Creating Ecommerce success for UBC Student Businesses

Competition in Ecommerce is fierce, and it’s only going to get worse this year. Millions of people visit multiple websites, but only a small percentage actually buy; others are mere ‘window shoppers’. There are thousands of online businesses competing for a slice of the market pie; so how are you going to get up there with the top dogs? Even though it is a fiercely competitive industry, you can still achieve ecommerce success and find gold if you have a proper plan and right approach. So, what do you need to do to ensure that you stay a step ahead of your competitors? Here are a few tips, based on the trends for this year as collated from some leading ecommerce development agencies in India:

  • Ensure quick loading; the slower your website loads, the lower your conversion rates. God help you if your site takes more than 3-4 seconds to load; the majority will just go to another site because they don’t want to wait. Use clean, lean code, avoid Flash, use smaller or compressed images, and make your website responsive to provide a seamless UX to the visitor regardless of their device. This is the reason why many people turn to a website design agency in order to set their websites up. 
  • Use a harmonious color scheme: Every color evokes specific emotions; choose the colors of your website based on your target audience, products and your values – and stick to a few basic colors. Too much color, and you will confuse and distract the audience; too few, and your pages may be dull and boring. Ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background, to make reading easy.
  • Content continues to dominate: The success of any website depends to a great extent on the quality of the content on it. This includes the web copy, the blogs, CTAs, the messaging – and most importantly, the videos. Video is easier to consume and understand – visuals send stronger signals to the brain. Ensure you have clear, fresh, engaging, and value-adding content on your site. And lastly, but very importantly, use good sized fonts, to make it easy reading; you don’t want people reaching for their magnifying glasses to read the tiny fonts (that probably look cute but is illegible). Headers need to be 18 or 20 points, and for the body, 12 is a good size; leave adequate space between lines as well. You’ll have a much better chance of converting your visitors when you give them messages and information that is easy to read.
  • Plan page layouts: People tend to read web pages in an F shape. So you need to have the important bits at the top of the website, and then at the left hand side. Always have a catchy header and arrange your pages based on this reader behavior.
  • Simple Navigation: Have an uncluttered, sleek design, and make it easy for your visitors to navigate and find what they’re looking for. Research ahead, and identify popular categories and products, and arrange your product menus accordingly. The layout needs to be clean; put essential stuff like the price, description, images, sizing or color options, review links, ratings and so on, above the fold, and the other details including shipping options can be displayed on the rest of the page.
  • Images: Stock images are so yesterday; use genuine and relevant pictures, professionally shot, that showcase your products, services, workplace, employees, and even existing customers. This helps potential buyers to get a feel of your brand; it is information that can persuade them to make the purchase decision.
  • Personalized Assistance: Live chat boxes, chatbots, FAQs, instant email query and response systems – these are all tools that help you provide assistance to your customers regarding your products and services. Of these, chatbots and other live chat tools are the most important, as they are personal and instant to boot. By analyzing the visitors past browsing behavior and purchase preferences and using predictive tools, you can get the capability to anticipate their needs and provide guidance at the critical moment. You can offer help when they have some difficulty (at checkout or finding the color/size they want), and even provide 1:1 personalized product or service recommendations.
  • Implement progress bars: Also called breadcrumbs, these bars act as a visual trail, allowing visitors to see their progress in the customer journey. You may have noticed when purchasing from, say, Dominos: You are prompted to login, then at checkout your order summary is displayed, then your delivery (shipping) info; you get an opportunity to review your order, and add or delete from it, and then the payment page; finally you come to the order confirmation page; Dominos goes one step further and allows you to track beyond this: Order placed, Pizza prepared, Packed, Out for Delivery. This simplifies navigation for the customer, who doesn’t have to manually keep track of their progress.
  • Subscription Models: Many Ecommerce sites are offering subscription models. That is, you sign up and pay in advance for say 6 months or 1 year, or sometimes even 3 months, and receive a box every month containing products, samples, or a combo of both. Amazon is one retailer who has this scheme: for the customers it’s convenient. You sign up and receive your monthly provisions or staples – say coffee powder, paper napkins, and so on. The Ecommerce retailer has assured business for a specified period of time. Win-win all round!
  • Simplify Checkout: The highest cart abandonment happens at checkout. Though sometimes it happens because the visitor changed their mind, more often than not, the reason is the complicated checkout procedure. Too many steps, and your visitor will be likely put off. Allow them to preview the items without leaving the main page, and to add purchases to cart straight from the categories. Another thing to remember: don’t compel them to make an account; but mention that with an account, future purchases will be much faster. Allow them to decide.
  • Multiple Payment Options: Minimize the number of form fields shoppers have to enter by offering options to pay like Apple Pay or Android Pay – you’ll save them time. Make sure you offer a variety of payment options, as not all your customers may have credit cards.
Join the conversation with fellow UBC students and contribute your article here.

What the International Olympic Committee says about competitive gaming

If there is a preconception of gamers being losers who have no friends and therefore no life, that would be in 2000. It might be true that in the past, staying at home and playing computer games rather than going out and socializing might seem like some kind of faux pas. The Japanese even have a name for it: otaku. But it is 2017, and professional gamers are nothing short of being celebrities, especially in Asia.

South Korea especially, where professional gaming have become so widely accepted and integrated into its culture, that it has been nicknamed the capital of esports. Starcraft II gamers earn an average of six figures per game and they take what they do very seriously. Just like how a sportsman might study their opponents, coaches make their players breakdown the other team’s tactics and have strict training regiments.

They attract many admirers, which is apparent from their training cubicles which is lined with personal effects and gifts from sponsors and girls. Boys make up more than 80% of all gamers, and are treated with the same attention as k-pop stars.

Esports have even gotten noticed by The International Olympic Committee and was quoted saying, ” The Summit agreed that ‘eSports’ are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement” and will be part of the medals event at the 2022 Asian Games.

However, it is DotA 2 which has the most lucrative industry. An annual tournament, simply known as The International, had a record breaking pool prize money of $24.8million for the previous round that took place in June till August. Invited gamers from Europe, Southeast Asia, China and all over America, flew to Seattle for the main event.

Instead of stadiums, esports employ the use of gaming hubs that have an auditorium and many do flock to watch these tournaments. One such venue has recently emerged in Malaysia where they are still battling the negative connotations attached to gaming. Their neighbour, Philippines, do not have such a problem and only just launched a League of Legends Varsity League in an effort to up the standard of collegiate esports.

Many of those who make esports their vocation are still in school and are bound by scholarly commitments. However, esports have gained recognition. A school in Connecticut have accepted its authenticity of being an extracurricular activity. It is the very first state in America which has joined the “Electronic Gaming Federation as a High School Esports League”.

With such a growing recognition all over the world, you will be hard pressed to find someone being laughed at for being good at a computer game. Instead of being seen as an antisocial activity, it has become accepted as a sporting event. And sports is the one thing that garners respect everywhere, the only activity capable of driving people together. A powerful force in itself, let’s hope esports have an equally long and lasting run.

Join the conversation with fellow UBC students and contribute your article here.