Over the past 5 years we’ve seen the steep incline in online shopping in the retail sector, and we are completely on board. Of course physical store locations will continue to have a place in our everyday lives, whether its food shopping, shopping for pleasure or gifts, our senses are active with the ability to see, touch and smell when we head in store. However, convenience and opportunity plays a huge part in our decision to buy online nowadays.
There are many benefits for both the business and the consumer to sell and purchase online. From the seller’s point of view, there’s lower overheads, with of course initial e-commerce platform implementation, but generally speaking hosting and website maintenance severely undercuts rent, bills and merchandising put together. From the buyer’s point of view online shopping opens up the opportunity for 24/7 armchair browsing, with the flexibility to shop around with ease and a wider selection all at the click of a button delivered to the door.
We recently re-developed an eCommerce platform for long time Sydney cake delivery business CBD Cakes, co-existing with their physical location in Martin Place. With their target audience being primarily located in and around the City of Sydney, the new online store enabled the ability to automate order and payment systems online, as well as collecting new customers through organic search. This meant their physical store could focus on counter orders, pickups and processing online orders, with a reduction in customer service over the phone and by email. In addition, they were able to offer direct automated gift vouchers, loyalty rewards for repeat customers, and also the ability to collect customer data for marketing purposes.
So what should your online store’s shopping experience entail?
You’re essentially replacing a shopper’s store walk-around, so ease of access to product lines and categories, along with a smooth flow from products to purchase is essential.
Related products and up-sell can be present all the way from a product page to checkout, and can be matched specifically to products they are purchasing for a more targeted promotion. This is a very handy sales tool which in a physical scenario could be easily marketed to the wrong audience.
Since we’re replacing look > touch > buy with look > research > buy then good visual representation is key, along with well documented resources, such as size guides, and access to reviews where possible for credibility of product, brand and service.
FAQ page and contact details are a must have, however where possible an online chat (to be monitored by staff) is a fantastic tool to act as an online “sales assistant” to help answer customer questions in real time like a shop assistant.
Shipping is one factor to consider when moving your store online. Free shipping means more frequent shopping with less payout and greater reward in the eyes of the consumer. However smaller purchases may affect profit margins so a minimum order amount is a great way to cover costs and also encourage further purchase to reach the minimum.
There are also fantastic new payment tools to utilise through your e-commerce platform that benefits the customer, one for example is the new checkout tool AfterPay which enables consumers to pay through their payment gateway in 4 fortnightly installments, meaning the customer pays 25% upfront and still receives their items instantly, they then have 3 remaining installments automatically debited thereafter. This is appealing over the traditional lump sum payment, opening up the opportunity for more products in the basket as they can then afford the smaller installments, or just larger payment orders in general where they may not have been able to afford otherwise.
Overall, an online e-commerce platform will streamline processes, automate ordering systems, enable greater connectivity with an extended audience, encourage more frequent browsing and the ability to capture and market to your audience with minimal outlay. So what are you waiting for? Contact HyperWeb and join the online retail community today.