The 4P’s of e-commerce
Competition for online sales in all manner of industries is hotting up. Although it has never been easy to grow a successful e-commerce business, it is becoming harder than ever. That’s because e-commerce businesses that don’t display flexibility and adopt dynamic principles are getting left behind in the race to achieve that all-important ‘Buy Now’ click.
The digital world is an exciting place to sell your goods and services. It’s a chance to reach out to a demographic of customers that wouldn’t have been accessible historically. Nevertheless, if you truly want to make a success of your brand’s e-commerce proposition, you’ll need to adhere to “The 4 P’s”.
The following four factors have been recognised by Unity Online’s Digital Consultant, Max Planck as the key drivers behind a customer’s buying process online:
The need for competitive pricing has never been more apparent. In recent years, online consumers have grown accustomed to the crucial questions they need to ask when buying online, including:
- Is this the cheapest and best deal available for the product?
- Could I get a better deal if I shop around?
- How trustworthy is this retailer to give me the deal they say?
Today’s online consumers will dedicate hours to finding the best deals. It’s therefore become essential for e-commerce brands to benchmark their pricing against multiple competitors, ensuring they aren’t getting left behind.
Without a competitive price for your product(s) you will struggle to close sales online in 2019 and beyond – regardless of how well you fare in the remaining three factors below.
As consumers can now buy most of the products and services they need from multiple e-commerce retailers, product selection has become a vital cog in the customer buying wheel. It’s fundamental in terms of offering a slick and intuitive user experience online; aligning your product offering to your customers’ desires, and even pointing them in the direction of related alternatives, to keep prospects on your website for longer.
Consumer behaviours online indicate that many now expect to find what they are looking for in a very short space of time. The information age has installed a nature of urgency. Marketers and businesses alike must acknowledge this shift in mindset and adapt their customer journeys and product offerings so that customers can find what they want quickly and accurately.
Once a customer is attracted to your website – due to your competitive prices or comprehensive product range – the next step for any successful online retailer is product fulfilment.
Companies such as Amazon have caused a seismic shift in consumer mindset, positioning fulfilment at the front and centre of the buying process. Customers are now so accustomed to receiving products the next working day – and for ultra-low fees – that companies that can’t offer that same immediacy often fall short.
At this stage of the buying process, these are the kind of questions prospective customers will be asking:
- When will my product arrive?
- Do I need the product sooner?
- Is the delivery price acceptable?
- Can I get free delivery?
Providing a customer is interested in the price and the product they want is in-stock, product fulfilment plays a fundamental role in the buying process.
The last but by no means least ‘P’ stands for personalised service. Although a personalised customer service often comes after a purchase, it has fast become a key factor in helping to turn prospects into customers and customers into long-term brand advocates.
Often, customers will want to ask questions during or immediately after a purchase, while others may want answers the next time they consider purchasing a related product. The immediacy of e-commerce in 2019 means that customers want answers to their queries – fast.
The type of questions that a typical customer may ask before, during and after a purchase include:
- When was my product despatched?
- Will the delivery be when I expected it?
- Why was the product not what I expected?
- Can you help resolve issues with my order quickly?
Whether it’s live chat functionality, a 24/7 telephone helpline or a 9-to-5 social media team that fields enquiries across all social channels, e-commerce brands need to be aware of the benefit personalised services can bring in terms of fostering long-term brand loyalty.
You’d take the time to ensure your high-street shop front impresses and makes sales, so why should your online store be any different? At Unity Online, our digital consultants boast decades of combined expertise in helping businesses sell more online.
Whether you have an established e-commerce brand or you’re just starting out online, Unity’s strategic tweaks to your e-commerce store – either on-page or in the back end – can make your website more accessible to search engines and easier for visitors to convert.
If you’d like Unity Online’s digital consultants to undertake a review of your e-commerce store, get in touch on 01473 350485 or complete our contact form to start taking a different digital path.