It’s always a good idea to start a blog with a stat. Something that’ll grab the attention and make the reader want to keep going. Luckily, when I was sitting down to write this particular blog, one stat jumped out in big bold letters.
In 2017, retail ecommerce sales in Canada climbed an astonishing 30%, driven by events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
What does this stat say? Well, if it hasn't already happened, the centre of gravity for your business will be shifting off main street and into cyberspace. The real fun is being had online and it’s time to drag your ecommerce solution into the 21st century.
If you aren’t fully invested in providing a quality and easy-to-use ecommerce platform for your business, you are missing out on an ever-increasing slice of the pie. Guilty of a lacklustre online offering so far? That’s ok. You aren’t alone. All you need is a little refresher on 2018’s ecommerce trends, and what customers expect from your online business.
Customers Want More
The 1950’s are often spoken of as the 'golden age of customer service' but it’s becoming harder and harder to make that case convincingly. Simply put, customers have never had it better. From 24-hour support, to easy returns and abundant marketing opportunities, retailers are responding to customers who want more and aren’t afraid to vote with their wallets. Customer service should be top of mind when building your ecommerce platform. Make sure your site is modern and easy to use (we can help with that), while your returns and refunds policy should be clear, fair and contain no hidden surprises. More and more businesses are leveraging chatbots to fill in the gaps. The sophistication of this software ranges from Facebook Messenger allowing auto responses, to actual bots who can answer simple questions.
Ever order a product from Amazon and have it show up the same day? It’s exhilarating, and it’s the future of ecommerce logistics. While it’s ridiculous to expect a small business to compete with Amazon, it is a fair expectation for you to provide a top-notch delivery experience to your customers. Carefully audit your potential logistics partners. There’s enough competition in the Canadian market to allow you to find an upgraded solution. Resist the temptation to stick with your current partner because you’ve “always used them.” Consider creating quality check procedures for your packaging. Customers don’t want to receive battered boxes in the mail. Another way to get products cheaply to your customers is to dropship directly from a supplier. This option saves you time and storage space.
Data and analytics place immense power in the hands of a savvy marketing department. They help you understand how people interact with your website, what aspects of your marketing are successful and what it is you do that drives customer engagement. It’s not an exaggeration to say there are hundreds of these analytical tools available, so it can be tough to know which ones are worth using. We suggest starting with the gold standard, Google Analytics. This robust and free tool lets you track page views, how customers are finding your website and how long they’re spending on each page. It’s especially useful if you’re experimenting with a blog or social sharing, as you can track in real time how successful your efforts are. Customers expect a tailored shopping experience, so it’s important to analyze which products are often both together and offer them as bundles. “Customers also bought” suggestions aren’t just helpful to consumers, they’ve been proven to work. It’s also worth A/B testing each aspect of your marketing efforts until you find a mix that works for your business.
Social, Social Social
Carefully curating your business’ social media account won’t just generate more business for you. It will also create a better connection with your customers and help you to serve them better. Use it to promote your products and services, but also to engage in conversation with your community. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads also carry a lower advertising cost than traditional advertising while allowing you to specifically target your preferred customers in a refined way. Reporting tools for these platforms also allow you to quickly see if your ad is working. If you’re using a blog to drive traffic to your site, make sure and share each blog on social to help build links to your site.
Find Out More
Interested in upgrading your ecommerce solution? GDCommerce offers a full range of digital marketing and online services to help businesses like yours. Contact Us, and arrange a free one-on-one consultation today.