Build your e-commerce empire with best-in-class marketing technology.
The e-commerce industry has grown rapidly over the last decade and continues to grow. New platforms and technologies make it easier than ever for consumers to find and purchase the products they love online.
While e-commerce is undoubtedly a growing global industry, it’s also a highly competitive one. Newcomers who hope to create a high-converting digital storefront need to make sure their website meets customer expectations.
As of 2022, those expectations are higher than ever. Major retail brands spend tens of thousands of dollars optimizing their e-commerce websites to improve sales and reduce the cost of customer acquisition.
But this doesn’t mean you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to do the same. Thanks to new and intuitive e-commerce technologies, you can build, configure, and optimize your website with much less.
We’ve identified four ways today’s website owners can position themselves to become tomorrow’s e-commerce success stories. With the right technology supporting your approach, you can significantly improve sales without having to break the bank.
Use a WooCommerce-compatible Website Builder
Choosing an e-commerce platform is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll have to make. There are many options on the market – you’ve probably already heard of Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. We’re going to recommend you start with WooCommerce first, and then build your website around it.
The reasoning behind this is simple. WooCommerce is designed for WordPress. With more than 60% of the market share to its name, WordPress is the most popular and flexible content management system around.
The success of your e-commerce store depends on your digital marketing capabilities, and there are few digital marketing platforms more versatile or powerful than WordPress.
WooCommerce is a free open-source plug-in for WordPress. It’s a highly customizable platform for integrating e-commerce functionality with the rest of your WordPress website.
In order to make the most of that website, you’ll need to use a WooCommerce-compatible website builder. This will allow you to quickly and inexpensively create a professional website capable of promoting your products and driving traffic to your store.
Elementor is a great example of a WooCommerce website builder designed for e-commerce. Its simple drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for non-technical users to create polished, comprehensive landing pages that boost conversions. It contains a wide range of tools designed to help creators manage and optimize their content.
For example, many website builders allow users to quickly whip up new pages using templates. Elementor takes things one step further by allowing users to quickly create entire websites – with full backend functionality included – using Full Site Kits.
Configuring and customizing a Full Site Kit takes minutes, so you can immediately publish professionally designed websites without writing a single line of code.
Get the checkout process right
The checkout process has evolved significantly over the past few years. Marketers have discovered that for every click a customer has to make to complete an order, a percentage of customers abandon the order altogether. The number of abandoned orders can be as high as 20% according to some experts.
The modern e-commerce checkout experience is all about reducing clicks, forms, and other distractions. If your customers have to fill out their address, contact information, and a dozen other form fields just to make an order, you can be certain that some of them give up midway through the process, never to return.
Fortunately, e-commerce website owners can now install modules that reduce the amount of work customers have to perform when completing orders. For example, you can set your website to automatically identify users’ country using their IP address. That’s one less field they need to complete at the checkout stage – and it matters.
True one-click ordering is possible if you create a membership site that remembers user data and keeps them logged in. You can thank Amazon for the innovation, first patented in 1999. Now, one-click ordering has become a widespread expectation and a staple of the e-commerce environment.
Nevertheless, many e-commerce websites make mistakes with their checkout process. Some of the most common mistakes include:
- Requiring shoppers to register before checkout. Registration is a major source of user experience friction. Let shoppers use a guest checkout procedure so they don’t have to register in order to complete the transaction. You can even delay registration until after the order is complete.
- Forgetting to capture form data in the website cache. Most people use their browser’s back button to undo mistakes. If your website doesn’t save their data to the cache, pushing the back button will force them to start the whole process all over again.
- Failing to Integrate Autocomplete. Speed up the checkout process and reduce input errors using an autocomplete solution that can fill in address data for customers. These systems also validate incoming data, reducing the frequency of shipping errors and other problems.
- Asking for Card Information First. Credit card data should always go last. E-commerce shoppers will be more inclined to share their credit card data after they’ve completed all the other steps of the checkout process.
Secure customer data effectively
Cybersecurity is one area where today’s e-commerce environment differs dramatically from previous years. Cybercrime and digital fraud have surged since the beginning of the pandemic, representing a real risk for e-commerce website owners and their customers.
While headline-making cyberattacks usually focus on major enterprises and government agencies, small businesses and e-commerce retailers are also targets. Small and mid-sized businesses make easy targets for highly automated cybercrime threat actors, who capitalize on smaller businesses’ lack of enterprise-level security expertise.
But while small retailers may not have access to enterprise expertise, they can gain access to enterprise-level security resources. WordPress website owners have access to a wide range of effective cybersecurity plug-ins, from automated prevention solutions like Sucuri to 24/7 managed detection and response service providers.
Integrating cybersecurity into your e-commerce store is a must for successfully doing business in 2022. You may not be able to prevent every single malicious email from entering your inbox (or your customers’), but you can take valuable steps towards preventing catastrophic damage.
On a similar note, it pays to adopt a security-oriented approach to website permissions and third-party access. Many e-commerce organizations are adopting a Zero Trust approach to securing customer data.
Zero Trust security protects sensitive data by challenging the assumption that authenticated users should be trusted. In general, no single user or administrator should have 100% trusted access to every aspect of your e-commerce business. If you need to access customer data, you should have to authenticate your account – potentially multiple times – before reaching it.
Zero Trust architecture is a complex topic well beyond the scope of the average e-commerce website, but some of its concepts are simple enough to quickly establish. For example, you can use the principle of least privilege to restrict user accounts to only access the data they need to accomplish their tasks. Customer data should only be shared on a need-to-know basis.
Perfect the art of upselling
Upselling is the process of persuading a customer to purchase a higher-priced item instead of the item they plan on buying. Since higher-priced products typically carry higher margins, this leads to greater profits for sellers.
Many e-commerce brands are reluctant to emphasize upselling opportunities because they feel too greedy or salesy. It’s certainly true that many examples of upselling are exactly that – and they often hurt the brand’s reputation more than they help.
However, there are ways to upsell without hurting your brand image. In fact, successful upselling can help establish your store as a brand that caters to the needs of high-end clientele – you just have to get it right.
Upselling works when you’ve already spent time and energy priming your customers for an upgrade. It capitalizes on the fact that a customer who is ready to buy a product is more likely to be receptive to promotional messaging than someone who is just browsing.
Comparisons are the ideal tool for accomplishing this task. If your customer is buying a product, you can drive the value of a higher-ticket item by comparing it to the product the customer has already indicated interest in.
Emphasize the characteristics that make the higher-value item more desirable. Show customers that they’ll get a better value by paying more now and getting a better, more durable, or more comfortable product than the one they originally chose. If done right, you’ll end up selling more of your higher-priced items than you would otherwise.
Popups are one of the best tools you have at your disposal for doing this. With the right configuration, you can time your popup to emphasize the value of a higher-priced item at just the right moment when your customer is primed to buy. Customers will immediately see that a better option is available, and a certain percentage of them will add it to their cart and checkout.
Best of all, you can do this in a subtle way. You don’t need overt sales messaging to make the point.
Data is key to crafting your unique e-commerce strategy
With such a wide range of tools, techniques, and technologies at your disposal, there are tons of ways you can position your e-commerce shop for long lasting success well into the new year. Make sure you gather feedback data on the initiatives you launch and use that data to refine your approach moving forward. Learn from your experiences and make your e-commerce story a successful one.