Could you be more effective online?

Could you be more effective online?

Thu Aug 31 2017

Selling online can be hugely beneficial but if you think just having a website is ‘job done’ then think again. Check out these top tips to winning on the web.

The opportunity for ecommerce in the UK is vast. The country is the third-largest market in the world, with only the much bigger nations of the US and China ahead of it1.

Consumers in the UK also now spend more online per household than those in any other country, reports the UK Cards Association2.

But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and watch the cash roll in. There’s a lot of competition and consumers can be demanding. If you want to be more effective online – especially as we head into the crucial end-of-year period – staying on top of these key areas could help you get up to speed.

Reel them in with striking visuals

Let’s be realistic. With more than a billion websites out there3, it’s a good idea to do something that grabs customers’ attention quickly.

Investing in high quality visuals can be incredibly important. Great images make the kind of impact that stops customers in their tracks, while adding video can also be hugely rewarding. It makes your site more engaging and interactive, and encourages people to stay on the page for longer.

And remember that your online site is your shop window, so why not use some of the tricks that the high street employs? Highlighting new products, top sellers, and special offers where they can make the most impact is a smart move.

That goes for your ‘call-to-action’ buttons as well. Make sure your customers have a clear and easy path to follow – whether that’s ‘find out more’ or ‘buy now’ – and experiment with the colour and positioning of the buttons too. It really could make a big difference.

Build an audience

This isn’t Field of Dreams. You need to do more than just build a website to get people to come. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can help drive traffic.

One of the main ones is by paying for online search advertising. If you use your Barclaycard Business card to pay at Bing Ads you’ll benefit from a 5% rebate on your online advertising spend (terms and conditions apply4).

You can also employ various search engine optimisation tactics to help bump your business up in the results. The full mechanisms behind search rankings are closely guarded, but Google has written an article giving a good starting point.

Away from search, social media can be a seriously effective tool for building an audience and, importantly, driving sales. Want evidence? A global survey from Brightcove Inc shows that almost half of consumers say they have made a purchase as a direct result of watching a branded video on social.5

Get inside customers’ heads

It’s no good pitching to a luxury market if your website looks bargain basement. And vice-versa.

Getting the look and feel right is crucial, and that includes the tone-of-voice for any writing on there. You don’t want good customers to leave just because something doesn’t feel right.

Of course, there’s more to it than just the visuals. Your brand proposition has to fit right too. For example, would your target customers expect a focused product range or a massive choice? Would discounting help or hinder? The key lies in understanding your customers’ expectations – and making sure your business delivers.

This is an area where investing in research could really pay off. That might mean asking customers directly for their opinions, or perhaps you could spend on broader research into your target audience.

Using your Barclaycard Business card to do this could help you with any short-term financial hurdles, and would mean you could benefit from up to 56 days interest-free (38 days for charge card customers) if you pay your balance in full and on time each month.

Sweep the path to purchase

The global cart abandonment rate for Q1 2017 was 75.6%, according to SaleCycle6. Many of those abandonments will have been from consumers who never had any intention of making a purchase, but it’s still a bit of a no brainer to reduce the friction and make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you.

So whether that’s being magnificent on mobile, reducing the clicks to completion, sharpening your site search or adding an app, it’s worth considering investments in your business that make the customer journey as simple as possible.

Make friends with data

Using data intelligently can give your ecommerce operations a significant boost.

The more data you can collect on your customers – from product choices and average spend to the time of their visits and how often they return – the more you can target offers to them and personalise their experience.

You can also use data to make you more effective in other ways, such as by analysing the results of new development tests or by understanding which elements of your site are performing the best.

This is one of the areas that Barclays Digital Wings can help you to understand better.  Digital Wings is a free learning resource containing topics that have been specially developed with experts and could be a great start in helping to make you more effective online.

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