As e-commerce, encompassing both research and buying, becomes increasingly simple for consumers, it grows more complex for the brands that sell in the digital age. E-commerce competitors must now differentiate themselves with high-quality user experience, strong web and social media performance, and marketing strategies that both raise brand awareness and engage customers. These competitive areas now represent the three pillars of e-commerce, which need to be a priority for any online retailer.
3 Important Elements of E-Commerce
1. Customer Experience
Brands can't underestimate the importance of user experience when designing or revamping a user-friendly e-commerce website design. "We're no longer in the business of selling products; we're in the business of selling experiences," said Brad Rencher, Adobe's EVP and GM of digital, stated during a recent Adobe event, according to Direct Marketing News.
Research from eConsultancy even found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of businesses think that user experience plays a primary role in improving sales and bottom-line revenue. Respondents to the User Experience Survey Report also stated that a better UX would lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as an overall stronger brand.
This is why e-commerce companies need to take a scientific approach to UX and front-end design, performing an in-depth analysis of the user environment and testing the quality of the experience from every conceivable angle (this is where usability testing comes in handy). The eConsultancy report found that brands use UX testing to take the guesswork out of the design process and support a user-centric design approach.
2. Back-end Integration
Today's e-commerce websites and online stores need to function with exceptional agility and seamless performance if brands want to keep users engaged throughout the research and checkout process. With so many ways to buy products and services, consumers will quickly turn away from a website that takes too much time to load or cannot process a given request.
Additionally, brands that invest in back-end engineering for their e-commerce platforms and ecommerce sites will have a major competitive advantage in a marketplace where time is of the essence for customers at every phase of the buyer journey. When inventories, credit card transaction software, web content, call tracking, and other back-end systems are all coordinated properly, the ecommerce store will simply perform better, creating a great experience for everyone who visits.
Strong back-end integration is also an important element for delivering the omni-channel commerce experiences that consumers demand these days. According to an infographic from Experience Dynamics, 83% of customers say that smooth transitions across devices are very important in the shopping process. Top brands have no technical flaws in their experiences, making them a cut above the rest.
3. Digital Marketing
Even with a great set of products, a compelling visual design and a perfectly engineered homepage and website, an e-commerce business will struggle to maximize its profits without a complete digital marketing strategy. Organizations need to attract visitors to their websites, qualify leads, spark their interest with personalized communications, and close the deal over a wide range of channels and devices.
In other words, a successful digital marketing strategy is a massive undertaking, and brands need to approach this area of e-commerce as they would any other. Search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (aka SMM) social commerce, and content marketing are just a few of the essential elements that help a company boost awareness and engagement in their audiences today.
This guest post was contributed by Pixafy. Pixafy is a full service ecommerce agency anchored in tradition and deeply invested in the future of digital commerce. We are online retail experts that specialize in B2C and B2B implementations. We work with you to deliver high value ecommerce services and solutions with strategic consulting, functional design and top-tier engineering capabilities. Let us help you be the innovator to drive your online retail ecosystem. For more information or a free site evaluation, contact email@example.com.