Online stores or your run-of-the-mill eCommerce stores are gaining more and more popularity in the world for obvious reasons. Easier to setup, no inventory risk (sometimes) and less reliance on external factors like footfall or the weather.

Consumer behaviour is also driving the change as people now prefer to use digital devices for their shopping and are moving away from brick and mortar stores. But while the e-commerce stores have a distinct edge here, they have one major downside as compared to offline stores.

Offline or physical stores deal with customers face-to-face, so they often understand what customers want much more quickly. Couple this with customer being able to experience the product or service firsthand before purchase, they can reach a much higher customer satisfaction level and increase their sales. 

Online stores lack this capability, so often face customer service issues. Therefore it is crucial to build strong customer relationships and create better interaction to maintain stable development.

We look at emerging eCommerce trends impacting Southeast Asia

Make your website user-friendly website

This seems like a case for captain obvious, but let’s be honest there are still online stores which are confusing and difficult to use. Also, user experience may not be uniform, so this creates an even larger challenge.

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If you have an eCommerce store, it might be best to keep it simple and straightforward so that your grandmother can use it. While it may not win design awards, it will make sure you do not lose a sale from bad design and user experience.

Are you doing SEO?

Organic web traffic is the lifeblood of any good eCommerce store, so optimizing your site for better customer experience and a higher level of satisfaction is a must.

You have to make sure the customers can find anything that your website offers. This is not a difficult task, considering that you have a lot of space to use essential keywords in product description parts.

Beg for user reviews

Consumers love to see reviews and feedback because it saves them the trouble of trying something that won’t give them a great experience. These are also great for your business for two reasons:

  • Valuable feedback from real users for you to improve or change
  • Validation from good reviews will help convert those on the fence

Make sure you incentivise your customers to leave reviews and actually listen to what they have to say.

Invest in customer support

Customers like to complain, so giving them an outlet to voice out their issues is important, because you control the channel and can resolve issues before they become public. Thus, to keep customer satisfaction level as high as possible, you need to have a properly working customer support. This will make the customers feel that they can somehow get back to you when they have an issue.

It is best to cover all bases and create a multi-channel customer service line through phone, email, contact form and also social media channels if possible.

Build trust with your customers

Consumers can lose trust in your online business for a variety of reasons. The concerns are legitimate, and they include:

  • Lost items
  • Long shipping times
  • Incorrect items
  • Scams and stolen goods

Therefore, building trust is crucial for a successful eCommerce business. As a business owner, you have to do what it takes. Some of the ways of doing so is to offer them free returns, guaranteed compensation or security guarantees for financial transactions.

Get your social media right

Social media is a great tool and can help engage consumers, as well as drive sales.

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Many brands do not fully utilise their social media presence, sometimes by posting too little or too much. Track your analytics and see your engagement rates vary, so you know what works.

Also be proactive and engage consumers on social media, make it a channel for testing new products or even garnering feedback in an open way. It wouldn’t hurt to sometimes disseminate promo codes on your social channels to incentivise people to follow your brand online.

What is commerce-in-the-cloud and why it matters?

The visual matters

From design to visual representations of your products, an online store is inherently a visual medium. Let’s be honest, your website will look bland and unattractive if you put up only the items that you sell. For better engagement, you need to add visuals like videos, photos or slides.

Try to include quality photography of your products being used. Give the consumer an idea of what they can realistically expect. These catch a consumer’s eye and often helps them make a purchase decision.