If you own an eCommerce website, there comes a point in which you’ll want to be able to differentiate yourself from the competition. One great way to stand out from the crowd is to offer your visitors and entirely unique shopping experience that personalizes their shopping experience.
Think about the last time you went to Amazon.com. What was one of the first things you remember? For me, I always think about how the website remembers me, my purchases and my viewing history. It is able to determine what I would be interested in based on my buying habits.
Most website owners think that it is enough to just put up a product page and take orders. Unfortunately, every buyer who visits your website also visits major retailers and, sometimes, they might judge a website by more than the quality of the design and ease of navigation – they may judge a website by its inability to cater to their needs. Here are a few suggestions you should consider for your website if you want to give your customers the best experience possible.
Let Them Create An Account With You
Every customer who purchases through your website needs to be able to register so they can be offered express ordering (saving them from filling out their billing/shipping information again). This is the first step to convincing customers to return to you for future purhases.
Remember Their Orders
Like most e-commerce websites, you will store their order information in a database. What most e-commerce websites do not do, however, is use that information to their advantage. For instance, if you sell books for outdoor lovers, and you have 5 books for sale, and a customer has purchased two of them, would it not make sense to let them know about one of the 3 available books they have not purchased?
Let your customers know that you not only value their purchases but you also value their interests. Instead of having a customer weed through books on sports, movie biographies or anything else that is not of interest to them, why not offer them the option to decide what they are interested in and let them offer you permission to contact them when new books, that target their interest, are made available.
Using services like Constant Contact or Aweber.com allow you to create mailings to individual customers as well as follow up email (Aweber.com). This is a great way to allow customers to opt-in to a specific newsletter where you can deliver content exclusively to them. One example of this would be if you wanted to sell excess inventory at a discount for books on a certain topic and you only wanted to inform customers who have purchased books on a similar topic.
Please note – you want to use what is known as ‘opt-in’ email which is when a visitor gives you permission to contact them by filling in a ‘subscribe’ form and confirming their intent to join your mailing list. You do not want to be accused of spam so always make it clear to them what they will receive in return for sending you their email address.
One great way to increase sales over time is to simply ask your customers what type of product they are looking for and what they usually look for in a product. For instance, you may find that buyers of outdoor books may be interested in other topics you would not have assumed they would be interested in. You may find that most people purchasing books on ‘outdoor activities’ are actually buying them as gifts and, for the most part, they have their own interests.
Not every purchase is for themselves and some people like to buy for family and friends, not just themselves. This is especially important to remember during the holiday season. When Christmas rolls around, imagine if you had a full understanding of what your visitors were looking for instead of having to guess.
While every business is different, and some will offer a set of products catered to one market, you may be surprised to see how many people would refer business to you or give you helpful information for your business just by offering a simple survey.
Take the time to gather as much information as you can from people, without taking too much of their time or being too intrusive, and you will be surprised what that information can do for you.
Use A Survey System
Another thing that Amazon.com offers its customers is a review service that is attached to every product. There is no better way to know what people want than to offer them a chance to give honest feedback on what you have for sale. While it may seem risky at first, because you do not want to have bad word of mouth if your product does not deliver, you must realize that there are two benefits to a review system.
1.) Honest Feedback For Your Product
If you find that people are not entirely happy with what you are offering, it is much better to know how you can offer improvements to it than to go forward, blindly, without knowing what it is about your product that customers want to see improved upon.
2.) The Community Effect
You want to have people registered because you wan them to have a reason to come back to your website. Offering a ‘community feel’ to your website is one way to ensure people will return. This is why it is recommended to offer a message board as a support system because, in addition to reviews, you can receive honest feedback, as well as questions, that help you and your fellow customers interact with each other.
While Amazon does not offer a message board system, it is a good idea for smaller businesses because it allows the website owner to contact all customers who need customer support without having to place a high number of emails or phone calls.
The more effort you put into helping your customers, and getting to know them, the more likely they will build a personal relationship with you, which means they will establish trust with you, and they will continue to do business with you.
Take the time to study how some of the most successful e-commerce sites interact with their customers and see if any of those methods can be applied to your business. If you have any questions or would like to learn how such methods can be used for your business, please contact us either through the comment section or give us a call.