You have an e-commerce site up and running, but sales are a little hit or miss. That’s not unusual. E-commerce is difficult to break into. First of all, you have a million other competitors who are all vying for users’ dollars. You have the “big boys” that have already mastered this game, and you have to face the fact that a lot of job consists of competing on price. One of the things you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd, though, is to improve your shipping process. This is where a lot of e-commerce sites fail – big time.
Use Software To Streamline The Process
If you don’t have stellar shopping cart software, stop. Get some right now. There’s almost nothing worse than a bad shopping experience. Companies like Amazon.com have this nailed down. That should serve as your inspiration. While you might not be able to compete with the likes of that company, you can install small business software that makes it easier to shop with you.
For example, try using software that allows users to shop with “one-click.” Allow users to store their shipping and billing information as well as credit cards. Then, when they come back, all they have to do is click “buy” and their packages on sent on their way. That right there takes half of the frustration out of shopping online.
Consider lowering your shipping costs or finding innovative ways to hide shipping costs in the price of your products. This is something that Overstock.com did years ago. They saw that users were abandoning shopping carts when they got to the checkout. The reason? Shipping and handling fees. It’s like sticker shock. When users see that it costs $20 to ship a $10 item, the bail. Eliminate those costs (or dramatically reduce them), and watch your conversions skyrocket.
Manage Customer Expectations
When you call up The Vitamix Corporation (they sell high-end blenders), you’re placed on a brief hold. You’re told that a representative will be with you in 5 minutes. Music starts playing but, 30 seconds later, you’re transferred to a representative. It’s a nice little surprise. Do you see what they aren’t doing there?
They aren’t delivering on their promise. They’re exceeding it. That’s what you need to do. Manage customer expectations by giving them optimistic shipping times, hold times, and shipping rates with taxes. It’s always better to exceed expectations or meet them than to promise something and under-deliver. Customers will remember you when you exceed their expectations. They will also remember when you fail them, and they usually won’t want to come back and do business with you if you do.
Always Ask For Feedback
Feedback is one of the most valuable things you can get from your customer, money aside. Feedback tells you what you’re doing right, and what customers find irritating or annoying about your company. Companies like Zappos excel at customer service, but it’s mostly because they listen to what customers are saying, take in feedback, and actually act on it. Do the same, and you’ll be better than 98 percent of the e-commerce companies out there – guaranteed.
Jack Bishop loves entrepreneural business. He enjoys blogging about the particular realities of running an online business and helping people make sense of their options.