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12 Things eCommerce Businesses Can Do to Earn Customers – PART II
Just about every business today is online and striving very hard to come up with new and innovative ways to lure in more customers. If you’re planning to join the ranks of those businesses, you should also check out our previous article which highlighted six things businesses can do right now to start luring more customers.
And as promised, here are six more things you should be doing to see your customer base grow:
7. Optimize for Mobile
Newsflash: we are no longer part of a civilization where smartphones are considered ‘optional’. Did you know that, as of late 2015, 1.2 billion people were going online using mobile devices? Did you also know that around the same time, 80% of internet users were on a smartphone? These numbers have risen considerably since then and statistics only paint half the picture.
The time to think mobile is now. EVERYONE is mobile today and you need to capitalize on this fast. As far attracting more customers is concerned, you really need to optimize for mobile because:
Google favors mobile friendly sites
91% of social media referrals take place on mobile
A great mobile site sets you apart
Mobile responsiveness is now more important than ever in order to rank high on Google and acquire more organic traffic, thanks to Google’s latest algorithm update.
Since all businesses today rely heavily on social media marketing, there’s a really good chance the bulk of your traffic is coming from mobile devices. An unresponsive site can lay your content marketing efforts to waste.
Optimizing your website properly for mobile means you have a great opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. You never know – almost half of your competitors may have non-optimized sites or may be taking this aspect lightly. What’s more, those who do have a responsive design may be doing a poor job of it.
This is why you should hire a seasoned digital marketing agency that’s been serving business well over a decade and helping them come up with a highly mobile-responsive web design to attract more customers.
Contact AOK Marketing today for a FREE consultation at 1.888.566.2577 and turn your website into your best salesperson!
8. Free Shipping
We need to accept the ground reality that consumers have simply start to expect free shipping services on just about any retail site they visit.
An Accent report claims that 88% consumers are highly likely to shop at a retail site if they know up front that it has free shipping.
From a consumer standpoint, the appeal of free shipping isn’t too hard to understand. And if you put yourself in the shoes of your online visitor, you’ll see that items often cost 25% to 30% more, owing to shipping costs. Today, you’d hardly come across any online shoppers who aren’t price-savvy, and free shipping is something that’s not only convenient in terms of saving costs but also something that makes people often buy on impulse.
Another report released a few years back shows how consumers are 96% more likely to shop at sites with free shipping. The same study highlights that 87% consumers are more willing to shop on sites that also offer free returns.
As a business, you need to make this information available easily on your website as well as your marketing copy. People will happily shop at a retail site knowing they won’t have to go through a cumbersome process filing paperwork online and waiting for days before they return gets processed. Or that shipping costs may rise if they want to swap their purchase or buy something bigger.
Additionally, free shipping has also become a major deciding factor in how much money an online consumer is willing to spend.
As recently as two years ago, a ComScore study revealed that 83% of US online buyers have no issues waiting a few extra days to take delivery if shipping is free. And, 58% of US online buyers ended up adding items to their carts just to avail free shipping. This study clearly demonstrates that people are willing to buy from you without a second thought if they see the free shipping option on your website.
Whether you choose to offer free shipping according to the number of items consumers purchase, as a bonus for being a repeat customer, or a default feature largely depends on your budgets and profit margins. However, start offering free shipping NOW in some form or the other to see more customers flooding in to your checkout pages. More research yet indicates that 74% of US online buyers pointed to free shipping as a top factor for improving their online shopping experience.
9. Free Returns
As with free shipping, online shoppers have also come to expect free returns, refunds or exchanges for defective items or those which are somewhat different than advertised (it happens). As an online retailer, if you don’t have a “relaxed” return policy, shoppers will go to a different business without a care in the world. And, in this case, relaxed means completely free. If you want to lure more customers and convert them to repeat buyers, you need to give serious thought to offering free returns.
However, free returns for some online retailers, particularly those operating on a limited scope, can be expensive. And the temptation to charge for returns can be rather high. Still, we would urge you not to go down this road, as you’re effectively putting a cap on building your consumer base and seeing your business grow.
Consider this: a 2012 study unveiled that shoppers getting free return privileges would buy 58% more from online retailers and a whopping 357% more over a two-year period. But when shoppers were charged, their future intentions to purchase sunk by a good 74%. In some cases, they cited charged returns as a reason for not returning at all.
There’s clearly enough evidence to point to the fact that online businesses which offer free returns see a lot more customers over time, not to mention heavy purchases all year round. But you still need to sort of map out how returns will be processed. For example, how many days does a consumer have to return something? Are all items going to have the same return policy? Will there be times when offering a full refund is better than accepting a returned item?
Also remember to measure your returns policy success – see how many of your current customers make more purchases once they know you’re offering a free returns policy.
The question of clearly communicating your returns policy to consumers also comes into play. Some retailers tend to write down their returns policy that only lawyers might be able to understand. Keep in mind that you’re doing this for your customers and no one else. Make your returns policy completely transparent and simple to understand.
Finally, think about making it all really convenient for your customers. Returning an item should be 100% hassle-free. Give careful thought to how your shoppers might initiate the returns process, how the shipping label might be managed and how long the returns and refund process might take.
10. Free Samples
Offering free product trials is a highly practical tactic to gaining new customers. Free trials are not really a great way to market your product but also get great reviews and testimonials. In the process, you might even get valuable feedback and improve your product accordingly.
This all sounds really nice on the surface but how exactly do we convert these prospects into returning customers? If you manage to demonstrate the value of your product while offering free trials, you can convert them into lifelong paying customers.
Learn to instill this value in your prospects and make it clear right from the start that your product offers something of exceptional value. This, coupled with great customer service, can convert them into loyal customers and even encourage them to refer you to more prospects.
A 2011 study discovered that three quarters of the participants took free samples when they were offered one. And those who took these free samples were highly likely to have taken other samples as well as opposed to those who didn’t. This goes to show that people generally are more motivated to get free samples based on their dispositions rather than the relevance of a particular product.
11. Offer Multiple Payment Options
You’re probably accepting all major credit cards, which is a good starting point for convenience’s sake, but if you’re not offering a much wider range of payment methods, you’re potentially losing out on the number of customers that can be lured in at any given time.
The best online retailers today offer highly innovative payment options that improve the overall checkout experience. For instance, you should seriously consider offering customers the option to make purchases even if they don’t use credit cards or give mobile shoppers in particular a faster and easier way to checkout.
It’s quite evident that offering a variety of payment options, and the best retailers often offer between 6-15 options, can really multiply the number of people who are willing to buy from you:
40% customers feel more comfortable buying from retailers who offer several payment options
25% online shoppers abandon their cart if they don’t see their preferred payment option
83% of shoppers want retailers to add more payment options
Even though credit cards remain one of the most common ways of purchasing things online, it’s important to add an option that doesn’t require the mandatory use of a credit cards. Again, not everybody is going to want to use a credit card to make online purchases, either due to their credit card being full or simply not having the means to get one, especially if they’re not willing to pay high interest rates. There could be a number of reasons.
Millennials actually form the largest portion of the US population and you really need to keep up with other retailers because they are most certainly offering additional payment options to cater to the millennials’ unique preferences, among which is not using a credit card. A JWT report points out that 62% of millennials love the idea of connecting their payment information with retailer apps in order to speed up the payment process. Millennials will most likely account for more than a trillion dollars in spending by the year 2020 and if you fail to cater to this demographic, you are seriously putting a limit on your growth and customer base.
Digital wallets like PayPal continue to be a widely popular way of purchasing stuff online and this is a key factor in luring more customers to your checkout pages. Look at any large retailer today and you’ll see that they’re offering digital wallet payment options in addition to credit card ones. Cater to each and everyone from your audience and you’re creating a lot of value in the long run.
A YouGov survey discovered that 40% online customers were more comfortable buying from retailers that offered a variety of payment methods. In addition, the survey also uncovered the fact that a whopping 50% were abandoning their shopping cart only because their preferred payment method was not being offered.
As of last year, 50.3% of all eCommerce traffic is mobile and 80% of adult online shoppers own a smartphone. There’s more: an Adobe Digital INdex research discovered that online retailers saw a 10% increase in successful checkouts when digital wallet payment methods were offered. The same study found that 23% of smartphone purchases were in fact, made through a digital wallet, in comparison to 16% on desktops and 19% on tablets.
Since the general idea is to appeal to new markets and encourage repeat purchases from current customers, you will really need to offer additional value in the form of flexible payment options. The future is digital and you cannot afford customers navigating away from pages just because you’re not offering mobile-friendly payment options or their preferred option, for that matter.
12. Have a Complete Website
These days, if you don’t have an online presence, people won’t think twice about buying from you. So, to sum it up, you should not only make your website mobile responsive but also see to it that it’s complete in every aspect: design, user friendliness, navigation, page load times etc.
Contact AOK Marketingtoday to turn your website design around so that people come flooding in after taking one just one look at your business page.
Combine the above methods to lure more customers and bank on the services of a digital marketing agency like AOK Marketing to leave your competitors in the dust. The advantages of hiring a digital marketing firm aren’t just limited to having a great website design.
A properly devised SEO strategy, for example, goes a long way to ensure that the right audience finds you and connects with you seamlessly. Ranking high on search engine pages is also an integral part of your marketing efforts, which at the end of the day, can drastically affect how many prospects you’re able to lure at any given time.
Get in touch with us today for a free consultation by calling 1.888.566.2577, and get the customers that are rightfully yours.