ecommerce store observed that their orders increased by 90% due to free shipping with an increase in order value by 7.32%. Additionally, you can offer multiple shipping options that can include extra-fast delivery at an additional cost or even a number of delivery options.
- Featured Products – The best and the premium product is to be featured on the homepage as a distinctive section. Recommending products throughout your homepage gives customers an idea of what to buy.
In the emerging global economy, e-commerce and e-business have increasingly become a necessary component of business strategy and a strong catalyst for economic development. Even after some considerable time after the Internet revolution electronic commerce remains a relatively new, emerging and constantly changing area of business management and information technology. Thus keeping up is a challenging task. If you want to build a successful e-commerce site, the only way to keep acquiring and retaining customers is to remain updated with the latest marketing and technology trends. Whatever business strategy you choose, staying close to your customers and personalizing the shopping experience is of the utmost importance.