Rules for Ecommerce Success

If the past year has shown retailers anything, it’s that having an ecommerce presence isn’t an optional extra any longer. In Canada, retail ecommerce sales reached $3.9B in May 2020, a 2.3% increase over April’s numbers and a staggering 99.3% increase over February. Year over year, in fact, online sales in Canada more than doubled between May 2019 and May 2020, and given the ongoing concerns about safety, it’s not surprising that many consumers are still choosing delivery and curbside pickup options, even as stores in many areas reopen for business.

Still thinking about getting your business online? Here are some of the top points to consider.

Website design

Did you know that the average internet user spends just 15 seconds on a website? That’s not a lot of time to get their attention. And it means that your website’s design can make or break the success of your online business.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Use colours and fonts that are consistent with your brand.
  • Keep the design simple, with just a few key elements on each page.
  • Make it easy to navigate between items – and always make sure that your website is optimized for mobile.
  • Avoid long blocks of text.
  • Consider a “new customer discount offer” to encourage customers to share their email addresses.

What are some other important elements to focus on? You’ll want to invest in great product photography that makes your products look as appealing as possible. To help shoppers find their way around, your site should have clear menus and an easy-to-use search function. And with seamless inventory management, stock levels can be updated automatically, so shoppers aren’t disappointed by surprise “out of stock” notifications after they place an order. And finally, make the essential information – price, product data, shipping and delivery fees, returns policy and contact information – obvious and easy to find.

Checkout process

The checkout process is where shoppers often get lost. Did you know that nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before purchase? Here are the top reasons why shoppers abandon their online carts:

  • High extra costs for shipping, taxes and fees – 49%
  • Being forced to create an account – 24%
  • Lengthy delivery times – 19%
  • The checkout process takes too long – 18%

While some of these (taxes!) are out of your control, you can make it easier for customers to check out quickly and painlessly. What’s most important here?

  • Your online checkout should never send customers to a different site.
  • Add a guest checkout option so that customers don’t have to create an account in order to make a purchase.
  • Let customers know where they are in the checkout process. A simple progress bar can clearly show how many steps still need to be completed.
  • If you can, offer free shipping. If that’s not an option, consider flat rate shipping.
  • Use email to follow up with customers who’ve left items in their carts.

Payments enablement

One of the most important elements of any ecommerce site is that it’s easy for customers to pay. But what does that mean for your website?

As a top priority, you’ll want to include payment options that every customer will find appealing. For most businesses, that means taking credit card payments, as well as payments using digital wallets like Google Pay and PayPal. These payment services can also function as an “express pay” option for customers who don’t want to create an account on your site.

Security

Customers want to know that you take their privacy seriously, and that you’ll store their information securely and protect it against data breaches. Here are some of the most important considerations when it comes to payments security:

  • Follow PCI DSS compliance standards, and don’t store any transaction data.
  • Make sure that your system alerts you to any suspicious activity, like multiple orders placed using the same payment card or by the same person.
  • Use Secure Server Layer (SSL) Certificates to encrypt sensitive customer information.
  • Make sure your ecommerce site has secure firewalls in place, as well as protection against malware.
  • Work with your web hosting company to conduct regular security audits of your ecommerce site.

Just getting your business online isn’t enough any longer – to be successful, your website also has to be user-friendly, easy to navigate and, above all, secure. And while this might sound like a lot, the good news is that customers are already looking for your business online. Don’t make them wait any longer!

Want more info about getting your business online? Contact us today to learn more about ecommerce solutions that are right for your business. Call us at 1-800-957-0534 or email us at info@merrco.com.

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