An eCommerce site User Interface (UI) is like a joke, as in, if you need to explain to your users, ‘how to use your website’, then there is something wrong with it.

Why?

Because every site, especially eCommerce websites needs to be extremely user friendly. Since it has the power to engage users in a way that can define the journey of a prospect visiting your site to the point where the same person becomes a consumer purchasing your services and products with a click of a button.

All of this happening in real-time.

Here  are  9  points  that  will  help  you  redefine  your  eCommerce  strategies today  using  digital marketing, social media process, eCommerce tools, branding concepts, trends and ideas:

1. Dynamic, responsive and functional:

Being  aesthetically  pleasing  is  no  longer  the  only  criteria  for  website  design.  It  needs  to  be engaging, dynamic, functional and responsive so as to enable comfortable viewing of rich media content like high resolution images, videos etc by being device independent. So whether it is viewed in an iPad or a smartphone or a laptop or by a home desktop user, the impact of visuals and content should be “uniform”.

Also, ensure that your website is constantly refreshed with new content.

Visual and time are two crucial factors for users browsing sites these days. Use images or short video clips that resonate the message in an easy way across to the users.

Mobile optimization of your sites is no longer an option, rather it needs to be the first thing on your to-do list as an eCommerce website.

2. Less than 2-3 clicks to the GOAL:

Digital  has  shrunk  the  world  into  a  global  village.  Users  are  bombarded  with  “information overload” across sites and industries with offers, deals, news updates etc. So as an eCommerce site, ensure that when users visit your website they have to:

Enter or Login to your website using ‘least minimum’ information.

For example, a secure social login will  make  it  much  more  user  friendly  and  reduce  the  steps  needed  for  users  to  fill  in  the information to register on your website.

Keep it simple:

The simpler the checkout process, better are your chances of users making the purchases.

Prices: Shipping or Delivery Costs and Taxes:

Ensure that you make the total costs very clear as early as possible. If your website charges high delivery or shipping costs, make it known at the start of the process. For example, Amazon has a wonderful option that let’s you fill in your pin-code to estimate the days and or cost for shipping.

This ensures that for the users, you do not add any unexpected costs. Clearly list the total cost on the original product page itself. Always complete shipping cost and delivery information long before users hit the complete checkout button for payment confirmation.

In fact: “Product → Shipping & Delivery → Payment Confirmation → THANK YOU” could be a great way to go ahead.

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“Multiple Recommendations”: There are quite a few eCommerce sites which as soon as you start with the checkout process to make the purchase, start shoving in ‘recommendations’ on your screen which requires users to skip it over and over again.

This is the worst thing to do as an eCommerce brand, especially at a stage when someone has already taken the time and efforts to add products and or services from your site to their shopping cart and is ready to make the purchase.

Add Coupon text links instead of input fields:

Since statistics show that if you give an input field and people don’t have a discount coupon, more than 55-60% users go online and try to find a deal or coupon for this and end up not returning. Instead use a text link field as a coupon code option.

3. Power tools and social media influencers:

Integration:

Influencer marketing is really picking up. Right from power celebrity endorsements to influencers across social networking platforms promoting products for a fee or some sort of gratification from the respective brand is a great way for eCommerce sites to blend the two using power tools enabling easy integration of the same.

For example, sites like “liketoknow.it” is a power packed website in which Instagram influencers share a product picture or short clip which has the link to the site of liketoknow.it as a category or tag with the product description.

Users of this app have to simply integrate their Instagram account with this and click on “like” across these category of products or services and voila! The product details with links to make a purchase are sent to directly the users email inbox . The motto here is, if you as a user loved a particular product, you don’t need to go and ask anyone about the source of their purchase, rather it’s sent to your email directly.

Such type of social media power tools integration can do wonders for eCommerce sites as users can get recommendations from their social media influencers and at the same time do not have to go through the hassle of finding out the details of the website from where they could buy the product.

Plus, the biggest advantage is that it is not a spam recommendation. Rather, it’s something that users have opted for to make their purchase decisions and process simpler!

4. Customer metrics, insights and data:

From consumer behavior insights to traffic metrics and actual goal conversions on your eCommerce site through the journey of a visitor becoming a prospect and finally getting converted to a customer, these types of data prove crucial for your brand and or eCommerce site to understand user behavior. Metrics, insights, and data can reveal the following:

  • Understanding why consumers behave in a certain way on your website
  • What type of deal, combo pricing offer, discounts, value-adds etc appeals more to users
  • When are they visiting the site most and/or are online
  • What are their most popular searches on your site
  • Where do they spend the most amount of time on your site
  • How does their journey look on your site and where is the exit point most frequently occurring

…and the list continues.

Sites like Google analytics, IBM Watson analytics, Clicktale etc give you power packed insights about consumer behavior online across every touch point of their digital journey. With this you can also understand which type of content connects with users the most and then redesign or update your site with ‘relevant information’.

“Data today is the heart of a digital marketing campaign and content is the soul of a brand”

5. Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO):

Increase visitors or traffic to your website as a goal is passé! Now it’s about increasing targeted visitors across specific demographics during a said point of time on your site.

SEO and SEM play a crucial role even today. But the rules of the game have changed drastically. It’s no longer about simply optimizing your website for keywords. In fact, the latest updates on search  engine  ranking  and  optimization  focus  even  on  aspects  like  lesser  repetition  of core keywords and in this place, search engines are beginning to recognize ‘related keywords’ in the search results

For example, instead of optimizing digital marketing as a core keyword across a blog post or a website, using words like digital marketer, social media professional, digital marketing professionals, etc, might have a much better impact. This rule comes with an idea to ensure reduction of “extremely high keyword usage” and rather have a finesse in the content that users would enjoy reading. It’s more about valuable information and content than just keyword density today. It’s about relevance!

With  this,  ensure  to  also  invest  using  content  marketing and  blog  writing  strategies  to  help you generate power content with valuable information that your readers will find resourceful to go through. With the advent of image recognition software’s being used, also ensure to use images that are not only visually appealing but make sense to the product and or brand content shared.

6. Pay Per Clicks: (PPC):

Well, with the above suggestion to focus on organic reach with keyword and value enhancement, ensure that you as an eCommerce site do not ignore paid ads. Pay per click ads using Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc, can go a long way when used properly. It can empower your keywords across search engines to get displayed on the top and at premium positions and at the same time help you to get targeted users looking specifically for a range of products, deals, offers and services across specific locations and time to visit your website.

7. Social Media feeds integration:

Yes, that’s correct. More and more users are tagging brands and product pages these days.

With Facebook’s new rule of allowing brands and influencers to share and tag brand pages directly through posts and even advertise them, integrating a said keywords or hashtags across your brand’s product pages or twitter profiles can be a great way to increase trust about the products and services among users.

For example, Twitter, Pinterest, Slideshare, and Youtube feeds can be clearly seen across search results these days. So ensure to empower your trust as a brand with the same.

The integrating power of social media tools for feeds integration and updates or online promotions with sites like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can be a great way to do the same. As an eCommerce site, maintaining your image takes a lot of effort, manpower, and resources, not to mention the time. So integrating automation tools across digital platforms to share updates about your latest news, products etc can be a great way to save time and share digital media marketing updates about your brand, products and services.

Following types of social media feeds can also empower you to gain more trust today as a brand. Let’s face it, today, more than ever before, with all the data about the organization and customers out there, we are truly in the business of trust-building. Everything is easily quantified and measured, so much that it is visible to the prospect and your existing customer alike. So it is core for any business across industries and countries today to ensure that the right message about your Organization reaches the right prospect:

  • Share your Consumer Ratings and Product Reviews publicly.
  • Share customer Testimonials posted on your website or your social brand page with users online.
  • Share real numbers that your business or brand has accomplished, for eg. 1450 users are using this tool or service, 10,450 plus products sold, etc

A  site  like “turntonetworks” can  do  wonderful things  like  showcase  reviews,  ratings,  visual reviews, comments by users and prospects on products in real-time, forum based chat to help users with queries etc as a power packed tool for your eCommerce digital integration.

8. Email marketing:

If you are a brand that has over the years, built a wonderful targeted database of users on your website, email marketing can be a great way to reach out to consumers who have already previously expressed interest in your brand or services by subscribing to your website or newsletters etc. Ensure that you do not spam them; make sure your email marketing campaign is simple, creative, visual and has a clear call to action.

9. Gamification:

Allow users on your website who make purchases, leave reviews, ratings, testimonials etc to earn a virtual badge of some sort that showcases an appreciation for their time spent on your brand. These users are not just customers for your eCommerce site but also your brand ambassadors online. So adding gratification by giving them discounts, deals, offers, and integrating valuable LOYALTY Programs with the gamification process as an ecommerce site can go a long way for you.

Badgeville is a site that can help you create gamification apps. You can also have an in-house digital team, digital marketing agency, or a social media professional design a marketing campaign that integrates gamification techniques not as a tool, but rather as a process to empower your brand users with an instant gratification.

There is so much more that you can do today as an eCommerce site for great success. Hope you found this post both, valuable and insightful. Feel free to share your views, queries and experiences with me here, or tweet E-Commerce Nation!