When you think of your online business, it’s important to remember that it evolves and changes over time. In the first stage, it was good enough to just be online and have a website. Those days have passed, many companies are evolving digitally, more businesses entered the market and customers are more wary about who they do business with. We must think beyond being online and move into the next stage. Optimizing your website’s experience for your customers and squeezing out every opportunity to engage and earn their trust.
Not to worry, there are little things you can do along the way to put you in a better position move to the next stage. In this blog post, let’s use the example of e-commerce, we’ll assume that a company is selling quality products and has good customer service but they’d like to perform better online. What can they do? Well, lots of things but to stay focused we’ve picked 5 places to start capturing revenue that might be left on the table.
User Experience and site performance: Simple is difficult, it’s easy to add every bell and whistle, please don’t, it takes time and money that could be spent elsewhere. Spend time focusing on the most important experiences and get rid of everything else. Remember that many people research products from their phones. Taking a “mobile-first” approach to your e-commerce experience is one way to stay disciplined and keep it simple. Mobile usage is why performance is so critical, the processing speed and data limitations on mobile devices mean that we have to be efficient. The experience should be focused and it should load FAST. Having a slow site is the first way to turn away potential customers. A slow site that is hard to use? You get what I’m saying here I’m sure. Here are some tools and practices that can help:
- Google PageSpeed Insights: Test the speed of specific pages of your site
- Google Optimize: A/B testing framework for messaging
- UI/UX Research: Test assumptions about your user experience using best practices and real customers
Reviews and consumer trust: I can’t remember the last time I bought something online when there were bad reviews or no reviews at all. I read reviews for things about the quality of the product, experience with customer service and general likeability of the brand. We rely on trusting other’s experiences when we are making a purchase online and it’s very effective. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and don’t be afraid to send them a reminder or two. If you use Magento or some other e-commerce platform there are certainly low costs solutions that can help:
- Advanced Customer Reviews
- Google Local (Reviews on Google)
- Digital marketing and PR
Loyalty and engagement: It’s easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one. Try and spend some time to understand the cost of acquiring someone new. You might find that a customer re-engagement strategy is much cheaper and more profitable for your business. In this case, keep your customers close and engaged. You can add programs to seek information from them about your product like asking for Product FAQs. Having your customers answer questions other potential customers are asking is a great way to re-engage customers that have moved on by also acquiring a new one. You could also offer loyalty programs for repeat purchases, offer recurring purchases, contests, special coupons for loyal customers and the list goes on. You should look at some big companies like Target for ideas as well as smaller, more intimate brands that are aligned with your company. If you play in the space in between, the results could be substantial. IMPORTANT: If you say, “this doesn’t apply to me, my customers only need what I sell once,” it’s time to introduce a product that changes that.
Personalization: Last month, I received a coupon to go to one of my favorite places because it was my birthday. This simple strategy works, customers tell us about themselves all the time. Data acquisition is the new gold and the more you know about someone the more you can engage them in a meaningful way. Everything from knowing what their interests are and sending targeted offers to doing the little things on big live events, they will notice. Again, many software platforms have solutions for parts or all of this:
Automate: Some pushback we hear as a blocker to implementing more complex initiatives is a lack of time. For a small business, time is often the most precious commodity. If automation is thought through from the beginning then you can introduce a program that a more mature business might have without all of the overhead. There are many tools available right now that can help with this. Here are some that we like:
We hope you found these tips and tools helpful. And as a result, innovate in your online business and capture some of that revenue that might have been left on the table. If you have questions about how to implement some of these strategies or need some help getting started, our team could help. We also recommend you read up on Digital Growth® and how some of these initiatives would fit into your overall digital strategy.