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3 Tips To Getting The Most Out Of Your Distribution E-commerce Site

E-commerce is a critical business component, and distributors should do whatever they can to ensure their platform is working to their advantage.

In spite of the economic downturn, the value of online transactions has continued to rise in recent years, according to an article on the Paychex BuildMyBiz website. U.S. Commerce Department data for the second quarter of 2013 show a 4.9 percent increase in online retail sales over the first quarter. For the yearlong period ending June 30, online retail sales were up 18.4 percent, according to the data.

“E-commerce services are quickly becoming favorite purchase mediums for American consumers,” the article states.

It’s not enough to just build a website. You must take advantage of this valuable channel to its fullest. Here are three tips to getting the most out of your e-commerce site.

  1. Offer site search capabilities: Site search is becoming a highly important functionality to have. Distributors often deal with high-volume, low-margin types of products. As such, they may offer many different products or have a product catalogue that would be difficult for customers to wade through.

    Customers should be able to search the site for keywords, names or descriptions of products, and part numbers. Make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they’re looking for.

    Today’s online customers are very impatient. If they can’t find something quickly, they’ll leave. You may actually have the product they want, but they don’t want to waste time looking for it. Google’s site search is one example of this important tool that distributors can leverage. In addition, it’s crucial that you not only have site search, but to ensure that it’s compatible with mobile devices.

  2. Avoid abandoned shopping cart orders: Customers will often go through an e-commerce site and fill up shopping carts only to leave without placing an order. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.

    Start by making sure you have a secure payment process, and prominently display the type of security you provide for the checkout process. Customers want to know their information is safe and encrypted before providing their credit card number or other sensitive information.

    Next, make the checkout process easy. Set it up so that customers need to click as little as possible to place an order. Also, have shopping cart items on display so customers know what they’re buying.

    You should also show shipping costs early in the checkout process. You don’t want customers to get through the process without knowing how much shipping will cost. They may drop the order at the last minute if they decide your shipping charge is unacceptable. If possible, offer free shipping; it’s a powerful incentive to get customers to make a purchase.

    Finally, offer a very easy, customer-friendly return policy. It provides a little bit of security to a customer who is about to buy, but still has some doubts.

  3. Provide order tracking to increase customer satisfaction: Customers want to know the status of their order. In fact, thanks in large part to Amazon, order tracking is something people simply expect at this point. If your website doesn’t have that functionality, many customers will be hesitant to purchase from you.

    Online order tracking makes for a better purchasing experience. It’s another way to communicate with your customers, which ultimately improves your relationship with them and their overall satisfaction. And happy customers are more likely to be repeat customers.

These three tips can help to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your e-commerce site. You want customers to be able to find exactly what they want with minimal effort, ensure they follow through with their order and then allow them to track it from your warehouse to their front door.

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