Triumph in e-commerce: what really counts?

Triumph in e-commerce: what really counts?
Published on: May 5, 2017
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

New is not always better - Back to Basics

Every year there are new tips and trends for online retailers when it comes to running their stores. Sometimes these are (more or less) sensible gadgets, sometimes the latest ideas for building the store page. This can get confusing and following all the ideas may not always make sense. With all the new developments, retailers should therefore focus on the essentials: Their employees, smooth processes and - especially important - the customer. We have summarized some basic elements.

The optimal store page

Your store website must be attractively designed, but also easy to use. Usability is an important issue especially in times of mobile commerce. If your site is too complicated or the customer can't find what he's looking for quickly enough, he'll turn away and go to another provider - competition is so fierce today that frustration is rarely forgiven. With an optimally set up store, also with regard to a mature Customer Experience Management, the first hurdle is already taken.

However, the use of the company's own data is also crucial. For example, the search queries of (potential) buyers in your store: It is worth analyzing what is frequently purchased or which search terms are entered to find out which products are being searched for that you have not yet offered. Also the order data gives good starting points, for example about which days of the week are bought particularly much - so you know when it is worthwhile to offer special promotions. Also examine your payment and shipping data to determine which payment and delivery methods are the most popular.

Strategic with storage & shipping

Warehousing & shipping should also be optimally designed. Overly rigid ways of working could incur costs that could be avoided by more flexible models. For example, working hours should be adjusted to order volumes and staff should be planned accordingly. Variable schedules agreed with employees make it possible to cope better with particularly busy periods.

Strategic time management can also help to optimize shipping. For example, by defining time windows that specify when which orders are processed. Orders that are not shipped as same-day delivery or that are first ordered from suppliers should be processed between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. to ensure the fastest possible delivery. Orders that can be shipped immediately should be processed between 11am and 7pm.

Customers love communication

As in most fields, communication is extremely important for the successful online store - especially when it comes to the customer. Let your customers know at all times when they can expect their goods to be delivered, as this is how you provide them with value-added service. This already starts with the order: Visibly mark that same-day shipping is only possible if the order is received before 2 or 4 pm. If the goods are not in stock or can only be shipped after a prior order has been placed with suppliers, the customer must also be aware of this. Otherwise, false expectations will arise - and disappointment accordingly. Of course, this also applies to shipping communication - an informed customer is a happy customer! In addition, additional but relevant communication provides you with valuable touchpoints again and again.

Image Factors for successful customer loyalty in e-commerce (Image: IFH Study Success Factors in E-Commerce)

Best practice - who's doing it right?

Every year, the Institute for Retail Research (IFH) Cologne, Germany, together with dotSource, determines which online retailers are currently particularly successful as part of a study and award ceremony. This year's winners in their respective industries were Esprit,, Conrad, Musikhaus Thomann, Erwin Müller, Dänisches Bettenlager, GartenXXL, HSE24 and Zooplus. The criteria according to which the stores are evaluated are diverse: website & usability, assortment, price-performance, service, payment, check-out, shipping & delivery and customer loyalty. The result of the study: a good price-performance ratio or an appealing product range are no longer sufficient to be successful as an online store. The industry winners also excel in the area of customer loyalty - Zooplus, for example, scored 98.2% here. The consistent focus on the customer is therefore also worthwhile in the long term. Accordingly: Back to basics for triumph in e-commerce!

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