These 5 Strategies Will Help An eCommerce Business Thrive

It’s truly an eCommerce world out there and running an internet-based business empire is, arguably, the smart way to go these days. But as the web-based world grows, competition can become steeper, and it is important to always stay one – or many more! – steps ahead of the game. We’ve rounded up some of the top tips to help stay at the height of success and help a business thrive.

Upsell, Upsell, Upsell

One of the simplest and yet most effective ways to shore up a business’ revenue is by taking advantage of orders already placed, customers already converted and a captive audience. It’s pretty straightforward: when a customer is looking at or showing interest in one product, another (better/more expensive/etc.) one is suggested to capitalize on what is already a clearly shown interest.

An upsell such as “Other Customers Viewed” or “Other Products Buyers May Like” is often seen as not so invasive by potential customers, as it is not so in the face of the consumer and has become somewhat expected but, at the same time, it has been proven to be quite effective when it comes to a slight nudge towards a more expensive product. The customer feels like they are getting a bit better quality and they have the comfort of seeing that others have purchased those products and so they are not just being upsold blindly.

Cross-selling is another, similar tactic that can help a business achieve sales by using the same techniques to suggest products that are not better models but rather go together well. If a customer is looking at new flatware sets, would it not make sense to show dinnerware or perhaps placemats? The more a company can suggestively sell to a current customer, the less legwork they will need to do bringing in brand new leads.

Never Underestimate That Human Touch: Live Chat

When it comes right down to it, if customers have a question or are feeling frustrated or truly indecisive, they will always and forever want to speak to someone. People will inevitably feel that there is a limited amount of information available on a premade website, leading them to feel more and more like just a number or a cog and less of a valued customer. The last thing a business wants when a person is feeling confused or unsure is to take away the chance of them getting a personalized answer.

Rather than put company customers through the inconvenience of a traditional and dated call center, implementing live chat software is an almost essential way for any serious business these days to have knowledgeable reps answer burning customer questions in real time with streamlined efficiency. The customers will feel the benefits of personal attention even when the help desk agents are assisting multiple people at once.

Whether it’s email, messaging or even a phone call, a live chat feature will help streamline incoming customer requests for help, allow agents to help multiple people at once and even let them be prepared with some canned answers and FAQs at their fingertips.

Content Matters

It’s a content-driven and a content-noisy world out there, so that means the business just needs to be that much louder, that much more impactful and that much more memorable. Original content – from blogs to multimedia such as videos and infographics that are SEO friendly – can honestly make it or break it for any company trying to gain brand recognition and earn the trust of a customer base.

Content should always relate back to the business and should help solve an underlying problem, earn trust, create that oh so coveted sense of urgency and establish them as a thought leader for a like-minded client pool. From creating catchy headlines to writing meta descriptions and tags that matter to carefully selected keyword focus, the brand should publish content that not only sells a product but sells their potential customers on a community and a sense of the ‘why’ to draw them in.

Take the time to research the competition and see what they are doing. If the vertical is social media-heavy, it might not hurt to invest some time in building a Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram presence. If the industry tends to clamor for information-driven content, then get some case studies out there!

Mobile Optimization for a World on the Go (Without Neglecting the Desktop)

Ask just about anyone, and they will say – people are on their phones more and more. The days of the traditional desktop will never be over, but the rise of the apps will only continue to dominate. In fact, if anyone is asked, they will probably even be answering from their phone Which is why, then, it is so surprising that even those who know that it is all about apps, apps, apps will still not have a mobile-optimized website or will assume the desktop layout is “good enough” for a customer surfing on their phone. Well, unfortunately, it just plain is not, and it can turn many customers off for looking unprofessional and having no ease of use.

Google uses a mobile-first indexing approach to sorting search results when it comes to companies that mobile-optimized and so a company will want that experience to be entirely user-friendly. Do not lose focus, however, on desktop presence. A staggering 59% of total e-commerce traffic comes by way of desktop organic search as it can oftentimes be easier to research a bigger purchase from a traditional computer setup.

Here, it is key to know the market as smaller purchases such as cheap gadgets or clothing basics are more app-friendly, requiring less product research, whereas a bigger purchase, say for electronics or kitchen appliances, will most likely have customers doing some deep-delving research from a desktop. Know the customers, know the product and don’t get left behind in having a professional computer and tablet presence.

Email Should Not Be Ignored

It is amazing to find that email has an estimated ROI of around 4,300% according to the Direct Marketing Association. It is an easy-to-use channel that can sometimes be overlooked but is pretty low-risk and easy for businesses to take advantage off. While companies can overload people and would-be customers with an avalanche of tweets and Facebook posts, that content can become buried within itself and also ignored by a customer base that is learning to tune it all out.

But with email, the message is delivered right into their inbox and can be tailored to a timeline that is not so overwhelming (do not overload customers with daily emails – at that point, the company does become spam), and they can also deliver promos and special offers that draw people in. From free shipping to flash sales to letting customers know about new releases or upcoming launches, email marketing is a standby of effective marketing for a reason: the company message is delivered directly to its intended audience without all the white noise around it.

Additionally, a business can track email sends with marketing software for rates of opens, click through actions, unsubscribes, etc. and adjust their tactics based on content and timing and more.

It is truly a great time to thrive in eCommerce – just make sure the company is attacking their future intelligently and their business will go far!

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.