E-commerce in its current form has been around since the mid-1990s, and since there are few that survived that initial flurry of dot-coms, Amazon being the only survivor. Since then the growth of e-commerce has been exponential. E-commerce now accounts for billions of dollars in revenue. Why have some websites thrived while others have fallen by the wayside? Let’s take a closer look at successful e-commerce websites and why they work.
A pioneer in digital music sales, it is understandable why Apple is so successful, but there is more to it than just MP3 sales. Apple is also a pioneer in branding and going to their website you are struck by the consistency in branding that has lasted for almost forty years. Part of Apple’s branding has been ease of use from Mac computers to i-Phones and that user friendly functionality is present on their website. The Apple store ties all your Apple devices and purchases together. Navigating the Apple Store has been simple since the beginning and is likely to be for the foreseeable future.
Some call traditional retail outlets that have been around since the early twentieth century “Dinosaurs”, but Macy’s has certainly defied that moniker. The website that crashed on Black Friday in 2016 has undergone some changes, not the least of which is ease of use and imaging. Macy’s has made the digital experience for users both interesting and free of frustration and it has yielded results. Macy’s website has been responsible for double digit growth in digital sales since the beginning of 2018.
When it comes to e-commerce Amazon is King-Kong. Starting out selling books out of his garage, Jeff Bezos created a website that would revolutionize commerce. In the beginning Amazon was difficult to navigate, but over the years Amazon has learned from their mistakes and has continued to be an innovator. They use the masses of data they get from the millions of customers who regularly visit Amazon and apply it to algorithms which make recommendations to users on what products or additional products they may be interested in purchasing. As Amazon continues to expand their dominance across multiple retail markets it is hard to say if they will be broken up into smaller companies, but one fact remains; if you want to have a dynamic retail website which leverages user data, there is no better example than Amazon.
Staples has a website that flawlessly creates synergy between digital and retail sales. Their homepage offers up a Varity of choices to its customers. A deal on products is splashed across the page while a call to action to read the weekly ad is just below. A number of product categories give mean users don’t have to hunt through multiple pages. Tabs for live chat and feedback of to the right-hand side means the customer does not have to scroll to the bottom of the page. An omnipresent search bar means the customer can search for a specific product at any time. Add deals from your local stores and a mobile app similar to the website and you can understand why Staples has over 55% of its sales on the internet.
While not responsible for the majority of its profits Home Depot’s website is impressive nonetheless. With animations and features like being able to browse by room or by project their website is likely to contribute a greater amount of their profits in the future. Expedited free shipping and email campaigns that coincide with major retail dates such as holidays or Black Friday are part of the reason why the Home Depot website is so impressive.
Although Walmart has seemed late to the e-commerce game, their website has been around for years. Not on the level of Amazon’s online sales, they are making up ground fast. With the construction of massive distribution centers specifically for website sales, Walmart has made a major investment in e-commerce. Likewise, their website once bland and tedious has been remade in an impressive way. With deals to local stores linked to your IP address, splashy images, and like Amazon, data driven product offers; Walmart’s website is no longer a boring experience. Add in two-day shipping and Walmart is likely to siphon some of the business away from of the e-commerce retail giants.
What all these websites have in common is that they take advantage of masses of user data to create an uncomplicated, exciting user experience. They use that data to create connivance and up-sell the customer products they want or need. The website experience on these sites translates to mobile apps.
Small and large business alike can use these websites as an example of how to increase their e-commerce profits.