By Dolly Kumar
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed e-commerce at the forefront of retail with the changing consumer spending habits. With statewide lockdowns and social distancing norms in place due to the fear of contracting the virus, Covid-19 boosted online shopping worldwide. The Global Payments Report 2021 by Worldplay FIS revealed that the Indian e-commerce industry witnessed an upsurge due to Covid-19. The industry will grow 84 percent to $111 Billion by 2024 due to the gains from demand caused because of the impact of the pandemic.
Considering the growth prospect in e-commerce in the future, everyone is getting into online sales. Hence, as a business owner, you must invest in making the user experience seamless. E-commerce giants have emerged stronger due to their end-user services and customer-centric policies. While it is not easy to turn your business into a brand, but you can start by making a user-friendly website. Your e-commerce platform should speak to your customer about its products and services. But how will you do it?
Some basic features that can make your e-commerce different from others are curated search, customised subscription, free shipping, no minimum order value, pan India shipping, hassle-free transactions and seasonal combos. How do these basic features make a difference?
Curated Search: With a variety of products available on the platform, it is a hassle for customers to sift through different sections and categories to find what they are looking for. Hence, a search option on the website is a must. Customers want precise results for their queries by enabling searchability, you make it easier for the visitors.
Subscription: Subscription-based model allows customers to subscribe to products and services offered by the e-commerce platforms. It significantly increases the customer’s lifetime value. As per research by McKinsey & Company, 15% of online buyers sign up for one or more subscription services. It is a number considering the number of online shoppers are to grow to 2.14 billion by 2021. It offers consumers flexibility and merchants the business sustainability.
Free shipping: With a large number of consumers resorting to online shopping, free shipping is like table-stakes in online retail. It can be for a minimum purchase or a loyalty statement. If not either, it definitely is a big factor in the lifetime value of the customer relationship. Consumers hesitate in paying a huge shipping amount, which sometimes can amount to equal to the order.
No minimum order value: Consumers should be able to purchase whatever they want from the website. Something like minimum order value deters customers from making any purchase. With no minimum order value, they are not bound to purchase more products if all they wanted was one product.
Pan India shipping: To make your e-commerce platform more inclusive, it is vital to have pan India shipping. Today with larger smartphone penetration and data availability, customers from all parts of the country can access e-commerce platforms, hence businesses must leverage this to tap larger markets and make products accessible to everyone.
Hassle-free transactions: A lot of people cancel orders at the last moment due to complicated payment gateway. Therefore, don’t complicate things for customers. Make details about the cards that are acceptable or available payment options in the beginning. Doing this will not leave customers with an unpleasant experience and reduce the rate of people abandoning carts.
Seasonal combos/offers: Various combos, offers and discounts for customers are what honey is to bees. While you may keep them notified about the latest deals through emails and messages, a separate section on the website will bring the deal seekers directly where they want to be. It builds trust where they know they can count on the platform for the best offers. Hence, they will always check it before making any purchase.
Apart from introducing these basic features to the platform to make it a success, ensure smooth customer service. It can be done in various ways. You can start with mail support or telephonic support to handle customer issues and concerns. You can also introduce chat options on the website, where the consumer can get the details about the product without dialing a number or waiting for a reply by mail. Make it easy for customers to find your contact information and customer service number on the website.
While your customer service is sorted with the above-mentioned features, a simple tip for making the website more attractive is by having a sorted home page. A clean and robust website makes it easy for users to quickly place an order. While the website should be always updated about the products and services in stock, curating different offers on the offer page makes for easy buying. Furthermore, giving reward points on every order, that can be used in the next purchase, maintain customer loyalty.
This is your perfect guide to make your brand stand out in the market. However, there are still countless ways to please customers and upgrade their experience, and that is possible only with customer feedback and working on it. From design-related tactics to policy aspects, these tips sort most part of the e-commerce platform. Nevertheless, apart from sticking to these, keep exploring new ideas and test them with your customers.
The author is founder and director, Cosmic Nutracos, parent company of Gaia