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When a Regular Cart Is Not Enough…

The situation of ecommerce platforms and why I recommend WooCommerce!

There are as many solutions as there are websites and online stores. Despite fierce competition, copied ideas, and using similar solutions, two identica ecommerce ventures are hard to come by. In terms of their back end, they may differ substantially and for this reason, I will focus on a solution that constitutes a good compromise between hermetic systems available at a fee and platforms open to all in this article. Why do I recommend WooCommerce as the best ecommerce solution? – see below!

The Ecommerce Situation in Poland

Let us begin by presenting the situation of online stores on the domestic market. In Poland with a population of 38.4 million as many as 83.4% of citizens are active internet users (7-74 years of age), which gives the number of 27.5 million Polish internet users. Of this number, 62% (and 56% in 2018) declare to shop online at least once a year.

In Poland, there are 260,300 stationary stores. The number of online stores has already reached 28,900, whereas according to the data in 2020 we should see approximately a 10% increase in this number. This means that we will be able to use the services of 31,700 ecommerce outlets in Poland. Data based on: Ecommerce w Polsce 2019, Gemius for ecommerce Polska, and Statista 2019 Ecommerce in Poland.

Online Shopping Worldwide

As can be seen, online shopping worldwide is increasing year by year. In 2019, it will generate USD 3,453,000,000,000,000, whereas in 2020 it will probably increase by a further 19.7%. The development of online shopping is certain. Therefore, only by applying due care to our ecommerce, its visual aspect, functionality, and unique offer, can we compete in the online shopping market.

What Do Customers Expect from Online Stores?

The table below presents customer expectations in relation to online stores in 2018 and 2019. The Episerver 2019 Reimagining Commerce: Principles of Standout Digital Shopping Experiences study covered 450 customers. As can be seen, free shipping and order tracking continue to feature prominently among customers’ expectations.

Features20182019D
1. Free shipping58%68%10%
2. Order tracking51%62%11%
3. Clear Return Policy (obviously – preferably free)49%52%3%
4. Simple product search functionality 57%44%-13%
5. Other customers’ opinion30%38%8%
6. Access to an expert/consultant24%32%8%
7. Mobile compatible website33%32%-1%
8. Buy and in-store pick up20%32%12%
9. Fast delivery35%31%-4%
10. Product FAQ24%29%5%
11. Simple order form20%26%6%
12. Product recommendations based on shopping history15%20%5%

What Factors Should Be Taken into Account During Conversion Optimization?

In CR analysis and optimization, an entire range of different frameworks facilitating a rational assessment of the current situation is used. One such solution is the LIFT model developed by Wider Funnel. It is based on six factors impacting a customer’s shopping decisions.

Value Proposition

The following questions should be answered:

  • Do I present information intended to convince the customer about my products’ values appropriately (material and non-material)?
  • Does the store offer an added value for customers?
  • What is my brand’s market position? How is it perceived?

This will allow us to determine if there is anything we should optimize if the customer knows exactly what we can offer them. No new ecommerce sites should start without that.

The example below clearly demonstrates this. One can precisely establish what porterandyork.com offers and promises to its customers.

Relevance

To take care of this aspect, the following questions should be answered:

  • Does our offer meet the customer’s needs?
  • Have we correctly selected traffic acquisition sources?

It is worth remembering that only an appropriately tailored offer may address a selected target group’s needs. Reaching young customers with a hearing aid promotion via a TikTok campaign is rather difficult since this target group is not interested in the product and overall its members do not need hearing aids.

A good example of the successful implementation of the relevance principle is provided by solisci.pl. It is a website offering trips to the most remote corners of the world. The website’s customers are adventure seekers who can afford a trip into the unknown in a relaxed atmosphere with an informal group of ‘acquaintances’.

Clarity

To be able to optimize conversion on our website, we need to direct our attention to the clarity principle. Taking this aspect into account, it is worth answering the following questions:

  • Is the manner of product presentation clear and transparent?
  • Are the call-to-action and the price well displayed?

This principle is perfectly illustrated by underwearexpert.com, i.e. ecommerce offering a monthly subscription for underwear in a selected model and size. The service offers an easy and simple way to allow customers to select specific parameters of the underwear they want to purchase. As a result, users are not inundated with an excess of messages and they know what to do to order underwear.

Distraction

An internet user’s attention is increasingly more difficult to win. There is an entire host of distractors diverting our attention from a text, purchase, or a form we want to fill in. This is why each ecommerce site should check whether their website causes an undue distraction for the user. All in all, less is more, and this is worth remembering. Answers to the questions below may prove useful in this case:

  • Are all elements of key importance for ecommerce located in the customer’s visibility area?
  • Do the number of elements in the store/color themes distract the customer?

Anxiety

This is a very important conversion optimization aspect of any platform. If we fail to reduce customers’ anxiety, it is highly unlikely that they will make a purchase in our store. Therefore, it is worth taking answers to the questions below into consideration while optimizing the conversion in our online shop:

  • Does my store look reliable and spark trust?
  • Does it offer safe payment methods?
  • Does it use data encryption?

Urgency

The urgency aspect helps to generate more conversion in each ecommerce store. Here it is worth mentioning Black Friday sales which last only several days, but most of us yield to the temptation. To see if our store adheres to this aspect, it is worth answering these questions:

  • Do I try to incite customer’s intention to make a purchase at that moment?
  • Do I try to assist the customer in making a decision? How?

A fantastic example of the urgency aspect successfully implemented in an online platform is booking. The website provides information on the number of available offers, that a given offer is no longer available, and that somebody else is browsing a given offer at the same time.

Which Ecommerce Platform Should I Choose?

There are many ecommerce platforms and to choose a given one, we need to become acquainted with their technical specifications. It is necessary to know what we need. How flexible we want it to be, how often we are going to update our offer, and what we want to include in the product information sheet. Several of the most popular ecommerce platforms available on the market follow below.

Ecommerce Platforms – Market Share

As the graph above shows, WooCommerce, an ecommerce platform dedicated to WordPress-based services, has the largest share of the market. I have been working with this platform for years and I can recommend it to anyone, why? More about that below!

The Advantages of WooCommerce

A lot can be said about WooCommerce, but it certainly has many advantages of utmost importance from the point of view of any business.

WooCommerce Is Free

This is a simple, yet extremely relevant advantage of WooCommerce, when compared with other ecommerce platforms. Online stores must guarantee a lot to their customers, so reducing this single cost item may prove a huge advantage for internet store owners.

Simple to Install, Easy to Modify

WooCommerce is very easy to install on your WordPress-based website. Moreover, it is one of the most flexible solutions – you can modify it practically without limitations, depending on your store’s needs and your offer.

It Does Not Require Advanced Programming Skills

WooCommerce is extremely simple in operation, any layperson can manage it. Using this platform does not require the user to possess any programming skills. As a result, adding a new product to the webpage or creating a new category is not a problem.

It Has a Large Extension Base

A large extension base is another advantage of WooCommerce compared with other ecommerce platforms. As a result, you will personalize your online store to match your offer and suit your needs.

Well-SEO Optimized

WordPress-based internet stores using WooCommerce are automatically better optimized to match search engine requirements. Creators of WooCommerce realize that without appropriate optimization for search engine robots the stores based on their technologies will be unable to generate valuable traffic on the page. And that is why they took good care of that.

Continually Developed by the Community

What is important, not only is WooCommerce continually being developed by its creators, but also by a committed user community. This is a significant advantage of this ecommerce platform since it is thanks to this feature that we do not need to worry about updates, bugs left unattended for months, hence about the uninterrupted and correct functioning of our online store.

Does Anyone Still Use WordPress?

Although WordPress might seem the simplest website building technology addressed mainly at bloggers, this is not the case. The biggest players have used and continue to use WordPress.

Official WordPress distribution is available in fifty different languages which significantly impacts its popularity. 27% of websites are built on WordPress (source: Netcraft). Moreover, WordPress holds 59% share in the CMS (Content Management System) market (source: W3tech).

The Future Development of Ecommerce Platforms

Internet stores will not cease to exist, therefore, their number will keep increasing. This is why ecommerce platforms which they are based on must persistently follow their development and needs, while the latter are constantly increasing. This is also connected with the development of technology and the increasing awareness of users who want their online-shopping needs to be attended to at the highest level. We can distinguish several areas in which ecommerce platforms will develop.

Personalization

In the context of online shopping, personalization may have many names. This can be a personalized cart selected on the basis of algorithms and previous purchases made by the customer. It can be a personalized look of the entire store – customized to the target group and our segmentation of this group. This can also be the personalization of all content on the website for a logged-in user, and much more. All in all, ecommerce personalization possibilities are vast and it will definitely develop in this direction in the future.

Assistants And Chatbots

Chatbots and assistants are a perfect solution allowing for the support of the purchase process and relieving the helpdesk. The possibilities are vast. And there are as many solutions as there are online internet stores.

VR / AR / Video

Ecommerce, especially in the fashion and home decor sectors, has already been testing these solutions. Therefore, the visualization of new furniture in our apartment or seeing yourself in expanded reality sporting new clothing is only the first step we can take in this direction.

Voice-commerce

I cannot wait for the moment in which I will do my basic shopping while looking through the fridge simply by using my voice. Together with the development of voice assistants, this is an inevitable step towards even greater automation and simplification of the user shopping path.

Automation

We can automate increasingly more aspects. This can be seen both by looking at automated promotion notifications and the development of chatbots. I believe that in the future automation will have an even impact on the appearance of both ecommerce platforms as well as the customer’s shopping path.

When the Cart Is Not Enough, But We Already Know What to Do to Increase Sales

As you can see, the needs of customers are growing along with the market of online stores. That is why choosing the right platform on which to base our ecommerce is so important. My recommendation is always WooCommerce, due to a number of its advantages which I mentioned above. However, it is worth remembering for whom we are doing all of this – for our customers. Hence, a few words of final advice:

  • Listen to your customers, watch the competition, analyze the data.
  • Monitor market trends.
  • Invest in your ecommerce platform.
  • Develop products and content on the website.

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