The share of online commerce in the world from total trade is increasing day by day. While this trend already exists, there has been a very rapid and permanent increase in the field of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemics. E-commerce offers opportunities to businesses of all sizes in all sectors. However, as the scale of the business gets smaller, the “marginal” opportunities offered by e-commerce become even larger. In the near future, e-commerce will increase its weight on the agenda for SMEs from surviving to increasing their profitability. In this article we will approach this topic from the window of consumers or e-commerce users. Knowing that consumers have some expectations from e-commerce companies is the first subject that SMEs who will step into e-commerce should know. Companies that meet these expectations will be ahead of other competitors as they will positively affect consumers’ purchasing decisions. It is possible to summarize these expectations under the following headings:
Let’s explain these topics briefly:
Providing accurate information about the products/Services: Consumers want all the information about the product they are going to buy to be transparent. The delivery of the product to her/him, as in the picture or video visuals on the WEB Site, is among the most important elements that consumers pay attention in purchasing. If the consumer does not encounter a product like the one in the WEB Site image, (s)he can request the return of the product and most importantly, (s)he can lose trust in the brand.
Logistics Service: One of the most sensitive points of consumers is delivery services. First, it looks at whether there is a free shipping for the product they will buy on the WEB Site, and then, if they need to pay a fee, for how much worth of purchase there is free shipping option is available. Clearly stating explicitly the minimum amount of purchase for free shipment attracts the customer, and your customer will also want to increase the amount or type of product (s)he will order to reach the limit set for not paying shipping fees. In addition, it is very important that the delivery company you work with delivers the product to the consumer without damaging it as you package. Otherwise, you may lose your customers due to the mistakes of the shipping company. Again, the delivery of the product to the consumer by the cargo companies in the shortest possible time will be one of the most important factors in choosing your company.
Campaigns and Promotions: Consumers want to see products with campaigns and promotions on the main page of the WEB Site. They also want to see a comparison of the product’s campaign and non-campaign prices and discount rates.
Mobile Compatibility: The rate of smartphone usage has increased considerably with the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak process. Consumers now want to shop on their smartphones and see if the products they are going to buy have mobile apps. If you have a mobile-friendly application as an e-commerce company, you are one step ahead of your competitors. Mobile applications are preferred because they provide easier shopping on smartphones than computers. For example, Aliexpress’s mobile app allows consumers to make purchases from their smartphones quickly and easily tracked.
Ease of payment: Consumers are pleased to be given choice when paying. Sites with options such as payment at the door, payment by money order, payment in advance or installment become attractive for the consumer.
Return Policy: Since the consumer buys the product without seeing the product to be purchased in the purchases made on the WEB Site, the first question that comes to her/his mind is ‘can it be returned?’ in case the product is not as (s)he wants. If the answer to this question is yes, the consumer will easily prefer to shop from that site. In this regard, the e-commerce site should put the return policy issues in a tab that the consumer can easily see and access. In this regard, it is necessary to transfer the feeling of a customer-centered approach to our customers independent of legal obligations.
Customer Service: The consumer will want to learn all the information about the product and all the questions that are in her/his mind from the moment the product is ordered to the delivery to her/him by contacting customer service. The speed of access to customer service and the interest of the customer service unit are one of the most important factors in the customer’s preference for online purchase.
In order for e-commerce companies to be successful in the market, they need to create a loyal customer portfolio and they can achieve this by paying attention to the items mentioned above. It is useful for MSMEs to keep these issues in mind in the process of transforming into e-commerce companies.