eCommerce businesses need to think of their overall operation and offering as a product in itself and must ensure that it is of the highest quality possible at every step of the user journey.
Today’s online shopper is looking for a number of things – a convenient shopping experience, easy to access helpful support if and when it’s needed, quality product and a good price. These days, with the help of customer reviews and social media, its even easier to research the company you’re buying from just sitting in your living room in order to find out what their levels of service are really like. This means that in order to make the sale you have to offer more than just a good price.
Think of it like this, if your online store is just another bland storefront for the same products that a customer could buy at any other online or bricks and mortar discounter then you can only really differentiate your offering on price and deliverability. So unless you have something more to offer than price and free delivery, you will always be competing with the Amazon of your area and its highly unlikely that you will be able to beat them on price. Try beating Amazon at their own game and see how it works.
However, when an ecommerce operation realizes that it is the product the game changes. Online retailers must understand that you are not only about what you sell, but also about the shopping experience you provide. Store design, merchandising, product information, the checkout, the delivery and how easily returns are handled are all important parts of the digital experience – they need work and they need to be constantly improved.
Zappos is a great example of this. It isn’t just another place to buy shoes online, it is an organization dedicated to making customers happy – regardless of the product bought or the price paid.