Which e-commerce best practices should owners of small and midsize businesses understand? The following are five key factors to keep in mind:
1. Ensure Your Site Is User-Friendly
Think about your own experiences shopping online. If the design is confusing or leads you to pages you're not interested in, how much patience do you have before you move on to another site? Visitors should be able to browse among pages with a clear understanding of where they are at any given time. They shouldn't encounter any obstacles finding what they're looking for or being able to check out related products or services with the click of a mouse.
2. Drive Traffic Through Search Engine Optimization
Search engines focus on website usability, which means visitors get their desired results when they click on your site. Boost search engine rankings through the ample use of keyword-rich product descriptions and page titles, as well as a continuous influx of fresh content.
According to marketing consultant Brian Honigman, "the best thing a business can do when it comes to optimizing their website for search engines is to continually create original and exciting content for your audience."
3. Attract Visitors With Intriguing Product Descriptions and Your 'About Us' Page
Yes, e-commerce means business transactions take place entirely online and nearly always without any human interaction. Nonetheless, customers want to feel their purchasing experience is in some way connected with people, not computers alone. For example, if you sell a product manufactured elsewhere, avoid relying on the industry product descriptions provided. Differentiate yourself from the competition by offering personalized and informative descriptions that answer any questions your prospective customers likely have. Make generous use of bullet points, eye-catching headlines and concise sales points to pique interest.
The same principle applies to the story behind your business. Craft a brief yet enticing account of why you started the business and what you hope to offer customers. Include photographs of yourself and your team. Offer compelling reasons for people to buy from you.
4. Make Sure the Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Whether you rely on outsourced Web designers or you can do it yourself, be sure your site is optimized for mobile users. According to a recent survey from Boston Retail Partners, 68 percent of respondents predict a significant growth in mobile commerce sales in 2016. Also, according to Rieva Lesonsky at Small Business Forum, you shouldn't get drawn into app frenzy, since customers suffering from so-called "app fatigue" aren't likely to download and use a new app.
5. Get Active With Social Media Marketing
Your target audience is using social media, and so should you. Cultivate a vibrant presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and promote your products or services several times a week. Also, listen in on what people are talking about online, and tailor your promotions to fit those needs. This is a great way to connect with customers.
Paying close attention to e-commerce best practices will pay off for your business.
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