An unattractive seller can be successful

This is how it works: How online retailers make their shops more attractive for customers

For online shop operators, day-to-day business is always about customer acquisition and customer loyalty. Because there are numerous online shops in all industries that compete for the buyers' favor. That is why it is very important to stay up to date and to make your own shop attractive to customers. This can be done in a number of ways.

Most online retailers are likely to want more customers. To do this, your own website must be as attractive as possible and offer a pleasant user experience. Five measures will help.

1. Offer different payment methods

Humans are creatures of habits. Most of the customers of online shops would like to pay with their preferred payment method - if one is offered. In fact, some customers switch shops when their favorite payment method is not possible. That is why it is important for companies to offer many different payment options - such as these:

  • Paypal
  • Purchase on invoice
  • Direct debit
  • Credit card
  • Payment in advance
  • Cash on delivery
  • Instant bank transfer

The individual payment methods offer specific advantages and disadvantages. Buying on account, which is popular with customers, is often a bit of a nuisance for retailers, as in this case they send the goods before the money is received. Purchase in advance, PayPal, credit card and direct debit, on the other hand, enable online retailers to send the goods only after receipt of payment. You are therefore on the safe side.

PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods in Germany. In 2018 alone, the company generated sales of more than $ 15 billion. No wonder. PayPal is considered safe for both buyers and sellers. Payment is also quick and easy.

At the same time, PayPal offers comprehensive protection for both sides, so that fraud attempts often fail. Nevertheless, it is important for merchants to be aware of typical pitfalls with PayPal payments. This includes, for example, never sending goods uninsured. Because only with insured shipping does the seller receive a shipping receipt with all the necessary information, which he can submit in the event of damage.

This allows PayPal to check whether the seller has fulfilled his obligations. This is the only way the seller can make use of his seller protection in the event of damage. However, if the seller and buyer adhere to the security regulations, PayPal functions properly.

Buying with a credit card is similarly secure and even more convenient for the buyer. The money is not immediately debited from the buyer's current account. The credit card is initially charged with the outstanding amount, which is only withdrawn from the current account after the end of the billing period. The only important thing here is that the buyer's current account is covered. The seller is on the safe side insofar as he has already received the money and the buyer's bank bears the risk. Attention: If you buy with a debit card, the account will be charged immediately!

Some customers prefer to buy on account, by direct transfer or in advance. This gives you full control over when the outstanding amount is paid. Therefore, it makes sense to offer at least one of these payment methods as well. Sellers have the option of working with a subcontractor to handle the payment. Several companies have established themselves on the market in recent years, the best known is probably Klarna.

Basically, companies that offer many different payment methods can attract and retain more customers because it makes shopping more convenient for consumers.

2. Optimize product descriptions

Often the first impression counts. This applies to online shops as to most things in life. The website should be clearly laid out so that customers can find their way around quickly. It is also important to design the product pages clearly. Product descriptions must on the one hand be detailed and provide all the important information, but on the other hand must not appear overloaded. Everything that is unimportant must be left out. An optimal product description also includes some high-quality product photos on which customers can see details. If customers receive all important information about the product immediately, they can better decide whether they really need the product or want to buy it. In this way, companies avoid complex and expensive returns with simple means.

3. Offer multiple shipping options

Big online shops show how it is done: There are several shipping options. In addition to standard shipping, which usually takes several working days, there is the option of shortening the delivery time or even ordering overnight. Companies should be careful with the information on delivery times and delivery times in order to avoid problems with their customers.

Delivery times must therefore be specified precisely: The customer must be able to identify the delivery date himself. Clauses such as “usually” or “likely” are therefore not permitted. An indication such as “within two to three working days” or “delivery by Monday, March 19” is okay.

In general, it is also convenient for customers to be able to have goods delivered at a specific time. DHL, for example, offers the delivery of your choice. In this way, customers can determine exactly to the day when they want to receive their order - which is added value for many customers.

4. Spread customer support across many channels

For many customers, service is a decisive criterion when asked whether they want to order again in a shop. The service should first meet some basic requirements: It should be friendly, courteous and accommodating. Of course, retailers don't have to fulfill every customer request, but a certain goodwill helps with customer loyalty. In addition, customers are happy when there are different ways to contact them - such as these channels:

  • phone
  • Callback service
  • e-mail
  • contact form
  • Chat on the site

The service options should be available regularly and for a relatively long time. A customer service that can only be reached by phone from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is too inflexible for many customers these days. Of course, it is not necessary to have employees in the service center around the clock. There are very professional chatbots that can take over the work on weekends and at night.

Customers then clarify simple questions directly with the program, while complex issues are forwarded to customer service, which will get in touch the next working day. As far as telephone customer service is concerned, it should not include any extra costs.

An 0800 number or an area code are more suitable. There are various Europe-wide judgments on this subject that prohibit numbers with additional costs.

5. Recommend suitable products to customers

Advertising is an important tool for companies, both for acquiring new customers and for customer loyalty. Here, however, companies have to find the right balance in order not to overload customers. The following advertising measures are possible and useful for online shops:

  • Newsletters that are sent out regularly and draw customers' attention to special offers. The newsletter may also contain discount codes.
  • Advertising that shows the customer additional products directly in the shop encourages them to buy more. The phrase “customers who bought this product also bought” is particularly popular.

About the author: Miriam Rohlinger is a passionate online marketing manager and blogger. She supports companies in setting up their shop presence and has experience in organizing seminars on the topics of online shops, content marketing and social media.

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