Which e-commerce images bring more sales
In 1994, the website operator Dan Kohn sold an album by the artist Sting to a friend who paid for the CD by credit card. This nondescript transaction marks the beginning of online trading as we know it. Since its inception, however, e-commerce has continued to develop and constantly presents companies with new challenges.
So let's take a closer look at what theE-commerce determines which trends are emerging there and what you need to know to get started in online trading.
What is E-commerce?
E-Commerce ("Electronic Commerce") is also called Online trade denotes and describes the purchase and sale of a wide variety of products in both the B2B and B2C areas. However, it is not limited to the trade itself, but includes the entire sales process, from the online shop to service to the payment process.
Electronic commerce: current developments
The first tentative transactions have turned into an industry worth billions in the last 20 years, which is growing steadily and always comes up with new trends. This becomes clear when we look at different study results.
Growth in e-commerce in Germany
In the duel between online and brick-and-mortar retail, the electronic version is increasingly ahead: 2019 was a record year for German e-commerce in which gross sales of 72.6 billion euros were generated - a whopping 11.6 percent more than last year. And there are no signs that this trend will stop: The Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order is forecasting a further significant increase in sales to 80 billion euros for 2020.
In a survey, 29 percent said they shop online at least once a week and 30 percent at least once every two weeks. However, it should be noted that not every product category will immediately become a hit online (see below).
Caption: Market volume of online retail in Germany according to surveys by the Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (bevh) and the German Retail Association (HDE)
Growth in e-commerce worldwide
Rapid growth can also be observed in e-commerce worldwide. According to trend data, e-commerce could generate sales of over four trillion US dollars by 2020, and by 2023 they are expected to rise to over 6.5 trillion. B2B- are said to outperform B2C ecommerce sales over the long term. Indonesia, Thailand and Poland have the highest share of online shoppers among all internet users. Germany follows in fourth place.
Most of the sales are made significantly further in the east: China leads the ranking with a market volume of around 936 million euros. So it's no wonder that the global sales of the Chinese Amazon competitor Alibaba doubled to around 509 billion yuan (approx. 63 billion euros) between 2018 and 2020.
Most of all, consumers buy certain products online
Clothing and electronics make up by far the largest share of total online sales. However, other industries are catching up: The food sector experienced the greatest e-shopping growth in 2019 with 17.3 percent. This was followed by household goods, house and home textiles and medicines. Consumers are therefore more willing to experiment and are increasingly buying everyday items online.
In order to get involved in e-commerce, you don't necessarily have to manufacture products yourself. The so-called “manufacturer-mailers” even only occupy fifth place among the top-selling mailer types in online retail. Alternatively, you can rely on dropshipping: You do not store the products yourself, but notify the manufacturer as soon as a customer has bought a product in your online shop, so that the manufacturer can send the product directly to the end customer.
This model offers you various advantages, such as lower fixed costs and a basically unlimited range. At the same time, however, you as the shop operator are liable to the end consumer and, under certain circumstances, are still affected by regulations such as the packaging ordinance.
So far a rough one E-commerce overview. Now let's take a look at some practical tips for trading online:
How to build yours Online shop on
- Evaluate your target audience and the demand for a product.
- Examine the competitive situation.
- Examine business models and sales strategies.
- Choose a name for your company and register it.
- Take care of branding and logo design.
- Create your product.
- Determine manufacturing costs and processes.
- Define your shipping and handling processes.
- Buy a domain and build your website.
- Develop a marketing plan to attract and convert customers.
- Set up profiles in social networks and gain followers.
- Open your online shop.
Ecommerce Website Best Practices
If you want to build your ecommerce website using the inbound methodology, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind to get the best result possible.
1. Choose a design that is optimized for mobile devices and adapt it to suit your needs
In 2019, 34 percent of Internet users in Germany stated that they had bought something online using a mobile phone in the course of the past month - around one in three! That's why it isessential to design the website of your online shop to be “mobile-friendly”.
LotsE-commerce platforms offer free and premium designs that are optimized for mobile devices. You can then adapt the selected design template to your taste. By choosing a suitable color scheme and branding elements (such as your logo), you canMake your ecommerce website look like this as if it was made just for you.
Here you can get an impression of which themes, for example, the provider Shopify makes available to you.
2. Optimize your page content
There are a number of optimization strategies and tactics that can help you convert more visitors to customers. These include:
Appealing product descriptions- You can boost sales with convincing texts in your product descriptions. It is advisable to allude to psychological factors in a targeted manner, such as the fear of missing out on something, reciprocity or exclusivity. They all serve to encourage visitors to buy immediately.
Aesthetic product images - Visual elements are essential for successful marketing. That is all the more truewhen shopping onlinebecause customers cannot see or touch your products immediately before purchasing them. Do not only use static images, but show models who present your products and offer videos in which the products can be viewed from several perspectives and shown vividly.
Seasonal content - Adapt your page content to current trends and seasonal needs of your users. For example, you should publish festive content during the Christmas business in November and December and optimize your shop specifically for this time - for example with the help of gift finder tools, early buyer discounts or last-minute gift ideas.
3. Create an exceptional customer experience
As early as 2017, it was predicted that the customer experience will overtake price and product as the main differentiator for brands by 2020. Accordingly, you should focus on creating an impressive customer experience - at all points of contact with your brand.
The following ideas could help you:
Design an FAQ page - By answering frequently asked questions right on your website, potential customers can quickly and easily find the information they need to complete the purchase.
Reduce the image sizes to ensure faster loading times - Survey data shows that website visitors expect a page to load in less than two seconds. If the page has not fully loaded after more than three seconds, many of you will exit the page directly (and probably won't come back either). Therefore, reduce the size of the images on your website so that they can load faster.
Convince your users withdifferent content offers -from the 360-degree product video to the virtual product advisor to online try-ons with virtual 3D models. In this way, you support your users in their purchase decision and increase the likelihood that they will not regret the purchase and will return.
4. Get reviews from users and encourage engagement
Encourage users to create their own content - for example in the form of images that are posted on social media or directly on the product page. This not only strengthens the connection to this specific user, but also acts as a “social proof” for other interested parties. Because pictures of users always appear particularly authentic and create trust.
You can achieve a similar effect with ratings. Positive reviews from other users on your website or in central search engines such as Google Shopping encourage unsafe shop visitors, dispel doubts and thus increase the likelihood that the purchase will be completed. Don't let the fear of negative reviews stop you: as long as you react confidently and authentically to them, they won't stand in the way of the success of your shop.
Marketing measures in e-commerce
What do you need about thatMarketing in e-commerceknowledge? We have put together a few tips for you to get you started.
Facebook has 1.8 billion daily active users, so it has a large user base that you can reach. Address your target group through posts and videos on social networks and feel free to experiment a little to find out what works well and has a positive effect on your advertising goals. But not only social media like Facebook, but also advertising systems like Google Ads and the Amazon advertising business Amazon Marketing Services are worth a look.
It is also advisable to collect e-mail addresses in order to be able to contact potential customers - but make sure that you comply with the applicable data protection regulations.
According to study results, three quarters of all companies surveyed said that email marketing had an “excellent” to “good” ROI for them. By collecting email addresses on your site and asking customers for their consent to contact you in the future, you can incentivize visitors to visit your online store again. For example, this can be done through special offers, sales notifications, special discounts, and more.
Use personalization for tailor-made offers
Personalization is more important than ever for customers of online shops. In fact, surveys show that 80 percent of online consumers are more willing to buy from a company if the offers, advertisements and promotions presented there are tailored to you. So take advantage of personalized product suggestions and customized email marketing communications, and make sure that every customer feels that you are only speaking to them.
Collect feedback through surveys
You can find out what your target audience wants by simply asking them about it. Use online surveys to collect feedback on various aspects, such as your products, your marketing activities or interactions with customer service.
Compare online shop systems: How to find the perfect platform for your shop
When choosing asuitable e-commerce platform and software there are several important factors that you should be aware of. These include:
Design and personalization functions:They should include the ability to customize design templates so that they can be personalized and branded.
Personalization of the domain name: Make sure that you can get a personalized domain name and the appropriate URL so that the platform name does not have to be included in your website URL.
24/7 support:The range of services on your e-commerce platform is particularly important. After all, you want to be able to fall back on reliable support in emergencies.
Flexible payment options: Nowadays customers want a variety of payment options, for example by credit card, direct debit, PayPal or cash on delivery. When choosing your ecommerce software solution, make sure that it is flexible enough to offer a variety of secure payment options.
Multilingualism: If international customers are going to buy from you, your shop should of course also be accessible to them. So choose a tool that supports many different languages.
If you're just starting a business or want to switch platforms, check out the following software options to set up an online store:
Which E-commerce platforms is there?
- Squarespace for ecommerce
- Big Cartel
Examples: online stores on the Shopify platform
If you don't already know exactly how yourOnline shop should look like, you can get inspiration from these examples.
With temporary tattoos, Tattly offers a product with a strong visual reference, which is why a design with many photos was chosen. This allows visitors to get to know the product quickly and there are different options for further exploring the products.
Graydon Skincare uses a website layout with a large rotating header banner that depicts the brand and product in an emotional way. Various products of the brand are presented in the pictures and the simple navigation allows customers to quickly find what they are looking for.
The 18Waits homepage already refers to the USPs (Unique Selling Points) of the shop in the header bar: free delivery for the corresponding purchase value, uncomplicated exchange options and Canadian production. In addition, the customer will find a prominently placed search field on the home page, which helps them to find their way around the website. The header image, in turn, conveys the attitude to life that the brand wants to convey at a glance. Here, reference is also made to current discount campaigns, which are also intended to encourage the user to make a purchase.
Easy Tiger takes the minimalist design principle to extremes. The background is completely white and there are no distracting design elements, so the focus is solely on the products.
At BluKicks, too, the focus was on images on the start page of the online shop. The site also offers quick navigation to the various products. The lifestyle images are intended to evoke very specific emotions in visitors that emphasize the brand's beach feeling.
VAT on online marketplaces
You should also consider various aspects with regard to VAT. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland there are different VAT rates for different product groups that apply equally in online and offline business. The reduced tax rate usually applies to everyday goods, including groceries, books or cultural events. In Germany this reduced VAT rate is 7 percent, in Austria 10 percent and in Switzerland 2.5 percent.
The regular rate applies to other products.
The regular VAT rate is 19 percent in Germany, 20 percent in Austria and 7.7 percent in Switzerland.
The different VAT rates can be a bit confusing and not very intuitive at times. In Germany, for example, we pay the reduced 7 percent VAT on hearing aids, but the regular tax rate of 19 percent on glasses.
It is therefore best to ask your tax advisor about the tax rates applicable to your products.
Outlook into the future of e-commerce
TheFuture prospects in e-commerce are rosy. And with a good strategy and the right tools, it is easier than many people think to set up your own e-business that can hold its own against giants like Amazon. So look for a lucrative target group of online shoppers and bring your products to men or women. It is worth it ..
Cover picture: krugli / Getty Images
Originally published October 13, 2020, updated 10 December 2020
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