E-commerce is an integral revenue stream for any business, and for many companies, it’s the primary driver for growth, brand recognition, and market accessibility. Given the increasing shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping, especially in the new COVID-19 world, maintaining and developing your e-commerce store is a paramount task. Luckily there are plenty of platforms and support systems out there to ease the burden of development and maintenance, ensuring increased revenue without all the overhead.
The question for most companies isn’t implementation, but what to target for the biggest bang for your buck. To get you started, below are three easy steps to get you moving and thinking about the bigger picture.
Step 1: Make Your Site Accessible to All Customers
Seemingly obvious, most customers will decide whether to view your catalog or not within moments of accessing your store. Clunky, difficult, or confusing sites will scare away potential sales and limit your potential. Having a site that is easy to navigate, shows products clearly, and provides flexibility for both the owner and customer are critical for scaling growth and ensuring customer satisfaction–especially among people with disabilities. The goal of any online store is to present products that can be purchased seamlessly and simply by any customer at any time.
Standard practice requires that sites are ADA & WCAG compliant, which requires some level of specialization. Companies like accessiBe can help reduce the complexity by providing an affordable automated solution and protection from ADA lawsuits. Their website states, “Here’s the accessibility dilemma: small businesses, who make up 99% of the market, knock on our door with a lawsuit worth $30K in compensations, on one hand, a $20K quote for an accessibility project on the other. The source of these litigations is that people with disabilities simply want to be included in the modern, digital era. So they turn to legislation as a last resort.”
Fortunately, the advancements of AI have enabled companies like accessiBe to solve the age-old accessibility dilemma. This new development allows other businesses to make compliance attainable for every company, creating a real accessibility revolution, and achieving a win for everyone on all sides. Accessible websites, apps, and digital assets provide better customer experiences for all groups of people – in other words, build up your brand recognition and loyalty knowing that the customer experiences you are creating are optimized for everyone, regardless of ability.
Step 2: Control Operational Costs
E-commerce is one of the most effective ways to earn bonus returns on investment. The difference between a cost-effective and cost-prohibitive e-commerce site is the maintenance and overhead required to run and provide new content and continuous updates. Traditional website upgrades (accessibility included) require product-by-product reviews and changes that can reach tens of thousands of dollars, making the process costs prohibitive for most small to medium-sized companies. As with anything else, the right kind of change requires money and the primary focus of any operational function is to mitigate costs while providing world-class service.
A few ways you can reduce costs on your e-commerce store include: choosing the best payment processor, outsourcing freelancers, and streamlining your supply chain management. Instead of obtaining an expensive payment processing system, you should consider using software that allows you to invoice your customers without added fees. If you’re not careful, the high cost of credit and debit card fees can quickly eat into your profits. As far as freelancers go, a good one can be the difference between a productive and a non-productive e-commerce store. By outsourcing administrative and lower priority tasks through a freelancer or virtual assistant, you can free up more time to maximize business efforts – and save money! Lastly, streamlining your e-commerce store’s supply chain and distribution process is one of the easiest ways to cut down on operational costs. Incorporating supply chain management measures (like stocking just the required products), integrating supply chain methods and vendor managed inventory are some of the ways your online e-commerce company can streamline the supply chain process and earn above average return on investment.
Step 3: Optimize your online store for mobile devices
Online shopping has largely shifted from a desktop experience to a smartphone experience. With people being on their phones for hours upon hours during the day, it’s more likely that they are going to come to your site via a mobile device than on their desktop computer. Therefore, your e-commerce store must be mobile-friendly. Morebusiness.com states that,
“For your products to sell on your eCommerce site, they must be visually appealing to visitors, and they should also be displayed in a variety of different ways to be successful. One way to do this includes going with a good web hosting company that provides many options to help showcase your offerings in their best light, such as image zoom, and that also enables you to display multiple images for the products, so customers can view them from all angles to determine if they may be the right products for them. If you plan to sell on social media, it should also include an option to share your product images there as well”.
This circles back to making sure your website is easy to continuously adapt as new updates and accessibility options are rolled out on desktop and mobile. “M-commerce” as it’s called, has already become a major channel for shopping and changed consumer shopping habits over the last several years. Customers are reliant on their mobile devices now more than ever, and it is only going to inch closer to becoming consumers’ preferred channel for online shopping within the coming years.
The Takeaway: It’s Now or Never
If you haven’t already started thinking about how to implement or improve your e-commerce store customer experience, now is the time. It’s undeniable how accessibility enhancements can make an e-commerce store more usable for everyone, greatly increasing the likelihood that the product will end up in a customer’s cart. Remember that if you want your e-commerce business to thrive, be prepared to learn constantly and work on improving your store to provide a better customer experience, starting with these three steps!
Follow Business Blogger for more!