I have listed the areas in order of importance; having done this you may ask why accessibility is top of the list. The answer to this question is paramount to all online stores and businesses; if the store cannot be found then it can not be shopped. This stands as the most important factor in setting a great online store apart from an average one regardless of how good the security, price, service or knowledge of that store is.
Each and every online user will know of an online fashion store in which they can usually find the type of product they are looking for. If you cannot get your store alongside that store in the search engine rankings, or in front of the shopper through means of online or offline advertising the hard fact is that they are not going to find your store nor the great products, security, price, service and knowledge that you have to offer.
Secondly comes security; when the customer finds a store they must feel secure in shopping in that store. The greatest fear of e-commerce shoppers is having their financial details stolen or manipulated by hackers and thieves. There are no fool proof methods to ensure that a store is completely safe because hackers are becoming ever more sophisticated in the methods they employ to steel peoples financial information. However always look for reassurance including, certified site stamps from companies such as Go-Daddy and other reputable site security systems.
If a site does not look secure and reputable the shopper will leave. A good tip for shoppers is to check the terms and conditions of any site, they can usually be found in the bottom banner. Also check the ‘contact us’ page if an address, telephone number or further information is available, the store will usually be reputable. If you are on a site that has very little information in the ‘about us’ and ‘contact us’ pages it may well be a good idea to call first and check the company credentials.
Thirdly comes price; if the above two areas are satisfied, the price appears fair, the customer will not usually be overly bothered about price. This may sound odd but rarely are customers thinking about price as the number one indicator in the decision making process of whether they will purchase a product or not. It is always a good idea for online stores to play with their price point. Move the price up and move it down again, measuring the reaction to the price.
Fourthly there is service; an online fashion store that offers good service will always retain customers for further transactions, where as the store that provides flawed service will gain a customer for one sale only and then lose them forever. So in the first instance of gaining a new customer for an online fashion store service comes in fourth, but when it comes to retaining customers it jumps right to number one. Great service will make you a very happy store owner, as your customers will just keep coming back.
Finally knowledge; in online stores knowledge is not always the key to initial sales or retention of customers. Unlike in high street outlets whereby knowledge of a product or the ability of the sales staff to fill the customer with confidence is essential to the success of the customer experience. It is fair to say however that an online fashion store with a greater depth than just products it is wishing to sell will enthuse any customer or potential customer to share the information about a store with their friends through verbal communication and or social networking outlets. Knowledge is also necessary to improve the accessibility of an online fashion store. It is essential that the site be filled with relevant knowledge of the core product subject, in order that search engine algorithms find and index a site in an optimum manner.
This is a guide that I have formulated through years of personal endeavours as an e-commerce customer and an e-commerce online store owner. It will without doubt change from person to person, but the fundamentals of this guide will apply no matter what the situation.
James McAloon is the Co-founder of Excentree Eco Fashion Collections. Excentree Fashion Collections online store combines all elements of what exemplifies organic, environmentally and ethically aware clothing while attaining fresh, sharp and relevant style.
Excentree Fashion Collections offers vibrant, relevant clothing, drawn form a variety of strong and expressive world cultures. Each Excentree garment allows the purchaser to plant one tree in one of seventeen agro-reforestation projects. This guarantees a two ton reduction of any carbon footprint.