As a smartphone owner on the clumsy end of gracefulness, my wallet frequents the shopping carts of Amazon and various online shops searching for anything I can find to protect my device. In a last ditch effort to save some money and slice the waiting time in half, I recently splurged for Amazon Prime. Now I pretty much solely purchase through Amazon Prime because of the free two-day shipping, and because, well, I paid for the membership.
Big online sellers are finding new and innovative methods of grabbing and keeping buyers (like me) to create brand loyalty. In fact, just a month ago I purchased a product from an Amazon seller that was not on Prime, the item didn’t show up and I was in desperate need of the item for my son for Christmas. We called Amazon and they gave us a credit so we could purchase the product from Prime and have the guaranteed two-day shipping. That instance alone gave me reason to be loyal to Amazon–minus the fact that I purchased the Prime membership.
Here are a few statistics to marvel at from Amazon’s 2015 holiday sales:
More than three million customers joined Prime in the third week of December.
Amazon Prime membership continues to grow, and there are tens of millions of members worldwide.
Prime members shopping via mobile more than doubled this holiday in the US.
Over 200 million more items shipped for free with Prime this holiday than last.
Not to mention, Prime Now is available in 20 metro areas, delivering various products in the blink of an eye including three of the most popular Prime Now best sellers this holiday: Simply Orange Juice, Haribo Gold-Bears, and Bounty Paper Towels.
With the customized delivery at the tips of your fingers, how can online sellers compete with giants such as Amazon?
Here are 5 tips to ensure your business’ online shopping experience is best optimized for consumers to help boost your customer loyalty and in turn increase sales:
1. Beautiful and Secure Websites
A beautiful secure website is a happy website with happy customers. In light of the Target customer data breech of 2013, customers know just how easy it can be for their data to be leaked and potentially used negatively. Consumer behavior data suggests consumers are still concerned with data breeches from companies such as Target and Home Depot, even months later. In fact, a survey by CNBC found that, “70 perfect of the consumers [they] surveyed could correctly identify companies that had been breached.” Having well-stated and widely-accepted security measures in place are vital pieces of the consumer behavior pie. Having an easy to maneuver website is equally important for conversion rates. Customers have to be able to find products, see reviews of products, add them to their shopping cart and check out all the while feeling secure and from a uniform website.
2. Compelling CTAs
Anyone who has studied conversion rates and consumer behavior knows that compelling CTAs are vital to conversions. CTAs are Calls-to-Action. In other words, “Sign Up,” “Get Started,” “Download for Free,” or “Subscribe Today” are examples of compelling and effective CTAs. The main point of a CTA is to entice your consumer to behave a certain way and to move to the next step in the process, whatever that step may be. CTAs are kind of like you are saying to your reader, “trust us, you’ll like us” and gives them some confidence to move forward and fill out a form, or read more, or schedule a call back from your team. You can also dive into analysis of color choices and shapes of the CTA buttons for even more effective results.
3. Positive REAL Reviews
Receiving REAL reviews from customers are like gold in the digital world. These reviews can tell you SO much about your company, your products, your consumers and much more. Not only can you see the positives (and negatives) of your product, employees and more, you can see who is speaking out and how often. Sometimes you have to coax reviews out of customers, but usually you can entice them with coupons, free samples or even some good ole positive energy for helping out. These reviews can be housed on your website as testimonials, or on third-party sites such as Yelp, Google+, Yellow Pages, etc. You can encourage your customers to leave reviews after they make a purchase by tracking their purchase online with plugins. These plugins send emails requesting reviews for the products after a certain period of time has passed from purchase date. Many people are doubtful of reviews in recent months due to Amazon even admitting some of the reviews were fake, but a survey conducted by Moz.com found that, “online reviews impact 67.7% of respondents’ purchasing decisions.” Businesses need to take reviews seriously and help protect against the potential for future negative reviews, but also keep the reviews authentic.
4. Easy to Use Shopping Carts
Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue for online businesses. A study from the Baymard Institute found that the average e-commerce shopping cart abandonment rate was 68.63%. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a product online that you want to purchase and then not being able to make sense of the shopping cart or being unable to check out properly. Your online shopping cart should be easy to use and maneuver. Having multiple payment methods available such as PayPal or Google Checkout in addition to credit cards also provide another layer of options and security for customers. Also, almost all customers expect to be able to track their products throughout the shipping process once they are purchased, so make sure you have tracking enabled whenever possible.
5. GREAT Customer Service
According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, “95% share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences with others.” Stuff happens, and when that stuff does happen, it’s important to have amazing customer service representatives and quick response times to make sure the customer is helped to the best of your ability. Live chat features are also a plus to help customers maneuver through product selection or answer questions about products or services. Following up on social media and other platforms to answer questions and field unhappy customers is also a great way to show your company is dedicated to customer service. One big positive of being a smaller company is that you can make your customer service unique to the individual customer’s situation–if someone is unhappy with the product or service, the CEO could reach out to try to rectify the situation in a timely manner. Depending on your company, a specific representative or employee can be in charge of replying to social interactions and ensuring you are known for being quick and attentive to customer concerns and questions. You can’t make everyone happy, so don’t worry about a negative review or two, but if you have recurring negative themes among your reviews, you should review for areas of improvement.
While it might seem near impossible to compete with online giants such as Amazon, as they are delivering orange juice, gummy bears and paper towels to your door step in mere hours, with these 5 tips and some man hours on your part, you can set yourself up with the best chance possible. As always you can contact us to see how we can help you attract and convert more visitors and customers.