The second part of the eCommerce class focused on ensuring the success of your own eCommerce website. In order to teach the entrepreneurs how to make their own eCommerce website more successful, Tania went through some of the most common issues that detract clients from buying online, as well as offering some solutions to these problems. The first issue pertained to trust. During the contemporary era, the internet is rife with scams and viruses. This creates an uneasiness in customers when filling in their banking details in order to purchase online. Tania offered some helpful tips to the entrepreneurs which will allow them to create their website in such a way that it instills a sense of assurance within their customers. The first tip relates to the website’s design. “Customers expect a similar web design everywhere they go. Everything that goes out of the norm creates suspicion in the client,” explained Tania. When it comes to successful eCommerce web design, it is clear that clients want a similar design to well-known brands in order to feel a sense of familiarity. Even if you are not the biggest brand in the room, they are going to expect you to act like it through your design. The second tip which is useful in instilling trust within the customer pertains to curating an active online presence. “Websites that have no social media presence is often a cause for concern. Customers expect you to have a Facebook page,” said Tania. Utilizing an online social media presence helps give the brand a face behind the screen. It satisfies the clients’ desire for human interaction as it provides a platform where interactions between the customer and the brand can take place.
“Websites that have no social media presence is often a cause for concern. Customers expect you to have a Facebook page” – @taniahabimana on #ThreadsBySB
The second issue that detracts clients from purchasing online pertains to feel and fit. Many customers refrain from purchasing online as they are unsure of sizing and fabric feel. The solution to this issue is the utilization of clever photography and explicit product details. Online shops that sell clothing benefit immensely from providing a sizing guide to help the customers find their ideal fit. “One should also consider providing the height of the model as it will allow the customer to see how it might fit on them in terms of how long it may be,” explained Tania. There are many new innovative sizing applications that are instilling new trust in customers when purchasing online. Many online stores offer an option to clients whereby they can create an account profile which includes their measurements. This feature allows the website to recommend a particular size to its customers.
Another popular sizing application that online stores benefit from is known as Virtufit. It allows customers to fill in the measurements of particular clothing items that they already own to be used as a benchmark when purchasing new clothing items online. ASOS, a popular online clothing store, saw its rate of returns reduce by up to 50 percent due to this innovative application inspiring new confidence in the purchasing process. When it comes to the advertising of accessories, Tania suggests the entrepreneurs should make use of smart photography.
An example of smart photography would be a birds-eye view photograph of a handbag with well-known items inside. “Visually the client can imagine what they can place in a bag. A website may say the product is 15-inches but does that really tell me how much I can fit in it?” said Tania.
When it comes to product descriptions, one can never be too explicit. Besides providing details in terms of material and style, Tania suggests offering the customer suggestions on how they can wear it. When it comes to eCommerce, it is evident that good photography and explicit product details are paramount as they help entice a sale.
“Customers do not want to call a store to ask what they purchased last time, this is where a personal account comes into play” – @taniahabimana on #ThreadsBySB
The next eCommerce issue discussed at the workshop pertained to the loss of the traditional shopping experience. Many individuals still enjoy walking into a physical store and purchasing an item. For many, it forms a part of grocery routine. “I want the good old shopping experience, it is de-stressing and therapeutic. I would not sell it for the world,” said Lindi Mhlophe, a Threads classroom mentor. In order to make up for the lack of a physical store, Tania suggests focusing on having impeccable customer service. Online websites that are utilizing eCommerce should make use of features such as a wish list, shopping cart, and billing history. “Customers do not want to call a store to ask what they purchased last time, this is where a personal account comes into play,” explained Tania. In addition to a website’s design features, there are also specifically designed customer service applications that allow you to create personalized replies to all customer queries on one platform. This application is particularly useful as it gives the customer the impression that your brand is highly professional due to its excellent customer service. Recent studies show that a customer is 55 percent more likely to recommend a company, not on the quality of their product, but rather the quality of their customer service. This proves that good customer service should still be a number one priority for all entrepreneurs, even when running an online store.