Salient Features Of An Online Store
Earlier it was difficult to own and maintain a website but now days many website service providers made this exercise hassle free , a owner need not do anything ,they offer services like website designing, hosting and maintenance. But as an online marketer the website needs specific attention. This is the only interface where prospect lands and make next move. So first of all the efforts should be put so that user choose to click on your site and spend at least sometime then only he will be able to know what you are offering to him. There are many free tools to monitor the behavior of the users like how many users visit your site, from where they belong to, how much time they spend, demography etc. These metrics give insights about where more work needs to be done.
So it would not be exaggeration to use phrase “Who wants what from whom” in the context of digital marketing business.Here “who” means targeted audience, what means “goods or services provided” and “whom” means business owners. But you are not the only one who provide such goods and services, there will be many competitors locally and globally to offer same thing. It is important to understand the problem of customers and provide solution in such way that they can’t easily refuse your solution. This is where user experience plays key role.
The user experience includes how user friendly your website is, how secure and trusted it is and how you are accommodating user’s needs. Below are qualities of a good online store:-
Good look and feel attracts everybody so is the case with digital marketing. A website with good layout, color combination ,good logo, easy navigation between different pages, minimum clicks to find the desired item of user, detailed description of the item so that user can make more informed decision, a real time supporting system if user have any query about anything to clear his doubts or skepticism. There should be smooth flow to checkout page. So better representation of content and eye catching features attract customers.
There is no doubt that whole internet space if full with scams and there are numerous instances where a lot of money has been lost by bank account holders, people lost their hard earned money while making online purchases. If internet is bringing good change in the world simultaneously the number of bad people and their capability to steal crucial data like bank account details, user credentials is also increasing.
So your site should have strong security features and should show users the trust badges of the reputed companies. Clearly showing these badges or icons will generate trust among users that his money, credentials and other personal data will be safe. Nobody wants to even click on insecure site! While making users data secure it is equally necessary to make them confidential and a clear message should be visible on the site saying that their data will be kept confidential and no unethical practice will be followed.
Multiple Payment Options
You may have targeted same audience but it is fact that their socio economical background is not same. There are multiple payments and banks operating in developed countries to make cashless transaction easy and safe. But in case of developing countries and less developed one still there is huge gap in digital literacy in comparison to advanced countries.
So your site should include as many as alternatives for catering the needs of different type of users across the world. The startups companies may not be heard enough and are less visible in internet so a user making first time purchase may not be comfortable with online payment, an option of cash on delivery may prompt user to buy the products without any hesitation.
Packaging and Delivery
The Efficient delivery service includes mainly four components. The goods and services should be delivered fast enough. The customers should get the item on time. If an order has been made for Christmas celebration then what is point if it is shipped after the festival. So goods and services have time component in their consumption. Any e-commerce trader should understand the problem of customers.
The demand pattern of an item and paying capacity of shipment fee are not same for all the customers and depends on time to time. The demand of a particular good can be high during festive season and the customers are ready to pay extra money for premium quick delivery while some customers would like to order the same item well before the festival so that they can get the item for the consumption during festive season. In this case they would like to select cheap delivery method. Therefore for a vibrant e-commerce business multiple shipment options can increase sells by significant margin.
The world is divided into various socio-economic groups .The shipment fee can be a sole reason to decide whether the item should be purchased or not. No one would like to buy if total cost of the item including shipment fee is greater than the cost at which item is available locally. The relative location of inventories and customers is big factor behind high delivery fee. The supply chain and inventory management should be effective and cost efficient.
The reliability of service helps in loyalty but at the same time if trust is broken then customers can be lost which can have negative impact on profits. The shipping should be secured enough for protecting items from damage. If a customer receives damaged good this may irritate him because of loss of time and energy. The customer may not visit again due to poor handling of the items. This may have negative impact on brand name.
Although e-Retailers want to give best services but due to uncertain events like the customers were not home at the time of delivery, the address was not accurate, geographical barriers can delay or impact the shipment process. The complexity of shipment increases with increase in number of orders. The orders around 40-50 per day can be managed but as business grow the numbers of orders will also grow so management at large scale requires professionals staff. The customers expect real time monitoring of their parcel. The consumer behavior is influenced by the service quality provided by the big e-commerce giants.
It becomes difficult for small and medium companies when big giants are everywhere with quality products and services .This can be seen as challenges as well as an opportunity. It is recommended that let the people do specific job who is expert in a particular area .This will promote the efficiency and reduce the overall costs and add professional outlook to business. The third party logistics companies are working around the world which provide services from pick and pack to final delivery. Before outsourcing delivery service to such companies it is necessary to learn some important guidelines on logistics outsourcing firms.
With boom in smart phones and decreasing cost of mobile phones many users are now making orders from their mobile phone. There have been surge of mobile apps making smart phones more user friendly and usable. The numbers of mobile users will likely to increase by manifold, so no ecommerce site want to lose this new space with bad user experience of their site on mobiles.
In addition to above points there are many small features which can have major impact on psychology of the customers like product review and testimonials, suggestion of alternative products, more than one photo of the item from different angle, rating of the goods, product categories ,easy and detailed checkout page with shipping information, zooming of photos, availability of stock or not, subscription form for newsletters, special discounts, wish list etc.We will elaborate more one these feature later.
It may not be possible to have all these features in one go but a website should be designed keeping in mind all relevant and important features. The on page optimization has great impact on organic search results and can improve search page rank if design principles are taken into consideration.