Having an e-commerce presence enables your customers to shop with you from anywhere you offer to ship.
Entering the e-commerce space allows you to expand your reach beyond the limits of your physical location, exposing your products to new customers who may have been unable to discover your store otherwise.
Whether you are just getting started or have been online for some time, your behind the scenes operations play an important role in the customer experience – but there are also customer facing practices you should know that can help you deliver standout customer experiences. Keep reading to see how you can set your online store up for success.
Equip customers with information
Online storefronts remove the tangible element of the shopping experience.
Where shoppers can hold and touch items at your physical location, they rely on your images and descriptions when browsing and completing purchases online. The more details you’re able to provide surrounding your products, the better your chance of converting browsers to buyers.
Some elements to consider including in your product descriptions are:
Including images of multiple views to give shoppers a full picture of what your product looks like is a valuable piece of information. In regards to clothing, including both front and back, as well as images of real people wearing your items can help shoppers visualize the piece as part of their wardrobe, for example. Displaying your art hanging on a wall or framed on a table allows shoppers to picture the piece in their own home.
When shopping in store, your customers are able to take their own measurements to understand how your products will fit into their lives. Making measurement information easily accessible online gives them the same convenience as shopping with you in store.
Provide shoppers with as many details about the measurements of your products as possible. Including information regarding the size and weight of your products (when and if applicable) can instill confidence in shoppers to complete their purchase and minimize the chances of returns.
Materials or ingredients
Shoppers have sensitivities they have to consider when it comes to a lot of consumer products like food, apparel and skincare. Include comprehensive details on the materials or ingredients used in the creation of your product to give shoppers the information they need.
The more information you can give your customers the better!
Make returns easy
Providing a returns policy that’s easy to find and understand drives sales by assuring customers that they have the option to return a product should it not meet their needs.
Most shoppers investigate an online retailer’s return policy prior to making a purchase, so ensuring your returns policy is easy to find is important to maximize the chance of customers completing their purchase with you.
You may choose to link your information on your returns policy within your checkout screen, display it as a banner on your homepage, or include it in your FAQ section.
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Provide clear delivery details
To manage shopper expectations concerning the delivery of their order it’s important to be upfront and honest about any delays you or your shipping partner may be experiencing.
Provide clear timelines before they checkout with an expected date of delivery that accounts for both your fulfillment time and overall shipping time.
For example, if it takes you 2 days to receive, pack and ship an order, and your shipping provider is estimating additional delays of up to 2 weeks on top of their regular 5 day delivery policy, you should inform shoppers prior to checkout that they can expect delivery 17 business days after their order has been placed.
To keep customers informed during their order’s journey to them, you can also ship using services that offer a tracking number. A tracking number will allow shoppers to see updates about when their order is shipped, out for delivery and when it’s been delivered.
To learn more about available shipping options through Canada Post, click here.
Manage inventory strategically
Prior to opening your e-commerce store, you only had to consider your inventory within one location. Now that you are selling and listing online, it’s important to consider how you want to move your inventory into the online space.
Although you do need to have inventory both online and within your physical location, this doesn’t mean that you’re required to list all your existing inventory online right away.
Pick and choose which products you’d like to sell online based on what your customers need and what your business can provide.
Decide what goes online and what doesn’t
When deciding how you want to divide your inventory, keep in mind product availability. If you’ve got a lot of a particular product, or are able to create/acquire it quickly, listing it online and in-store is wise. On the other hand, those products that are limited in quantity are better to restrict to one or the other.
By picking and choosing what inventory lives where, you can avoid over selling your products and set yourself up for success. You may also choose to start with limited online inventory until you feel more comfortable selling online and increase your product offering at a later date.
Select what you sell based on what you can ship
Another element to consider when choosing what inventory to list online is your ability to ship the products to your customers. If there are products you carry in your physical store that you don’t feel confident shipping, you can choose to leave them off your online listing.
Manage your online inventory in a way that works best for your business and sets you up for success!
Learn as you grow
As you continue to grow and improve your online store, keep these tips in mind to put your best foot forward with your online customers.
Be as clear and upfront as possible, instill confidence with your return policy and organize your inventory appropriately between your storefronts. With these principles in mind, your online storefront will encourage customer relationships for years to come!
Find more small business tips to help you grow.
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