Still reeling from the world-altering events of 2020, business owners across the globe are looking for ways to strengthen and scale their operations. eCommerce stores, full of their own unique traits, are up against an even larger competition base. Today we’ll discuss what eCommerce success actually looks like in 2022 so that you can adopt some of the qualities that have helped the most popular eCommerce stores get to where they are now.

11 Habits of Successful eCommerce Brands

  1. Alternative payment methods
  2. Conscious practices
  3. Excellent customer service
  4. Free shipping and easy delivery
  5. Intuitive product pages
  6. Optimization
  7. Personalized UX
  8. Reasonable returns
  9. Retention-focused
  10. Social proof
  11. Quick checkout

1. Alternative Payment Methods

Customers like to have options, and gone are the days when “options” meant just Visa or Mastercard. In fact, as credit card usage is predicted to decline, studies have shown that mobile and digital wallets are already preferred by 42% of online shoppers.

So, how can you provide payment methods that will please many? Thankfully, most solid eCommerce platforms like Shopify already integrate with apps for additional payment methods. Consider providing a variety of options in addition to basic credit cards, like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and even Cryptocurrency.

Insider Tip: If you want to continue scaling your business beyond 2022, implement a Buy Now Pay Later program. Solutions like these are growing in popularity among shoppers, especially on higher-end purchases. It’s a great way to increase your AOV and make your products available to a wider audience.  

2. Conscious Practices

As consumers become increasingly aware of their own impact on the environment, they are paying closer attention to their favorite businesses as well. In fact, around 90% of millennials prefer to buy from a brand that takes a conscious stand on social or environmental issues.

Thus, for your eCommerce brand to stand out in 2022, you must take a stance toward some sort of positive behavior. Many companies can’t simply restructure their entire supply chain overnight, but making a beneficial impact doesn’t need to be large, either. Here are some ideas:

  • Initiate a recycling program
  • Donate a portion of proceeds to a charity or cause
  • Implement greener shipping practices
  • Start an employee volunteer program within the community

The most successful, conscious eCommerce businesses have implemented practices that align with their company’s morals and mission (and, of course, those of their target audience.) However, keep in mind that if you don’t follow through on your commitment, modern shoppers are quick to boycott brands they feel are disingenuine.

3. Excellent Customer Service

We could go on and on (and on—seriously) about the benefits of good customer service. Not only does it help you gain new customers who might be tempted to shop elsewhere, but customer service is also essential in building trust with current customers, establishing shopper loyalty, and even strengthening your workflow and sales funnel.

There are many ways to go about improving your customer service (see our links above for thorough details on that.) One of our favorite, easy ways is integrating Shopify with an all-in-one customer service hub, like Gorgias. By doing so, you can streamline customer inquiries, automate popular responses, and transform support staff into powerful sales agents—consider it a huge boost to your brand.

4. Free Shipping & Easy Delivery

Shipping and delivery go together like “shopping” and “cart.” These days, 60% of consumers will abandon a cart if shipping costs are too high, and 39% will even abandon a sale if shipping isn’t free. Further, if delivery isn’t easy to track and on time, a majority of shoppers agree they’d have a hard time buying again.

If available, could you offer free shipping, even if it means slightly increasing your product prices? If not, perhaps you can offer incentives, such as free shipping over a certain cart amount.  

Though business owners don’t usually have control of delivery once an item leaves the warehouse, they can make the process easier for the customer. Make sure that you’ve implemented a good shipping integration, like ShipStation, that lets you offer the best delivery options possible for your customers. Clear delivery policies and an easy-to-use shipping tracker help the customer feel more in control—even if true control lies solely in the hands of the delivery driver.  

5. Intuitive Product Pages

Product pages have the most control over a customer, and they are also where many customers spend the majority of their time when online shopping. Make sure that your product pages are optimized, organized, and full of motivational content that entices a customer to hit “Add to Cart.”

Moreover, try to add as much relevant content as possible, without being too distracting. Focus on promoting the most important pieces of information first, then filling in the rest with sufficient UGC, policies, FAQ, and more. Whatever you do, don’t skimp! You want to provide the shopper with enough information that they feel comfortable buying from your shop. For example:

  1. Item name and a brief description
  2. Item price
  3. Photos & videos of the item
  4. Long description of details, fabric, dimension, etc.
  5. Possible variations
  6. Return/exchange policies
  7. Reviews
  8. Customer photos
  9. FAQs
  10. Similar items and recommendations  

6. Optimization

With so much competition across the internet, you cannot lose shoppers to slow website speeds or antiquated web design. For growth in 2022 and beyond, it’s essential that you provide a well-optimized website in two key areas:

  1. Speed. When 70% of shoppers say quick loading times impact their decision to buy, you need to do whatever it takes to speed up your site.
  2. Mobile-responsive design. Desktop usage is decreasing in popularity, being replaced by a much-preferred mobile approach. Make sure to prioritize a mobile-ready site design.

7. Personalized UX

Customers love personalization. Shoppers return frequently to stores that provide what they need, without having to search too long for it. In fact, one study shows that 76% of those polled prefer real-time behavior-influenced shopping experiences.

By implementing a few simple personalization techniques, you can entice shoppers to shop longer and buy more. Popular recommendations, like “customers also liked” or “similar to your search” increase users’ expectations of a site and help them more effectively through the sales funnel.

8. Reasonable Returns

When shopping online, it’s difficult to know if an item will be a perfect fit or match. Because of this fact, many shoppers have come to expect free, easy returns. If you want to continue to scale your online store, make sure that you provide a reasonable return policy.

Of course, not every item is feasible or even healthy to accept back, so make sure that your returns policy is clear, direct, and easy to find. Some successful stores place detailed return information right on a product page so that there is no confusion regarding the item and policy.

Consider setting up a helpful return portal on your site. If returns are simple and quick to initiate, customers will feel more comfortable buying from you time, and time, again. Insider tip: design your packaging for use twice—once for the initial shipment, and once again if the customer needs to return! Shoppers give bonus points to brands that save them time— and those that think outside of the box.    

9. Retention-Focused

As marketing and acquisition costs continue to rise, some brands struggle to balance their ad spend against their bottom line. Plus, with increased importance on protecting consumers’ privacy and data, targeting ideal shoppers becomes more difficult, too.

So, what’s the fix? eCommerce brands that are successful in 2022 focus more on customer retention than customer acquisition. Now, this isn’t to say that you should abandon cold marketing altogether. However, by working harder to keep the customers you already have (and turn them into brand representatives) you can save up to 5 times more capital. Check out our post here to learn how to better retain customers in a competitive eCommerce landscape.  

10. Social Proof

Social proof has become a customer expectation, to the point that many shoppers will exit from a site almost immediately upon noticing a lack of UGC. User-generated content helps shoppers learn more about the product and provides them with a sense of trust in your brand.

These days, social proof isn’t just limited to the review section, though that’s a great place to start. Make sure you allow users to upload photos, too! However, you can also place helpful widgets at the bottom of your home screen and other static pages, like a live social media mentions feed, or a pop-up that says, “[First Name] from [General Location/State] just bought [item]. You might like it too!”

Did you implement a review box but struggle to receive ratings? Check out our helpful post here to learn our favorite easy ways to gain more social proof!

11. Quick Checkout

Very few things are more frustrating than a difficult checkout process. In fact, 18% of customers abandon a purchase if the checkout system is confusing or takes too long. Don’t lose out on customers at the very last step.

Rather, create a checkout process that flows as smoothly as possible. Ask a few family members or friends to run through the steps a few times as you watch, and make note of any areas in which they struggle or that they say could use improvement. Simplify the checkout process even further by displaying a progress bar, letting the customer know how close they are to completion.

If you can, offer a guest checkout so that customers don’t have to go through the added steps of registering with your site (just remember to remind them at the end of the checkout process that they can still enroll—and, maybe even offer a sweet incentive of doing so!) Alternatively, integrate with a popular shopping checkout app, one that saves their shipping and payment information, making check out as easy as a click of the button—literally!

Implement These 11 Traits to Find eCommerce Success in 2022—and Beyond

eCommerce success isn’t difficult. It simply requires the careful implementation of a dedicated growth strategy. If you want your eCommerce store to flourish in 2022 and beyond, make sure to take advantage of the 11 tips in this article.