Online e-commerce is a competitive business since there are low barriers to entry for new companies to join the field. Many different merchants are continuously competing for customers’ business by trying to implant themselves in shoppers’ consciousness. The store that can best anticipate how its website will be viewed by its customers will be the one that leads the pack, so here are some things that are important to online shoppers.

Promotions and Discounts

No matter what, customers will want to feel like they are getting a bargain. It is human instinct to want to walk away feeling like you have gotten a great deal. Even if there is a small discount or promotion, the feeling that customers have when they click the “apply” button and see money coming off of the purchase price will leave a positive taste in the customer’s mouth. According to JustUno, “a common misconception with sales promotions is that you have to offer crazy discounts or incentives to drive sales conversions. While bigger incentives may be more appealing, a small incentive can still make a positive impact on sales and you won’t have to diminish your margins drastically.” People may leave your store feeling just a little bit empty if they have to pay full price. In addition, promotions will also create a sense of urgency for the shopper and help to build their excitement.

They Expect Answers

Shoppers will only linger for so long while waiting to have a question resolved. If they cannot find an answer quickly from your store, they will quickly move on to another store, where the answer is either quickly available, or they can find it on a website. With that in mind, you should make your listing as informative as possible so your customers can get the information that they expect and need. If the information is not available, you should consider a live chat function, so the questions could be asked and immediately answered. The key to an online transaction is speed, and if there are unanswered questions, it is a hold up to the process.

Reviews Matter

In addition to looking for ways to save money, customers will next look at reviews for your store. Negative reviews can kill an online business since objective feedback is one of the few metrics that customers will use to distinguish stores that may appear fungible on the surface. According to Podium, “even a handful of bad reviews can drag down your business since 3.3 stars, on average, is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with.” If there is a two or below in your average rating, customers can simply move on to the next store with better ratings.

Brilliant Websites Resonate

A store that features a basic design may not portray your store in the most positive light. Customers like a straightforward display that takes advantage of all opportunities for intricacy. In other words, your store should not be bare bones, nor should it be cluttered. Your design can be smart without trying to throw everything possible at your customer at one time. According to BigCommerce, “if you want users to visit and buy from your site – where you can control the post-sale user experience, unlike on Amazon – you need a conversion driven design that makes your visitors feel like they are part of a community and can trust you.” Customers will appreciate a helpful design as it will cause a subconscious reaction when they are looking at your store.

Do You Have Something More?

Many customers come onto an online e-commerce website since they are interested in more than just shopping. Some stores offer their shoppers a sense of community that they like to join. Customers may be looking for some dynamic content that is useful to them beyond just what you are trying to sell them. They may come on to your site to see if they can also obtain useful information either about the product or that can help them in their daily lives. Offering a good selection of products is great, but sometimes it is the extras that will bring the customer on your site and keep them there.

Customer Engagement

Customers often do not like to purchase from a remote and disembodied business. They are looking at your store to find if there are ways that the business engages with them. They are trying to see if the store is engaging in a proverbial conversation that shows that they are responsive to customer needs. Shoppers like to be appreciated, and if there is ample customer engagement on your store, they will know that their business is valued. Customers are buying you every bit as much as they are buying your products, and the story that you tell through your engagement will paint a picture for purchasers of who they are patronizing.

If you are in the process of starting your own online store, it is vital that you take some time to take a look at your site through the prism of what your customers are going to see. That will help you incorporate the right design features to keep the customers coming back. If you already have an online store, you should consider making these changes to improve the way that your customers view your store.