The percentage of retail sales made online has been steadily increasing for the last couple of decades and, according to information from the Office of National Statistics, it seems this trend is only set to continue. Of course, this is fantastic news if you're a business owner who sells their wares online, but it also means that the e-commerce space is getting more and more competitive.
As a result, you need to do what you can to stand out among the competition and give potential customers a reason to spend their money on your goods or services, rather than those from other companies. Here are five strategies to ensure your e-commerce website is getting the attention it deserves from customers:
Offer a positive user experience
One of the main advantages of shopping online is that it's easy and convenient, so it's vital that you don't put potential customers off with a website that offers a poor user experience (UX). The most important thing is that your site is easy to use, and that it translates well to all devices, as someone might be visiting your site on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.
Page speed is also an important factor to consider. We're all used to being able to order whatever we want to wear, eat, or use at the touch of the button that we've grown quite impatient. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in two seconds or less, and 40% will abandon one if it takes longer than three seconds. So, in order to secure as many conversions as possible, it worth putting some work into keeping your loading time down.
Not only will offering a positive UX help to keep you in the good books of potential customers, but it can even help you to rank well on Google's search engine results pages. Google prefers to point people in the direction of sites that are going to give the best possible browsing experience, so you'll struggle to improve your online visibility if your website doesn’t do this.
Clearly highlight your USP
As the e-commerce world is constantly becoming more competitive, you need to make sure you're doing things differently to the other companies that are offering similar products or services. It's worth looking into what kind of unique selling points (USPs) you're able to offer your customers.
For example, could you offer free delivery, a better warranty than your competitors, or a reward system where customers build up points to get money off their future purchases? Having a USP you can shout about will go a long way to helping you stand out from the crowd.
Produce helpful and informative content
If you've read even the slightest amount about digital marketing and SEO, it's likely you'll have heard the phrase "content is king". This is because publishing valuable and helpful content that's relevant to your business can help to attract more website traffic, as well as encourage more conversions among the people who come across your site.
Firstly, by publishing valuable resources, blog posts, and social media updates, you'll demonstrate that you truly know what you're talking about when it comes to your industry and the products you're trying to sell. This will show that you're trustworthy and knowledgeable, which will appeal to both your potential customers and search engines.
It's also possible that your target audience will look for certain information before spending their money on products like yours. So, if you create sources that answer the questions they're most likely to be asking, you'll find it much easier to attract the attention of consumers who are in the early stages of the buying cycle.
Provide the best possible customer service
With new businesses being set up all the time, great service is becoming increasingly difficult to come by. So, treating your customers like royalty could truly help you to get ahead of your competitors.
Before someone even makes a purchase from your business, you need to ensure they know that you'll be willing to answer any questions they have, whether they need help during the buying process, or after they've shopped with you. Make sure all of your contact details are easy to find on your website and encourage people to get in touch with any questions or problems they might have. It's also a good idea to include a note to let everyone know how long it typically takes for you to respond to a query. All of this will help to build trust with potential customers and ensure they're more confident about buying from you.
Give link building a go
When you're looking to stand out online, it's also good to add an element of link building to your digital marketing strategy. External links have long been cited as one of Google's most powerful ranking signals, as the search engine essentially sees them as votes of confidence. You just have to make sure any links you build abide by Google's guidelines, otherwise you could risk being penalised. It's well worth giving it a try, though, as getting it right can be a very effective way of helping your site to climb Google's SERPs.
Securing links to your website is also a great way of increasing brand awareness, as you'll be able to promote your business to people who otherwise might have never heard of it.
The e-commerce space is constantly becoming more competitive, which means business owners always need to be looking out for new ways that they can stand out. Take these tips on board, and you should find it much easier to stand head and shoulders above your competitors.
About the Author
Marc Swann is Search Director at the SEO and digital marketing agency Glass Digital. He's worked in the digital marketing industry for 12 years and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping businesses improve their online visibility and reputation.