Maturing into one of the top ecommerce websites in your industry is no easy journey. And there are a lot of factors to consider. Designing or sourcing quality products and identifying your target market are just the beginning.
Actually reaching that audience and creating a positive customer experience is where the real challenge lies. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many top ecommerce websites whose practices you can take inspiration and direction from.
Let’s check out some examples of successful ecommerce strategies, and the businesses that are using them well. We’re sticking to small and medium sized ecommerce websites, as the strategies of large, established companies require more resources. Instead we’re focusing on steps that ecommerce sites with varying levels of resources can take.
Be Niche, But Don’t Limit Yourself
As a small company, you’ll want to find a specific focus. This will prevent you from spreading your resources thin, trying to provide too many products, which can result in overstock inventory, wasted money, and a lost focus of your core message and offering. At the same time, you’ll want to appeal to the widest audience possible…within your chosen niche. You can do this by thinking of all the various uses for your products.
For example, Wetsuit Wearhouse focuses on a very specific product, but their website features photos and blog content targeting many different uses for wet suits. By creating content about kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, triathlons and more, very different potential audiences will be attracted to their website and can find value in their products.
It’s important to teach people about various uses and best practices for your product. Having a learning center dedicated to providing informative articles and advice about your product, and your industry in general, can help to establish you as an authority in your field, and help people decide if your product is right for them.
Vaporfi is a great example of a business that uses a learning center to its advantage. By providing comprehensive resources about their products geared toward consumers and marketers, their website functions as a authoritative resource, providing in-depth information, in addition to the products themselves. This is especially important for products and fields that are relatively new, like vaping, because people will have a lot of questions.
Offer a Personalized Shopping Experience
As the rate of purchases made online continues to rise, consumers have higher expectations for ecommerce sites. Part of this includes receiving personalized product recommendations on-page and via email.
Consumers are more likely to return to a ecommerce store if the website offers product recommendations tailored to the individual. This type of personalization is one of the features that makes ecommerce behemoth Amazon.com successful. But smaller businesses can also provide a personalized shopping experience for their customers.
The online lingerie store Adore Me is a great example of a store that offers a personalized shopping experience. Shoppers take a survey to determine their lingerie preferences, after which they can access a showroom of products chosen just for them.
The site also offers live assistance from a stylist via a chat feature at the bottom of the page. Without the need for complicated algorithms, this site practices straightforward methods that allow them to understand their customers and customize the shopping experience for each individual.
Tell Your Story
People want to invest in businesses that they trust. Though some might use their “About Us” page to list some basic details about what the company does, this page and other content offer companies the opportunity to make a lasting impression on potential customers. More and more, consumers demand that businesses demonstrate some kind of corporate social responsibility. This means companies should not only produce quality goods and services, but also be transparent about their business practices and contribute to improving social, environmental, and cultural issues.
For smaller businesses, making an impact on larger social issues may seem impossible. However, by simply illustrating ethical business practices, it’s possible to gain an advantage over your competitors and set a positive example within your industry. And this is often a strategy that top ecommerce websites employ.
The clothing company Everlane does this masterfully as they tell their story through transparent business practices, including a breakdown of the actual costs behind their products. And much of the story they tell emphasizes their process for seeking ethical factories to manufacture their products. You can even search through their factories to learn more information about the working conditions, the journey it took to find these locations, and the people in charge of each factory.
The continued rise of ecommerce websites creates a new realm of possibilities for small and medium sized businesses to reach a broader audience and compete with larger companies online. By paying attention to these strategies and incorporating them into your own best practices, you can better target and understand your audience and provide the information and experience necessary to earn a loyal customer base.
What are you emulating from other top ecommerce websites?
This is a post by Shopping Signals contributor, Avery Phillips. <– Thanks Avery! -Ryan