10 eCommerce Best Practices for 2021 and Beyond
Created On: June 9, 2021
Created By: SC-Developer
2020 was a big year–both for COVID and eCommerce. As in, even those businesses that didn’t have a clue about eCommerce websites made the move to the online sphere. All it took was a global pandemic to speed up changes across various verticals, and that momentum is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond. While the established players in the eCommerce space haven’t had a difficult time keeping up with the changes, newer eCommerce businesses simply lack the same backend infrastructure to survive in this ultra-fast-paced environment.
With the mushrooming of marketplaces, the bar has been set. Now, eCommerce stores do not only have to compete with other competitors in their niche, but marketplaces, such as Etsy, Amazon, and many others who deliver ease of shopping, and 2-3 day shipping, and have an army of SEO ninjas who are constantly working to make their product pages float to the top of Google SERPs for relevant searches.
But, the good news for the small fish in a rather large and overcrowded pond is that following eCommerce best practices can keep you competitive and in the game, regardless of the size of your business or eCommerce store.
1. Cyber Security
Thirty thousand new websites are hacked every single day. Even the FBI has reported a 300% increase in the number of cybercrimes cases each day. By using techniques such as the following, ecommerce businesses can ensure the safety of their customer’s and their data:
- Network Segmentation – This includes intrusion detection systems (IDS) and Intrusion prevention systems (IPS), updating malware and antivirus software, sandboxing, SSL, decryption, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and web application firewalls.
- Threat Intelligence – Researching threat actors provides eCommerce businesses with a cross-section of insight into how they operate and the tactics that are used to steal data from businesses.
2. Online Competition
You need to keep an eye on your online competition and find creative ways to get ahead of the curve. This is essential in the eCommerce space, especially if your competitors have a head start on you or have a bigger following. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can achieve this by using the following:
- Competitor Analysis
- Focusing on quality content and products
- Running contests to increase engagement
- Offer better incentives
- Have a worthy cause
3. Order Fulfillment
There are many benefits of establishing an order fulfillment process. Order fulfillment is the method in which a business processes its sales orders, which should always be according to the customer’s specifications. Order fulfillment includes keeping the products in your inventory, sorting them, delivering them to the customer, and then handling any return requests if the customer wants to return a product.
4. Quality Web Traffic/Visitors
Less than 64% of small businesses have a website, according to research done by Small Biz Trends. When it comes to getting quality web traffic, there’s just no substitute for publishing high-quality content on a regular basis. Some strategies to ensure better quality web traffic/visitors to your ecommerce website are by using Search Engine Optimization, social media and creating high-quality content.
5. Social Storefront
For those who are unfamiliar, a social storefront is a fully functional eCommerce store that has been established within a social media platform. One of the reasons why social storefronts such as a FB shop and IG Shop work is because each of these platforms have millions of users. In fact, according to a report, around 75% of Instagram users are likely to take action after looking at an ad on the platform.
By 2023, almost 91% of US consumers are going to shop online. So, it makes sense for entrepreneurs and traditional brick-and-mortar brands to take their business where their customers are – on social media platforms.
6. Mobile vs. Desktop
According to reports, 63% of all US online traffic comes from handheld devices, which means that mobile devices are now the leading source of internet sales in the US. However, mobile users expect a web browsing experience that is comparable to that of a desktop, which is why businesses need to work on the functionality and user-friendliness of their business website across multiple viewing screens. Not optimizing the browsing and shopping experience for mobile users means that you’re leaving money on the table.
7. Systems and SOP’s
Having systems and SOP’s in place ensures standardized daily operations and provides businesses with a more streamlined approach towards dealing with day-to-day operations and a manual to follow in times of emergencies. The advancements of technology have made it possible for ecommerce businesses to use software and various other tools, many of which are available for free for better ecommerce business management.
Ecommerce business owners are required to assess sales taxes and also collect and remit them to the proper taxation authorities, depending on the country they live in. Another reason why ecommerce business owners need to stay updated when it comes to taxes and pricing is that not taking your taxes seriously can have a negative impact on your business and can result in unnecessary fines and other more severe consequences.
9. Branding and Custom Product Packaging
Apart from making sure that its contents remain safe, there is another important reason why product packaging matters – branding. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that product packaging is seen as the physical extension of a brand’s branding efforts apart from the digital marketing collateral that’s used by brands to attract customers.
10. Domain/Hosting Services
Choosing the right domain and web hosting service is another important factor for entrepreneurs and small business owners to consider. Some of the reasons why hiring the best domain and hosting services are important is because it offers many value-added services to users such as PCI compliance, security features, sub-directories, sub-domains, and much more.
2020 was an unforgettable year, mainly because of the global pandemic and a total upheaval of “normal” life, but also for the digital space, where eCommerce businesses experienced a significant increase in sales thanks to folks forced to stay at home and shop online. For the eCommerce space in 2021, opportunities are there to be seized. With an increasing number of shoppers turning to online stores to shop for products and services, the onus is now on businesses to use eCommerce best practices to their advantage.