e-commerce best practices

In 2016, Cyber Monday had the largest amount of e-commerce sales in history topping $3.4 billion in one day. This year the National Retail Federation expects e-commerce sales to grow 8-12%. Even with that kind of growth happening in the industry, it doesn’t mean guaranteed success. There are still e-commerce best practices that you should be adhering to to help you you achieve your sales growth goals.

As competition grows and more businesses take e-commerce more seriously, the necessity to be on top of your game gets more and more important. So here’s a list of a few best practices that you should be taking into account on your website.

Think Mobile

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s harder than you might think. Just because your website is responsive doesn’t mean that it’s all that mobile friendly. Stock templates and themes can often miss the mark when it comes to a mobile shopping experience.

Additionally, search engines rank websites that are mobile friendly better than ones who aren’t. This can only help you get in front of relevant searchers and potential buyers. Mobile friendly isn’t just about design, it’s also about site speed. Making sure you have ample bandwidth and server resources is paramount to making sure you have a fast e-commerce website.

Make UX a Priority

Speaking of site speed, this is a big part of user experience. No one likes a slow website. With e-commerce it’s more difficult to keep a website going fast, and therefore harder to keep users happy. But that’s only part of what keeps a user’s experience positive.

Having good internal linking, a clear checkout process, and of course a great search functionality will help the visitor. Of course there’s also SEO benefits to having good linking practices and making things as clear for the search engines that you possibly can.

Get Writing

There are tons of e-commerce stores on the internet, what sets yours apart? Blogging increases the keywords you can rank for and can attract people who aren’t just looking for a specific product but educating themselves on the subject matter.

Beyond the blog writing more content on product pages can help your buyers learn more about the product than they would on other websites. It’s time consuming but could mean the difference between you ranking for a product and your competitors.

Get Product Reviews

Product reviews, brand evangelists, anyone who is willing to either spread the word of your company or educate others on their experiences are vital. You can talk up a product all you want but many people trust the word of others over yours every time.

Take a page from Amazon, they’ve built their business on product reviews. It’s partly why they’re the biggest e-commerce website in the world. Additionally, creating brand evangelists will help your growth as well. If people are willing to help spread your word for you, that has more value than you trying to do it yourself.

Send products to bloggers, YouTubers, and other promoters of products in your industry. Let them give unbiased opinions. If they like it, there’s a better chance of you spreading than if you tried to buy your way in front of searchers. It also creates backlinks to your website. This continues to be one of the most important ranking factors on Google.

Use Keyword Research Tools

You might think you know what people are searching for, but odds are pretty good you’re off. Using tools like Moz’s keyword research tool can help you understand what people are searching for. This will help you with that content that you should be producing as well.

Making sure your products are keyword optimized is important, especially for those e-commerce stores that are getting descriptions from manufacturers. If you’re competing with multiple vendors of those manufacturers there’s a pretty good chance you have the same content as they do. You can’t set yourself apart if you all have the same content.

Follow Up on Cart Abandoners

It’s well known that cart abandonment is about 75% or more of those that put an item in their cart. We all do it. We all want to know how much shipping will be, and then comparison shop with other companies. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the road.

If you have a way to combine someone’s e-mail address with their cart, you can re-market to them. Additionally, using dynamic ads from Google and Facebook can help remind those folks you’re still there. Some people even intentionally abandon their cart to get a discount from cart abandonment emails. They’re looking for the business who follows up with them and gives them an incentive to buy, so be that company.

Wrapping It All Up

Just like any business there’s no guarantee of success online. But there are definitely things you could be doing to help yourself be more successful. If you see that your competitors are already doing it, don’t be discouraged, you can learn from them, and do it better. The worst thing you can do is to just do the status quo and get left behind.

With the growth continuing year over year, if you start doing these e-commerce best practices the chances of you having success are better than if you do nothing and hoping for the best.

Published 08/24/17 by Eric Lynch