Top Tips for Creating a Successful Online Retail Business (Part 1)

If retail brands can be there instantly, effectively and meaningfully when customers need them most, those same brands can create amazing online experiences for customers and inspire positive emotions, influencing behaviour at scale.

Major marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, come with restrictive seller policies. These venues downplay merchants’ branding to maintain their own homogenous image.

Sellers with their own online stores play a different game. They have complete control over their customers’ experiences. Whether it’s rearranging product placement or highlighting a store sale, these businesses can use their website to directly connect with their customers and encourage purchases.

To start attracting buyers and retaining loyal customers, here are 7 tips for creating a successful online retail business:

  1. Linking conversations future-proofs Customer Experience

Customer experience should be a key part of your business strategy in 2020 as responding quickly to customer queries is no longer enough for a truly future-proof customer experience strategy.

With over 3.2 billion people worldwide actively using different social media channels, sales and marketing teams need to mirror consumers by moving easily between online communication channels and conversations, while retaining linked records of those conversations — putting savvy brands ahead of the competition and providing greater levels of personalisation.

 

  1. Incorporate a Web Chat function to your website

With a sole focus on exceptional customer service, online-only supermarkets like Ocado have found that making web chat their channel of choice helps reduce customer effort when contacting the retailer, increases customer satisfaction and reduce costs. The aim is to have the vast majority of web conversations end positively.

Customers are more interested in getting their issue resolved, rather than using their preferred channel. As web chat is the easiest channel to resolve most queries, making this actively visible to customers provides an effortless experience. While web chat is live conversation, it allows agents time to source the correct information without the immediate pressure to say the right thing compared to a phone call.

 

  1. Gain insight from social data

Web chat has grown significantly but organizations are using social media to better connect with their customers, listening to what customers are saying, engaging with them, and leveraging broad social data sets to gain insights that can be used to support customers. Social is a great way to take the pulse of what your customers are saying.

When customers are using all social channels to communicate with any organization, employees must have the ability to respond using those same channels. Almost every person in any organization can benefit from the rich data available from social media.

 

  1. Maintain a ‘human element’ to your customer experience

With technologies like AI and chatbots transforming customer experience, the perceived risk is that they may isolate consumers who require a human interaction. However, not everything that can be automated, should be automated. At the heart of every great consumer experience is a perfect synergy between human empathy and digital engagement.

 

  1. Measure social value in terms of real return

Social media presents some measurement challenges, and it’s difficult for most businesses to establish precisely the ROI of various social media efforts. In fact, many ignore the tough challenge of measuring their efforts in terms of business value in favour of focusing on vanity metrics: likes, comments, shares, retweets, and posts. Instead, you should be asking questions like: “Are we increasing customer satisfaction?” “Are we increasing revenue?” “Have we improved customer retention?”

 

  1. Engaging Web Design

It doesn’t matter if you have the best product possible in your niche and the best customer service on top of that—if your store’s web design isn’t up to scratch, your online business presence is doomed. According to a recent study, 93% of buyers consider visual appearance to be the most important factor when making a purchase.

 

To create a profitable online store, you can either pay a pretty penny to a web designer or take it upon yourself to learn to code. Alternatively, you can just get a ready-made template and customize it to your needs. Fortunately, there are thousands of great ecommerce templates on the web that have clean designs, intuitive layouts, and follow the latest web design trends.

 

Design elements should captivate visitors, such as using full-width images and avoiding distraction with minimal text.

 

  1. Partner with Other Brands.

Giving your hard-earned money to a little-known company isn’t easy for most buyers. Establish your reputation by showing which companies are working with you. They don’t necessarily need to be on the scale of a Coca-Cola or Apple, but even small companies can add a degree of trustworthiness to your enterprise. The more partners you have, the better.

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