E-Commerce for Small Businesses: Keeping Up With Your Competitors
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Over the past ten years, the e-commerce revolution has completely transformed the way people shop. Whether it’s booking airline tickets or buying new clothes, ordering take-out food or purchasing groceries, the average consumer spends more time shopping online than ever before. In this brave new world of online shopping - needless to say - it has become increasingly important for online businesses to stand out from their competitors.
And yet, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with every new trend. As more and more people turn to the Internet for their shopping needs, online businesses have become ever more creative in their attempts to gain new customers. With this in mind, Big Dog Digital has come up with a list of the basic elements that every e-commerce site should possess in 2014. These features - we believe - are essential if you want to develop and maintain a successful e-commerce business in today’s landscape.
Take a look.
1) Mobile Design
These days, e-commerce sites need to be mobile-friendly. In 2013, statistics indicated that nearly 40 percent of online shipping was done via mobile devices. In 2014, these numbers are only likely to grow. This means that ensuring that your e-commerce site is accessible via a range of mobile devices is absolutely essential in today’s world.
And yet, although many businesses are now ensuring that their websites are responsive across a variety of platforms, larger businesses are taking this one step further. Not only are they ensuring that their websites are mobile-friendly, but they’re designing websites with mobile users specifically in mind. These businesses are thus ensuring that their customers get the best possible shopping experiences available on their mobile devices.
Something to keep in mind for the future…
2) High-quality Content
For both large and small businesses alike, it’s becoming increasingly important to produce interesting, engaging and original content on a regular basis. We’re now beginning to see more and more small businesses producing entertaining, informative and original content in order to reach out to their customers. Blog posts, news articles, tips and tricks - these are all highly effective ways to reach out to your customer base.
3) Product Reviews
It seems obvious - but you’d be surprised at how many small businesses overlook this feature on their websites. In today’s online world, consumers have a dizzying array of choices available to them. That’s why they want to ensure that the product they’re buying is reliable. Customer reviews are a great way to instill confidence in potential customers and to drive sales.
4) High-Quality Video and Images
One of the most surprising mistakes that many small businesses make is neglecting the visual side of their website. Far too many small e-commerce sites overlook the importance of high-quality images and videos. As customers, we want to see the products we are buying. This means that we need more than a static thumbnail image of the product in the corner of the page. Provide your customers with the option of opening up a separate window with a large, high-resolution image. This is extremely important.
Alongside high-quality images, e-commerce sites can also benefit from including videos. Why not include a video showcasing your products? Or demonstrating your product’s usefulness? Or listing the benefits of your product over your competitors? Take advantage of any opportunities you might have to display your products or services visually. You’ll be surprised at how your customers will respond.
5) Multichannel Selling
Another feature which you cannot afford to overlook is multi-channel selling. What this means, quite simply, is that you sell your product through a variety of channels. Take advantage of websites like eBay, Amazon and any other relevant online marketplaces. By increasing your sales channels, you increase your sales.