5 Success Factors in E-Commerce
The distribution of goods and services on the Internet is growing continuously. And with it the competition for the favor of customers. In combination with technological developments and changes in consumer behavior, this presents new challenges for online retailers.
Therefore, we have put together 5 factors that you should consider in your online strategy to successfully respond to developments in today’s e-commerce.
With regard to the keyword Customer Centricity , the targeted, personalized approach of customers is becoming increasingly important. Today’s online shopper wants to be recognized as an individual. An offer that is tailored to individual needs and preferences, attracts the attention of consumers – even in the flood of online information. So the customer can really be picked up. Advertisements, website banners and coupons can be tailored to customer preferences, or user-referenced product recommendations can be created. Especially with mobile shoppers, the presented offer should be individually tailored. Tablets and smartphones are usually used on the move and the screen size is significantly smaller. This makes it all the more important that the most relevant products can be seen at first glance. In addition, artificial intelligence is becoming more and more important for individualizing the direct customer approach. The trend is towards personalized, real-time communication – in the form of instant messaging, chat bots and automatic push messages. Properly implemented, such customized offerings and information enhance conversion and ensure customer satisfaction and retention.
Development of an omni-channel strategy
Along with the technical possibilities, the way in which customers inform themselves about products and make purchases is also changing. The clear separation of online, offline and mobile channels is becoming increasingly blurred. The answer of the online trade to these changed customer needs is called Omni-Channel. This means the seamless linking of all shopping channels. This means that a uniform shopping experience is created across all physical and digital points of sale. Whether in the store, on the PC at home or on the road with a tablet and smartphone – today’s consumers expect a smooth change and simultaneous use of the different channels. Omni-Channel does not mean that the different channels exist side by side, but rather that they are meaningfully integrated. Concrete approaches to Omni-Channel Retailing include, for example, the Click & Collect principle, in which goods ordered on the Internet are collected from the store. Or the support of the information search in the stationary trade by QR codes, or on-line announcements of the availability and reservation possibilities. It is particularly important to make transitions as easy and convenient as possible for customers. In order to successfully implement the Omni-Channel strategy, technical infrastructure must therefore also be provided. For example through WLAN hotspots or special corporate apps. If the media-break-free, cross-channel presence is successful, online merchants will meet the demands of modern consumers and create a clear competitive advantage.
Optimized user experience and usability
As mentioned earlier, consumers are using more than one device to shop online. This makes it all the more important for companies to adapt the user experience of their webshop to this trend. A user-friendly website alone is no longer sufficient – the use of the online shop must also be optimized for smartphone and tablet. The first step here is a responsive design, that is, the automatic adaptation of the website to the screen size of the mobile devices. However, extra interfaces can also be created for mobile use. In addition to supporting mobile channels, a good user experience relies on useful navigation function, intuitive operation, relevant search results and fast loading times. If a website is not perceived as user-friendly in this sense, it will lead to frustration and a shorter retention period in the shop – which ultimately has concrete effects on the conversion rate. Therefore, the user-friendliness of the online shop must always be adapted to the latest standards and needs. Soft, less technical factors are becoming more and more important: Visiting the website is not just a means to an end but a positive experience. This happens, for example, through the increase in user interaction through social media elements, surveys, mini-games or innovative product presentation tools. The look of the website also plays a role: a visually appealing user interface transports a special brand image that customers can identify with. The design of the user experience thus shapes the corporate image and strengthens customer loyalty. Last but not least, the user-friendliness of the website is an important SEO factor and brings clear advantages in the ranking of the search engines.
The combination of advisory, informative or entertaining content with sales strategies remains a constant success factor in e-commerce: content marketing is also the most important topic for German marketers in 2018.
Besides user experience, valuable content on websites is the main focus of search engine algorithms and means more visibility on the net. Editorial content therefore ensures a greater reach and more traffic on your website. Content that precisely addresses the needs of your target group and offers concrete problem solutions also strengthens brand loyalty. Because content with real added value creates increased involvement. This also awakens interest in your company and its products. The success of Content Commerce can be achieved through a variety of formats – such as blog posts, infographics, shopping guides or video tutorials. Experience reports and customer reviews also enrich the user experience of customers as user-generated content.
Targeted analysis of customer data
All previous success factors have in common the importance of the target group and its preferences, needs and behaviour patterns. In order to access this information, the multitude of available consumer data must be used. Therefore, our last driver for success in e-commerce is a clear concept for efficiently capturing and analyzing customer data.
As digitalization progresses, more and more data is generated from different sources. With a sufficient budget, it therefore makes sense to rely on professional data management systems. But also companies with limited resources can make use of the potential of data by acquiring the necessary know-how and with the right strategy. Google Analytics offers an inexpensive way to get started. With the e-commerce tracking function, search terms, length of stay, number of page visitors, popular website categories and visitor sources can be analyzed. In this way, user behavior can be recorded in your own online shop. The different social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, also offer their own analysis tools to evaluate activities and characteristics of the target group. The consent of your customers to the data collection is a must here. Also an understandable and easily understandable explanation of where, when and why you collect data.
The decisive factor for the successful use of customer data is its target-oriented analysis. The purpose of collecting data should not be merely to map the current situation, but to predict customer wishes and purchasing behavior. By working out customer segments, buyer personas and behavior patterns, future customer needs can also be estimated. In this way, changes in consumer behaviour can be responded to in a targeted manner and the corporate strategy can be successfully adapted.
Common to all of our success factors in e-commerce is the importance of a flexible response to new trends and changes. The way people consume is constantly changing. Values are changing and innovations in technology are always setting new standards – what works well for online retailers today may be obsolete tomorrow. Knowing what the future expectations and needs of customers look like, therefore, is a must for success in e-commerce. In this way you secure the loyalty of your customers and the advantage over the competition.
We therefore hope that our success factors for online commerce could serve as inspiration and provide new food for thought as you take your online store to the next level.