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Last Updated On: 24/05/2019

How To Run An Effective Eshop?

By The Campus Digital

Running an e-shop is tough.

But luckily there are some ways to make it less tough. Having built numerous e-shops ourselves we know the struggle is real.

A lot of clients ask us how to lighten the load.

And because we also act as consultants, we figured it’d be nice to have it available online in a comprehensive article.

Here we share some small secrets on how to run an effective e-shop:

Up-Sell and Cross-Sell

It is much easier (and cheaper) to sell to a existing customer than someone new. Therefore, focus your efforts on upselling rather than to acquire new customers all the time.

You can do this via an incentive like: “Buy a 2nd product to unlock free shipping or get 40% off for your 2nd order product. Or leveraging: “Customers who bought this frequently buy…” (cross sell).

Another example: someone purchases a mobile phone and you can suggest a Bluetooth handsfree set. Or you can say the handsfree is part of a package, going as a special package deal.

Focus in Niche and Positioning

Because there are already a lot of e-shops and severe competition like Amazon and eBay, to be able to make a difference you need to choose a niche.

For instance, you can refrain from selling furniture and instead specialise in furniture for kids and use this expertise as your competitive advantage.

By specialising in this niche you will be able to position yourself as the go-to expert and you’ll perform much better.

Track and Split Test

As no one is perfect, there is also not a perfect e-shop. Thus, there is room for improvement, wouldn’t you say?

Try out new methods, new copy, new colors etc. Make sure to have Google Analytics or other tracking mechanisms in place to see track the performance of your site.

For instance, you can track the Conversion Rate. When one out of a hundred visitors buys something from you, then you have a conversion rate of 1%.

An even better way to do this is via split testing, which is part of Conversion Rate Optimisation. You will send half of your visitors to the default website and the other half to an improved one. Now you can see what performs better and implement the changes.

Return of Investment (ROI)

A very important factor is to keep a constant eye on ROI. See what you’re spending and see what you earn.

Use tracking systems to see how your customers are finding you, so you can see what promotion is doing well and which isn’t.

Monitoring your ROI will be a vital point for your next promotional move.

Thank-You Page

When a customer placed a purchase he or she should land on a thank-you page, which plays a vital role in your success.

Why?

The customer already placed trust in your business by spending time and money in getting your product. This is the ideal opportunity to suggest something else (remember upselling?). Do you need more Facebook Page likes? This is your opportunity.

Remember coupons? How about you let the customer share his purchase on social media in return for a coupon? Make sure to set your objective and use this golden opportunity!

Email Newsletter and Automation

When someone subscribes to your newsletter or signs up for an account, it’s a good idea to send him/her an automated message thanking for signing up.

You can even provide a gift like an eBook, white paper or coupon. This way we can show our appreciation and also pre-program our readers that the newsletter contains something valuable.

The more popular email marketing platforms are Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Aweber (more contenders can be found here).

Easy Direct Contact

The more difficult you are to reach, the less interaction. Make sense right, but have you implemented it as well?

Do you provide phone support? Create an icon, add your phone number next to it and place it somewhere visible, so visitors can reach out to you easily.

Alternatives can be via an easy to reach contact form or a live chat widget, usually placed in the down-right corner.

Make life easy on your customers, right?

Abandoned Carts

If you don’t do it already: track your abandoned carts (this is when someone adds an item in the basket, but doesn’t proceed with the checkout).

You could reach out to this customer and ask if something happened or why (s)he didn’t complete the order. By sending a follow-up email reminding the item is still available in the cart, you will recover an amount of those “almost purchases”.

Additionally, you could send a coupon to stimulate the customer to come back, but be aware that some customers hunt for this on purpose.

If your e-shop does not support abandoned carts, then it might be time for an upgrade…

Contests

Contests are an easy way of getting more exposure. And with e-shops it gets even easier: locate a very popular product and create a contest winning this particular item.

Share it on social media and via email to make sure everyone becomes aware of your giveaway. Everyone likes gifts!

Surprise Gifts

Other than giving gifts upfront, another way of getting more traction is including a surprise gift in the placed order. Because this was unexpected, the customer will be positively surprised and will talk about you.

Shipping charges

A big concern for customers is how shipping is handled. Ideally free shipping would give you an edge, but this is not available for everyone.

Include a button that brings the customer to the shipping info and include several shipping options (instant = more expensive, normal or free = takes more time).

Ease and Useful Information

Imagine yourself in the supermarket and standing in front of the cereals. Just how many options do you have?

Most likely customers need some of your guidance, especially when you offer a lot of products. You can help them via suggested products or pointing to best sellers. Also include enough high quality pictures, so the customer sees what he/she gets.

On your homepage you can add a video showcasing your product or your company, so the customer is able to connect with you.

Do you have reviews enabled? If not, this is a good way of social proof and will stimulate your potential customers.

Easy Structure and Search

Concerning your products: provide a good variety and organise them in groups. Per mail category it’s good to have 5-7 sub-groups so keep things clutter free.

Use search filters or a tagging system so a customer can easily find what they are looking for. Try to imagine yourself as a customer and go through the shopping experience. Whatever is bothering you, will bother your customers. And then fix it.

Security and Privacy

Business is trust. Without trust there is no business.

Any e-shop getting hacked and/or their clients' personal information stolen is most-likely never to recover. Use all the available security as to avoid this entirely.

And why not use it an advantage? You can inform your customers what you have implemented by visible badges or icons on your website (perhaps your footer?)

Looking for one? Trust Guard is one of the leaders in this field, but of course there are many other options out there.

Speed ​and Simple Intuitive Design

Imagine yourself again in that supermarket. You finally chose the box of cereals you want and the moment you turn the corner, you see a big queue. How do you feel?

If you have this feeling on an e-shop, you’ll just click away.

Your e-shop needs to be quick and intuitive. Make it easy to order something with clear and contrasting buttons for “Add to cart”, “Proceed to checkout” and “Place order”.

We recommend usability tests, which are conducted by people who are not so tech savvy as to learn if your website is intuitive and what could be improved.

SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge subject. But to name a few, here’s what you need to do:

  • Have Search Engine Friendly links (SEF links) like www.shop.com/clothing/jeans/skinny.
  • All the pages should contain appropriate titles and descriptions.
  • Use canonical URLs or 301 redirects whenever applicable.

Google AdWords

If you’re running an ad campaign on Google AdWords and you’re not a specialist, it might be a good idea to consult an expert to do this for you. Based on the budget you can potentially save a lot of money. Sounds weird, right? But it does!

For instance, you need to have Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking linked to your Google Analytics account as to understand which keyword is profitable.

Buyers who have found you through your Google AdWords campaign need to be tracked, compared to someone who types in your website directly, as to understand what you’re paying for your marketing and what you make in return.

But what if the customer saw your ad and then a week later types in the website directly? In this case you need a 2nd tracking mechanism to see what’s going on in reality. Only then can you really calculate your expenses and your ROI.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a performance-based promotion method where someone else is promoting your products and once sold, the affiliate marketer can keep a commission.

To keep track of this you’d need an Affiliate System (program) provided by 3rd parties, also known as Affiliate Networks. Examples of those networks are Rakuten Linkshare, AWIN or TradeTracker.

Because it is performance based you only pay a commission once you have sold something.

Blog

Have you built a blog already? If not, it’s about time you do!

A blog is the ideal way of presenting new products, explain how to use your products and what problem they solve, tips and tricks to get the most out of the products and other relevant information for a larger target audience.

You can either have a blog built-in, accessible via www.shop.com/blog or www.blog.shop.com.

Create blog posts with interesting titles, add at least one picture and provide links to buy the products.

Even more engaging is vlogging (video blogging), which you can then also share on your social media channels, which your users will love.

Price Comparison Sites

One of the most well-known price comparison websites are Google Shopping, PriceGrabber and Shopping.com.

You can set up your account (some are free, others are paid) and link your XML file to automatically draw your products. This way you can gain a lot of customers when selling for the best price (this is not the only factor, but definitely one of the important ones).

Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.)

Nowadays your business cannot be absent from the social media platforms.

For instance, comments from buyers can stimulate other people to check out your products as well. And people generally want to be able to communicate with a brand.

So for your e-shop, have share buttons so your website visitors are able to share their favourite products with their friends and family. Don’t forget a share button for email too! (Yes, those are used still!)

Niche Websites

If you sell something particular as a product, most likely there will be a portal which specialises in this type of product.

If there are, reach out to them and you might be able to work out a deal with them for displaying your products as well.

Offline

Last but definitely not least: do not forget about traditional offline marketing methods like printing and sharing brochures or advertise in magazines or newspapers.

Campus Digital can help you with any from the above (minus the offline one, gotta keep it specialized right?). Reach out to us to see which difference we can make for your business.

 

You might also like:

  1. 7 Things To Keep In Mind Creating Your Logo
  2. How To Bring Customers Back Into Your Business
  3. The Psychology of Colour in Marketing
  4. Promoting Yourself Online: 9 Ways To Actually Deliver
  5. The Buying Cycle Explained (And Why You Should Know)

 

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