#WordsofBizdom to sell more with your online store

Our #WordsofBizdom e-commerce guide explains how to curate an effective online shopping experience, find new customers and build loyalty to your brand

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

Recently, Agility Challenge runner-up winner Phillip Ashley Rix was interviewed by celebrity author and business expert Chris Gardner. This is the final episode in a five-part interview series that highlights successful strategies employed by Rix. Each episode is complemented by a breakout discussion of the topic, as well as additional strategies for you to consider.

Your e-commerce store is the online ambassador for your brand. If you want customers to buy your stuff — again and again — it has to have an eye-pleasing design, a personal voice and a frustration-free user experience.

How do you make that happen? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Design for mobile devices — With more and more shopping happening on the go or from the couch, you know your store has to be mobile-ready. Most Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms use responsive design to display correctly on all devices, but integrated plug-ins rely on your existing website to play well with phones and tablets.

Tell your story — Customers want to know what’s so awesome about your brand and products. Use your “about” page to win hearts — and dollars — by expressing your personality and telling your unique story.

Be accessible — Customers want to chat, so make it easy for them to reach you with questions or feedback. Prominently place your contact info and social media links on every page of your site.

Inventory management — Keep your online inventory fresh, and regularly update your homepage and landing pages. Nobody wants to see out-of-stock or out-of-season product. 

Give your shoppers a beautifully curated experience

If you want customers to embrace your brand, you have to craft an enjoyable shopping experience that’s friendly and familiar.

  • Use beautiful photography — Nothing turns off an online shopper’s interest like lousy, low-grade product pictures. Creating well-composed, pro-quality photography will move way more merchandise.
  • Who are you selling to? — Create a profile for your ideal customer, then tailor your product descriptions and headlines to speak to them as personally as possible.
  • Product details add credibility — Give shoppers every shred of information you think they’ll find useful. Just make sure your language sounds sincere and authentic.

Finding customers and marketing your store

Once you’ve created an attractive online shop that’s a joy to use, how do you lure in customers?

  • Convert in-store buyers — Selling to existing customers is way easier than finding new ones. Display your store’s web address loud and proud on-site, and add online-only promo codes to receipts.
  • Write for SEO value — Search Engine Optimization (SEO) sounds fancy, but it really just means crafting your content so it’s easy to find online. Find out what keywords or phrases people search for to find products like yours, then sprinkle those words into your headlines and product descriptions.
  • Mailing lists matter — They may seem old school, but email newsletters are still an effective way to keep buyers up-to-date with your products and sales. Customers who sign up are enthusiastic about your brand, so speak to them like friends and offer up exclusive deals and news.
  • Promotions and social sharing — Nothing entices a new buyer like a sale, so don’t be shy with discount codes on first-time purchases or newsletter sign-ups. Make it easy for excited customers to share those offers, and their purchases, via social media.
  • Good reviews inspire sales — Collect positive reviews and put them on display everywhere, especially alongside product descriptions. Reviews are more convincing when they are plentiful, so encourage customers to share their thoughts.
  • Bloggers and influencers — Get friendly with content creators who post about products in your lifestyle category. Explain why their followers will love your shop, offer free merchandise to review, and provide personalized discount codes to share with their fans.

Customer service is the key to brand loyalty

Everything above is indispensable for creating customer loyalty to your brand. But none of it matters without exceptional service. How you treat your customers, before and after accepting their money, will decide if they continue to support your business.

Clearly describe your store policies and post them prominently. Be consistent and fair with how you handle customer issues. A disgruntled buyer can be transformed into an advocate by promptly recognizing and resolving their complaint.

There are thousands of shopping options for the online customer. A professional virtual storefront and amazing service will see the payoffs in growth, profits and brand loyalty.