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Lesson 7: How to increase the customer base for your e-commerce store

Best practices to increase the Customer base for your ECommerce store Customer acquisition is basic for any business – including eCommerce. Customer acquisition is any action that can be taken into account in order to acquire a new client. There are plenty of strategies out there to do that – better photos, more accurate SEO content marketing techniques, email campaigns, affiliate marketing and many more. It is really difficult to establish an ever- working strategy, as it depends on the kind of eCommerce store and the target audiences. Every business has a different one, and there is no hands-on immediate recipe to skyrocket your customer base. Still, there are great techniques that can help you to achieve great results regardless of the branch you are currently working in.

Chapter 1: Increase the usability of your website

Many of the customers see the problems when it comes to the website’s usability. Consider your website as the headquarters of your store. Counter intuitiveness of poorly designed user interface lowers the customers' overall satisfaction and repels them from your store. If they have problems during the purchase of a design product – they will simply buy somewhere else and pay someone else. That money could belong to you if the clients did not encounter problems with the website. How to avoid it? The most frequently mentioned problems are:

  • The necessity to register in the store

  • Poor navigation through lists and product cards Limited filtering and comparison as well as inconvenient purchase forms

Quick shopping without the need to login is undoubtedly easier for consumers, but mainly for those who use the shopping site for the first time or scarcely. Leaving your data is not a problem when it results in convenient shopping and access to dedicated offers, but leaving your data because registration is obligatory is considered an unnecessary obstacle these days. It will make your clients more reluctant to buy goods in your store. Another important matter is to ensure that your website has the option of personalization. Websites, where the user is able to choose the variation or even customize the product, are more desirable by today’s customers. On the product page, we have the options to choose the version of the product we like, and we can add something personalized to it. Implementing a dedicated widget website to remember the preferences and recognize them during their next visit to better serve the inquiry and help the customer to find the right product.

As the importance of sensible and thoughtful shopping increases, so does the need for convenient product comparison. More and more consumers expect greater flexibility of e-stores in this regard, in particular the ability to compare many products or their features. It is also important to be able to modify parameters during the comparison. Increasing the usability of your website will be a game-changer when it comes to customer acquisition. To sum everything up, remember about:

  • Providing the possibility of shopping to unregistered users

  • Implementing Intuitive and proficient navigation lists and filters

  • Personalizing the products with customization where possible.

Chapter 2: Use fast and available payment methods

To run a successful eCommerce business, you first need to understand your chosen industry and where you stand in it. However, it is difficult to do this without comparing yourself to the competition, so regular monitoring is a must. One of the most successful options is to check out the competition before starting your own business because it will give you an idea of what to expect when entering a particular industry. Further monitoring will help you to be aware of the current situation, react to the actions of other entrepreneurs and adapt to dynamic changes in eCommerce.

To make the analysis of competition effective, it is worth thinking about what we want to achieve thanks to it. At first, tracking the competition allows you to recognize the biggest rivals in the industry and treat them as a kind of reference point. You can also analyze new companies, examine their market potential, and see if they pose a potential threat to your business. Observing the competition is also a space for development and continuous learning. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of other companies, we can learn what actions to avoid and which ones are beneficial to the business. All this makes it easier to plan future moves and strategies for further action. An equally important reason for monitoring the competition is the ability to react quickly to their actions and adapt to changes in the market. If someone already is widely recognizable and has considerable sales volume, learn from him. Learning

from eCommerce professionals and veterans will quickly tweak up your sales and boost them.

  • Find bestselling eCommerce stores in your branch and learn from them

  • Check out the business moves of competition regularly to follow the newest trends

Chapter 3: Analyze the customers

According to consumers, companies are often not interested in contacting them. Contacting an e- shop when the customer encounters any unclarity or a problem is crucial for the shop to maintain existing clients and will provide the space to create relationships with the new clients quickly. Fast contact methods will give shop owners a chance to solve problems faster, and the overall experience with the shop will be considered more positive. Approximately 75% of the clients do not know how they could contact them efficiently. Consumers also want to know what is happening with their feedback - has the information reached the store, is it being processed, when can they expect a response? The most desirable form of contact would be simple to use and easily accessible, dedicated widget, allowing to share opinions, report a problem, or ask a question at any time of visiting the e-shop. The users would expect this form of contact as it is more efficient and less time consuming than writing emails or calling the shop using the direct phone line.

Moreover, Companies selling online should remember how important the customer's opinion is. At the same time, collecting opinions is the worst-rated element of e-shop functioning in the eyes of Internet users. Extra bonuses could encourage to share opinions with an e- shop and provide successful "road sign" for the new clients to buy in your shop. Positive opinions create a strong incentive to check out more products and services. It can create a reliable acquisition funnel for the brand.

  • Ensure the payment method which is convenient for the customers on your markets

  • Create the space for the customers to share their problems and opinions

  • Ensure the possibility of quick contact with the customers

  • Address the issues as swiftly as possible

Chapter 4: Use social commerce

We can observe a significant increase in the number of features dedicated to online stores, which allow for an even easier and clearer presentation of the offer. Creating a strategy that allows to effectively combine interesting and engaging content with product themes is often challenging. We must take into account that in the era of competition, customers are characterized by decreasing loyalty and bombarded daily with a huge number of advertising messages. They pay attention only to the most interesting or those that meet their current, fast-changing needs.

No doubt that most online stores already use social media to promote their products. However, social commerce is a more complex concept. Direct linking to products can effectively shorten the buyer's journey to obtaining the desired product. Most famous social networks have made it possible to tag products on posts. This is an efficient way to run campaigns. The sites also provide a store section in which adding products to your profile is available. If you choose to do so, you can add products, photos, and descriptions so that customers can make a buying decision while already browsing their boards. Other new forms, videos, stories are important to help improve customer engagement.

Another great way to stand out is through reviews and recommendations. For instance, you can prepare the social event engaging your customers with small discounts or giveaways to share their opinion about shopping at your store with other social media users to significantly strengthen the social proof.

In a nutshell:

  • Be active on social networks and engage your customers

  • Link your products on the social media sites

  • Allow customers to share their opinions to get more social proof

Chapter 5: Try Out Omni-channel marketing

Store shelves are overloaded with goods, and the Internet tempts with unique products available on the spot. A wide range of products makes it increasingly difficult to make a purchase decision, and the modern consumer really does have a hard start in choosing a proper product. Everyday sellers use various incentives to make each basket's value as high as possible. Here are some of the most popular, and most effective mechanisms to stimulate the overall rate of sales. Promotion, reduction, bargain discount - this is by far every shopper's favorite set of words. The reaction of the human mind to discount labels can be astonishing. Goods that no one has even looked at before suddenly become incredibly attractive, and not buying at a better price is even treated as a sign of inconsideration and mismanagement. Most stores regularly "clean out" their warehouses by organizing spring, summer, autumn, and winter sales for their customers. Alongside these, the eagerly awaited Black Friday is also celebrating its triumphs, and it is breaking the record of total commerce volume every year. Although the difference in price is often really insignificant, in fact, the magic of discounts always attracts attention, and most importantly, the buyer's wallet. In addition to labelling products as "sale", "promotion", "%" are also increasingly deciding to create a separate "sale" tab, which is a universal mastermind of incentives for shoppers and is mostly visited by them at first glance. Think about it. Do you know anyone who does not like discounts?

  • Interconnect your sales and marketing channels

  • Focus on automating the repeatable situations in your sales process

  • Establish an automated chatbot

Chapter 6: Make your store secure

The development of eCommerce and the ubiquity of digital information carriers in the form of personal devices make it necessary for us to follow the information relating to IT security. Be aware of the cyber security of your eCommerce store. Maintaining a secure website will establish trust, which is crucial to acquiring new customers. Would you like to buy products from the site you find suspicious? Almost no one would. Secure stores have much better chances to acquire new customers. The rapid progress of transformation and the increasing number of applications and APIs used to conduct business means that such vulnerabilities or gaps that allow criminals access are also on the rise. Artificial intelligence and bots are already being used for "observations" that support verification of who is worth attacking and for the attacks themselves. Criminals' activities are extremely highly automated, and their methods are increasingly difficult to detect by outdated security technologies. The most popular eCommerce attacks are credit and debit card fraud, hoarding, i.e., blocking stores sales resources, scraping sites' content to resell their data (e.g., current product prices), and account takeovers. To avoid these attacks as a store owner, you need to know the infrastructure you are using in order to protect it properly. Implement strong, unique passwords and require the same from your customers. Use HTTPS encrypted protocol on your sites to ensure that the web traffic is protected—the more of it you have, the harder it is to breach your security. Possibility of two-step verification and checking the complexity of your customers' passwords is a must. Lastly, do backups of your shop website and the crucial devices in your infrastructure. IT specialists have a common saying that "there are two kinds of people: those who do back up's and those who will do it soon". Make sure that you will be in the first group.

Ensuring that you have a secure website is not an obvious technique of customer acquisition, but a really efficient one. The more customers who know that the site can be trusted, the more eager they will be to pay the money for the desired product.

  • Implement strong, unique passwords and require the same from your customers.

  • Implement two-step verification

  • Back up your data

  • Back up your data, really.

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