Establishing relationships with customers in ecommerce can pose several challenges, especially when your business is competing with larger retailers. Savvy shoppers are equipped with mobile devices that can compare products in a global market, and this has changed the way many businesses price inventory and offer discounts. However, there are ways to incentivize customers through rich online experience that differentiate your business from even the most powerful online retailers. Below are four customer incentives ideas that can help you establish trust and jumpstart ecommerce sales.
Never underestimate the power of consumer price comparison tools. According to a recent ecommerce report, 52% of online shoppers check or compare prices on travel products and services, as well as consumer electronics. Price comparison tools such as search engines and mobile applications enable shoppers to seek the lowest prices across multiple ecommerce sites based on brands, product categories, and even location. These tools have made it difficult for some smaller ecommerce sites to compete with powerful online retailers. However, consider the following tips to stay competitive and increase ecommerce sales though price comparisons tools:
- Analyze the Competition: Search for online competitors offering the same brands or similar product categories, and take note of strengths and weaknesses. Do they offer a better shopping experience? Do they offer better terms of service? Researching top competitors directly will help you tailor a competitive strategy for your ecommerce site, especially when the market is saturated and you’re not the only one offering a specific product or service.
- Update Prices: While you may not be able to compete directly on price with larger online retailers, you must remain competitive across similar competitors. If your ecommerce site offers a wide range of price points, research popular products and trends to determine which items consumers are searching for online. Choosing a select few stock keeping units (SKUs) or services will allow you to focus on a particular brand or product category, instead of your entire inventory. By taking this approach to updating prices, you will be able to develop a competitive pricing strategy to promote and incentivize new and existing customers.
- Bridge the Gap: If you can’t compete purely on price, offer an exceptional shopping experience and customer service. Online shoppers want to be able to access products and services without any hassle. For an ecommerce site, the checkout process is a vital component that can make the difference between a sale and an abandoned shopping cart. Streamline your checkout process by incorporating social media application program interfaces (APIs) to establish new accounts or to streamline payment processes. If your site experience is solid, focus on providing exceptional customer service by responding to customer questions and requests as soon as you receive them. Building trust and gaining positive reviews online through swift customer service actions will help differentiate your ecommerce site.
Customer incentives such as free or discounted shipping on items sold on your ecommerce site is a crucial step to increase ecommerce sales. A recent 2016 retail report highlighted that 9 out of 10 customers would shop more online if free shipping is offered by ecommerce sites. While most small businesses may find it difficult to absorb the cost of shipping, incorporating newsletter registrations, follow up customer reviews, or linking social media accounts to free shipping incentives ensures that your business receives something in return. There are also ways to reduce the cost of shipping by negotiating with multiple carriers on pricing schedules based on volume. In essence, the more packages that you ship, the more power you have to negotiate lower shipping rates for your valued customers.
Creating a seamless shopping experience between desktop and mobile is essential to increase e-commerce sales among new customers. Mobile retail ecommerce in the U.S. alone is predicted to increase to $130.92 billion in 2016, up $44.75 billion from 2015 according to a recent market report. Having a fluid and rich mobile shopping experience will ensure that your customers are able to browse products and services without annoying design issues. Incorporating a simple and uncluttered mobile user interface (UI) is a way to make it easier for customers to browse items on multiple screen sizes without lag. The checkout should also be easily accessible on the mobile UI while eliminating the use of multi-page processes that can result in abandoned carts.
Having your ecommerce business on social media is essential to building meaningful relationships with new and existing customers. According to a recent study, 40% of global consumers ages 16 to 24 reported using social media platforms such as Facebook to research products before making a purchase. 30% of the general population also reported similar social media product research behavior. What this means for ecommerce is that you must engage your audience with your unique brand story that ties into the products or services sold on your site. Once you establish a relationship with your target customers, social platforms will allow you to offer ecommerce incentives such as discounts, promotions, and news about your products or services in a meaningful and engaging manner.
Offering online incentives to kickstart sales is only one step in building trust with your customers. Finding a unique brand identity and incorporating the story across desktop, mobile, and social is crucial to differentiating your ecommerce site from the competition. Ultimately, hiring a professional marketing agency to create a customized mobile responsive ecommerce site with integrated content strategies can help increase online visibility for your business.