An E-commerce Guide For Entrepreneurs
Whether you are an Entrepreneur selling “pajamas, concert tickets, shoes or shaving blades; E-commerce today has evolved and humanized beyond just convenience shopping.” There are not many credible sources where an entrepreneur can find a power-house list of how best to optimize E-commerce initiatives. Not much out there is well documented and provides great insight into how to personalize and optimize E-commerce initiatives. There is now.
I was introduced to a one-stop guide on this subject that is the Holy Grail of Ecommerce Optimization. The “gurus” of SEO community have embraced this list and have accepted its veracity. This list will definitely benefit entrepreneur community. There is no ‘cookie-cutter approach’ to successfully come-up with and implement an E-commerce strategy. Here are my picks from the guide that will help thinking in the right direction to build/optimize E-commerce stores.
User Experience is it but not the only ‘it’
Manage how the visitor to your E-commerce store ‘feels’, ‘thinks’ and ‘acts’ on your store. This process is part science and part art. To do this, breakdown the user experience you want to trigger into various touch points so that you can deliver unique experiences.
Experiences are triggered by how the store responds back to the visitor. However, experiences are managed by how streamlined and personalized the use of the site is. Here are some questions in the ‘Holy Grail’ guide that will help to learn about and address various User Experience elements.
What is the immediate impression that a user gets when he or she lands on your store?
What do users see when they type something in the product search?
What do users get in their mail box when they register, reset password, subscribe or place an order?
How are the users thanked when they perform an action, like new registrations, purchases, subscriptions etc?
What happens if a user lands on an ‘out of stock’ product page?
What happens if a user searches for a product that doesn’t exist?
What does a user see if he enters an invalid email address during registration?
How much information is required to be filled in order to complete the purchase?
How does your store inspire trust in the heart of the visitors?
How does your store reflect that you will promptly ship the purchased product(s) to his country on time?
User Experience must be optimized for conversion rate
After honing the User Experience elements, cater to maximizing and adapting to the derived and cultivated traffic. Converting the traffic into ‘value-action’ is key to E-commerce success. The ‘Holy Grail’ guide has a very instructive and highly acclaimed illustration that breaks down the whole process into 91 digestible steps.
Know your customers
‘You need to know your customers with the help of direct interactions and not just by empathetic assumptions.’ Learn about the customer by directly asking them. This can be achieved by adding an online survey tool (Qualaroo) to the store, introducing direct chat (Olark) interactions on the site, and by direct customer surveys (Survey Monkey) inviting feedback.
Optimizing various elements
Now comes the science of engineering your store to make it an art form. This is done by optimizing various crucial areas of your E-commerce store: Home Page, Navigation, Product Search Page and Checkout Page. Two additional areas for optimization include, Touch Point optimization and Load Speed optimization. Learn more about these in the ‘Holy Grail’ guide.
Information touch points
‘There are other information touch points on your store that most of your users will engage with while they make a buying decision. Since these are not critical touch points, they are often ignored. However, these information touch points are important as they give a human face to your store.’ These include showing product close up videos, educating the customer through guides and great visual product descriptions. Help the customers learn about you and your team. Make it easy for them to contact you. Provide timely support and help.
There are many more areas addressed in this guide that has much impressed me. Based on a seminal approach, this guide is a very instructive and contains ample detail to not only educate but also to help make decisive decisions about how to best begin/tweak the E-commerce journey. Good luck consuming this highly recommended guide!