Thomas Gray

Member Article

Don't be overwhelmed by e-commerce

It’s retail focus week on Bdaily. Here, Thomas Gray, user experience designer at web development and technology company AYO Digital, discusses the importance of your online presence.

Selling online: the dos and don’ts:

Whether you already sell products or services online or not, many people will most likely be overwhelmed with the term ‘e-commerce’ and its variety of approaches. Don’t be. The whole digital retail sector has been swamped with an inordinate amount of hard to understand jargon and an unhelpful array of overzealous salesmen and designers alike.

Like most things, the solution is simple and you’ll wonder why the term ‘e-commerce’ ever struck fear into your heart.

First things first, let’s dump the term ‘e-commerce’. Though still in widespread use, the term couldn’t be more out of touch with the contemporary shopping experience. Your customers no longer think about shopping ‘electronically’ or even ‘online’. Their aim is to shop and their objectives are clear: discovery, comparison and value for money.

Start thinking about the entry points to your business holistically – the transition from the shop floor to your website and everything in-between should be seamless. You want your customers to feel like they are in the same, familiar space that they know and love. This familiarity and consistency is crucial in nurturing trust in the consumer and in successfully communicating your brand.

Before you ‘go digital’, you should consider your whole business process. The opportunity of bringing your products and services online should encourage you to simplify and automate your offline sales process model too. How are you going to ship those extra 10,000 orders efficiently? Once you’ve done this, you can integrate these processes (orders, payment and shipping) with the management of your website’s content and products.

It’s also important to realise that the same values that inform a great customer experience on your shop floor, inform a great customer experience online too. Accessibility, flexibility, choice, value for money and honesty can all be communicated through thoughtful interface design and content strategy.

At AYO Digital, we’ve recently developed our own product: ‘Cortex’, which allows you to manage your website’s content, products, orders, shipping and a range of other business processes all in one place. Thus simplifying the whole process and allowing you to remain in control at all times.

If you’re thinking of selling online or your current process isn’t up to scratch here are my 3 top tips:

1) Consider your whole business process: Don’t just focus on the website, take time to consider every aspect of your sales process and automate time-consuming tasks.

By looking at how you can do things in a smarter way, you will not only give your customers a great experience, but your staff too, all whilst increasing productivity.

2) Give your customer what they want: It’s not all about you; it’s about your customers. Think about how your customers search, what terms do they use? How do they categorise your products? What motivates them? By stepping into their shoes, you can clearly signpost them to where they want to be. Think about what they want to see rather than throwing everything at them. Think about what will inform their shopping experience and make it more enjoyable and engaging. If it was an easy and pleasurable process then they’re likely to return.

3) Let your content and products drive: Have you spent a small fortune on your new website but found you’re not getting the sales you expected? Check your content. Are your images, videos and copy as engaging as they could be? Are they communicating who you are and what you are selling? Do your products look as good as they could? Content should always lead the design and build of any website.

This is especially true with shopping online. Your products are the reason you have customers, make them look great and you’re onto a winner.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by AYO Digital .

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