What do you love most about your favourite online store? Some may choose the look and feel of the website, while others would credit an easy payment portal or fast delivery service. But the reality is that to thrive in the eCommerce space, your business should tick as many boxes as a customer can imagine.
With new online stores launching across the globe every day, it’s becoming all the more difficult for brands to stand out. But according to Finder.com, a global online publisher providing customers with the best travel, homeware, beauty, fashion and tech deals, the online shopping sites below are considered the best in South Africa:
1. Personalised service
Not only does each brand have a distinct niche interest, but they’ve gone above and beyond to remind the customer that human beings are behind the platform. Personal touches are added into the brand style, tone, and packaging as well as a compelling story about how the brand was developed and grew into the business it is today.
In the case of global brands such as ASOS and Amazon, one key personalisation component affords South African shoppers seamless versions of the UK- and US-based platforms. This type of web personalisation is an effective way to target customers and grow online, especially since internet growth relies heavily on how niche, rather than how broad, your product or service is.
2. Great SEO
From in-depth product descriptions to blog features and tutorials, online marketing is not merely creativity, but a mix of research, strategy and science. Every brand creating content is not only a business, but an online publisher. And, as content creators, key SEO tools such as adding long tail keywords and alt tags to images need to be applied for your business to become ‘searchable’ online.
3. An ideal customer
All the best businesses don’t try to sell to everyone. Marketing guru and Purple Cow author, Seth Godin, encourages marketers to be different; to find a unique way to sell their product or service and to develop that core relationship to establish loyalty. He also encourages marketers to find people who are already interested in using the product or service, rather than trying to convince those who don’t identify as the target audience.
4. Appealing delivery options
Gary Brown, Managing Director of Zando, told Admarula that the company offers consumers seven ways to purchase their fashion items. “We can deliver to you within three hours in Cape Town, next day anywhere in South Africa, and have a number of other delivery options with which we consistently hit a 98% on-time delivery KPI.” At the end of the day, what matters is not only how effective your product is, but how quickly consumers can make use of it.
5. Easy return policies
The rise of citizen journalism and countless review sites have also given consumers the power to boost or tarnish your brand based on the quality of your service. A customer’s bad experience or difficulty in returning a product to you, could become an instant public discussion with massive virality potential. This is why your company operations should be seamless, consistent and at the core of everything you do.
6. Free gifts
You don’t need to be the brand hosting giveaways and offering discounts at every opportunity, but great brands provide irresistible value-adds that increase customer loyalty. This could be a discount on your first purchase or a free gift or sample with your order. Each of these top brands ensure that their customers receive value that feels exclusive.
7. Brand news
Do you know of any charities or social causes that your favourite brand supports? Chances are, you probably do. That’s because you only align to brands that stand for something. Businesses who neglect social responsibility or make no effort to update consumers on changes and achievements within the company, miss out on opportunities to increase brand credibility.
8. 100% transaction security
If the website’s been poorly designed and there are spelling errors in the product description, would you trust the website with your banking details? Neither would we. The look and feel of your eCommerce site will reflect credibility to your consumer. This is why it’s important to have a professional Copywriter and Web Developer working on your brand.
Using popular payment methods is also vital for ensuring that your brand is trusted and that your clients will return.
9. Market strategy
Another way to thrive online is to make sure that your service delivery is of the same quality on every platform, from web to mobile, and software such as apps. Gary Brown also told Admarula about the user-friendly native app that plays a major role in the market strategy for customer experience: “Payment security, on-time delivery and quality products have contributed to a trusting relationship between the consumer and retailer that has historically not been there.”
10. Consistent social media
Possibly the easiest route to building your brand is finding out where the people you’re looking for are ‘hanging out’ online. Facebook and Instagram are not for every brand. Avoid trying to sell your product on every social media platform, but focus on the ones where your niche community can be found. And then be consistent. Bring your offline business values and goals to life online by publishing creative content and consistently interacting with consumers in the way that you would if you were consulting in person. You may not have the time to answer every single question or comment, and in that case, you should hire someone – because simple online chats can lead to sales. Hire a Social Media Manager to develop a content calendar for you and answer daily customer queries.
At HoneyKome, we’re not only creatives working on compelling digital advertising content; we’re also marketing strategists, software developers, designers and paid media specialists. Let us know if you need help taking your business to the next level. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.