We hear about it a lot, “The reign of brick and mortar retail stores is ending.” Today, the e-Commerce industry is the crowning glory, ruling the global market unlike ever before.
To put it in numbers, the four-year bankruptcy count now sits at 57 of once considered landmark retail chains. Manufacturing market share and in-store sales for consumer packaged goods are flat or declining. Online “microbrands” have devoured the lion’s share of growth, as e-Commerce’s gains continue to trounce retail as a whole.

With the online retail industry growing at such a rapid pace, merchants all around the world are actively working towards standing out from the rest. The truth of the matter is, if you want to be recognized, you need to step up your game, and here’s how.
SAFETY AND TRUST GOES A LONG WAY
Customers are putting in their money, and they do not want to take risks. If your website feels ‘un-secure’, then chances are your visitors will leave just as quickly as they landed on your site. Get a safety certification, and display your safety badge. Additionally, include contact details. A physical address can work wonders as well. This way, customers know that should there be any mishap, they can reach out to you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-tWUsAdovY
Reviews are another great way to gain the trust of customers. If someone loves your product or service and tells others about it, you’re instantly building trust, as well as word of mouth marketing. This is social proof at its best. Humans tend to follow the herd, and they believe what the larger group says.
EYE CATCHING IMAGES AND VIDEOS
We’ve touched on this in a previous post titled Ten Quick And Effective E-commerce Sales Optimization Tactics, however, we can’t stress this enough. You know what they say – a picture says a thousand words (videos, more so). Go ahead and make your website eye-catching with great images and videos, but make sure they are relevant. We live in the age of visual culture. Images are everywhere. Which is why social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are flying. Research suggests that websites or articles with images, get 94% more total views, as opposed to the ones that do not have images. So go ahead and deck up your website with some great images or videos of your product or service. However, the quality of the images and videos is important as well. Nearly 67% of online shoppers believe or trust images that are of good quality. Invest in a good photo op, and watch your sales fly.
SHOW THEM YOU CARE
Sure, we’re talking about e-Commerce but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be available for your customers. All customers love to be taken care of, so you have to be there for them if you want to succeed. So how do you do this? Enhance the customer experience by offering Live Chat Support. This way, you can address customer grievances as and when necessary. Also, try and be available on call at all times. To make your life a little easier, you could add a section that answers a few FAQs as well. Do a survey to figure out what the most commonly asked questions and issues are. This way, the customers can just skim through the list and solve their problems.
DID YOU SAY FREE SHIPPING?
Over 55% online customers, that is more than half, abandon their shopping carts the minute they know that shipping charges are included. Everyone loves free stuff, and somehow, the customer mind set these days is that shipping should be free. Bearing the shipping costs might seem to be weighing heavy on your pockets but the rise in sales will eventually help you out. However, while this can be applied to several retail goods, there are a few that you cannot practically apply it to. Weigh out your options and see what works best for your business.
MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT
How many times have you visited a website, and left due to slow loading speeds? No one has time for a slow loading website! Two seconds. That is how much time 47% of online customers give a website to load. You or I do not have time or patience, in a world that is so fast-moving. Invest in a good website developer to make sure that your online portal is quick to load. Optimize your images, reduce the number of plugins, reduce redirects, minimize HTTP requests, enable compression, and reduce the server response time to ensure fast loading.

First impressions have been known to be the lasting impression. Now that’s an old adage that has been passed on for generations. Times have changed, but this saying holds true, even in an era where technology plays king. That being said, the question remains, how do you know exactly what makes the best first impression? Or in terms of eCommerce sales, what’s most effective for your business? That’s where A/B testing comes in.
A/B testing is primarily administered to see if your website is a hot favorite among customers. Simply put, It’s a method of determining which design, content or functionality is more successful with your site visitors. It allows you to test a variation of your page (or element on a page) that may affect your consumer’s behavior.
In most cases two websites are compared, to see which user interface works best for customer satisfaction, which in turn boosts your sales.
For example, A/B testing of your eCommerce site can involve:

  • Testing two alternative content layouts for the same product to see which layout produces more sales.
  • Various versions of product descriptions for your site to see which one makes it easiest for customers to find and purchase from you.
  • Changing the navigation menu or naming to see which results in more sales.

Find Out More About Curve’s Machine Learning Sales Prediction

Here are a few more great e-Commerce A/B testing ideas that all savvy and growth-minded e-retailer should try.

  • Split test your homepage: The inclusion of trust badges have been known to make a massive difference in a customer’s purchasing behavior. It’s a good idea to test out when and where your trust badges are shown.
  • Test your product pages: Creating a sense of urgency with flash sales at specific times can also create a surge of new customers. Try creating flash sales at different times to test what works best. It doesn’t have to be lower pricing, flash sales could include limited products, free shipping until X o’clock, buy one get one free, etc…
  • Test your checkout funnel: Add familiar trust seals, security promises, a money-back guarantee, eliminate steps, 1-page checkout versus 2-page checkout (or 3-page checkout), the order of checkout, requiring registration, and the details you ask for.
  • Test your category pages, your search results, and your thank-you page.

DATA DRIVEN SPLIT TESTING
So far we’ve looked at a few split testing ideas that are sure to spark up your creativity, but it’s important to mention that you shouldn’t just change for the sake of change. You don’t test for the sake of testing. If you’re going to split test various phases of your eCommerce flow, you’ll want to have a data-backed hypothesis beforehand.

The basic steps for a successful split test include:

  1. Analyze your existing site: Identify hat you want to test. Set a benchmark
  2. Set a goal for it. You might want to increase the conversion rates, or decrease cart abandonment, or increase sign-ups, or lower the bounce rate.
  3. Define a process of how you want to reach that goal. For example, you might increase sales if the product page includes a video review, or shorten the checkout process.
  4. Create a variation to test your hypothesis.
  5. Run the test for an adequate length of time.
  6. Analyze the two sets of data.
  7. Implement the variation if it does better.

Ultimately, you don’t want to always be testing every little site change as it may leave you more confused, but a few choice tests can deliver big results.
When all is said and done, big results are the name of the game. Small consistent changes can create big profit, big growth, and big improvements.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past year it’s that customer demands are constantly changing. Online shopping has become more accessible than ever, customer expectations are increasing, which means that online merchants need to be smarter about the industry. So we thought now would be a perfect time to share a few global eCommerce trends to keep an eye on this year.

AUGMENTED REALITY IS CHANGING THE GAME

Long, boring product descriptions have taken a backseat to much more visual experiences. These days, consumers prefer eye-catching visuals that give them a look into their products. Physical stores give you the liberty of viewing a product that interests you. The same can be said about online shopping as well. However, it does not end there. We’re not talking images and videos of your product. We mean high-quality visuals that are backed by artificial intelligence. This year we’re bound to start seeing more augmented reality experiences being baked into the shopping experience.  

Sounds cool, but how does it work? Let’s say you want to buy a lamp for your bedroom. You’ve decided on the one you like, but how do you know if it will look good in your bedroom? Integrating AR helps give your customer a sense of what the product will look like in a real-world environment. It allows consumers to zoom in, turn around, and view every part of a product that they are interested in. All in all augmented experiences and innovative visualizations are definitely on the list for 2019.

BRICK AND MORTAR BACK WITH A BANG

Yes, online shopping is starting to overtake physical stores, but it looks like the latter has resurrected from its grave. Amazon, the world’s largest and strongest eCommerce giant put up a very real, very physical, brick and mortar store at the big apple, New York. But why would a benchmark performer in the eCommerce industry put up a physical store? Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? You would be wrong. Consumers flocked to this outlet, and Alibaba, Amazon’s competition from the east followed suit by setting up an Alibaba store as well. In fact, these stores are a sight to behold. They are architected the same way that it looks on the website or app. For example, the Amazon store has categorized the aisle according to various headings that you find on the website, like “trending now”, “most relevant”, etc.

Digital kiosks are newly trending as well. A digital kiosk works pretty much like digital signage, by offering product details and visualization. However, these kiosks are more than just a platform to advertise your product. Customers can view products that are not available on the store, click on the purchase code, and opt for home delivery of the same. Just like your online shopping experience, but in a physical store.

AI & MACHINE LEARNING, REDEFINING THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

In 2019 machine learning will propel the shopping experience to a whole other level. Picture this. Online shoppers are given smart product bundle recommendations that fit their purchase behavior, while on the merchant’s side, machine learning delivers accurate forecasts of sales trends, by location, timeframes and down to individual product SKUs. Machine learning delivers a win-win solution for both merchants and shoppers. Machine Learning solutions such as Curve’s will also be of utmost importance as far as driving data insights are concerned.

Combining these trends can prove to be extremely beneficial for your e-Commerce business. The year has already started, so plan out your business strategies with these new trends.

Regardless of the size of your eCommerce business, anyone who runs an online store can benefit from solid sales optimization tactics. Whether you’re looking to attract new customers, retain existing ones, or increase your sales performance, here are a 10 eCommerce sales optimization tactics you can’t afford to miss.
1 – MAINTAIN CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Many eCommerce businesses focus so heavily on customer acquisition that they completely set aside any customer retention strategies. Sure, increasing your customer base is great, but customer loyalty can have a massive impact on your sales as well.

Studies indicate that existing customers tend to purchase more on their second purchase than the initial purchase. A big part of this is due to customer trust. So while focusing on increasing eCommerce sales is important, you simply cannot neglect the value of keeping existing customers satisfied. An improved customer retention strategy can increase the conversion rate, and generate more revenue everytime they pay a visit to your eCommerce business.
2 – STRESS ON HOW SECURE YOUR BUSINESS IS
In an age where technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives, security is of utmost importance. We’ve become so hyper-alert that any little signal that makes us feel insecure impacts our decisions. People do not like websites, apps, or brands that are not secure, and eCommerce is no exception. Customers are putting in their money, to buy a product they trust, from a vendor who is reliable.
First, make sure that your website is secure and display your certification alongside the products. Finally, make sure that the payments and checkout process is both secure and hassle-free.
3 – INCLUDE VIDEOS
People are always on the go, and attention spans are short. Visuals like videos and images are more eye-catching than long, heavy, written content. Videos are a perfect way to increase product trust. But videos shouldn’t only be used for products. They can be about your brand, your product, or even customer testimonials.
4 – DON’T NEGLECT YOUR CHECKOUT PROCESS
As we mentioned above, No one likes waiting. Customers who like your products have already made an insightful decision to purchase them, all that’s left is to lead them through the finish line. That being said, there’s no bigger bummer than being stuck at the checkout process or an endless checkout process.
The best approach is to have the entire checkout process on one page. If there are multiple pages, at least have a progress bar that tells the customer how much longer the process will take, or how many steps are left.
5 – LEVERAGE TESTIMONIALS
We’re all social creatures and usually accept recommendations from people we know. Have a few of your loyal customers give their testimonials. Also, make this more personal by having the picture, or better yet a short video of each customer is well.
6 – DESIGN FOR MOBILE
Mobile traffic has seen a rise in recent years, taking over desktop traffic. In fact, more than half the internet traffic is from mobile phones. What this means is that you need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile phones. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, or optimzied for quick product search and a simplified checkout process for customers on the go, chances are you’re leaving money on the table.

7- GET CREATIVE WITH PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS
It may not seem like it, but a lot of customers actually read product descriptions. This is why product descriptions are important. It tells customers what they need to know about the product they are about to buy. Your product description has to be creative and informative at the same time. It also has to be short and crisp.
8 -SEO & KEYWORD RESEARCH ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS
Search Engine Optimisation is extremely beneficial in increasing your visibility. You need to brush up on the necessary keywords and use them strategically. This will help improve your search rankings, and in turn, your visibility. More visibility eventually means more sales for your business.
9 -TARGET AND RETARGET
Unfortunately, the vast majority of your customers may not convert upon their first visit. By retargeting your customers, you’re increasing the chances or them returning to your site, and pick up where they left off. That being said, Merchants often focus purely on creating their remarketing campaigns and placing retargeting pixels, then assume they can set and forget. Keep this in mind — you can shoot yourself in the foot by not creating the right retargeting strategy from the get-go.
Retargeting can be managed effectively. Remember, it’s about going back to basics and knowing how your buyers use your website, what their pain points are, and then executing on a campaign that helps them make an informed decision.
10 – SALES FORECASTING
Sales forecasting helps you gauge your business performance. It reflects how well a business serves its market and is critical to long-term growth. However, the majority (69%) of companies’ fail to predict their sales accordingly. Machine learning based sales forecasting delivers the ability to analyze large volumes of historical data, allowing retailers to receive highly accurate sales predictions.

Find Out More About Curve’s Machine Learning Sales Forecast

IN CONCLUSION
Being an eCommerce merchant is tough enough, Curve features the simplest, most human-friendly, easy-to-use dashboard: no graphs, no piles of data, just clear, simple conclusions.
Curve’s machine learning technology gathers and analyzes your Shopify data, cross-examines it with worldwide holidays, calendars, stock exchanges, and even the weather, and generates simple actionable insights for you, today.
Find out more about Curve for Shopify.

At some level or another, we all make resolutions for the new year. Your online business shouldn’t be any different. With more brick-and-mortar businesses going online, the sheer number of e-commerce merchants is increasing year by year, making it the right time to roll up the sleeves, face the competition and plan your 2019 eCommerce sales strategy in full force.
Before we go further let us clarify some expert guidelines in this respect, let’s not forget that online shopping has expanded to be a very competitive market. Including eBay, Amazon and middle to low budget businesses, you have serious competition. Therefore, you have to make some small and major changes if you want your eCommerce sales to be successful in 2019!
First, let’s break it down by the numbers according to reports shared by Statistica.

  • In 2018, retail e-commerce sales worldwide reached 2.8 billion US dollars.
  • Estimated e-commerce revenues in 2019 are expected to reach 3.4 billion US dollars.

Just by looking at these stats, you can see why it’s essential to have the right e-commerce strategy in place.
1 – START AT THE TOP – ANALYZE YOUR CURRENT STATUS
When launching an online business, or any business for that matter, we get so caught up in our day to day tasks that we forget to take a step back and look at our situation. Usually towards the end of the year is a great time to do this.
By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can start fresh with a solid business strategy.
The analysis you should look at includes:

  • Analyze your competitors and see what they are doing best
  • Compare yourself with your best competitors
  • Try to find out why your competitors are doing better than you
  • Analyze where you are succeeding most
  • Analyze where you are losing most. 

2 – SET YOUR GOALS AND TARGETS FOR YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS
Setting a clear goal for e-commerce business will help you reach your vision faster. Set a numerical target for:

  • Revenue to be achieved
  • Profit to be achieved
  • Amount to be spent on marketing
  • Amount to be spent on resources
  • Amount to be spent on business expansion & innovations
  • Number of people your website need to reach
  • How many products you need to sell to reach the target revenue

3 – UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF MACHINE LEARNING
Improving sales offers results offer huge payoffs for retailers. Machine learning can improve e-commerce search results every time a customer shops on the website, taking into account personal preferences and purchase history. Instead of using traditional search methods like keyword matching, machine learning can generate a search ranking based on relevance for that particular user.

Machine learning is able to make sense of digital data at a much faster rate than any human is capable of. Choosing the application of machine learning tends to be a decision of priorities. This is especially important for giants such as eBay. Sales forecasting is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to business intelligence. Machine learning can be applied to a number of analytical goals. With deeper, more accurate information, companies can make data-backed decisions that ultimately lead to better products and services.

Find Out More About Curve’s Machine Learning Sales Forecast

4 – KEEP YOUR VISITORS ENTERTAINMENT
This often overlooked tip can really make a big difference. Avoid the technical jargon, and stick to textual copy that pulls your audience in. Write exciting web content to keep the audience engaged: Straight from your About Us page to the small Product Descriptions, you must have lucrative, call to action and appealing content. If needed, hire a professional writer to have it done for you. Remember, stay crisp, relevant and engaging!
5 – BE TRANSPARENT IN DISPLAYING YOUR PRODUCT PRICES:
Being transparent with your pricing should eliminate any guesswork from your potential customers. For example, if you offer free shipping, extra charges or maybe a discount voucher, these should all be easy to see and understand.
If you offer ‘last-minute bonuses’ only for your customer to discover that you add or deduct a certain amount of money from the payable cost, you are gambling on your sales. Make sure this scenario does not happen on your eCommerce pages, it can bring your sales down.
Unclear pricing is among one of the top reasons why online buyers may change their mind during the last stage of the checkout process.
IN CONCLUSION

The e-commerce landscape is evolving. This means that the industry will get bigger and better in the coming years and new technological trends will make it more seamless.

As a growing e-commerce business owner, you need to keep a track of these technologies and find ways to use the ones that best suit your needs. The above strategies will provide a better value to your users and make your business more successful in 2019 and beyond.