It’s easy to see how ecommerce customers provide value to ecommerce businesses by paying for products. But what about the flip side of that equation? How do online retailers provide value to customers? It pays to ask yourself what your store is doing to address the implied customer question, “So, what’s in it for me?”
Going above and beyond to deliver genuine value to buyers is how ecommerce merchants distinguish themselves in today’s competitive marketplace. With that understanding, here are four ways online retailers can provide value to customers.
Offer Purchasing Incentives
Purchasing incentives are a win-win for buyers and sellers. According to Inc., “sweetening the pot” with incentives like “free shipping, time-sensitive discounts, bonus samples, additional free features and hassle-free returns” can influence customers to complete transactions.
From the retailer’s point of view, this positively affects both conversion rates and revenue flow. From the customer’s point of view, they’ve earned that little extra something that makes up their mind in favor of buying; they’re getting the product(s) they want plus additional value in the form of a perk. If you sell furniture online using a platform like Shopify, something as simple as offering a free lamp with the purchase of a desk can be enough to convince people to buy from you rather than a competitor—and right now rather than later.
The best purchasing incentives serve to motivate customers without straining your bottom line. Think carefully about what will elicit a positive responsive from shoppers while remaining sustainable for your business.
Make Order Fulfillment Easy
Even if a customer adds a product to their shopping cart, they still have to make it through checkout. Meanwhile, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is about 70 percent. A survey of people who’ve recently deserted online purchases during checkout showed 55 percent did so because extra costs, like shipping, were too high. Furthermore, 16 percent did so because delivery was too slow.
This just goes to show how important speed, price and flexibility of order fulfillment are to making sales. The faster and more affordable you can make delivery, the more conversions your store will secure. Your customers will also be happier because they have some degree of choice when it comes to how their orders reach their doorsteps.
Reward Customer Loyalty
It’s helpful to think in terms of customer relationships beyond mere transactions. How can you keep people coming back for subsequent purchases? Establish a loyalty program aimed at boosting customer retention. Demonstrate to returning customers how much you appreciate their business by providing them exclusive rewards as they earn points. It’s like a virtual punch card, but without the risk of misplacing it.
Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
Facilitating helpful, responsive customer service sets your company apart, while also making your customers’ lives easier. Online shoppers increasingly expect responses to their questions and concerns in a timelier manner—often in real time. Embedding a live chat system into your website is one way to provide value to customers and improve conversion rates, as it gives you the opportunity to positively influence shoppers’ purchasing decisions.
What’s Your Unique Value Proposition?
Bottom line: Every ecommerce store needs to establish its own unique value proposition. Let potential and returning customers know exactly what you can do for them, whether it’s low prices, free shipping and returns, one-of-a-kind products, incredible customer service, a legendary loyalty program, freebies with purchases over a certain threshold—or some combination of the above.
In your quest to earn conversions from website visitors, always remember retailers must also provide value to their customers. The most successful brands make value a two-way street.