Smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices are shifting the way for retail businesses towards e-commerce. E-commerce sales count for double the retail sales since 2008. Today’s customers walk into stores just to check out the products and later buy those online at a cheaper price and with a greater convenience. Still, online stores still face some competition challenging from big stores, such as Amazon.
With the advent of mobile devices, it is important for small businesses running online stores to be creative and sales strategies that increase customer satisfaction. The area of importance is mobile ecommerce or Mcommerce. According to eMarketer’s data, Mcommerce sales were forecasted to reach 41.68 billion dollars in 2013 and increase to over 100 billion dollars by 2017.
Current trends strongly indicate that Mcommerce is destined to expand; a reason for small business ecommerce retailers to adopt mobile as an integral part of their sales strategy. At the very least, e-commerce websites should be optimized for mobile with a simple, clear path to completing purchases. In addition, e-commerce retailers who own physical stores should incorporate strategies that enhance customer experience, including free Wi-Fi, NFC-redeemable coupons and QR codes.
Another challenge for ecommerce retailers is to match the right products to the right customers. Personalization and curated content are effective strategies that help stay ahead of the competition and proactively enhance customer experience. Both would encourage sales as well as build loyalty by giving customers a reason to return.
An emphasis on customer service and customer satisfaction give any business a differentiation edge. Some examples include free shipping, alternative delivery methods, extended return periods, online order tracking, SMS status updates, free returns and around-the-clock support via phone, email and live chat. Loyalty programs which encourage customer retention, such as gift cards and rewards for frequent spending, encourage customers to return again to your online shop. Emerging technologies like NFC and QR codes should also be employed to bridge the gap between online and offline retails.
Ultimately, small businesses must adapt and evolve with the rapidly progressing technologies to stay relevant. However, the focus must always remain on customer experience and developing a holistic approach to utilizing e-commerce which ensures all your marketing channels work together flawlessly to encourage purchases and increase customer loyalty.