Does your growing business stand out online?

It’s said that a tool is only as good as its workman. With the internet being such an exquisite tool, it’s worth businesses making time to ensure they’re unleashing its full potential. Otherwise they could risk putting more money into an online store than they’re getting out of it.

To stand out among enterprise giants and draw in new customers, growing businesses need the know-how to navigate the tricky digital realm.

Mobile, first

The days of online stores being confined to the desktop are over – 93% of merchants believe mobile innovation impacts customer satisfaction and profitability. However, there is room for improvement as only 39% of these described themselves as being mobile-first.

Retailers shouldn’t undervalue the capabilities required to effectively run a mobile website. By investing in user experience – from loading the page to post checkout – they can, in turn, reap the benefits. Difficulty viewing products on a mobile is one thing, but as soon as checkout navigation proves problematic, customers lose patience and search elsewhere.

How to go global

Instead of spending money on Google ads, there are other ways to attract an online, global consumer customer base.

World-renowned payments provider, Ingenico, studied European consumer behaviour last Black Friday to gauge viability of intense shopping periods as a growth mechanism for smaller businesses. It found that up to a quarter of online shoppers choose to shop with small or niche retailers instead of turning to larger players during the sales. So Black Friday, Eid, Father’s Day among others, can all be ideal opportunities to engage customers on an international scale.

Don’t just discount

Ingenico’s researchers also found that hefty discounts often associated with sales aren’t the sole selling point for consumers – less than half of the UK consumers that participated in the study cited discounts as their top attraction to the sales. Many are sceptical of the authenticity of the sales. Others favoured incentives like product originality, loyalty schemes, referral bonuses, longer returns and exchange times, or free shipping. These motivations will entice new global customers to help retailers grow, without necessarily having to lower their prices.

The rules to be aware of

GDPR and PSD2 have probably been on your radar for a while now, but there’s another big compliance stricture arriving in September: Secure Customer Authentication (SCA). This will require consumers to authenticate themselves with two of the following: something they know, something they have, and something they are.

It may seem complex and onerous, but it will benefit businesses to get in line now. By building compliance into plans from the start, you will stand out to consumers and they will trust that a business is operating with their best interests in mind.

Investment

New technology emerges every day, and although this widens the choices available, it’s difficult for retailers to know where they should be putting their money.

Automated sales assistants are a great option for retailers to seriously consider. If customers pay through the chatbot environment, they’re much less likely to abandon their purchase compared to being sent to external web pages. Ingenico’s retail partners have seen a six-fold boost in conversion when piloting chatbots, versus a mobile website.

Back to the basics

Sales days, mobile stores and chatbot assistants are a great way to stand out to budding customers, but those efforts could be in vain – confusing checkout processes could send customers away empty-handed. Retailers need to ask for a helping hand to achieve a smooth checkout and make a real difference to their bottom line.

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Sangeetha Narasimhan, Regional Marketing Director, SMB Online Europe, Ingenico ePayments