Most people think of e-commerce as when you purchase or sell products on the Internet. This is true, but an e-commerce software is much more competent than that and can help you throughout the whole sales process, including marketing and inventory management.
We are going to focus on the user experience and how important that is for your business.
Last week I went into a normal store to purchase a shirt. Of course this can be done over Internet as well, but I like to feel the quality before purchasing. I went into a store that was totally new for me. Once inside I tried to understand where the men's section was. There were no signs and I had no idea what section I walked through. I tried to find different signs to help me identify where I was and where I could go. The problem was that the store wasn't, in my way of thinking, organized in any way. Everything was mixed in the same place, including having shirts and trousers together.
I went to an employee to ask and with the perfect help I got to know where to find my section.
A few years ago this would have been impossible for me. I would have exited the store and never dared to go back again.
So, why is this story important in an article about e-commerce?
If we compare this to an Internet store, we can find that there are a few lessons to be learned:
- Organization of the information and goods in the store.
- Showing less information creates less confusion.
- Good and clear signs to take me where I want to go.
- If I need help I can easily get it.
Looking at the first point this is where we usually can see a big difference between well established companies and newly started businesses. When you create a business you are not always sure of what you should create. This makes it very hard to decide how to organize the information from the beginning.
However, it is important to understand that customers come back to well organized stores. Therefore it is better to create an organized structure for the time in business that you are at the moment. Decide to look through the structure on regular basis, for example once every quarter, and do the necessary changes if needed.
This will help your users to easier find what they are looking for and want to come back to your store even if they don't find what they are looking for the first time.
The second point is hard, especially on Internet with the requirements for online marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). Some sites on Internet seem to be competing for the price on who is showing the most text on their sites. This has become a trend, much because rumors say that this is the way you become higher ranked on the search engines.
It is important to understand that your first page is the image you want to give the world about yourself. A lot of businesses have understood this and we can see that among normal home pages the trend has now become to make it cleaner and with less information.
With an e-commerce store it is easy to get tempted to show a lot of products on the first page. However, too many ads create a lot of confusion and you tend to sell less. By having fewer ads with less products will make you sell more of those products and more all together.
The third and forth points are also a challenging point. It is important to direct people to where you want them to go. This could be a button for shopping cart, special offers, etc. But you also have to think about what kind of customers you have and what goes around in their heads. What your customers are thinking and are looking for when they come to your site.
I got good help in the store which made it possible for me to actually purchase a shirt. However, if I am more quiet and shy I wouldn't have asked anyone. This is when it is important to have good signs as a complement to good service.
These two points should be considered as one and complement each other. It is a matter of giving the service to the customers to keep them at your site, help them to purchase your products and also give them such a good experience that they want to recommend you to their friends.
When creating a service on Internet it is important to always look from the customer's perspective and ask yourself what you would want from your store. To be able to do that you have to study your customers, not only before you launch your Internet store but also afterwards. Do they really see the ad you want them to press? How high is your bounce-rate, i.e. how many people leave your site after coming to your first page?
It is also important to understand that you are expert in your field and about your store. You have to understand that people come to your store for the first time. Thinking about this will help you to configure your e-commerce software and website the way that will help you to give a great experience and loyal and happy customers.