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Posted by Robert Somers

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E-Commerce: Five steps to achieve best practice

Excited woman using online shopping

Building an online store gets more complex by the year. There are many milestones that need to come together at the right time.

So it’s pleasing to know there are online shopping businesses whose examples can be followed. Some are pretty much faultless, others think outside the square and do small things very well. Either way, it’s worth taking inspiration from their ideas.

Which e-commerce sites are getting it right? Here are five of the best…

1. Ease of use

People will leave your website without hesitation if they do not find what they want in a matter of seconds. It’s vital to ensure that your site is easy to use across different platforms.
Check how it looks when displayed on different screen resolutions and sizes. If you don’t like what you see, don’t expect your customers to either. The great strength of the Costumes.com.au website is how easily searchable the company’s more than 10,000 products are. Whether you want to dress as Papa Smurf or Marge Simpson, the website allows you to find what you’re looking for in a matter of seconds.

Costumes.com.au online store screenshot

2. Know what your customers want

Familiarity is a powerful tool in converting in-store shoppers into regular online customers. JB Hi-Fi keeps its website simple and consistent, and it works. ROI.com.au Digital Manager David Pocock says a common mistake is to make an online store radically different to how an actual shop looks and feels. “The clever thing JB HI-FI has done is make its online store resemble the catalogue that you would find in your letter box. Their customers are mainly traditional shoppers and they feel comfortable what they see on the website.”

JB Hi-Fi screenshot of website

3. Quality content

Content is the most important thing of all on the Internet. People browse the Internet to get information, not to view advertisements and sales pitches of their own volition. E-commerce is taking its greatest strides in the United States. An example is WatchShop. It is proving there is plenty of room for smaller, niche stores to bring some personality back to online shopping. The site’s watch buying guides and the user reviews are very helpful, and you won’t find the same product expertise on a department store website.

4. Social media is your best friend

One of the biggest destinations for men’s clothing online, ASOS stocks hundreds of clothing brands. Free shipping has always been their biggest drawcard. But ASOS has also been a pioneer in social media and continue to up the ante in the online clothing stakes. Building a social media strategy for E-commerce not only gains you more customers, it teaches you about what your customers are looking for.

5. Show off your product with large, high-quality images

Give your customers confidence in their buying decisions by allowing them to examine images of your products. We all know quality images are critical on Ebay, and it’s no different in E-commerce. The Iconic’s product pages are an example of how to use images in eCommerce, with great presentation and a wide range of angles and colour and style options. A clean, plain background is an important factor emphasising your products, and zoom functionality is an effective way of eliminating doubt from a buyer’s mind.

Screenshot of Iconic.com.au online store showing men's boot.

If you would like to get more from online retailing or would like help devising a winning online shopping business, contact roi.com.au. We implement best practice online shopping techniques combined with tailored Search Engine Optimisation services to help numerous businesses in various industries to build successful business online. Call us on 1300 650 274 today!

E-Commerce Best Practices for Online Shopping In Australia

As a rule, best practice in online retailing involves delivering value, meeting the needs of your target market and exposing your business to as much of your target market as possible. Good online retailing strategies involve comprehensive search marketing and social media strategies including PPC (AdWords) spend, organic search engine optimisation and proactive use of Facebook and other sites.

  • Your website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing and well-optimised with a comprehensive search function and visible, easy-to-use shopping cart. Slow outdated sites won’t stand the test of time in most industries.
  • The mistake many retailers make is just optimising their homepage and core category pages but optimising every product page – which demands considerable effort – will prove the most successful approach.
  • Accurate product descriptions throughout your online store will enable you to gain positive traffic results for specific product searches as well as general shopping terminology.
  • Meta descriptions across all web pages should also be enticing, prompting web searchers to click on your listing rather than another Google search page result.
  • Facilitating payments through Paypal breeds consumer confidence in the legitimacy of your business – which can be very important for businesses new to online shopping.
  • Promoting customer interaction is also important to generate a sense of loyalty amongst buyers. Regular, positive customer reviews (internal and external) and offering online shopping guides are also great ways to encourage online purchasers to return to your website for repeat purchases.
  • Social media presents an excellent means of spreading positive word of mouth about your business – use it proactively to attract more visitors to your online store.
  • Providing information on shipping arrangements, accurate stock updates and returns policies is also a good means of generating consumer confidence in your brand.
  • Optimising your website with keyword-rich content and through a comprehensive approach to link building will make your site stronger and more visible in Google, which will drive more site visitors.
  • Cross-channel marketing across search marketing, social media and offline initiatives such as incentives and rewards to customers also generate repeat business.

Related Articles

  1. Why Most Australian Retailers Fail At E-commerce
  2. Turn your website into a sales machine
  3. Image Optimisation: The Game Has Changed

Other Resources

  1. Five ways social media will increase E-commerce business
  2. Improve your E-commerce design with brilliant photos