/ By Grant Chambers

Another Strong Year of Ecommerce Growth: Get eCommerce Strong for 2017

Online sales continue to skyrocket and brands that aren’t selling online are missing out on a huge opportunity. The National Retail Federation reported holiday sales growth was short of expectations in 2015, but Adobe Digital Index reported that sales online hit a record $83 billion during the holidays, easily surpassing expectations. Shoppers continue to use online retailers to fulfill their needs with less hassle and achieve better product comparisons. Engadget reported that online users are expected to reach a whopping 70% of all consumers by 2020.

Use these tips and tactics to help improve the effectiveness of your eCommerce website:

Increasing Online Sales Effectiveness

In order to rack up sales, you have to have a strong online presence.  Smart Insights reported that the majority of marking professionals (77%) said that a digital marketing strategy is most important for marketing effectiveness and personal sales practices came in second (71%) . While in years past customers stopped shopping close to the holidays because they were afraid they wouldn’t get their purchases in time, faster processing and shipping practices have increased online sales right up to any major event or holiday.

Content marketing is a major tool for most marketers looking to increase their online traffic and conversion rates. Hubspot reported in their The State of Inbound 2016 that marketing professionals who saw increased budgets for inbound marketing were more likely to report that their inbound marketing strategy was effective (72%). Marketers reported that the most overrated tactic for marketing was paid advertising. Some reported tactics that weren’t overrated included SEO, blogging, marketing automation and sales enablement. In 2013, Hubspot reported that inbound marketing saved companies more than $14 on the cost of each new acquisition when compared to outbound strategies.  We believe these percentages are still holding strong today.

Getting Ready for Mobile Buyers, But Don’t Forget Desktop

Mobile users are increasingly more active online, researching products and making purchases. Some brands find it surprising that a large chunk of customers are looking at items on mobile devices, but still prefer to purchase on a desktop. Wolfgang digital found that mobile devices accounted for more than half of all browsing sessions on eCommerce sites (59%), but only 38% of revenue. Whether users are trying to buy on mobile or simply browse, companies still need to have mobile-optimized sites and content to provide a smooth visitor experience. Customers are easily frustrated if a site isn’t set up to adjust to the screen size they are using.

Common Pitfalls to Consider

If you are creating an eCommerce option for your users, consider some of the top reported concerns for online shopping.

Simplified Returns

Forrester reported that 81% of all customers desire an easier way to return products they purchased online . Buying online can be frustrating since it is hard to accurately purchase something that you can’t see, feel or try on.

Faster Delivery

Amazon Prime is getting shoppers excited about faster arrival times, including possible same-day delivery options. Forrester reported that 29% of consumers would be willing to pay more for same-day delivery.

Customer Support

With online shopping comes new hurdles and possible tech problems. Econsultancy found that 83% of customers wanted live support and will give up quickly if they cannot find support they need during the shopping experience . Shoppers reported that the majority (71%) expect customer service to respond to their problem within five minutes or they will abandon the site (48%).

Shipping Costs

One of the biggest reasons that shoppers abandon their carts is due to unexpected delivery costs (70%) , according to Econsultancy. While shoppers might be interested in paying more for faster delivery, many shoppers expect their standard shipping to be inexpensive or even free. Some retailers, like Kohls, Target, DSW, and Carters, have options to ship products to nearby stores for free, where purchases can then be picked up.

High Performing, Secure, and Scalable eCommerce Website

Last but not least, we can’t forget about your actual eCommerce website!  There are many great eCommerce platforms available including Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, WooCommerce and more.  As an eCommerce website design and development agency, we have used all of these, others and have built many custom solutions as well.  The best platform for you really depends on your specific needs.  But in all cases, you want to make sure you have a platform that is maintained frequently for security and performance, one that allows you to easily manage your inventory and orders and one that will allow you to make changes or expansions as time goes by.

Workhorse Marketing specializes in helping businesses succeed online by building and maintaining complex or simple eCommerce websites and managing their ongoing branding, marketing, and advertising efforts.  We’re a full-service marketing and advertising agency located in Austin, Texas but serve customers all over the world.

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