What makes a marketing strategy successful? Well, it starts with the understanding and catering to a consumer’s various shopping patterns and preferences. There are over 191 million online buyers, and that is in the US alone. This means there are a lot of variations to consider. Luckily you don’t have to cater to them all. Every merchant has a “target audience”, but what we’re going to cover here is the average buyer and their typical online buying habits.
With online retail revenue on the rise, it’s no surprise your interest is piqued. CyberMonday 2014 hit $2.29 billion in sales! That’s over $1 billion more than the previous year. Now who doesn’t want a piece of that pie? The more you know about those millions of online shoppers, the better your sales. I know what you’re thinking: Why should we help you? While it is certainly true that we do want to see everyone meet that dream, there’s another simple reason. Our success comes with yours. The more you succeed, the more we do. We all get to go home at the end of the day with a smile on our faces and a security for our families.
There has been tons of research done on the subject of online shopping. So we’ve compiled a few tips that can help you improve your online appearance and potentially increase your online sales.
Your online presence is a very important component of a good marketing strategy. Your storefront photo and shop description is the first thing shoppers are going to see, so a first impression is vital here. A recent research study revealed that 89% of consumers search the internet before making any decisions to buy. Here are a few tips on how to make your first impression, well, impressive.
Make it aesthetically pleasing. The “it” can be your storefront image or the photos of your products. This is very critical if you want to appeal to the online shopper. According to the professionals, “simplicity and understated elegance are the two guiding principles to keep a customer’s attention. It must have the most essential elements of functionality readily apparent, without overloading website visitors with too much information”. Too much information in one space, basically overcrowding your page, will turn off a person’s attention pretty much right away. Keep it to a few colors, a simple font and theme, something that matches your shop’s core products.
How do you choose your storefront window image? Well that depends on you and what you want your shoppers to see. This is the most important image you will upload to your account. Being the first thing the online shoppers will see, it can determine whether they’ll enter your shop or pass on to the next store. Your image can be as simple as a photo of the front of your store; it can be a logo, or a picture of yourself in the middle of your shop. The point is, be creative, be fun, and be as interesting as possible.
Creating that product appeal. One of the most basic foundations for any company, besides stellar customer service, is your products and/or services. You want people to want what you have to offer. Shoppers are here because they want to buy something, so showing off your merchandise with the best possible photography is highly beneficial. Displaying your products on white background, or showing them off in context, can make the consumer desire that item. For example: showing a set of earrings being worn by someone will give the shopper a healthier image of what it could look like on their own ear. Other items, most especially ones with a lot of detail, are better shown on a solid white background. It highlights those details and brings it out so the consumer can see it clearly and will make it all the more appealing. If you’re offering a service, say for instance martial arts classes, a quality action photo of you and your class in the middle of a fun maneuver will certainly raise more interest in the buyer.
In short, an enticing storefront photo and pleasantly displayed merchandise is vital to your shop’s online success.
It’s no secret that every generation that sprouts into being forms their own set of likes and interests. Aside from the most obvious difference, that being the beauty of age, you also have TV shows and movies, food, technology, and even work ethic. One difference that not many take into consideration is shopping. Everyone shops, whether for necessity or pleasure. So appealing to a variety of those differences could be a great benefit to you and your business.
Statistically, adults 50 years old and above represent the world’s largest constituency, comprising one-third of the more than 190 million internet users in the US. To add to that, two-thirds of Americans age 50 plus buy from retailers online.
What does this mean to you? Simplicity. The older we get, the simpler we want things. Making your items easy to find, and your customer service a pleasant experience, is a huge bonus to the vast online market. If you make it easy to buy, they’re more likely to do it. Have your items beautifully displayed and described well enough (keeping it to main points of detail, you don’t want to overwhelm them with information) that the shopper has no question of what they’re buying. The older generation tends to be less tech savvy than the youngsters. They want to buy your merchandise and they want to do it without having to get out into the crowds, but will quickly pass it by if it’s too complicated to understand or purchase. While the younger generations have less trouble with a more complex layout, they still tend to prefer simplicity. The good news is we have the “simple to buy” taken care of for you, the only thing you need to worry about is appearance, shipping, and customer service.
The Influence of Shipping
Can shipping details really affect your sales? Yes, it absolutely can. Here are a few juicy tidbits about shipping statistics.
The overall satisfaction with online shopping is 83% and rising. However, it drops below 50% when shoppers are asked to give specifics on shipping, like having them choose a specific time of day for delivery of purchase, or giving them the flexibility to reroute packages, and having a green shipping option. You’d think that shoppers would want these options, but according to the surveys, that’s just not the case. Have a set ship out date and average delivery time. Too much freedom and leeway leads to possible false promises and a complexity that the majority doesn’t want to deal with.
Now, this next statistic won’t be as surprising as the last. Nearly 50% of all online orders include free shipping. Fitting right alongside that, 61% of consumers are at a “somewhat likely” to cancel their purchase if free shipping is not included. What’s that you say? Shipping can be expensive? Yes, yes it can. Consider this next statistic then, shoppers spend 30% more per order when free shipping is included. Free shipping gives consumers the idea that they’re saving money. This means, while you will be adding to overhead by offering free shipping, you will likely earn more in profit because your shoppers will buy more stuff.
You, the merchant, will just have to crunch some numbers to find out what best fits your needs and will ultimately get you to your sales goals. Certainly free shipping isn’t for every company, and just because a buyer would have to pay for shipping, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t buy it. Larger items will definitely be a bruise to shipping costs and you don’t want to break yourself. After all, people tend to pay for convenience. If you’re offering something unique, they’re likely to dig deeper in their pockets to get it. You just have to decide what works best for you.
Ah, now we come to the culprit of teenage-zombieism: social media. Numerous people have been reluctant to join the circus of social media, all for varying reasons, but to be honest it has grown to be the best free marketing technique in the US. Here’s just one reason why you should consider it: 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping online. That’s a huge number! Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are just the top three. There are numerous others, not to mention blogs and forums. 46% of users read reviews and blogs before making an online purchase. It has been confirmed that blogs do indeed influence purchases, 13% said that a blog post had inspired a purchase. So, while some see things like Facebook and Twitter as “a waste of time”, we see it as an opportunity.
ShopOnMain is definitely going to make a splash in the social media world, but don’t let that stop you from using it on your own. Posting links to your site on ShopOnMain will almost certainly increase traffic to your online shop. More traffic can mean more business.
It’s YOUR store, make it how you want it, but always keep the consumer in mind. For without them you wouldn’t have a store at all.