Online retail still has a long way to go before it becomes the biggest sector in the retail industry. However, if the 2017 growth estimates can serve as an indicator, it’s catching up rapidly — online retail is expected to grow 8-12%, while brick-and-mortar retail’s growth is forecast at just 2.8%. It’s an exciting time for retail, especially the part of it that goes on online.

Does this mean that e-commerce businesses can rest on their laurels and just surf the wave that’s carrying their sector forward? Of course not. It takes hard work to get the most out of people’s increasing reliance on online shopping. It takes constant improvement and fine-tuning of every part of an e-commerce site, from making navigation easier to using AI powered custom search plugins for e-commerce stores.

Think About Your Customers’ Shopping Experience

We live in an era where good experience is one of the most important things a retailer can offer to customers. As customers are getting more sophisticated — and demanding — the retailers need to match that sophistication by showing the customers that their time and money is valued.

A good way to approach customer experience improvements is not to wait for something to go wrong. Ideally, you’d want to be one step in front of the customer, making sure that every step they make is as easy and convenient as possible. For a website, that means making sure that the navigation makes sense, or making sure that the shopping cart is optimized for conversion. It also means delivering a more personalized shopping experience whenever possible.

Put Some Pressure on Your Customers

Your customers might need some nudging to make a purchase. You have a variety of options that can help you motivate the clients to make that final step, from offer incentives to using persuasive copy. But that’s not everything you could be doing.

When you really want to encourage customers to do something, you should apply pressure. You don’t have to blackmail them into buying your products, but if you would gently suggest that the special deal you’re offering to them, for example, has a nearing expiry date, that would do the trick. You can use other ways to increase urgency, such as provide offers for limited shipping that expire soon, or a counter that shows that the product is about to go out of stock. There’s nothing like some urgency to boost those conversion rates.

Invest in Building Trust

People will not want to buy from your store if they don’t trust you, that much you probably know. To gain your shoppers’ trust in an e-commerce environment, you’ll have to send different trust signals than you would with a brick-and-mortar store.

Your customers need to be aware that you’re taking their security and privacy seriously.For one, you want to offer them the ability to use a secure connection — HTTPS — to browse and shop on your site. You should also consider placing security certificate badges that demonstrate to your customers that they’re safe buying from your store.

There are other types of trust signals you should include in your website. Testimonials are one of them, as are user reviews. You should make sure that the testimonials and reviews come from real people who have bought something at your store and not someone you paid to write a review.

Never Miss an Opportunity to Upsell or Cross Sell

Upselling and cross-selling are two activities that boost customer value, increase order value, help you attract more leads, and improve your bottom line. So, they pretty much boost all the most important metrics.

In e-commerce, addon and bundle sales are two of the best ways to upsell and cross-sell. You should also never underestimate the power of recommending your customers complementary products. The best part of it is that, if you do it right, the effort you invest in selling your customers something extra might make your customers think that you’re providing a valuable service to them.

Stay on Top of E-Commerce Trends

If there’s one thing that will surely convince you to set aside more time for looking up the latest trends and best practices in e-commerce, it’s the fact that your competition is doing it. If you don’t know what’s in vogue right now, and what the next big thing is expected to be, you’re likely be left behind.

You shouldn’t expect to receive one groundbreaking insight after another. But small changes and the general directions where the industry is moving can still give you plenty of ideas for things you could use to up your game. And then when that groundbreaking change comes, you’ll be among the first ones to know.