4 Things E-Commerce Entrepreneurs Must Know About Buyer Behavior

As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you’ve undoubtedly spent countless hours fine-tuning your product to make it the best it can be. But a great product alone does not a successful e-commerce business make. You must also be able to tap into the mind of the consumer, which isn’t always easy.

By understanding buyer behavior and what influences online shoppers, you can better adapt your marketing strategies (and possibly even your products and services) to appeal to your target niche. Starting with a few key principles will help get you on the right track.

The proper channels make all the difference

Today, there are more channels from which audiences can make a purchase than ever before. Brick-and-mortar stores have been supplemented (and in some cases, supplanted) by Amazon, social media vendors and other e-commerce options.

It’s worth noting that not every customer will have the same preference for where or how they prefer to buy products, and this is something you must account for as you start marketing your product. The channels you use to sell your product should be directly influenced by your target demographic.

Take the following study data from BigCommerce into consideration: 

  • Gen Z spends 2X to 3X more time shopping on social channels than the average consumer, with Instagram and Snapchat shopping taking the lead
  • Gen Z in particular relies more on product recommendations, seeing ads on social media more often, and they visit a brand’s social channels 2X more than the average American consumer
  • Gen X skews toward a Facebook shopping preference
  • Millennials and Baby Boomers are the most likely groups to buy items in a physical store

While most of your marketing efforts will ultimately lead consumers back to your website, knowing where to target your advertisements will deliver a far better return on investment.

Related: 7 Signs You’re Ready to Expand Your E-Commerce Business

Keep things as simple as possible

Cart abandonment is a common issue for e-commerce brands in almost every niche. In fact, the Bayard Institute reports that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate across all industries is a staggering 69.57 percent.

Though expensive “extra costs” such as shipping and taxes were cited as the primary reason for cart abandonment, the second- and third-most common reasons a buyer will give up on his or her purchase are directly linked to the checkout process. If your website forces users to create an account to complete their purchase or has a long, complicated checkout, they will likely abandon their cart.

Keep in mind, buyers shop online for the convenience. Introducing additional steps will negate this benefit by making it harder for them to complete their purchase. Account registration should always be optional, rather than mandatory.

As you build your e-commerce website, reduce the number of steps needed to complete checkout and only ask for information that is absolutely necessary (such as payment info and shipping address). This will help you keep customers, and help you reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Double-down on site security

Credit card fraud is a serious concern for online shoppers, with estimated fraud totals for 2018 exceeding $6 billion. Not only is this a significant issue for consumers, but retailers, as well, as repeated instances of credit card fraud can completely shut down their store.

Because of this, many buyers are understandably wary about submitting payment information through a site they have never used before, particularly if it is a relatively new business. E-commerce entrepreneurs must implement multiple layers of security if they wish to gain the trust of new customers. 

Requiring a CVV for payment processing along with strong passwords for customer accounts will help reduce the risk of fraudulent purchases. Rather than processing payment information through your own site, using a well-known third party such as Paypal or Stripe can give your customers peace of mind.

In reality, website security begins on the backend. Using SSL certificates and a PCI-compliant web host will protect your site from hacking attempts that would compromise your customers’ data.

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Buyer experience is a big deal

Users are looking for an enjoyable, convenient experience from start to finish when they shop online. This encompasses several aspects of your website design, as well as key service policies such as shipping and returns.

Users also expect your website to load quickly, and they expect it to be optimized for whatever device they’re using. They expect your site to be easy to navigate so they can quickly find the products they are looking for, and they expect individual product pages to provide enough information so they can make an informed purchase decision.

Creating a user-friendly experience every step of the way is vital for building a strong e-commerce brand, especially when a purchase doesn’t go as planned. As many as 67 percent of online shoppers check an e-commerce store’s return policy before making their purchase. Buyer-friendly returns and other helpful policies will help you gain loyal customers.

Now’s the time to start selling

Understanding your target audience and their buying behaviors is crucial for your e-commerce startup’s success. As you use these strategies to tap into your customers’ buying motivations, you will find your sales increase while building a strong foundation for your business.

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