7 habits of highly effective e-shops

India has seen an explosive growth in the number of e-commerce stores since the last couple of years. But how many of them do you know about, or how many of them have you really used? Most importantly, how many of them have you returned to, to make a repeat purchase?

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So, what has made the Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong the success they are? If we ignore the bottom lines, they seem to be doing pretty good, and have become reputed brands over time. What makes them click? Here are a few very obvious factors, which are overlooked by many entrepreneurs.

1.       They know the importance of your time

The first and foremost success factor for an e-commerce website is user-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it possible to complete your purchase in a couple of minutes. If you fail to do this, you are losing sales every day. Keep a watch on your cart abandonment rates. Use CDN to power pack your website. Make sure your website has more than 90% score on tools like page speed and gtmetrix. Use methods like 1-page checkout. If you ask your user to fill many forms for a checkout, rest assured you will lose a good amount of revenue.

2.       They know how to create a wow effect

Presentation is as important and so is efficiency of your e-commerce process. Your e-shop must have modern interface, web 2.0 tools, social media presence and a really nice design. If you fail to make a good presentation, you are not in the top league of e-commerce. Only yesterday, I stumbled upon a Delhi-based online book shop. I could predict by looking at their web presence that very few people would like to come back to the site, because of the poor design. Why kill your own business? You don’t want to look at something that does not look nice, right? Same applies to your own e-commerce venture too.

3.       They keep you hooked

So what if a customer made a single purchase in the last few months? You can anyways keep your audience hooked by sending interesting information, coupons and newsletters. Even if you send promotions, make sure to send some genuine offers as well. It helps create brand awareness and improves customer return rate.

Myntra sends me a SMS every few days announcing a SALE “exclusively for me”. It also sends a few characters of my sign-in email, rest filled with asterisks. I find these smses annoying at times, but I like the way they make it easy for users to remember their logins, making it easy to shop again.

4.       They deliver

It is a well known fact that Flipkart made the #1 spot in India due to its fast and efficient shipping. Amazon is offering one-day shipping to catch that phenomenon. Not a new idea, but a successful method to win a sincere user base. Flipkart has made many next day deliveries to me, sometimes at not very shipping friendly address.

5.       They like you stealing

If you are in India, you have to offer heavy discounts and freebies these days. Only displaying discounts is not going to help you, you need to ensure the prices are genuine and on the bottom of the market. Sigh! No quick money making machine if you are an Indian e-commerce player! At the same time, how important is it to keep the offers genuine? I provided consultancy to an e-commerce t-shirt startup a couple of years ago, which  is a big name today on most popular e-commerce shops, including Snapdeal, Flipkart, Homeshop18, Tradus, Yebhi, Craftsvilla and many others. I find them selling t-shirt on their own store for 299 INR and putting the same thing on Flipkart for 339 INR with a badge of 34% discount! Interesting, but not very inspiring.

So the crux is: Make some real offers. The Indian e-commerce story is running on low margins and you need to have a long term perspective by playing with thin margins in the coming years.

6.       They spoil you with choices

This is easy if you are a drop-shipper. Displaying a large inventory, yet managing very less of that brings you benefits. However, large inventory also requires intelligent web page filtering capability allowing a customer to quickly choose what he/she is looking for.

If you are a successful e-commerce player and have your own warehouse, keeping stocks for different options and varieties is a humungous and challenging task. Do this as part of the initial investment, and play clever by not offering too many SKUs. Offer the most popular products with variety.

7.       They care

No questions asked 30-day replacement policy. How does that sound? As a customer it may sound nice, but not as a retailer. Tell your customers you care for them, more than your merchants and vendors. I got my malfunctioning mobile phone replaced on the sixth day of my purchase, and that made me a loyal customer of that particular e-commerce portal. No points for guessing which portal it was!

About the author

Divakar-SinghDivakar is an eCommerce consultant, helping businesses with eCommerce development, maintenance, promotion, conversion increase and other optimizations. He has more than a decade of rich IT experience. Currently he is working as Managing Director with Qtriangle Infotech Pvt Ltd, a Noida based eCommerce Consultancy Company.