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18 Proven E-commerce Best Practices

By

Louie Pitlo

|

March 9, 2017

Introduction

This is a compilation of the industry’s best practices in E-commerce.

1. Select metrics you can act upon

Determine how to make the right content available for better conversions by learning about your site visitors especially where they originate. Analytics tools can help you explore about performance against goals with their integrated charts and paragraphs. Select matrices that are relevant for your business and the job at hand. How? Consider if the metrics contribute to your

With this in mind, start with a clear understanding of your business and/marketing objectives.

2. Keep it visual

Keep in mind that a single chart or graph can be comprehended almost immediately compared to number-based tables. So it would be best that you should emphasise "visualising" data either in charts and graphs as compared to overloading with tables.

Currently, dashboards include bar graphs, line graphs, heat maps, and scatterplots are widely used because of its high impact since it makes reading data very clear and easy.

Make use of colours, shapes, lines, thickness of borders, shading degrees and the lot to leverage visual perception. Then include a widget or 3D graphic treatments.

3. Make it interactive

Visually engaging and relevant matrices matters a lot. Create your data presentation in a way the individual viewers can interact with it and get the answers they seek. You can provide and equip your viewers to get the big picture insight and make use of the data and use it for their decision-making. Best thing is that they can do that in a matter of 1-2 clicks. There are interactive dashboards in the market that enable your users to perform basic analytical tasks: (a) filtering views, (b) adjusting parameters, and (c) drilling down to examine underlying data. – all with intuitive selections on the dashboard.

4. Keep your data current or don’t bother

Remember to always have an updated data available and that your selected metrics reflect current business challenges. The data should always be a representative of or relevant to your current situation. Typically, key metrics will include customer satisfaction, product profitability, or quarter-to-quarter revenue growth.

5. Make access easy

This one is significant. Browser-based distribution of your content is ideal and make sure that it for users to select a link and go right to your menu across your platforms – desktop or mobile devices.

You make post content on websites, Wiki’s, or blogs. File-based distribution of your content will present data synchronisation issues. For example, people reading old versions will have difficulty accessing your content and then

6. Show rather than tell

Make use of photos and include multiple views of each of your products. Use rich media such as thumbnail, hover, zoom, 360 degree - rotate, colour or texture swatches, among others and multimedia files such as images, videos, electronic docs, audio files, links, and others. It will give your customer as much “hands-on” experience with your product as possible.

You should be able to classify, manage, search and display digital files (image, videos, audios, electronic documents, and others on your website content pages, customer profile pages, catalogue pages, landing pages and others.

You also should assign digital product image files to your inventory SKUs to enable product images to be printed on fulfilment documents and order invoices.

Create embedded file links to the internal repository and external sources, such as external URLs, email, among others and control the display of one or multiple images (thumbnail, hover, zoom, 360°-rotate, color/texture swatches, etc.) as well as multimedia files (images, videos, electronic docs, audio files, links, etc.) which should be assigned to individual catalogue items, catalogue categories and catalogue pages.

7. Make the most out of your User Reviews

One of a great promotional tool online is your user reviews given that 61% of online customers read reviews prior to making the purchase decision. At the same time, 63% of customers are likely to buy from sites that have user reviews.

With this in mind, you should add a customer product review to product detail pages. Also, add a product comparison to product detail pages. You may also try providing catalogue feeds to comparison shopping engines such as Google Base, NexTag, PriceGrabber, Buy.com, and others.

8. Make it Easy for your Customers to find Help

Provide your customers numerous ways to get in touch with you if they have a query or problem. FAQs, customer service, live chat, email support and telephone numbers always work. And these options should be easily found on any page of your site.

9. Be Proactive in Helping your Customers

Do you want to make your customers coming back to you? Then make use of web chats, virtual assistants and collaborative browsing. These are all great ways for you to be proactive in helping your customer find what they want, or answer queries they may have. These tools also decrease cases of abandoned shopping carts and increase customer satisfaction thereby promoting a return visit.

You may implement third-party applications to support enhanced front-end website capabilities such as Live Chat, widgets like

10. Handle Customer Errors Gracefully

Cases wherein customer cause site errors so make sure that when this event happens, you handle those errors gracefully. Create and display a clear, easy-to-read and easy-to-find error message through agile CMS platforms. Add information about how to get in touch with you if they continue having trouble.

11. Make your Check Out Process Accessible Everywhere

Make sure your checkout process easy to access and see from every page by displaying “Add to Cart” or “View Cart” buttons effectively. Position your mini carts on any web page enabling your shoppers to quickly and easily view items and item totals through mini cart mouse-over pop-up and pop-over that can be expanded into full cart display.

12. Site Navigation should not Distract your Customers from in Checkout

During the checkout process, you should minimise or even eliminate unnecessary navigational choices to improve sales conversion rates. No up-selling or cross-selling at this point as this could result in losing the entire sale. Keep contents and the site navigation simple and get your customers through the checkout process as quickly and conveniently as possible.

13. Simplify Your Checkout Process

Your checkout process should be simple for users, and efforts should be made to remove unnecessary barriers to order completion. Repetitive fill up of customer info contributes to cart abandonment. Provide guest (no login) and expedited return customer checkout (login). Also, enable billing and shipping address information to automatically populate for return customers.

At the same time, enable guest or first-time shoppers to create an account (customer profile) and allow returning customer to edit their profile. You should recognise return visitors through the use of cookies and endeavour to provide display checkout breadcrumbs at top of page.

Additionally, create and store multiple domestic and international billing and shipping addresses and activate customer shipping address validation and correction at checkout, registration as well as profile update. You should create validate customer telephone and email address format and automatically populate shipping address from “same as billing address. You should also enable customers to select from the preferred credit card on file and ship multiple ordered items or individual line items to multiple shipping addresses using different ship methods.

14. Make Site Navigation Easier

Most especially in the checkout process complicated navigation or too many pages are the top reasons for cart abandonment and bounce rates. Simply use a simple, single-page checkout process to make it even easier for customers.

Do this: streamline your checkout and one-step checkout process. Use Single-page order creation and checkout.

15. Provide Complete Transparency

Display your pricing and shipping options clearly, early and often. Also, display shipping options and applicable shipping and handling costs, tax and dynamically recalculate totals as the customer makes edits to the order. If not, it will lead to irritated customers and excite on check out.

Your checkout should include images of the product being ordered and helps to reaffirm the purchase for the customer. Provide order summary on the cart and checkout pages, including a number of item information, item images, shipping, subtotals, discounts, tax and order total.

16. Offer Multiple Payment Options

Provide your customers with many payment options and gateways as possible, everything from credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, bank transfers, purchase orders to PayPal should be included.

17. Provide Multiple Delivery Options

Provide multiple delivery options, for example, same-day, next-day, in-store pickup, at-home delivery, nearest store delivery, and others. Customers are always excited to receive their products and expect an omnichannel experience where they are able to choose how they want their products delivered and when they want to receive them.

Given that in mind, apply complex business rules to govern how B2C and B2B orders are managed as well as processed through their lifecycle from capture through delivery execution across one or multiple fulfilment points. Then automatically route fully executable “perfect” orders to the best fulfilment provider based on configurable business rules.

In addition, improve your order delivery performance, time and costs by order sourcing logic driven by customer promise date, provider proximity to

18. Make Return Policies and Help clearly Visible

Make sure that your return policies are clearly visible, as should access to customer service. This includes phone numbers for store locations so that customers feel more confident knowing they can call you if they have a question or if there’s a problem with their order.

Customer service information should also be exposed throughout the checkout process. Then add a store locator that displays the store profile and maps, providing customers with a list of nearby store locations in order of proximity, and include store telephone numbers.

Also, provide security assurances, such as SSL certificates and security banners. Strategies like IP Filtering, Integration Authentication requires HTTPS, SSL Encryption, HIPAA/Safe Harbor/PCI-DSS certified and control permissible billing and shipping countries and/or territories at checkout always works at giving your sense of security with your site.

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