There are a couple of ways you can educate yourself on how to run a successful e-commerce business:
● Read about e-commerce online or in books.
● Talk to people who have dabbled in the world of online business.
Nowadays, there are plenty of forums you can visit, where people share their experiences.
Don’t forget – we should also take into account our own experiences while shopping for products online. Were you satisfied with the customer service? What did you like? What did you dislike?
By comparing your positive/negative experiences, you will be able to plan better conditions for potential customers ahead of time.
Choose the right technology
You should opt for technology that has a good track record. That way you know what you’re getting.
There are plenty of good low-cost e-commerce platforms you can choose from. Just make sure they offer an upgrade; hopefully, you’ll be needing it soon! For example, instead of spending too much money on expensive technology, you should use your startup funds to attract visitors.
Stand out from the crowd
It’s essential that you figure out a way to stand out in a sea of e-commerce sites. What are you offering that’s so different from what other sites are offering? What will make potential customers choose you over another site?
Lowering your prices isn’t always the best solution. It may seem like the obvious way to attract customers, but that isn’t the case.
A good tip is to offer complimentary service. For example, why don’t you offer gift-wrapping service? Everyone likes a pretty package.
Carefully monitor your costs
Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your income and your outgoings! It’s essential to have a spreadsheet and that you review it on a weekly basis. You need to know if any problems need your immediate attention, and this is the best way to do so.
Taking payment via PayPal
Card payments are a must in e-commerce. PayPal is an excellent place to start, especially if you’re new to the business. PayPal is the safest way to send/receive payments, so both parties are taken care of.
Get to know your competition
An essential aspect of running a thriving e-commerce business is getting to know who you’re up against. Create a list of products you would like to sell on your site, then browse the internet for other sites that sell those products.
Here’s a good tip: why not order something online? That way you can test out the customer service firsthand.
Use an e-commerce package
You may want to set up your store rather than hire a web-designer. But, it’s better to choose an e-commerce package. That way your site will look professional right off the bat!
There are plenty of packages to choose from, and they aren’t all way too pricey. You want your site to be fully functional and attractive to your customers, don’t you?
Check whether everything works
Once your site is finished, you’ll need to check whether everything works. The best way to ensure your site is fully functional is to ask a friend to test it. That way you will know if any problems need your attention. After all, you need your site to be available for customers 24/7.
E-commerce is fast-moving
Staying ahead of the competition can be quite tricky. Everyone is searching for a way to attract more customers by adding a unique concept to their site. So, how can you stand out?
Here are a few extra tips that will help you one-up your competition:
● Put in extra effort when getting to know your target audience. With so many sites to compete with, you’ll need to identify what your target audience wants.
● Take full advantage of social media. That way you will widen your potential audience. Create an interesting page for your site, share it, then ask your friends also to share your page.
● Optimize your site for mobile devices. It’s more important than ever to offer your customers fully responsive mobile experience.
What you should avoid
Now that you know what you need to do in order to have a successful e-commerce site, here are some things you should avoid doing:
● Your customers need a simple checkout process, so don’t overcomplicate it. Try to keep it as simple as possible by asking for only the necessary information to carry out the transaction.
● Keep your site simple and straightforward. If you get too excited and overload it with information, you’ll just confuse your customers.
● Just as you should avoid too much information about the products, you should also avoid providing no information at all. The description area is there for a reason, so don’t forget to use it!
● Since shopping online isn’t the same as shopping at a physical store, you need to adjust your terms and return policy. You need to give potential customers enough assurance in your product since they can only see it on your site. So, not providing a good return policy is a big NO.
● Don’t forget to secure your site! Let your customers know that their information will be kept safe by purchasing an SSL certificate.
● You should promote your top-selling products on your homepage. After all, your homepage is like a window to your shop. The customers should see what you have to offer straight away.
Now you can start selling
Hopefully, this information will help you start your e-commerce site, and will also help it grow over time.
Don’t forget: patience is the key to success!