One of the many benefits of building an e-commerce business is a lifelong education. Each week you'll find that you learn something new from others who have found useful tidbits and are willing to share.
Make sure you're on HTTPS for your shopping cart or, even better, your whole site. This helps boost consumer confidence
Some of the advice will be just what you need at that moment. Other times you may come across something you don't feel ready to explore, but you may remember it six months down the road when it turns out to be very relevant. Tuck away all these little gems, and you'll find that a year from now, you've become something of an expert.
You can start today by reading these great tips that we hope will help veteran sellers take their businesses to the next level. Just starting out? Read Part 1 of this series for advice newcomers should know.
Security is key
It's important that you build your e-commerce site with an eye toward making your shoppers feel welcomed—and secure. Many merchants spend lots of time and money making everything look nice, but when it comes to turning a shopper into a customer, you need to do more. Cyber security is a real concern, and the more you do to make your site safe, the more likely shoppers will buy.
"Make sure you're on HTTPS for your shopping cart or, even better, your whole site," says Ron Johnson, marketing director with CyberOptik. "This helps boost consumer confidence because they know they are on a secure connection."
Johnson reminds us it's important that the HTTPS is set up properly. "People should see the green padlock next to your website URL," he explains.
Once you have that in place, test your checkout process on both desktops and mobile devices to make sure it's working smoothly, he continues. "This is especially important on mobile devices because more and more people are actually buying things from their phones, and it's very easy to lose them," Johnson says.
Don't let them leave empty handed
Matthew Dooley, co-founder of Kapture, a wearable technology company, addresses the challenge of shoppers who abandon their shopping carts before they complete checkout. The company launched its first product in the spring, a wristband audio-recording device that captures the last 60 seconds of sound. Tap the device, and it will send those 60 seconds of sound to your phone via Bluetooth.
"We use various tools to engage with customers," Dooley tells us. "But my favorite is the email we send to our abandoned checkout customers, which converts 25 percent on average."
He was kind enough to share it with us:
Subject: Baby Come Back
You can blame it all on me. I was wrong, and I just can't live without you. We want to believe the feeling is mutual, so just click here (link) to finish your order.
Some studies show that e-commerce companies get a return of $10 for every $1 they spend on remarketing ads
Following the link takes the customer to an image of Hall & Oates wearing Kapture! The email then goes ahead to explain that it's easy to understand that a new product might make it hard to take the risk. To soften that, Dooley and co-founder Mike Sarow offer the customer a free accessory pack in an offer that expires in three days, giving customers incentive to buy quickly.
The shoppers have already shown interest, and the two owners use a little enticement and a splash of humor to make the sale.
Joe Auer, founder of JAKK Solutions, a digital marketing agency, also addressed the shopper who leaves a cart before checking out. He just takes a different approach.
"Capture the 'almost' customer through remarketing ads," he advises. "Remarketing ads are very effective in converting people who come onto an e-commerce site, but do not buy for whatever reason. Some studies show that e-commerce companies get a return of $10 for every $1 they spend on remarketing ads."
These ads are either display or text ads that follow the people who leave a website as they browse the Internet. When they click those ads, they're taken right back to you to the products they weren't quite ready to purchase the last time.
While we're talking about advertising dollars, let's take a look at making sure you're spending your money wisely.
"All of your ad campaigns have to be dialed in to appeal specifically to your target audience," notes Adam Barnhart, director of Marketing for AllProWebTools. "Words, pictures and, of course, the landing page they're sent to can all have a huge impact on whether or not you're getting good qualified leads clicking through to your site."
Barnhart admits this can be hard to quantify. "If you're using a pay-per-click model for advertising, the platform you're using will give you basic analytics about which of your ads are generating the most traffic to your site," he says.
But it can be challenging to get good data. For instance, Barnhart ran a Twitter PPC campaign for a client and found that Twitter reported that 51 people of about 6,400 people exposed to the ad actually clicked through to the website.
Keep in mind that there are two sides to setting up a successful e-commerce shop: yours and your customers'
"[But] I saw that no one who clicked on the ad had made a purchase or even filled out a lead box," he notes. He says when that happens, something is wrong with the advertisement: "Either the landing page isn't delivering on the promise of the ad or the ad isn't targeting the right audience."
Customers can be sickening
Not personally, of course, but since your e-commerce site is a two-way street, protecting your side of the street from viruses and malware may not be good enough.
"Customers can get distracted and the shopping experience in your online shop can be disrupted due to client-side injected malware," warns Chemi Katz, CEO of Namogoo, a company that provides security against such infections. "Once a customer's computer is infected, they will see your shop pages not the way you intended them."
Katz says these infections can lead shoppers to find your competitors' products, banners, pop-ups, spam and various spyware scripts.
"My tip for anyone setting up an online shop is to keep in mind that there are two sides to setting up a successful e-commerce shop: yours and your customers,'" he continues, reminding us to block any CSIM from shops to prevent lost revenues and clients.
We hope these tips will be useful to even the most veteran merchants. There's always something new to learn in e-commerce, which just makes all of us who are devoted to the industry happy to continue a lifelong education!