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.
First things first, it’s a myth that if we fill our commerce store with hundreds and thousands of products then it will automatically drive search engine traffic to our ecommerce store.
When planning to optimise an e-commerce store you need to understand that it is much more difficult than optimising those 5 page company websites or blogs. So what is it that we need to keep in mind when optimising our commerce store for search engines and what are the common errors we have see that most of the commerce store owners do and do again.
1. Lack of Product Description
An image is worth thousand words but then missing on putting a text description on your products is the first NO thing you should do. Insufficient product information will reduce your chances to almost a zero to be on a search engine’s radar. Search engines can not read images (as of yet) and when they come across one then they look for “alt tags” that you have provided as a description of the image. So first thing you should do is write crisp description about the products that you put on your commerce store.
2. Using Product Descriptions from Manufacturers
Ok so you sell mobile phones or camera’s and since the parent company has already invested in writing a description and details about the product you sell then why not copy the same from their website. “What’s the harm in that?” ism’t this the thought you get when planning to put your products for selling, but hang on for a minute isn’t this the thought everyone gets when they plan to put the same product for selling online on their store.
Search engines are hungry for new and unique content, coping your product descriptions from the parent website makes you a victim of non-unique content. You can definitely copy content from the parent website but feel free to make some amends to it so that it becomes unique to your website.
Always create unique content fro your website.
3. Lack of Product Reviews
Ask your self a question, what do you do as the first thing when you plan to buy a top brand newly launched mobile phone or a new shirt. You research for the features ok that’s yada, yada but then what is the most important part you look for. Isn’t it the reviews of the product buy others who have purchased it. Reviews are a major decision influencers for the products that you sell on your store and the more you get them the better it is for you. Did you know that Reviews are also small snippets of unique content for your website which comes for free, they keep your website content unique at all times and more interactive for your customers. Make sure your products are reviewed by their buyers.
4. Not Optimising Product Pages Based on the Search Demand
What do you think will give you better conversion “car” or a “Pre-owned Red Ferrari 2012 model”, research your keywords and make your product pages optimised for your search engine demand.
5. Non-Unique Titles
HTML plays a significant role in search engine optimisation of your commerce store. Title tag is one of the most important tag to miss and what we have seen that most of the store owners create a whole store with a single title tag <title> running thru the complete e-commerce store.
Like the rest of your content be sure that your title tag is also unique.
6. Lack of “Speaking” urls
You must have come across some URL’s that leaves you confused, what do you need a store url like
WOW, this url does not speaks anything about the product but does speaks a lot about the developer. Try to make your store URL’s as speaking as you can, some thing like
THE UNIQUE TAKE AWAY
So, what is it that is preventing growth of your e-commerce site?
YES! it is lack of unique content and a word of caution, search engines are for the users don’t make your commerce store for search engines but for the customers who buy from it.
So you plan setting up an online store? Just like your brick and mortar business you need to create a strategy when you plan to sell online. Missing on the obvious points like how are you going to build a store, what are you going to sell and how are you going to get your payments online are some points that need your attention before you get started. Here are the few things that we recommend you consider when planning to sell online.
How will you promote your store?
So how do you promote a brick and mortar business. YES you do Advertising. A store not promoted is like an ad not printed. No Traffic means No Sales, you need to put in a strategy that increases the footfall of visitors on your online store. It could be mailing campaigns, search engine optimisation, social media posts, pay per click advertising or product offers.
You can categorise your marketing effort into 2 parts :
- Hunting – Pay per click ads, Marketing Mailers, Banner ads etc
- Farming – Social media posting, Subscription based mailers, etc
One is not a replacement of another and we recommend that you put both the strategies in action to get maximum results.
As told to us by a wise gentleman you should have minimum of 10 modes of marketing your self at any time. Learn to measure and measure to learn.
How will you collect payments online?
This is one of the most crucial part of your e-commerce store. A person wants a product and wishes to pay you online. In the current world there are 2 types of payment service providers who are available at large.
- Banks – like HDFC, ICICI Payseal, Axis Bank etc
- Payment Aggregators – like EBS, CCavenue, Zaakpay, PayU etc.
The distinctive difference between Banks and Payment Aggregators is that though Banks only allow you to pay thru Credit or Debit Cards the Aggregators on other had allow you to accept payments via Net banking, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Amex, Discount Cards or Mobile IVRS.
A Payment Aggregator provides your a better ROI as a partner and is more organised (reverts faster) as compared to a normal bank.
Though today buyer are not as sceptic about buying online but we still advise an SSL certificate to add an additional security cover and increase trust of your customers. You can also offer a Cash on Delivery mode for those who still are not comfortable buying online.
How will you get your products delivered to your customers?
You got an order and you got the payments now WHAT ? Hey you need to ship the products, though you can use your existing vendors to ship your products but thanks to the commerce growth in India we have some companies that are organised and can provide you with good services at competitive prices. They manage COD and you can even look out for a drop shipper model with them as the sale peaks. We recommend you to try and get quotes from companies like DTDC, Ecomexpress, Fedex or Aramex.
How will you give your customer a world class experience?
It all comes down to a single point, how will you provide a world class experience to your customer cause this is the most evident and important part of your business operations. We have seen lot of customers getting angry over the process of payments, waiting for deliveries, poor or negligible customer care departments, waiting ages for refunds or returns and even loosing monies paid to a merchant.
You have to understand and convert a happy customer to a raving fan and should not leave any stone unturned to achieve this. Its easy to achieve this if you have processes that manage these system before you start your business venture. We have seen lot of businesses only focussing on sales and thus loosing customer satisfaction and business profits. Few things you can do that can make your life easier are :
- Setting up a system to manage customer queries and put a SLA period on this so that your customers know what to expect.
- Implement Live chat support on your site so that your customers can speak to your team for problems they are facing during or after the sales.
- Give links to track order status to your customers.
- Have a system that manages refunds / returns of orders.
- Ask customers for feedback of your service once a delivery is done and act to improve it.
- Ask customer for review the product so that you know he is happy with the same.
In a nutshell selling online is about EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS thus converting your HAPPY BUYERS to RAVING FANS.
Time have changed, you now have an access of a large variety of products at your fingertips. You can shop at the luxury of your home or even while travelling.
2015 comes out to be a promising year with an estimated user of 290 million buyers in Asia itself.
The 4 steps, which help you to establish your business online in 2015
STEP 1 : Strong Reason to buy from you
Highlight the product quality, offers and give a strong reason to choose you and not an offline product. As the saying “The first impression is the last impression” when you are doing online business you should have some more pears (quality, offer, price, availability etc) to show than an offline store. Highlight those pears and get a good result. Buyer must get some additional benefits if he chooses you. You can also encourage repeat purchases with right use of coupon codes
STEP 2 : Sell online is all about online promotion
To establish your product in beginning you require using all the means available online. Decide a budget for promotion and than go for best technique to follow first. There are multiple options like PPC, SMO, SEO, EMAIL MARKETING ETC.
Among all these options SMO is the latest in which you get connected to almost all the people you want to. On single platform multiple tools are available for promotion and to connect also. In PPC and EMAIL MARKETING you must choose a proper target group for your ad or email to be forward.
STEP 3 : Complete knowledge to the buyer
Give a precise and complete knowledge of product to end-user so that he can choose a best product for himself. Once a buyer get a satisfactory product from you than he become regular customer to your online store.
STEP 4 : Plan for Success
Make a target to execute and a review after 3 months not just to increase sale also to check that your promotional plans are executed properly or not. The landing pages, the direction of social media. The options you have chosen for promotion of your product and website must go in right direction.
2015 is a year in which you can establish yourself in the ecommerce market as a businessman with less effort, because the business flow is in the favor of online market.
By setting up an online selling store in 2015, you can establish yourself as an online retailer and take your business into the hands of your customers. An online store works like a sales agent that works tirelessly 24X7, 365 days an year to help you achieve what you want.
There is always the belief that spending time on the existing database of the customers, and focusing your target on keeping them happy is quite profitable rather than focusing on creating a new base for the customers. When you are targeting on the deals and offers, you are trying to get your customer back to your store and building a strong relationship with the customer.There would be a scenario where people or merchants need to decide on when and how to go ahead with the discounts.
When you are offering discounts for your online store, then it could be quite powerful means in your conversions but if they are used in an unorganized manner then surely you are going to do some damage to your brand.
What kind of offers could be implemented?
There are numerous patterns of discounts and offers which are at your disposal. Let’s peep into the details-
- Discount based on percentage – The common pattern of offering discount is via percentage. It would be including percentages like 5% or 10% off, larger discounts for really driving the sales such as that of 20 and 25% or some larger percentages such as 50% + to liquidate the merchandise which isn’t moving or is old. For example http://www.citynu.com/list/VivaNDiva
- Discounts of dollar values – Offers which are based on dollars could be positioned as the credit force. In most of the cases, the redemption for the dollar based offers versus percentage based offers could be higher than 175%.
- Free gift and shipping – When people are purchasing items they could be offered some remarkable gifts which would increase their confidence. If it is being used strategically it could increase the average order size and help you in liquidating slow money stock.
How and when to use offers, discounts, deals, coupons and deals in best possible manner?
There are numerous means which could be used for enhancing sales, discounts, coupons, deals etc for the betterment. Some of them are mentioned as-
- Weekly/monthly offers for driving sales and meeting goals of revenue – They are known as the traditional sales which are generally used to drive the sales into the market. Most often the sales are taken to the month end or at the quarter to increase the sales and meet the revenues for the projection of deadlines and goals set.
- Prelaunch offers – In case you are in the prelaunch stage or at the verge of starting the company then you could check out the option of prelaunch for the new product. You can utilize the option of pre-launch for increasing traffic and interest of the peak. There are many companies who are using the pre-launch option for enhancing their presence in the market before the launch.
- Seasons/Holiday offers – It’s always believed that occasions related to festivities are remarkable and people are looking out for astonishing and sparkling offers when festivities starts like Christmas, Black Friday, Diwali and New year. Even though over all year is combined with lots of holidays but there are specific occasions when people flaunt markets and during this time they stretch revenues by offering remarkable services.
- Abandon cart offers – It could be one of the successful tactics for bringing people back. Abandon cart emails offers can be increase high conversion rate.
- Newsletter/ Email subscription offer – It has been well known that emailing and newsletters are one of the crucial steps for the online retailers. By providing a successful offer in exchange for visitor email addresses, helps in increasing the outcome of the conversions in return you are going to get the email addresses, which will help in marketing new products and providing opportunity to them in near future. To know more about how to avoid spam when you are sending Newsletter
- Offers for liking, following and sharing on the social network – One of the difficult tasks is to running the online store’s successful word out. By providing customers and visitors an incentive to share the successful store within their social circles which could be effective means of creating some inexpensive word of mouth.
- Referral offers – People are ready of purchase any stuff from an organization which has been referred by some of their close friends and family members. For enhancing the product sales you could use the option of referrals. You can choose to give the best deals to the person who have referred someone or to both of them which would enable the brand highlighting.
Before deciding on the offers, discounts, deals, coupons etc. every individual needs to check out whether they are going to be beneficial. You can most effectively decide utilizing offers for meeting your clear cut objective, increasing revenues and building customers.
I hope with this information and guidance you will be able to increase your sales in Festival Season. In case you you have any query regarding the same then write back to us at [email protected]. Even you can ask us to create your online store at Retaxis
If you are satisfied then share your comments
When finalizing launch of your online ecommerce store one should make sure that the following tests has been done. This ensure and prevents you with the anticipation of launching your website in a jiffy and later on facing heartburns.
Compatibility & Responsiveness
This is the first and the most key step that must have to be performed before launching an online store because it checks the compatibility of your website with all the browsers. Since, it is very important that whatever browser a user is using, your website should work properly on that. Secondly, the responsiveness is directly linked with the resolution of your website because it is very important to check this whether your website is functioning properly on desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets or not!
Some tools you can use to check your website responsiveness are:
Note: They might not be exact in the way they display your website and in some cases the real look on the real device may vary.
Content is King
The second thing is to make sure that your content is up to the mark or not! Like, if your website consists of unprofessional content which does not make any sense then obviously, your traffic will be affected and the sales of your store will also be seriously damaged. Hence, it is necessary for a website to make their content error-free.
Some other things which should be kept in mind while checking the content are:
• Formatting of the content
• Grammatical mistakes
• Images sizes and their locations
• Contact information
• Product details like prices, information, etc.
Make sure you use a plagiarism proof content so that it even acts as a unique content and gives your website organic seo boost. Some tools you can use to check your website copies are:
You should be sure of one thing that whatever image, link or button you have on your website, it should be interactive because you are running an online store. Every such link which leads to a social media page or any button or image present on your website must be linked with the right page which should be working properly.
• Make testing customer accounts
• If your website is multilingual, check all the languages
• If your is international, check all the currencies first
• Make test transactions going through all the payment methods
• Delete the test orders before launching
Well now when everything is fine and you have gone ahead for the launch make sure the team working on the website knows about the “Known Issues” on the website admin panel. Restrict access of admin panel to 1 or a Max of 2 users.
The best way to make sure you are safe in terms of project functionality is to sit down and brainstorm (not STORM) with your technical team so that they can cover almost all the test cases expected for purchases on the online store.
If you perform this step before launching your store, that means you have cleared all the risks of making any mistake in your store! There are three levels to make it happen!
Whenever you make any sort of change in your online store, try using the website yourself or test those changes as a local customer and see if you get stuck at some point while using the website.
Let your friends test it!
Check out your website through your friends as well! Ask them to go through each thing in your store and see if they get any problem or issue in that.
It performs the same step as above but it allows many other users to check your website. These professional testing websites are available for you to see if there is a weak point in your website.
The Launch is ready!
Done with all the above tests?
If yes, you are good to go with your online store! Start earning more from your store and keep making certain changes as required in your store by keeping the above mentioned points in your mind.
One more thing setup a different development and production environment and make sure that everything that you want to get on your live online store is firstly tested on the development environment according to the test cases suggested by you or your testing team.
Now, after launching your online store, the next question would arise in your mind is how making your first online sale? Click here to get an answer at http://goo.gl/iaZU9s