You know by now that you need to be online in this increasingly digital age, but you’ve probably also noticed that ecommerce is tricky, even for the pros.

So we thought we’d do our best to give you 21 simple (in most cases) tips and tricks to help you nail your ecommerce strategy in 2021 and beyond!

Not all online retailers will be able to avail of each and every single one of these, so think about which are most appropriate for your specific products or services and your own ecommerce platform.

Want to read about an Aussie brand, Lorna Jane, that’s doing ecommerce really well? We can do that for you!

Ecommerce is booming. Find out how to ensure your brand stands out.

Think about sustainable packaging.

Even when it comes to an online business, consumers really care about where their products are coming from and even more so about the packaging. It’s the most obvious way that the impact on the environment of their purchases is noticeable for customers.

Nobody feels good about unwrapping a hundred plastic pellets to reveal only one tiny product at the bottom. Then, there’s the actual issue of supply. Can you show that the physical goods are locally produced or manufactured so the carbon footprint of the purchase is released?

This can really help you stand out in the increasingly saturated market.

Branded packaging to inspire brand loyalty.

Customising your deliveries to include what looks like a personalised note, or by having branded tissue paper or boxes can help customers come back to you again and again. This is especially important if your product was relatively expensive.

It’s hard to replicate the in-store shopping experience when you sell online, but personalised touches go a long way in ensuring the purchase sticks in the customer’s mind long after they’ve thrown the packaging away.

Make your site responsive.

More and more people are shopping online on their mobiles, so make sure your site is able to provide a great experience across desktop, mobile and tablet. Responsive themes also improve SEO and the site speed, as well as image display and general user experience.

This is especially important if you want your customers to process an online payment on their mobiles. No one is going to part with valuable credit card information if the entire site seems clunky and poorly put together.

Have an accelerated mobile page.

These pages will load instantly on mobile as they are a stripped-down HTML copy of a webpage. When a user searches on mobile, these pages are normally prioritised by Google.

Once again, it’s pretty technical but it is an important way of getting your ecommerce business to stand out from the crowd.

Use a progressive web app.

Sorry, I promise this is the last super technical suggestion. But, having a progressive web app can also offer an optimised experience across channels, and can load instantly, even if the user has gone offline.

Make it easy to buy with an upgraded checkout experience.

The quicker and more secure this is, the more likely your customers are to feel safe when parting with their money online.

This includes the technical elements of the process itself and things like using secure payment gateways so that your sensitive data, as well as that of your customers, is protected.

Connect your online checkout to a real POS.

This enables options like pickup so customers can come in and actually complete the transaction in-store. This is helpful for many people who find it tricky to have things shipped to their house because of security concerns, or they just prefer the convenience of having the product ready for them to pick up, when they are. This is also a good way of converting online to in-store customers.

Get rid of the add to cart process.

Allow customers to buy directly from product pages. The more steps you have in the buying process, the more customers you lose along the way.

Make use of buy now, pay later options like Afterpay.

These solutions encourage customers who are less sure about the product to take the plunge when shopping on ecommerce websites.

Have a 24/7 (or close to) helpline or customer support bot.

With the move to online, customers come to expect service wherever they are, and whatever the time. Obviously, for smaller brands, this is unattainable, so think about automating this process so that FAQs can be answered by a bot.

Customer service is one of the elements that it can be hardest to automate when it comes to ecommerce sales, but progress in this area will most definitely put you ahead of the competitors.

Automate promotions at the checkout.

Newsflash – customers who shop online a lot come to expect an extra discount. Make their lives easier by adding a promotion directly.

Diversify your delivery options.

Things like free-standard shipping, paid express shipping and curb-side or in-store pickup.

Offer in-person experiences, but deliver them virtually.

Take customers behind the scenes of your warehouse operations or show them how your lab runs on a day-to-day basis.

Simulate the ‘in-store chats’ that customers love.

When customers go shopping, they often engage in conversation with retail assistants who can help them to make the most appropriate purchase for their situation, as well as budget. Replacing this is tricky when it comes to online shopping.

Some of the easiest ways include publishing comparative articles about different products you sell, style guides or how-to pieces.

Streamline the returns process.

This is one of the tricky ones for small businesses. However, according to Shopify data, 96% of customers will shop again with a business depending on how easy their returns process is.

After all, this is one of the most difficult aspects of online shopping – especially when it comes to clothes.

There are several options when it comes to automating the returns process. However, what you really need to focus on is incentivising customers to not return products at all. But, bear with us.

Returns are always tricky and most definitely expensive for the company. Getting customers to accept an exchange or store credit saves you money and keeps customers happy in the long run.

Offer local delivery.

Obviously, this is a specific tip for businesses that are local. But if they can provide this kind of service it is faster than traditional delivery, gives more work to your retail workers and allows you to follow the entire customer experience to the end.

Target customers differently.

Get to know your existing customers so that you can predict what they will buy next. Intervene with email marketing and reminders, as well as offering discounts can all help push prospective customers over the line.

For a guide to audience targeting after the ‘Cookie Apocalypse’, we’ve got you covered, too. Once marketers and retailers lose third-party cookies, there is going to be an increased focus on learning what you can from the data you already possess – i.e. that of your existing customers.

Keep an eye on those abandoned carts.

This is one you should definitely be doing by now. It pays to give people a little push to come back to a purchase they’ve already almost made.

Track the length of time between purchases.

This helps you to more accurately retarget customers through emails or social content when you know they are likely to make another purchase soon. You also want to be looking at ways to reduce this length of time.

Reward customers.

As we accelerate rapidly towards the cookie-less future, customer loyalty has to be rewarded. Offer VIP discounts or free goodies to those who are not only buying from you, but are sharing their data with you.

This is not only good for targeting, but also for encouraging brand loyalty. It can really make these customers feel as though they are personally connected to your brand, and excite them to share their purchases on social media or with friends and family – great awareness for your business.

Respond to reviews.

By now, we know the importance of reputation. The best way to ensure your reputation stays strong online, is to reply personally to as many as you can, even when they are negative. Customers want to feel heard and personally listened to, especially if things have gone wrong. Never underestimate the power of an upset customer online to spread bad feedback about your offerings!

This can also move across to social media, so ensure you’re doing your best to keep on top of feedback and any mentions you’re receiving across channels.

There you have it then – 21 handy tips and tricks you should be thinking about if you’re looking for increased online sales and some great ecommerce solutions.

This is a space that is only set to expand over the next few years, so it’s very much imperative that if you’re not beginning to compete, you do so now.

Even as the world returns to the ‘new normal’, ecommerce is here to stay.