In 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $2.3 trillion, and that figure is predicted to double by 2021.
There has never been a better time to create an online business.
If you have never set up a business online before, you might be a bit daunted about where to start.
Making sure you make the most of the resources available to you, and avoiding some common mistakes, will help you get off to a flying start.
Read on for 10 tips to successfully help you to create an online business.
1. Looks Are Important
With so many businesses trading online, no matter which sector your business is in, competition is going to be fierce.
That’s why it is so important to make sure your website stands out from the crowd.
When people are shopping online they can look at dozens of websites before they eventually buy the product they want. Making sure your website catches their eye could mean the difference between you getting the sale, or it going to one of your competitors.
Spend some time making sure your website looks great, and if you are not skilled in web design, it could be worth getting a professional in to help.
Make sure you use lots of good quality photos and images of your products, like this website. If potential customers can’t see your products, then they won’t buy them.
Your website is, effectively, your shop window and first impressions count. So it is important that you make sure your website looks professional and trustworthy.
Check (and double-check!) that there are no mistakes or typos in the content on your website. Make sure that all contact details and business information are correct and up-to-date. If you belong to any trade associations or accredited organizations, make sure you include their logo on your site.
2. Prioritize Customer Service
Customer service is not just what happens in stores. Good customer support is also essential for online businesses.
Your customers will value support throughout the purchasing process and they will also want to know what support and after-care they can expect to receive after they have bought the product.
Some of the most successful stores now offer a live-chat function on their website, to help consumers navigate the site and make purchases.
It is also a good idea to have a page detailing your customer service policy and service guarantees. Always include contact details and make it obvious that customers can feel confident that your customer service does not end at the checkout.
3. Make the Checkout Process Easy
The last thing you want is to make it difficult or complicated for customers to spend money on your site.
Make sure you provide the most popular payment options on your website so that every customer can check-out quickly and easily. It is a good idea to support all of the major payment cards and PayPal.
If you include an option where customers can save their payment details, it will also encourage them to return to your site in the future.
4. Use Social Media
If you want to operate a successful online store, then social media is your friend.
Not only is it a free way to advertise your business and products but it also encourages users to share your posts to their friends.
Social media posts are also a great way to advertise promotions and sales and reach a lot of potential customers in a short space of time.
5. Create An Online Business Blog
Including a blog on your website is a really great way to increase traffic to your site and enhance your search engine optimization (SEO).
By including SEO keywords in your blog posts you will appeal to search engines, and your business is more likely to appear higher on search results.
Blogs are also a great way to talk about your business, the story behind it and your business philosophy. They can give your online business a human feel and encourage your customers to spend more time on your site.
6. Share Positive Reviews
Sharing positive feedback and reviews of your products and services will increase consumer trust.
All customers like to feel that they are making a wise buying decision, and if they can see how happy other customers have been, it will increase the chances of them making the purchase.
7. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
It’s safe to say that most of your customers, and potential customers, own a smartphone. So if your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device, you could be denying yourself a huge audience.
Google also prioritizes websites that are mobile friendly in its search results, so ensuring your business website is mobile-friendly is really important.
8. Track Your Analytics
It is very difficult to improve and grow as a business if you don’t know exactly how well you are performing at the moment.
You will know exactly how many sales you have made but there are lots of analytics you should be paying attention to in order to make important business decisions.
Web analytics you should be tracking include:
- Number of hits on your website
- How long people spend on your site
- Number of abandoned shopping carts
- Referrals from other websites
Tracking this information is crucial to the successful running of your online business and can help you make smarter decisions.
9. Offers, Promotions, and Deals
Shoppers love a bargain.
Make a strategic plan to offer deals and promotions throughout the year. A promotion is a great thing to talk about on social media or blog posts and will get your customers sharing to friends.
If you are starting an online clothing store, consider an online launch promotion, such as free shipping.
10. Contact Your Customers
Being able to contact your customers directly is really important for online businesses. It gets your branding and advertising into their inboxes and on their phones.
Including a subscription form on your blog, or creating a log-in facility, gives you the email addresses of your customers. You can then communicate with them directly using direct mail marketing.
Get More Help and Advice for New Businesses
If you are about to create an online business, following these tips can help you stay ahead of the competition and reach out to your customers.
For more help and advice check out our web resources for new businesses and good luck!