According to recent surveys, 76 percent of UK shoppers said they search online for research and to get inspired before making a purchase. In fact, UK consumers lead the world in online shopping, with 38 percent making online purchases weekly.
The virtual equivalent of having a clean, attractive storefront is an eCommerce website that makes shopping there a no-brainer. If your business is not online or isn’t optimising its online presence, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to extend its reach and strengthen its credibility with new and existing customers and improve online business.
Below are five key factors to keep in mind to boost online credibility.
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1. A user-friendly website
A website that is inviting and user-friendly is as important as having an attractive brick-and-mortar store. It’s important to establish a cohesive visual identity for your website to boost your online presence. This includes fonts that harmonise well together and are easy to read on both desktop and mobile phones, colour sets comprising complementary main and secondary colours, and design layouts that suit your business needs.
When starting an online business, ensure customers can find the information they need quickly. This includes hours, contact information, menus, rates, client references, or other information that helps them learn what a business is all about.
2. A thoughtful content strategy
When customers buy a product, they also invest in a brand’s industry expertise. Through content, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders which keeps online content fresh, improves brand authority, and helps optimise a site for search engines to improve online business.
For example, a plant shop owner might want to create blog posts or how-to videos about plant care. This business owner could share these topics with potential shoppers on the website or in other eCommerce marketing channels. Once a business begins publishing content on a regular basis, customers will see their site not only as a place where they can shop, but also as a valuable informational resource. This only helps boost a company’s voice and credibility in its industry.
3. Social media integration
Being active on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram gives a business the chance to have one-on-one conversations with existing and potential customers, as well as troubleshoot issues and answer questions. In today’s world, it can be one of the biggest ways to improve online business.
Recent surveys suggest that social media is now consumers’ preferred channel for customer service. Statista found that UK consumers prefer to hear from brands on Facebook, especially Millennials—67 percent said they want to hear from brands on the platform, along with nearly 38 percent of Baby Boomers. Brands that are quick to respond to complaints on social media (the sooner the better, but within 24 hours is best practice), even just to let a customer know that the issue is being investigated but may not be resolved yet, are valued and seen as customer-centric.
Display your business’s social media handles in the website’s footer and include social media sharing buttons on individual pages, posts, or products to encourage visitors to spread the word and boost your online presence. Leveraging your social media bios to link to your website or online store can also drive valuable traffic from your followers.
4. Email marketing
According to Campaign Monitor, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. A good place to start strategies to improve online business is by setting up a monthly newsletter that features a blog post, promotions, or industry-specific news. Relevant, engaging content is how you can create meaningful connections with consumers and boost your online presence.
Email marketing using a branded email domain also cements a brand’s online credibility. Consider how a customer might perceive a business if the email correspondence comes from a generic Gmail or Yahoo alias. A branded email domain makes a business look that much more legitimate and credible. Plus, once an email is opened, businesses get yet another opportunity to distinguish themselves by creating a branded signature block that includes contact information, social handles, and a link back to the website.
5. A secure online store
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Should I open an online store?” Fifty-one per cent of UK shoppers prefer to shop online, while 49 percent like to shop in an actual store. Satisfy everyone’s preference by adopting an omnichannel business approach by starting an online business that provides shoppers with the convenience of a fully integrated shopping cart, a secure checkout experience, and smooth online order fulfilment. If you’re already using Square, it’s easy to begin selling products online. Once you’ve activated your Square Online Store, it will be automatically set up to accept online payments through Square and begin to boost your online presence.
Today’s customers demand convenience and want a choice in how they purchase goods from sellers. One way to increase successful customer interactions and improve online business is by accepting online payments and offering another option for your audience, ensuring you can reach them through their preferred channels.
As eCommerce continues to gain market share in the global economy, it will become essential for businesses to have solid online credibility and presence. With an attractive website and content strategy, a user-friendly online store, engaging social media presence, and a top email marketing service, a business can stay competitive with the best practices for engaging and growing its customer base.