The modern storefront has morphed into a screen. Whether that be on a computer, tablet, cellphone, or other mobile device, consumers are now able to purchase anything with the tap of a finger. Amazon Prime members can order refills of common household items by pressing a Dash Button or prompting the Amazon Echo through voice command. Renewal services like Blue Apron and Stich Fix take thought out of the equation. It is now possible for consumers to never leave the comfort of their home.
To stay competitive in today’s business environment, you need to have an online presence, even if you’re selling professional services.
So, what are the secrets to a successful ecommerce operation?
Protecting Customer Data
Cybercrime has never been more prevalent, damaging, and scary for consumers who shop online, and thusly, cybersecurity has never been more important. When a customer selects your business as one they are going to make a purchase through, they are trusting you with their most valuable information. As a business owner, you should respect each transaction as such.
Having plans in place to not only prevent a data breach, but also how to react to one if a problem occurs is critical. Protecting your customers’ personally identifiable information (aka PII) should be of the highest priority.
Digital Customer Service
Just because you may only interact with your clients through a screen doesn’t mean that you can lag on providing optimal customer service. With the rise of the Internet, competition has never been fiercer, and quality customer service allows your ecommerce business to stand out from the rest.
Problems will arise, and it’s how your staff responds to issues that will set you apart. Consider having client service representatives on-hand, ready to respond to calls, emails, and social media inquiries, for as many hours a day as you can afford. It may seem counterintuitive for a modern e-commerce operation, but with digital interactions becoming a way of life, actual human-to-human conversations have become a valued commodity worth investing in.
Do your best to replicate the same customer service standards that you would if your store was a brick-and-mortar retail operation. Staff training and customer onboarding can play an important role in creating happy clients.
Capitalizing on Customer Loyalty
One of the most attractive benefits of the ecommerce world is the ability to connect and engage with your customers faster and more frequently than ever before. Digital promotions, sweepstakes, and exclusive discounts are only some of the ways e-commerce operators can capitalize on customer loyalty.
Here are a few tips for keeping customers engaged and loyal:
- Offer exclusive perks and promotions. Make your top buyers feel special.
- Gamify your promotions. The modern customer is obsessed with reaching goals and earning achievements. Whether it be through a point system or something custom and clever, adding an element of gaming will do you well.
- Perfect your timing. Keep your discounts infrequent enough to make them valuable, and engage your customers enough to keep them thinking about you.
Design Comes Last
While it’s tempting to start by focusing on the design of your amazing, sleek new homepage, take a few steps back. Perfect the backbone of your product before overwhelming it with bells and whistles. Prioritize data protection and user experience above all. Design should be the last step.
The modern storefront is ever-evolving, so work to make your operations, website, and products sustainable and adaptable to constant changes. Keep yourself and your team members educated on industry trends. Appearing innovative and in-the-know can add significant value to your brand.