You’ve already started experimenting with eCommerce, but as we enter into 2022, it’s time to take things to the next level. To stay ahead of your competition this year, you’ll need a well-performing site that includes accurate and consistent product imagery, descriptions, pricing, and more.
This article will share three tactics you can initiate today to offer a better eCommerce experience for all site visitors.
This article will cover:
- Why now is the time to invest in digital and eCommerce.
- How to provide customers with a better digital experience.
- How to take eCommerce to the next level with the right tech.
Making the Shift to eCommerce
2021 saw an enormous shift from in-person shopping to eCommerce. Due to factors like increased access to the internet, convenience, and a global pandemic, the number of digital buyers increased, globally, from 1.32B in 2014 to 2.14B in 2021. And, with so many customers using their mobile phones to review products and price-compare while physically in the stores, even in-person experiences are proving to be increasingly influenced by digital channels.
The B2B market, in particular, has seen a significant jump in eCommerce adoption. Manufacturing, healthcare, and electrical products, to name a few, are shifting from traditional sales approaches (think phone calls and emails) to more hands-off, online customer experiences. Gartner’s 2020 B2B Digital Commerce Survey shows that “respondents from both selling and procuring organizations expect their B2B transactions through websites to rise by 8 to 12 percentage points”.
The shift to digital is always about adding channels, not replacing them. Sellers therefore need to tailor the product experience so it is adapted to the needs for each channel for a unified, but not necessarily uniform, experience. – Ali Hanyaloglu, Head of Global Product Marketing of Akeneo
eCommerce is No Easy Feat
While eCommerce may be the new norm, there’s a huge difference between “doing eCommerce” – and doing it well. It’s not enough to simply add your products to your website with a Buy Now button. eCommerce is about creating a positive and consistent digital experience for customers.
A 2020 survey by Forrester even showed improved digital experience as the number one action organizations were taking to improve relationships with customers. You’ve started down this eCommerce path, and you may find it’s a lot more complex than you first anticipated. To stay competitive in 2022, you need a well-performing, responsive, attractive site that includes accurate and consistent product imagery, descriptions, pricing and more. By taking the time to invest in your digital experience you’ll earn purchase confidence from your customers – increasing sales and preventing product returns.
In this article, we share three steps you can initiate today to offer site visitors a better eCommerce experience (and boost sales).
Invest in high-quality visuals
While in-store visitors are able to physically analyze, try out, and experience your products first-hand, those shopping online don’t have the same luxury. With this in mind, as expected, there’s decreased buying confidence and more buyer’s remorse for purchases made online. Consider these statistics around online shopping behaviors before you set up your online store: It’s been reported that 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential purchase and that 22% of returns occur because the product looked different in-person when it arrived. Set yourself up for online retail success by investing in media.
A great starting point is to build a suite of high-quality, accurate product images. It’s recommended to use at least four different product photos and to incorporate lifestyle images of your product.
Some image options outlined by Blueboard.io include:
- Primary image: the one that visitors see when scrolling the “digital shelf”
- Detail shots: zoomed in on a portion of the product that needs attention
- Packshot: highlight the entire product and its packaging
- Lifestyle photos: showcase the products in action and in context.
Take it to the next level
To stand out among your competitors, take your product media game up a notch. There are other types of media that can take your eCommerce site to the next level, encouraging understanding of your brand and further increasing purchase confidence. Consider using video, which is continuing to increase in popularity. Not only can video show your products in action, they’ve also been reported to help increase conversion rates. Even before the pandemic, “97% of video marketers reported that video increased user understanding of a product or service, and 76% reported video helped them increase sales”.
Another form of media being used in eCommerce is 3D models, which give potential customers a 360-degree view of the products.
Provide accurate, up-to-date product details
While strong visuals are definitely important, they only tell half the story about your products. In fact, product specifications are listed as the most important form of content when customers make online purchases. You need to have detailed, well-written, accurate, and easy-to-understand product descriptions. Online customers don’t have the full physical context so it’s important to include product dimensions, sizing, and types of materials. Otherwise, you run the risk of refunding purchases if the descriptions aren’t accurate, as 50% of shoppers surveyed said they’ve returned an item they bought online because it didn’t match the product description.
Big Commerce shares some important details to have on your web pages, including:
- Product title
- Product description
- Must-know specs
- Customization options (size, color, etc.)
Take it to the next level
Providing product information doesn’t have to be boring! Use it as an opportunity to further your brand, tell your story and sell. When describing the product, use adjectives to reinforce benefits and value-props. For example, if you’re selling athletic clothing, rather than just saying a pair of pants has mesh panels, you can share that it has breathable mesh panels. This slight alteration in wording better enables visitors to connect with product and understand how they’ll feel when they use it.
While making product information more exciting can be beneficial, remember not to bury the important information within too much content. Use charts, bullet points and sections to ensure that visitors can easily skim for the information they’re looking for, before diving into the details.
Optimize your pages for conversion
You can take all the time in the world to make a beautiful eCommerce site, but it won’t matter if visitors don’t convert – namely, make a purchase. According to Invesp, the average conversion rate on an eCommerce site globally is just 2.58%. With less than 3 of 100 site visitors converting, you need to work hard to entice or remind customers to make a purchase.
The name of the game here is streamlined navigation and ease-of-purchase. Factors like high page speed, intuitive search, smooth navigation and clear calls-to-action (CTAs) can all have a positive impact on conversion. In fact, an article by Moz shared that, on average, conversation rate doubles when site visitors use on-site search.
Neil Patel shares some additional tips to further improve conversion:
- Provide social proof
- Ensure clear navigation
- Offer related items
- Streamline the checkout process
- Follow up on abandoned carts
Take it to the next level
In such a competitive environment, keeping customers is more valuable than ever – and also 16x less expensive than recruiting new ones. So, once you’ve gained a customer, the next step is to ensure you keep them loyal by providing an even better experience.
Enabling visitors to make accounts or sign up through loyalty programs through your website is a clear way to provide additional value to your existing customers. It opens the ability to provide a more seamless, personalized experience, with better product suggestions, streamlined checkout options, and exclusive discounts and content. An additional benefit to you, as the company, is improved data tracking and segmentation.
Don’t venture alone – Invest in the right tech
Pulling off eCommerce well is a big undertaking. You need to have the right support systems in place to set yourself up for success before taking it on. In particular, there are two solutions to consider:
- Digital Asset Management: A digital asset management system (DAM) helps companies manage, organize, share and distribute their media from within one central library.
- Product Information Management: A product information management solution (PIM) provides a single place to collect, manage, and enrich product information.
Consistency in branding, language and product information shared across channels is an absolute must to stay competitive. It’s been reported that brand consistency across all platforms can increase revenue up to 23 percent. With a DAM and PIM integration, organizations can bridge the gap between their existing technologies and ensure brand consistency with a single source of truth for all product data and high-resolution media assets.
High quality images, videos, and documents are key to delivering an emotional experience to customers. The combination of a PIM and DAM system simplifies the effort of ensuring the right digital assets are associated with the right products, and are adapted for use according to each channel’s requirements. – Ali Hanyaloglu, Head of Global Product Marketing of Akeneo
It’s been estimated that the recent global pandemic has accelerated the number of companies shifting to eCommerce by five years – and there’s no turning back. Factors like increased access to the internet, convenience, and changed buying habits will see eCommerce continue to boom. Whether you’ve already started on the eCommerce journey or you’re looking to prepare to make the shift, ensure you have the right strategy and tools in place.
Systems like DAM and PIM that can integrate will make executing a successful eCommerce platform so much easier. So, set your organization up for success by researching and investing in the right technology partners.