Online business owners make decisions every day on many issues. There are many options to consider and paths to take, from the look of your website to getting just the right wording on a social media post.
Covering every aspect of the “dos and don'ts” for e-commerce would take a large book. However, the following offer foundational, bedrock ideas that should always stay on your mind when making decisions on your online business.
The most important item of all is to remember that everything you do should focus on customer experience. After thousands of little decisions made by e-commerce owners, the bottom line is that customers do business with sites where they feel comfortable and have received the information they want, when they need it.
Every aspect of the business should support this goal.
Here are a few “dos” to put into practice for improving the quality of website as well as increasing conversions.
Get The Right Platform
This is a highly competitive area, and there are many choices for an e-commerce platform. Among the most popular are Shopify, Magento, YoCart and BigCommerce.
What every e-commerce business wants out of a platform is the ability to easily customize, build a site that is responsive to mobile users, collect and analyze valuable web traffic data that can drive business strategy and produce a site with excellent speed and a smooth buyer’s journey.
In all these areas, nopCommerce excels. The platform’s recent 4.0 version moves it ahead of the competition in many of these areas. While the choice of what platform to use is ultimately up to the business owner, a nopCommerce set up with Bayshore Solutions is worthy of strong consideration.
If you want the most out of current customers, considering offering upgrades. Usually offered near the end of the buying cycle, showing consumers a similar but more expensive item is 20 times more likely to drive a sale than cross-selling (showing them “people who bought this also liked” items), according to econsultancy.
Email sounds so last century! But email marketing remains a very effective way to reach customers. Use email to contact customers who have abandoned their shopping carts. Use targeted email campaigns to reach consumers with exclusive offers and deals on your products and services. The return on investment from good, old-fashioned email remains higher than that for social media.
Take It Step By Step
When looking at everything involved with e-commerce, things can get overwhelming. Online store owners get up every day thinking about SEO, email campaigns, website design, content strategy, dozens of different technology upgrades, data trends - and that’s just a small sample. They key is to tackle one issue at the time and move steadily toward your goal, not burn yourself out trying to do everything at once.
As with most “don’ts,” they typically lead to a whole new list of “dos.” Consider the following.
Ignore Social Media
But also, don’t think using Facebook and Twitter as a free distribution platform will revolutionize your business. Both of these social media giants attempt to direct businesses into buying advertising. That’s all well and good, but keep in mind that there are limits to what your followers may see with your regular posts.
As noted above, email remains better at converting customers. However, this does not mean you should swing the other way and ignore social media. Developing a plan that incorporates content, social media and email to drive motivated consumers to your site.
Expect Overnight Success
The idea of an overnight sensation is a myth in most cases, and that extends to e-commerce. Like any brick-and-mortar business, e-commerce takes hard work, dedication and time. It goes beyond the idea of sitting in your pajamas in front of your computer, waiting for millions to discover your brilliance. That’s why everyone from academic institutions to Malaysian doctors offer the advice of starting small, staying focused and committing to the long haul.
Every step in building your e-commerce business must be done with branding in mind. This is your biggest asset in the online world - the integrity of your brand. In every social media posting, email blast, content piece and product description, your brand should be top-of-mind.
Ignore Customer Service
Repeat customers are the life’s blood of any business. Retaining satisfied customers is far easier than going out and getting new ones. In every customer-facing communication you craft, keep your current customers in mind. If you have provided them an excellent product and responsive customers service, they will return. Enough of these types of customers can provide a foundation for your business.
These are some of the issues to keep in mind when planning out and running your e-commerce site. It’s a challenging undertaking in a competitive environment. But it also can become a wonderful way to make a living, succeeding beyond all expectations.
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