Although the odds are stacked against many businesses right now, agile brands are seeing success by moving their stores online. Thankfully, in today's climate, online stores are relatively easy to set up and manage. But that doesn't mean success is imminent. Running an online store requires an entirely different approach than a traditional brick and mortar retailer. But if the success seen by companies like Adidas are any indicator, now is a good time to prioritize an ecommerce launch.
No matter how robust your current ecommerce setup is, this guide will give you a quick look into the tools and steps you need to get your store operational as soon as possible.
1. Prioritize User Experience
There’s a whole industry about creating perfect websites that are going to drive sales – and luckily there are a lot of options to explore. One of the best places to start is by looking at the top direct-to-consumer brands and understand their design elements that have driven success.
Technically speaking, there are many options for ecommerce stores today. Whether you choose a simple ecommerce plugin for your existing WordPress site or move your store operations over to Shopify will depend on your long term goals, budget, and store type. Thankfully, these tools require less and less technical prowess to launch a store, so agility is an option.
If you're more in the optimization stage of perfecting your store, you should take accessibility, page load time, and general conversion-boosting tactics in mind.
2. Focus More on Community-Driven Content
Aligned with the first point, community-driven content (often known as user-generated content) is paramount to good user experience. And right now, with photoshoots canceled, creating good content can be a tricky process. Now is a good time to engage existing or previous customers to encourage them to share content pertaining to your brand.
Looking for examples and inspiration? Check out these top brands and learn how they're collecting and displaying their most engaged customers on their ecommerce stores.
3. Remove Payment Headaches
It’s highly important for customers to trust you and your business. If you have built a brand in the offline world that has an excellent reputation, you need to keep this reputation on the internet too.
Setting up a perfect payment system is a must. If customers experience fraud through your page, your internet adventure will be over. You don’t need to be directly responsible for this. A third party may breach your system and steal customers’ information, and you’re going to be the one to blame. So make sure the payment system is simple, but still with enough encryption and security features that will keep customers safe.
Most reliable ecommerce stores can handle this for you, but make sure you're keeping data secure, and using trusted sources that are GDPR compliant will ensure your brand is set up to maintain trust with customers.
4. Focus on Digital Engagement
The promotions and tactics you used to engage customers in-store might need some tweaking before you bring your customers online. But digital engagement is critical. No matter where your customers are engaged (social media, email, specific forums), it's important to get their input and encourage them to share feedback. With more time at home, customers have a lot more time to engage with brands. Whether you're hosting a contest, launching a new engagement campaign, or running frequent polls, now is the time to get creative.
Some brands are relying on digital events to get their community interested in the brand, which has proved to be a revolutionary way to engage right now. Others are taking a combined approach of Zoom hangouts and digital campaigns, like these nine brands that can inspire your next community-driven initiative.
Even if your brand is seeing incredible success right now, like many D2C CPG brands are, it's important to keep the digital community prioritized right now.
5. Solicit Feedback and Reviews Post-Purchase
Many new etailers forget that the feedback loop post-conversion is just as important to the initial conversion. Remember that acquiring a new customer always costs more than getting the same customer to purchase again. Solicit feedback in post-purchase emails and encourage customers to upload pictures of themselves using the products to build a stronger brand connection (as a bonus, you can use that image in new marketing communications, with permission).
Additionally, ratings and reviews are critical to new ecommerce stores. Customers trust each other more than they trust brands – especially new brands. Highlight the voice of your customer in ratings and reviews, and showcase the most passionate customers on your site through user-generated content. If you can keep people purchasing again and again from your site, you'll build a flywheel for content, sales, and a thriving brand community.
Andriana Moskovska is a content curator and contributor at SaveMyCent. With a passion for tech and marketing and a degree in English Language and Literature, she always manages to deliver well-researched and impeccably written content. When she’s not writing her next piece, you can find her immersed in some of the classics, or planning her next trip.