The pandemic has had a profound impact on the world’s economy, shifting consumer behaviour and rewriting the rules of retail. And if businesses have learned one thing over the last year, it’s that e-Commerce is no longer an option.
What will the new normal look like? E-commerce is showing no signs of slowing down with online sales continuing to soar. According to Statista, retail e-Commerce sales worldwide reached 4.28 trillion USD in 2020 and e-retail revenues are expected to grow up to 5.4 trillion USD in 2022. Statistics Canada also reported that online sales throughout the country more than doubled between 2019 and 2020 and reached $3.9B in May 2020.
Consumers who turned to e-Commerce out of necessity over the last year, have now discovered the added value and convenience of shopping online and are not ready to give it up. If you’re looking to improve your online presence or launch an e-Commerce site to grow your business online, you’ll need to consider these five key elements:
1. Good web design. You only have a few seconds to get online shoppers’ attention, and your website is THE tool to achieve it. This means that it should be impeccably designed with a few simple key elements on each page, consistent branding, easy-to-understand content, and easy navigation. A well-designed website must also be optimized for mobile, feature appealing and professional images of your products, clear menus, and an easy-to-use search function. Essential information about your products or services—price, data, shipping and delivery fees, returns policy—should also be clearly explained an easy to find on the website.
2. Smooth checkout. Online checkout is where you convert shoppers into buyers. It’s also the stage of the online shopping journey where most customers will abandon their carts, either because they have been redirected to another site, are asked to create an account, discovered hidden fees, or were faced with other factors that made checkout too long or complicated. When it comes to the checkout process, the golden rule should be “easy, quick, and painless.” Always keep the customers within the same environment, guide them through the checkout process with a simple progression bar, try to offer free shipping—or at least flat rate shipping—and send a follow-up email to customers who have left items in their carts.
3. Easy payments. Making payments easy on your e-Commerce site should be your priority. As customers spend more time shopping online, their needs and expectations are evolving, and you’ll want to be able to fulfill them. This means offering all kinds of payment methods from credit cards to digital wallets like Google Pay, PayPal, Alipay, and Union Pay. Easy payments will improve the overall online shopping experience on your site, foster customer loyalty, and increase e-Commerce sales.
4. Security. As much as you strive to offer the best online shopping experience, your customers won’t feel completely at ease unless they know for sure that you offer a secure payments environment and that you respect their privacy. To achieve that, you’ll need to ensure that your e-Commerce site has secure firewalls and protection against malware, that your system alerts you of any suspicious activity on your site, that you use Secure Service Layer (SSL) certificates to encrypt private customer information, that you comply with PCI Security Standards, and that you conduct security audits on your e-Commerce site on a regular basis.
5. Social media integration. Social media marketing strategies—especially if they are geo-targeted and customized—are an effective way of reaching thousands and even millions of customers online because they don’t cost a lot of money. But you’ll only be successful if you know how to connect with your target audience, which might imply going beyond traditional social networks like Facebook and Twitter. For instance, if your business is looking to attract more Chinese customers, a social media campaign on Alipay, WeChat Pay or on Livestreaming shopping channels might be more appropriate.
If you want to grow your business online, having an e-Commerce site is a good start but it won’t be enough. You’ll also have to include good website design, a smooth checkout process, easy payments, a secure payments environment, and effective social media in your e-Commerce strategy if you want your business to be competitive online and enjoy long-term success.
Over the last year, OTT Pay has helped hundreds of merchants across the country solidify their online presence. Our payments infrastructure, e-Commerce and digital payment expertise, and marketing partnerships with Alipay and WeChat Pay in Canada can help your business thrive online.
Call our Customer Service Team at 1-800-688-9838 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.