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Top Ways You Can Make Your E-Commerce Store Competitive

Top Ways You Can Make Your E-Commerce Store Competitive

With the barriers to entry getting ever lower in the world of e-commerce, it seems like every business under the sun has started a website business in the last couple of years. This, in conjunction with the ever competitive “big boys” in the market (such as Amazon and eBay), always finding new ways to satisfy customers, it can be tough knowing how to stand out in a crowded e-commerce market.

As Amazon held its second annual Prime Day this month (billing the event as its biggest global one ever), other online sellers need to make sure that their website is as up to date, streamlined, and effective as possible.

If you’re keen to make sure your e-commerce business doesn’t lag behind, read on for some ways you can make it more competitive today.

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1. Provide Multiple Payment Options

These days, it’s important to keep in mind that customers want flexibility when it comes to how they pay for goods and services online. They also want security, especially considering the number of fraudulent transactions that occur every year.

While many retailers understand that consumers do want a wide variety of payment tools to be made available to them, according to the 2015 Global Payments Insight Survey (conducted by payments software and hosting company ACI Worldwide, and market research firm Ovum), 54 percent of retailers are actually holding back on their investment in new payment-related technology.

If you want to make your e-commerce store more competitive, you can quickly jump ahead of many retailers by giving consumers what they want. When it comes to payments, think about providing avenues such as credit and debit cards (including cards such as Diners Club and American Express), PayPal, direct deposit, and new mobile-based apps. Apple’s latest innovation with Apple Pay, for example, means that the tool can now be integrated into online shopping carts. Many consumers will no doubt be expecting to have this payment method made available to them over the coming months.

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2. Use Good Design

On a website, design matters just as much (if not even more) than it does in a physical store. You want all browsers to think “wow,” in a positive way, when they visit your e-commerce site, and to see from its design that the business is trustworthy, solid, and selling quality products.

Pic 4

    As a result, you should definitely never cut corners on design, because every single part of it matters, from the layout and navigation, to content and graphics. It pays to hire a qualified designer who has experience creating websites for your industry, and who has developed the type of sites that you like the look of yourself.

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    When considering the design of your store, make sure that:

    • There is plenty of white space on each page (that is, areas not filled with text or pictures)
    • Your branding is consistent throughout
    • It’s easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for and to move from one page to another
    • The text is broken up into short paragraphs, with plenty of subheadings used
    • There aren’t clashing colors or hard-to-read fonts to be found anywhere

    3. Be Mobile-Friendly

    With huge numbers of shoppers using their cellphones and tablets to browse and buy online now, any e-commerce store is unable to compete if it doesn’t have a mobile-friendly site and a mobile strategy in place.

    Customers not only use their devices at home or at work when searching for products and services, but also when they’re in physical stores, to compare prices. Mobile gadgets are also used to share buying experiences and to read customer reviews.

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    To be competitive then, you must ensure that your e-commerce site is compatible with different types of device interfaces, and that you are providing a seamless user experience for all browsers. In addition, make it easy for shoppers to find you on social media platforms such as Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like. You should also cater to the growing number of people who want to use mobile applications to pay for their purchases.

    Pic 5

      4. Have a Fast-Loading Website

      Lastly, always keep in mind that a fast-loading website is imperative. Shoppers are impatient, and won’t wait around for a slow site to load. Even a second difference in load time can make a difference, as it allows information to be delivered to viewers sooner, and stops them from clicking away to another site.

      Speedy websites tend to feel better to navigate, come across as more trustworthy, and all in all can have a huge impact on sales revenue over the years. Indeed, some companies have found that improving the speed of their site can increase conversation rates by a whopping 78 percent.

      Featured photo credit: shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

      How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

      How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

      If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

      Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

      But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

      Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

      If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

      1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

      For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

      Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

      If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

      But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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      So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

      Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

      In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

      2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

      Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

      Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

      Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

      Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

      For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

      Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

      Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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      For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

      Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

      Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

      Bonus:

      If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

      3. Take meaningful time for yourself

      We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

      Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

      If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

      Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

      This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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      No time for me-time? Try this:

      If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

      This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

      Bonus:

      Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

      4. Get productive and feel accomplished

      Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

      When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

      While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

      Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

      No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

      So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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      Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

      This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

      Try this:

      Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

      The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

      Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

      The bottom line

      There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

      The only question is — which tip will you try first?

      Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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