With the Digital revolution, more and more entrepreneurs are shifting their business online but are finding hard to sustain due to lack of knowledge. A good eCommerce provider will help sail your boat perfectly in the e-world. The internet is flooded with the eCommerce solutions providers but trying to get the real ones out of the noise is a challenging task. Here are few tips which help you to orient in evaluating your eCommerce solution provider.
Cross-verify their Clients and Portfolio
Have a look at the websites they have developed and the partners they have worked with. Navigate few pages of the websites (mentioned in the portfolio). Make sure the websites have the features which the solution provider promises. Pay extra attention to the layouts, UI and the working process. This will help you in better understanding of your project as well. Carefully examine the checkout and cart building process. Some questions which you should be aware of:
Does the cart shows shipping charges? They shouldn’t be hidden.
Does a signup is required for shopping?
Try to navigate back in order to verify that
the session is maintained and the cart still holds the products.
Search Engine Placement
The websites mentioned in portfolio should have a good Google rank placement. Try entering the complete URL of the website (pick some websites from the portfolio) in the Google search bar. The website should be available at least in the top 5 ranks. Non availability is a bad sign and you must look for another provider.
Responsive or Not
Grab your mobile phone or tab and quickly explore the websites listed over the portfolio. The design should stay intact. Any inconsistencies should be carefully examined. Follow the same procedure mentioned in #1 for checkout process. If the things are not falling in place or the navigation is cumbersome. It’s high time to switch to another eCommerce solutions provider.
Product and Category Listings
Providers such as Retaxis offer unlimited product and category listings. The categories and sub-categories make the searching process easier both for the admin as well as user. For example: Apparel is a very broad term, categorizing it into men, women, children, casual, formal , ethnic etc makes the overall process easier giving an extra boost towards UX.
The admin dashboard
Before making the final decision, ask you eCommerce solutions provider regarding the features in the admin panel and get a sample website tested. The admin dashboard must be user-friendly (Not everyone is tech-savvy), easy to navigate and must have provision for tax and commission calculations.
Last but not the least, enquire about the rates. A good solution provider will quote genuine rates and will offer services even after your website gets live. Retaxis is a trademark owned by CSTech and has been rated as the best and the most popular eCommerce solution provider globally. Retaxis offers the most affordable eCommerce solutions equipping with the right features and empowering your online portal grow as a BRAND in the e-world.
Customer loyalty programs – An Advantage or a Disadvantage?
A customer loyalty program can be an advantage for the website owner’s if done well. If up & running properly, loyalty programs can keep your customers turning back for repeated purchases. The ongoing rewards, Cashbacks & sales can convert casual browsers into potential recurring buyers.
But if done wrong, it can be a curse for the website owners. If the running customer loyalty program is below the line, it can lead to a loss of customer’s interest in the offered products & services. Moreover, it will be a waste of time, resources and money.
A potential customer once lost is hard to retain back. But keeping some key factors in mind we can forsure use these loyalty programs as a customer retention tools.
What is Customer Loyalty Program?
A customer loyalty program is a rewards program offered by a company/website to customers who frequently make purchases. A loyalty program may give a customer free merchandise, rewards, coupons, or even advance released products.
Using this technique, we can target both new & existing customers.
Loyalty programs can also be called as ‘incentives’ offered to the buyers against purchase of any product or service. The incentives are directly proportional to the order amount i.e. higher the order amount, higher will be the incentive received by the buyer. The incentivisation can be in terms of discounts, freebies, in cashback points or any other form.
What offerings can churn maximum outputs for you?
From a wide range of offerings, customer loyalty programs can vary on the basis of Product/Services or on the business’s working strategy/planning.
- Offer Cashbacks on purchases
The cashback offering program allows customers to earn money back from previous purchases and redeem them after a certain interval of time, amount or purchases. The cashback if often a pre-defined ‘x percentage’ of the order value & is credited back to the user’s online wallet after a certain interval of time. This cashback can then be spend on future purchases, effectively discounting the future purchase.
- Offer Discounts
The discount program offers a certain percentage discount or flat amount discount on an order. Discounts can be applied either to a specific product or to the entire order.
These discounts can also be referred to as ‘sales’. The discount amount is offered on the MRP of the product thus reducing the sales prices of it.
This program usually applies instant benefits to customers during check out.
- Offer Reward/Royalty points in online wallet
With the royalty points program, customer is offered royalty points in his account based on the behaviour of his previous purchases. The accumulated points can be redeemed as virtual cash in their online wallet which can be redeemed in the next purchases.
With his reward or royalty point program, users are motivated as they earn points upon their actions performed on the website.
- Refer & earn
With the refer and earn program, users are rewarded with virtual money in their online wallet for referring their family & friend to make a purchase of any product or from any specific website. Using this program, both the referrer & the referee earns a certain amount in their online wallet which can be redeemed in their next purchase.
This program motivates a user to refer a product/service/website to his family and friends to earn some extra amount in his wallet which in turn is beneficial for the website to increase their visibility and to generate more orders out of the referrals.
- Offer membership subscriptions
The membership subscription program entitles the user to subscribe as a premium member on the website. With this premium member subscription, the user gets an advantage of many premium facilities like 1st access to pre-launch products, flash sales and introductory products, free shipping for his orders, access to exclusive shopping events & products etc. For e.g. Amazon Prime.
- Offer freebies
With freebies program, the website owner gives away some freebies with every order placed on the website. These freebies can be product dependent & independent. For e.g. while selling a shoe, the buyer can be offered a pair of socks as a freebie and while ordering a mobile the buyer can be offered a screen guard as a freebie.
Offering freebies enhance the user’s buying experience.
- Free Shipping
With the free shipping module, the website’s owner offers the buyer a free shipping of his goods over and above a fixed order amount. If the order amount exceeds that threshold limit, no shipping charges are incurred by the buyer.
This program encourages the buyer to purchase the products of a minimum amount of that threshold limit so as to avail free shipping.
- Gift cards
Gift cards are the prepaid cards that can be purchased from the respective website by a user. The user when purchasing a gift card is given a unique gift card number which can be used to make purchases by him. No cash transaction is required while redeeming a gift card.
The rules regarding a gift card is set by the admin.
When can these rewards be offered to the buyers?
The above-mentioned rewards can be offered to the buyers based on their actions/tasks. The actions might include:
- On User registration
- Buying a specific product
- Festive season discounts
- On referring a friend
- Custom offers based on Birthdays’, anniversary etc.
- On basis of order amount (higher the order amounts, higher is the cashback/loyalty points)
- User’s activity on social media page- promotions by user.
Benefits of enabling these customer loyalty programs on your website:
- Boosts up your sale.
- Brand promotions
- Existing customer retention
- Increased traffic on website
- Increased CLV (Customer’s lifetime value)
- Recurring orders from customers
- More orders means more revenue generation
- Customers mouth to mouth publicity of your brand
By being a local retail store, you have an advantage of targeting hyper-locals with whom you can get in touch in person & maintain a healthy relationship to achieve your targeted sales goal!
But what if, you get to know that by following this bygone approach, your viability of expanding your business & churning more profits out of it is dropping down as you are targeting a limited audience.
The physical presence of a retail store is must to cater local customers and strengthen your roots in the market but if you turn a blind eye to the on-going trends of eCommerce & m-Commerce, you are forfeiting your chances to the long run.
With the increasing number of tech savy user’s, business owner’s need to upgrade their working/selling methodologies to drive more sales.
To move with the ongoing technology driven market trends & to maximize your sales, you need to convert your retail store to an e-tail store.
How you can do that? Here the answer!
- Create a mobile-friendly responsive ecommerce website
Get an online website for your physical store is the 1st thing that you need to do. The retailer’s need to make sure that their website is up, running & accessible to the buyer and is updated with almost all the products from their catalogue.
The store owner needs to ensure that his website is responsive in design and can be browsed thru desktop or mobile phone with its proper functioning.
Today, more than 57% of the customers prefer browsing thru their mobile phones & there is a high possibility of their bouncing back if the website is not viewed properly on their handheld devices.
If you have a mobile site up and running, make sure that it fulfils the following requirement:
- Responsive design: Adaptive to any mobile or tablet devices.
- Product display & its description: Display the complete product catalogue with proper & visible description
- Loading & browsing speed of the website: The website should load faster.
- Search tools with automatic suggestions functionality: Search bar to search for products using their name or attributes.
- Scroll down for new products: Let the user scroll down to find new products rather than click for new pages.
- Single page checkout option with options to pay-online/wallet: User should be able to make the purchase by making his payments online.
- Go Cashless by using online/mobile payments solution
Retailer’s can drive their customers to their online web-store where they can browse thru the complete product catalogue without speaking to any of the sales executive. They can choose the products on their own and can complete the shopping using the self-checkout option.
Retailers can also install self-checkout kiosks in their physical store using which the user can browse thru their online store and can make a purchase of their preferred products by making online payments to the store.
POS devices can also be used to enable digitalization of the physical store.
The retail stores have many benefits of going cashless & by using their web-store to drive sales. By using this approach, they can cut down the hustle of hiring sales executives who assists the buyer in his shopping, the buyer can search and find the product as per his requirement and can make a selection on his own terms.
The physical store dependency of the retailer will not be an issue now as he has more ways to drive sales.
- Promote your business digitally
To get an online business up & running, you need to get the business promoted in the online space where buyers who are in search of any product/service related to your catalogue can see your listing with the link of your website. This marketing will increase your brand visibility which eventually increase in customer visits & order creation.
One of the easiest & most effective way to market your products is investing in the paid searches. These paid promotions ensures that your listing are showcased at the top of search engine results with immediate effects.
You just need to invest in the paid searches and boom! Any user who searches for the product related to your catalogue can see your name on the top of search engine/Google results.
The paid promotions empowers you to get quick results in searches while the SEO practise takes times in doing the same.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an organic way to optimize & improve your website’s visibility and ranging on search engine’s search results. As compared to paid searches, SEO takes some time to show the results.
- Showcase your online product catalogue
The user coming on the website wishes to purchase some or the other product listed on the website. The products are listed on a virtual platform where the user can neither touch & feel the product nor can use the trial room to check how it fits.
In this virtual ecosystem, brand/product catalogue plays a vital role in enhancing the customer’s buying experience and to increase the sales. The store owner needs to showcase the products on his website with the best of its images and the complete description & how to use instructions.
Online selling is all about how the products are displayed/showcased on the website.
The digital cataloguing process can be used to drive more sales by showcasing more relevant products in reference to the product being viewed by the buyer.
The technique of doing this is known as UPSELLING of products. Fusing the searched products with some more related products will lead to more user engagement which in turn would increase the number of orders which in turn would eventually increase the revenue churned.
- Run in-store promotions for buyers (Discount coupons & cashbacks)
Running in-store promotional activities like instant discount coupons, promotional cashback offers on the order amount, earning on referrals etc. are a great way to engage users to buy more products from the website and even to promote the website by referring it to their family & friends in order to qualify for the promotional cashbacks.
The website can also provide the buyer with some goodies/Freebies for his brand promotions & enhanced customer shopping experience.
Customer’s love to receive discounts, cashbacks, freebies/goodies which encourages them to make their purchases thru online medium rather than offline physical stores.
People prefer to buy things online and for the same purpose your e-commerce store should load fast on their devices. In the current world when going online is not that difficult there is still something that most of the businesses forget which is to optimize their online store so that it opens fast even with high number of views and visitors on their store.
The best way to analyze your current website speed is to check for your Google Page Speed Score – http://www.gtmetrix.com/
Following are the ways we believe will be best for you to increase the speed of your ecommerce site:
Use of Caching
This is a very great technology, which doesn’t load data that is not needed. It stores the data or a page temporarily into the memory and then data or page is accessed from the memory instead of loading it from the server.
To know how to manage server output cache in IIS Click Here
Optimize Your Images
Images can decrease the load speed of your site. So it is necessary to reduce the size of your photos maintaining the quality. It is possible using online Image Optimizer.
To know about image compression tools to optimize your website images Click Here
Use a Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network reduces the load times. It is good for sites, which have more traffic. It can also make you earn extra money. You can use content delivery networks like Akamai, TATA CDN or MAXCDN.
Use a Fast Web Host
Don’t use cheap hosts if your site traffic is more than normal.
Minimize Round-Trip Times
Request required when a user accesses your website is called round trip time or RTT. This request is send by the browser to get information from the server. This RTT should be reduced as much as possible.
Compress Your Website
Response times are reduced by compression of files. Gzip is an application used for that. You can even minify script files like css or js file.
To know how to enable GZIP compression in IIS Click Here
Switch Off All the Plugins You Don’t Need or Use
Many sites have a lot of plugins that are unused. They load different files, which decrease the speed of your site. So they must be removed or switched off to optimize the site speed.
The ways mentioned above are only some of the ways to increase the speed of ecommerce site. There are other countless ways that can increase the speed of site by 100%. Increasing the speed of ecommerce site matters a lot because it can gain you the trust and confidence of customers for your online business and that is the first thing you can do to grow your online business.
Business is fervor as well as a mean to make money. Online business or e-commerce is a tremendous expansion and commerce upheaval of the 21st century. It is the demand for competitive business to have an online existence. You can purchase and advertise different products online with the magic of e-commerce. Hence e-commerce is a valuable choice for the people who are going to start their own online business. Most businessmen face a lot of hurdles in the establishment of their business. No one is ready to buy his or her products. E-commerce might be perfect for them because it is an inexpensive mean of doing business. Ecommerce might be perfect for you because of these reasons:
Saves time and effort
E-commerce might be perfect for you because it can revolutionize your lifestyles completely. You don’t need to spend much time in traveling to the market. It saves time and money. It is not a single industry but it is a tool to gain more exposure and create a different sales route in minimum time. With diminutive endeavor and efforts, you can come up to thousand customers. The vendor and customer both get its benefits. It can be structured to reduce delivery time and cost thus, saving both the time and efforts.
Freedom of choice
If you are doing your personal business you are free and self-governing. E-commerce provides more opportunities to design your work in your own way. You can earn more with your own free choice.To know more about how to make your first online sale? click here
Some people have passion and fervor for business. But they can not reveal their passion for inadequate work conditions. E-commerce gives you a chance to do what you like to do. Doing what you love to do, always produce quality work.
You feel secure when you do everything on your own. No one can fire or dismiss you. You are eligible for work until the time you want to do work. In happy and secure conditions one can generate stupendous profits. Working for yourself gives you motivation.
Online business might be perfect for you because it has more benefits than any other business. It is a broader and expanded business.You can start up your business immediately with less investment. You don’t need to take loans or to invest much. With little money, you can start up your online business. It has tax benefits too. Its market is all over the world. There are several services that make it easier to order from a UK store. PayPal is another convenient way to get payments easily from merchants to individual customers through whole world.
Hence, it is a perfect choice for a passionate earner to start up his online business. It is a like a daunting challenge and a clear, easy and inexpensive opportunity. It’s an opportunity to approach the world market place with lifting one finger.