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At the end of summer 2020, Americans had spent 14 billion hours — that’s 1.6 million years —and $73.2 billion on online shopping in 2020.
The time to invest in your eCommerce strategy is now.
Of course, part of that strategy involves attracting new customers. In fact, new customers accounted for as much as 75% of online purchases between March and June of last year. But retaining those customers is often just as important.
Let’s take a look at a few of the key ways that your ecommerce business can bring in new customers — and ensure they keep coming back.
1. Maximize your distribution channels
Many businesses looking to tap into ecommerce turn to Amazon as their first point of entry. But the retail giant is just that— a giant. With a staggering 1.5million active sellers on the site right now (and with Amazon itself listing low-priced “Amazon’s choice” products at the top of search results), competition is fiercer than ever.
While optimizing your presence on Amazon is essential, your business needs to diversify its platforms to maximize product visibility.
With so many options out there (Pinterest, Google shopping, Facebook shopping, Etsy, eBay, and Shopify-integrated Walmart Marketplace, to name a few), seamlessly integrating your product listings with several marketplaces is a breeze. There’s no longer a need — or excuse — for pigeonholing your products into one particular vendor.
You’ll need to stay on top of your high-volume, off-site channels and make sure your customers see the same quality of service across all platforms. But with the right strategy, you’ll reap some pretty attractive rewards.
2. Optimize for mobile users
Mobile shopping is no longer a secondary concern for ecommerce businesses: Smartphones now account for more than half of visits to retailer websites and are on track to make up more than 50% of online spending by September of 2022.
Need a few more stats to convince you? Between just March 29 and April 4 of last year — just one week — mobile shopping apps reached 14.4 million downloads in the US, up 20% from January. And as of June, 90% of consumers aged 25–35 said they preferred shopping on their phones.
Mobile shopping isn’t just the way of the future — it’s what customers want now.
So, give them what they want. Appeal to mobile shoppers by optimizing your mobile site — be that integrated chat support, a streamlined online shopping experience, or simply a mobile-friendly interface. Create a dedicated app to maximize your presence on the App Store and Google Play, and ensure that your stores on third-party vendor sites and apps are just as user-friendly as the desktop versions.
Related: Ecommerce is Booming. Here’s How to Take Advantage
3. Treat customers like people — not metrics
According to Salesforce’s most recent State of Marketing study, 84% of customers say that the experience a brand provides is just as important as the products or services it offers.
The digital era has made it far too easy to neglect the value of human interaction. Businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to access huge audiences across multiple platforms. Sometimes, we can forget that there is a real person behind each contact, inquiry or sale.
But, the need for quality one-on-one interaction has not gone away. Studies have found that 89% of consumers would take their business elsewhere if they received disappointing customer service.
Take the time to make a personal connection with your customers. Make them feel heard, understood and — above all — remind them that they’re appreciated. Providing above-and-beyond customer service to potential customers draws them in; continuing to do so after a sale makes them feel valued — and, ultimately, keeps them coming back.
So, how do you make these valuable connections? Interact with your customers on your social media channels, responding to any questions or concerns with a genuine interest in helping them. You can even set up chat groups, Zoom calls or live streams on Facebook or Instagram to give your customers the opportunity to ask questions and put a human face to your company’s name.
The goal is to get engaged and to show your customers that you are invested in building real bonds with them every step of the way.
Related: Why You Should Bet On the Future of Ecommerce
4. Customers want to learn something — so teach them
Having trouble converting website visitors into buying customers? It’s not enough to just offer your products — you need to provide visitors with something of real value.
Your platforms should answer several questions: Why should a customer come to you for the product or service you’re offering? What sets you apart from your competition? What unique offerings do you have that customers should — and want to — know about?
Let’s say you sell vegan leather boots. You could just invest in marketing that highlights the benefits of vegan leather and the particular types of boots you’re selling. But customers could find that information from plenty of other sources.
A more effective approach would be to create a buyers’ guide that teaches your customers something new about your product. Weigh the pros and cons of vegan leather over traditional leather, including durability, look and feel, and tell the story of how your product is made — from sourcing to production and packaging.
Customers who learn something from your website are likely to come back. Taking the time to educate them gets them interested and goes the extra mile to engage them with your brand.
Always think two steps ahead
It’s not enough to continue to rely on your old ecommerce strategies in today’s unpredictable climate. The world is adapting — you’ll need to do the same to draw new customers in and ensure that existing customers keep coming back.
Consumers have more options than ever before when it comes to online shopping. So, why should they come to you? Do you provide a seamless, multi-platform shopping experience? Does your customer service engage your audience and make them feel valued? If not, it may be time to rethink your strategy and step up your ecommerce game for the better.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Profitable Ecommerce Business