4 easy ways to give your ecommerce site the edge

by The Salmat Team
10 November 2016

The goal of retail has always been to attract customers and get sales, and create such a great experience that customers become brand advocates. But while digital technology has given us useful tools to do this, it has also created higher expectations among customers. Here are four key ways you can meet these expectations and maintain your competitive edge.

1. More personalisation

Customers expect personal service. Thanks to technology, you can learn more about them, their interests, and their preferences than ever before. This means you can create engaging and highly targeted digital marketing programs using their behaviour and profile information. If you know it’s their birthday, you can easily greet them and send special offers. (Check out this Pinterest board for some birthday offer inspiration from a range of brands.) You know their history with your business, which means you can tailor individual messages.

Celebrate your customer's birthdays with a personalised offer

According to Quick Sprout, over 66% of online customers over the age of 15 have made a purchase because of a marketing email. It’s even more powerful when that email is personalised; research by Experian Marketing Services found open rates, click rates, transaction rates, and revenue per email are all much higher when your content is personalised.

2. Fast and seamless service

Customers are impatient. They’re not willing to wait because they know there are other options out there. As Paul Greenberg, CEO of NORA, Australia’s industry body for online retail, puts it: “The Australian shopper has the wheel, no doubt about that, as the locus of control has shifted from the retailer to the shopper. So the question good retailers are asking is, ‘How can we create the smoothest ride for customers?’ Clearly a freeway with lots of lanes and no speed limit is a good start.”

The CMO's Guide to Digital Benchmarking

Having an e-commerce solution that’s secure, robust, and scalable, working flawlessly on both desktop and mobile, is critical. The path to purchase needs to be error free and make it easy for customers to search for and find products. Some platforms enable real-time customer service, so you can troubleshoot before a customer abandons their cart – which, according to the Baymard Institute, as many as as 68% of customers do.

Platforms such as Shopify Plus integrate live chat into the checkout, answering any questions the customer might have that would prevent them from completing the purchase, and building trust in your brand.

3. Get interactive

Customers are highly social online, and expect you to be as well. Social reviews and recommendations are now more influential than TV advertising on buying decisions, according to a new study by Deloitte. Over half of consumers found that social media “improves perception of a company/brand”. Having a presence on key social sites that your customers use is an important part of your online marketing.

Sheridan Australia has a very clear persona on Instagram

If your marketing team has developed 'personas' for your various audiences, these identities should also point to the social platforms they're most likely to be found. There's no point investing time in a channel if your customers aren't there. Your website should also be socially shareable.

Social is about two-way communication. While this makes it a powerful way to build trust, it’s also a significant investment in time and training. Major brands have entire teams of people managing their social activities. For smaller players, outsourcing to social marketers and community managers may be more cost effective.

4. Provide a unique experience

Customers increasingly prioritise experiences over things. This is particularly true with younger consumers. During last summer’s spike in national retail spend, movies, health, and wellbeing products were most popular. It all serves to demonstrate that customers need to know how your product or service will make their lives better – the ‘why’, not the ‘what’.

Even the experience of buying can be as important as getting the final product. This starts with flawless product presentation in your e-commerce store, making it easy for customers to find what they want. The buying experience doesn’t end at the point of purchase, but continues on to after-sale care and future marketing campaigns.

Looking to drive your e-commerce store to new heights? Salmat’s digital marketing capabilities can help you drive sales and reach new audiences. Get a quote or call 1300 725 628.

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About the author
The Salmat Team

Salmat is a leading Australian marketing services provider. We help clients connect with their customers, week-in, week-out. Salmat's unique combination of targeted letterbox and online marketing channels enables clients to Reach, Convert and Serve their customers. We also provide a wide range of back office solutions, through our Philippines-based Managed Services business.

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