You probably already have eCommerce as a key part of your retail strategy. Or if not, you’re considering it – aren’t you? But whether you’ve been doing it for years or you’ve yet to start, there’s a series of best practices for eCommerce that will help you make the most of your online retail offering – some of them you may know, but a few may surprise you. Here’s our list of ten best practices for eCommerce.

Why eCommerce?

The high street has taken a battering in recent years, and it’s largely because of e-commerce. As people become more accustomed to buying online, the convenience, savings and choice mean that the internet is very often the first (and only) place they look when they need something. Research by eMarketer predicts that online will account for ten per cent of all retail sales for the first time in 2018. So if you’re not taking full advantage yet, it’s time to get involved. And if you’re already selling online, it’s worth reconsidering some of the basics to ensure you’re making the most of it.

1. Be distinctive

With so much competition online, you (and your products) need to stand out. It’s often worth using your own pictures rather than manufacturers’ product shots to establish an aesthetic that customers can recognise and identify with. Videos have been a proven sales enhancer for just about anything since shoe store Zappos introduced them in 2009 and found between a six and 30 per cent jump in sales. Strong, distinctive product descriptions with enthusiastic, informative copy that feels like it’s been written by a person rather than a machine is also essential. It’s worked out okay for Amazon…

2. Good navigation

It can be easy to get lost on an unclear website, and that inevitably leads to drop-offs. Breadcrumbs (those little lists of sections you can click on to find your way back to a sub section or home page) and extended navigation bars, perhaps with dropdowns of sub categories, can do wonders for helping your customers find their way around. Clear calls to action and back buttons also help spell out to customers where they’re going next.

3. Make it easy for your customers

Customers are on your site to browse and buy, and if they find it confusing or difficult, they have plenty of chances to go elsewhere. Product filters are a great way of homing in on what you’re looking for, and a short viewing history can be a handy reminder of where you’ve been. Related product suggestions are also a great way to inspire. A shopping cart where you can list items you’re considering without committing to buy is also useful.

4. Customer reviews

It’s all very well telling your customers how great your products are, but it’s more convincing if you can show them with positive customer reviews. Featuring reviews shows confidence in your products, customers respect peer reviews more than a sales pitch and even negative reviews can be useful, giving you direct feedback on why a product isn’t as good as it should be.

5. Mobile friendly eCommerce

Mobile is now an inescapable part of ecommerce. A study from the Nielsen Norman Group showed that 60% of online shoppers use their mobile devices to research a product before they buy. So you should always consider how your site will look on mobile, and how easy it is to use. All your designs should be ‘responsive’ too, so they’ll automatically adapt to whatever device they’re being viewed on, whether it’s desktop, tablet or phone.

6. Easy payments

Once your customers have made their choice, they just want to pay and get it. So keep your checkout process as simple as you can – despite the temptation to capture more information about your customers – and make sure you have clear signposting throughout. Don’t forget alternative payment options like PayPal and a guest checkout option where customers don’t have to sign up is also a great way to avoid drop-off – and if they like what you’re selling, they’ll be back.

7. A variety of campaigns

As well as standard sales and awareness campaigns, it’s worth keeping a close eye on ‘always-on’ campaigns such as pay per click and SEO to make sure your content is being found by search engines. You should consider an omni-channel approach too, bringing in social media, to make sure you get the widest reach and there are specialist campaign management tools to help you run several at once with ease. And don’t forget loyalty programs, with regular incentives to join throughout the customer journey – they can increase customer lifetime value, decrease acquisition costs, and build a significant growth asset in the form of recurring revenue.

8. Test, test, test

Trends and customer behaviour move fast on the internet, and it’s important to keep up. Try new ideas and improvements regularly, use A/B testing to see how effective they are, and keep the ones that work. Then do it again, and again…

9. Clear and transparent delivery details

It may seem obvious to you, but it probably isn’t to your customers. Make it very clear when and how they can expect their delivery, and if possible give them options to track it or contact you to check progress. This is reassuring and helps to offset that crucial last-minute drop-off.

10. Security and compliance for eCommerce

If people are giving their money in a faceless transaction, they want to feel that it will be safe. Make sure you have all the relevant security processes in place, as well as compliance obligations like GDPR – and make sure your customers know about it, with clear reminders and assurances.

Runibex’s NGI eCommerce Suite

Runibex is an MSP specialising in e-commerce with it’s own NGI Commerce Suite allowing you to increase your customers’ shopping experience and delivering unlimited technology, functionality, and flexibility.

Runibex’s NGI eCommerce Suite has a modular structure, a fully integrated and PaaS based architecture enabling you to focus on your business perfectly.

While your business is growing, our NGI eCommerce Suite provides you with the means to increase your revenue with omni-channel functionality. It prevents you from redundant investments with platform scalability.

Runibex is an MSP specialising in e-commerce, cloud services and SAP consulting. Runibex excels at managing e-commerce loads on cloud, because we know what it takes to develop and run an e-commerce application and we have already implemented such with other platforms.

Find out more about how we could help your business establish or improve your eCommerce system.