Consumer shopping patterns have seen a dramatic shift over the last decade, with more people choosing to perform at least some of their purchases online. The biggest losers in this equation, of course, are the physical retail outlets. Any organization’s success means adapting to the latest consumer behaviors, and in 2020, you should be considering moving more of your business online. Here’s our quick guide on how to do that, where we break it down into bite-sized information for you.

Consider The Buyer Journey When Developing Your Online Presence

An online purchase most often follows a set pattern and consists of three distinct phases:

Awareness Phase — At this stage, the customer has come to understand they have a need, a goal, or a problem that needs solving. It’s important to understand that customers will have many needs, all competing for attention at any point in time. Your online content should be designed to keep them focused on the problem, need, or goal that your organization can resolve.

Consideration Phase — Your customer has focused on their need or goal and is now considering their options for solving it. The consideration phase is when the customer begins to research their issue and starts studying the available options.

Decision Phase — Sales are made and lost during the decision-making phase. Your prospect has reached a decision and is now ready to make a purchase. However, the decision phase is not a guaranteed sale. Customers regularly change their mind mid-transaction and often abandon the shopping cart. You can help lead the customer towards purchase by making their transactions as seamless as possible; offer free shipping, clearly itemize all fees, and create an intuitive, easy to use checkout system.

The online realm has become highly competitive, but it’s one where high-pressure sales tactics don’t belong. Instead, it would be best if you adapted your online business so it can tap into and take advantage of each phase of the buyer’s journey.

Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found

How to Adapt Your Business to Online Consumers with the awareness phase of the buyer journey.

The awareness phase is when prospects will be doing research and weighing up their options. Just about all online journeys start with an online search. You will want to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines, so your business can be found. Create blog posts and articles that capitalize on keywords you know people are using to find your company.

Develop your social media presence and direct social media traffic to your site. Visually appealing posts are more likely to attract visitors and get shared online. Stock images available online are affordable and faster than creating images from scratch.

Create High-Quality Online Content

High-quality content not only helps you get found in the search results, but it also helps to establish authority. In online commerce, your site is most often the first point of contact people will have with your business, so you’ll need your web presence to fill them with confidence and trust.

Collect Data to Understand Your Market

Understanding your market is an essential part of building a successful online e-commerce portal. Gather data on how your visitors are behaving on your site through services like Google Analytics and many more. The data will give you insight into how to increase your traffic and how best to supply your visitors with the solutions they need.

Add a Convenient Checkout System

Your customers won’t appreciate a payment system that is difficult to understand or hard to use. Make the payment system as convenient as possible, and you will have less abandoned carts. Online shoppers increasingly prefer e-wallets like PayPal, but credit cards are still an essential part of selling through e-commerce.

Adapting your business to online doesn’t have to be complicated, and you likely already have a lot of the infrastructure in place. The most important thing is to make sure your business can get found, your web presence adds value, and you provide a fast, convenient online experience.

All images by Cathy Yeulet, 123RF.