Firstly let’s get up to scratch on what eCommerce is.
eCommerce, short for electronic commerce, is trading in products and services using computer networks, such as the internet. A great example would be Amazon, the largest multinational eCommerce retailer in the world, with revenues of $89 billion in 2014, up $14 billion from 2013.
2014 was the year that more consumers used their mobile phones and tablets to access eCommerce sites more than they did with their personal computers and laptops. The explosion of the use of social media in the past few years (1.9billion of us are active on Facebook!) has helped drive eCommerce with retailers using sophisticated algorithms to tailor their advertising based on our social media footprint and internet search history.
This targeted approach is known as a sales funnel. The sales funnel plays upon the customers buying process: awareness, research, evaluation and finally the golden ticket: purchase.
So by providing a high level of easily accessible content you can guide your site visitors through the sales funnel. A shopper can arrive at your website in varying stages of the buying cycle. For instance, they might have decided to quickly check your website as a final thought while their shopping sits in the checkout basket on another website. So you need to appeal to the customer on all levels of the cycle. By providing appropriate and relevant content you can help your customers be guided through the sales funnel without them even being aware of what is happening. The customer likes to feel in control of their own purchase and by using this technique they won’t even notice the gentle nudge you give them towards them purchasing your products.
A key part of a successful funnel is a really slick website. You have seconds to grab the attention of increasingly impatient shoppers. They want easy navigation and clear images. Awareness of your products is massively heightened by a great website.
But remember that information of the products can be better than a transparent sales pitch. If you help potential purchasers with the first three stages of the buying process through providing valuable and useful information, a successful final purchase stage is much more likely.
To get this information across quickly, use words the customer wants to hear, such as ‘simple’ ‘easy to use’ etc. You can provide practical guidance through useful blogs, demos, video clips, FAQs and guides. Customers want to see and hear this information to put them at ease and realise that this is the product they need.
A critical stage of the buying process is the evaluation stage. By providing great product descriptions, you can help securing the final stage of the buying cycle. Think about Amazon again. They provide photos, questions and answers, reviews and ratings to help guide the purchaser.
The best way to provide these product descriptions is by imagining your ideal customer, and pitching to them. Include the features and benefits of your products and use lots of positive words, to maximise the impact on the customer. Try and include social media as proof if that is possible, as online reviews are trusted by 88% of people, as much as word of mouth. Sell the customer your product by showing how your product is the best on the market.
As well as the product that they are looking for, the customer wants a great buying experience. Try and provide them with a relationship within the buying community, something that is particularly important to women. If you can provide this comfortable community you can boost your e-commerce sales. By allowing your customers to join forums and chat among themselves about your products you build this sense of community and trust.
The customer has a buying cycle and by keeping this in mind when building content for eCommerce you can see success and profit. To summarise, provide high quality content, provide practical information, provide a sense of community and create a shopping experience and this will nudge the customer towards that golden ticket: purchase.