E-commerce reached a new level of success in 2016. It is poised to overtake brick-and-mortar stores in terms of sale revenues. On Black Friday, traditionally the biggest earner for physical stores, online companies reached $3.34 billion in sales. Cyber Monday hit a new record, with $3.45 billion spent on online purchases.
I am thankful for the chance to be a small part of this unprecedented e-commerce triumph, and I look forward to continuing to help online businesses grow.
For online businesses that are serious about continuing their growth in the coming year, I offer a few tips:
- Focus on design – A brilliant website design draws users to it. A patchwork design job by an amateur can turn people off and reflect poorly on your company. Your website design can create an impression that your business is big enough to compete competently with established companies—even if your business is only a one-man operation based out of your home garage.
- Content, content, content – Content is the heart and soul of your website. It provides essential information and answers potential customers’ questions. Your content should portray a full picture of your company including what products or services you offer and what makes your business different from other companies in the field.
- Simple navigation – Make sure your website is not a labyrinth. At first glance, users should know where to go on your website and how to get there. Click through your website as if you were a new user. If there is confusion or “roadblocks,” eliminate them. If you’re peddling a variety of different products or services, your site should clearly lead each particular type of customer to their interests. If you have download buttons on your site, make sure to position them where they are highly visible.
- Be “find-able” – You might have spent a small fortune building a well-designed website, but it’s fruitless if customers can’t find you. Hiring an SEO expert to work on your site will help ensure that search engines will find you with ease. Don’t pinch pennies on SEO. With SEO, you get what you pay for. Proper SEO will pay off down the line.
With 2016’s online performance of Black Friday and the record-setting sales of Cyber Monday, expect e-commerce to continue breaking barriers and records next year. In the meantime, do what you can to take full advantage of the online shopping juggernaut.