Top tips for updating your e-commerce platform

As the news that the UK government plans to begin re-opening some retail stores in June, many retailers were last night faced with the reality of another month of tough trading conditions. But with this in mind, retailers have been, and continue to look at investing in and ramping up their online operations to ensure they have an effective platform that drives sales. It is imperative retailers understand where their investment is best spent.

In such a trying and uncertain time, retailers are having to adapt and innovate rapidly like never before. Digital transformation projects have been sped up and retailers are now considering not only what they need to implement now in order to survive, but what will also provide them with the tools to thrive into the future too. Investments are always carefully considered, but right now it’s never been more important that retailers invest wisely to create the most effective e-commerce strategy for them and ultimately, drive sales.

In light of this, here are some top tips for retailers looking to currently invest in their online platforms:

1. Opt for a cloud-based digital commerce solution

Nowadays, the term ‘cloud’ is being used as a definition of something modern with advanced online abilities, that can be used everywhere. In the simplest terms, it means storing and accessing data and programs over the web as opposed to your computer’s hard drive. This makes it accessible from multiple locations, through multiple devices. Cloud commerce improves business agility greatly, speeding up the ability to update the platform in light of new regulations for example, and also creates a more secure environment for data. It also improves performance and scalability, enabling an e-commerce platform to cater to the ever-changing customer demands, whilst cutting costs through reduced cost of development and IT maintenance.

2. Create a competitive customer experience

It’s no secret that in today’s retail space, customer experience is key. But this goes far beyond removing friction from the customer journey in terms of streamlining the payment process, speeding up delivery times and simplifying navigation - it’s about how you make your customers feel and tapping into your customers’ emotions to offer an unrivalled customer experience. This includes everything from packaging and payment options to personalisation and the ways in which your customers can contact you while integrating all of your touchpoints effectively to create an omnichannel experience. This means connecting online and offline to enable options such as ‘click and collect’ and or buy online but return in-store.

3. Optimise your product pages

Product pages are arguably the most important pages on your entire website because it’s where users make the decision to buy your product. If your product pages aren’t optimised, your conversion rate is going to take a serious hit in the process. You, therefore, need to ensure you have high-quality images that allow shoppers to experience products online in the same way they would in person, while also having a strong navigation that allows cross-selling and upselling. Your load time has to be three seconds or less and you can also introduce features that encourage purchasing such as showing stock availability, waitlists and suggested items. Additionally, your shipping and returns policy needs to be highlighted on your product pages and clearly accessible because extra costs associated with shipping are the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment.

4. Integrate user-generated content and reviews

93% of customers find user-generated content to be helpful when making a purchasing decision, 71% of consumers feel more comfortable buying a product after researching user reviews and 70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy. It’s clear to see the benefits of user-generated content and reviews! You can encourage customers to review your products in a multitude of ways as well as integrating a plugin such as TrustPilot, Feedaty, or ReviewBuddy.

There are many ways that retailers can develop a strong online presence but the key to this is understanding what your customers want and need, building a strategy based on that and implementing the right tools. With so many advances in technology, it can be difficult to decide what’s best for you, but the above tips create a strong foundation for any e-commerce platform to succeed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ciaran Bollard is the CEO of Kooomo, a digital commerce solutions provider. Kooomo has waived its setup fees to aid retailers who have faced some of the most difficult trading times in history to sell online. This support will enable any retailer medium or large to get their products online without incurring any costs.