Electronic commerce refers to the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with his company, either through the website, mobile apps or other digital environments. The more operations a customer makes through their website, the more likely they will recommend their company to friends and family.
The experience of the brand that you create online is a comprehensive strategy to retain your customers and attract new customers thanks to the word of mouth spread of the reputation of your company.
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Develop a basic e-commerce strategy
The first step is to develop a basic e-commerce strategy that helps you identify gaps and plan actions, verify compliance with standards and guarantee customer satisfaction when considering all the moving parts of your store.
The lack of a strategy can cause the following disadvantages:
- Confusing designs that can increase the bounce rate
- Security issues that will generate a loss of trust and a bad reputation for your organization
- Failure to comply with the rules, which can lead to high fines and the inability to pay
- Poor resource planning, which can lead to interruptions that harm sales
The desired result in terms of customer satisfaction will define the commercial approach, the technologies used and the security measures implemented to develop the trust and loyalty of the customers and ensure that they continue to trade with you at the time they recommend it.
Elements of the e-commerce strategy
The path chosen by a merchant to develop his ideal experience for the client is exclusive of his industry, vision of the brand and objectives; however, you must include these elements:
- User-based strategy to define aesthetic aspects and ways to purchase
- Selection of the platform, including a plan to define a new platform, if necessary
- Mobile functionality adapted to the market, exclusive from your desktop website
- Security measures and compliance with specific standards of your industry
- Preparation to support peak traffic, including a load test and comparative performance studies
Think as a customer. First, take into account the appearance, feel and flow of your online presence. Then, analyze your activities in social media and other online activities. Your homepage should say “hello!” As if it were a customer in a real store. From there, the development of the app should promote navigation, presenting relevant messages, information located in visible places, appropriate image sizes, a coherent design, the ability to navigate locally and a secure environment.
Use dynamic pages to present personalized content based on the user’s profile. For example, a retailer of sporting goods could show a home page that highlights the offer of camping equipment. This home page may be ideal for a previous user who has searched for stores, while a user who has searched for jet skis may be attracted to a completely different content. Improved search capabilities give users a quick way to find exactly what they are looking for when they do not want to go through the entire app. One way to promote the experiences that transform the users of an app into loyal customers is to add content that supports the purchase process, such as product reviews, multiple product views, and chat.
Use analysis tools and customer surveys to determine what are the right characteristics of your product and customers. This will help you discover what is working or what your current needs are. Implementing the most advanced features can mean more than simply changing text and images. Instead, you may need to rethink or renew the schemas of the current databases and ways to make the systems more flexible to contemplate the collection, storage, and manipulation of new types of data.
Choice of a platform for your e-commerce store
Its e-commerce platform consists of software, such as Magento, Oracle Commerce, Adobe or others, together with the infrastructure chosen to execute this software.
To choose the software, you must take into account your objectives related to the customer experience. If your mobile app needs the option to configure individual products but your e-commerce app does not include this feature, you will not be able to offer the experience you want. Similarly, it is not a good idea to run an e-commerce platform with a lot of resources on inferior performance hardware as it will increase the loading time of your application. Your e-commerce infrastructure options include:
- Internal infrastructure: places an entire load of hardware, security, performance and flexibility on your mobile development and It team and your budget. This gives you maximum control along with all the headaches associated with taking responsibility for the entire e-commerce infrastructure.
- Hybrid Cloud: combines the use of internal or dedicated hardware with resources in the cloud to achieve efficiencies and in turn comply with certain security or compliance policies. In a hybrid atmosphere, a retailer can decide on to transfer targeted workloads, such as electronic mail or content supply, to the cloud whilst retaining control over other systems that work best on dedicated or internal computers.
The mobile experience takes advantage of the specific functionality of mobile devices, such as click to call, integration of GPS for maps or advertising directed by geographical areas, text recognition, among others. Imagine trying to target clients located in a downtown area with slow servers that do not deliver the notification until after several hours.
Mobile functionality also includes a new full range of usage rules. The depth of content on your app should shrink to fit smaller screens while elements such as buttons and images need more screen space to be able to select them on their mobile devices. It is also necessary to simplify the location of the social network add-ons and the shopping cart to improve (not saturate) the purchase route.
Over the years, companies have adopted independent strategies for the development of mobile apps and desktop platforms. Frequently, this resulted in an optimized mobile application. However, maintaining a separate desktop and mobile application usually generates disconnected experiences and a lack of user satisfaction when the most recent mobile application does not flow or work in the same way as the traditional desktop website.
According to the study conducted by Forrester and Shop.org in 2014, “The State of Retailing Online”, frequent customers represented 51% of the revenues of the e-commerce applications. The fact that four out of ten of its competitors intend to update their apps regularly means that it may be time E-commerce companies to revise or renew their e-commerce strategy so as not to be left behind.