5 Things Online Retailers are Doing to Stand Out from their Competition

By Brian Horvath

Brick and mortar retail is taking a hit. Recently, many of the major retailers such as Macy’s and Sears have announced stores closing all over the United States. While some believe it is due to a weak economy, the reality is that online sales are killing walk-in retail.

Stores that want to make money need to have an online presence. Over the last 20 years, ecommerce has taken off and has now become one of the most used shopping methods by consumers.

The more stores that have an online footprint, the more crowded it has become. As with brick and mortar, stores need to find a way to stand out online. The lack of knowledge of how to run an ecommerce platform has caused many retailers to fail in the online game.

The number of options afforded to ecommerce players are endless (website designs, shopping carts, etc.), making it more difficult to stand out from the crowd if you don’t have the right setup. If you cannot differentiate yourself from the competition, you may as well shut down your site.

“Having so many good options – and some lingering bad options too – can make the process of picking an ecommerce platform seem more complicated,” writes Armando Roggio for Practical Ecommerce.

So, what are the better ecommerce players doing to stand out from their competition.

1. Eliminating Clutter and Reduce Steps

Ever clicked on a website and immediately feel information overload? How long before you clicked off simply because you didn’t feel like navigating through it?

My point exactly.

Eliminating clutter has helped many ecommerce stores to stand out. And clutter means more than just pages with too much information.

“De-clutter the page and limit the amount of information you ask from the user,” writes Khalid Saleh for Usability Geek. “Use smart forms that pull in city, state information, etc. from the zip code. Leverage Google auto-fill forms to help users checkout faster.”

Basically, retailers need a website that is easy to use (both navigation-wise and checkout-wise). People abandoning shopping carts because they have to input too much information is common. After all, people can find the same or similar products through a competitor who doesn’t make things so difficult.

So how do you eliminate steps? Saleh makes a great point above. Use auto-fill if you can and don’t make people jump from one screen to another to complete the checkout process.

Companies such as Amazon.com have this down. Ever seen their 1-click ordering? Once you have your account set up, all you need to do is click the buy button and everything is completed for you. No going to multiple screens or filling in the same information over and over.

Amazon.com dash buttons allow consumers to simply push the button and place a preset order for certain products. Out of laundry soap? Simply click the button next to the washer. Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Amazon.com even goes a step further by offering “Amazon Dash Buttons” where you don’t Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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