For a small business, building a successful online store may come off as an impossible task, especially if the owner doesn’t have any e-commerce expertise. However, little decisions like how you hire developers or how compatible your store is with different platforms can make all the difference. Read to op 10 Tips to Build a Successful Online Shopping Store.
A few years ago, doing business basically meant setting up a shop in location ‘x’ and targeting customers within the vicinity which limited the number of customers you could reach. Fast forward to today, the vast potential of the internet has led to the growth of E-commerce business. Thanks to online sales sites, customers can visit your site and purchase products only leaving you with the onus of delivering the items.
According to the latest report by Statista, the global retail e-commerce sales amounted to $2.3 trillion in 2017 with the numbers expected to reach $4.88 trillion by the year 2021.
In strictly monetary terms, Britons happen to be the biggest online spenders, with per capita spending of $4,021. They are closely followed by the Americans with a per capita spending of $3,428.
Clearly, more and more customers are moving away from brick and mortar shopping and gravitating towards online shopping. With that said, the best e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay have realized that solely focusing on sales don’t just cut it. Customers love to see beautifully designed websites full of attractive displays. And this goes to you too, if you want to increase conversion rate, your website should be beautifully designed and improve the user experience. Failure to which can only be equated to leaving money on the table.
If you have been wondering how to start an online store, we have compiled 10 tips to help you.
Engaging Web Design
As earlier indicated, a successful online presence requires a properly designed website. Irrespective of whether you have a groundbreaking product and heavenly customer support, all your efforts will be disintegrated to zero if you have a lousy web design.
A recent study by Kissmetrics has shown that 93% of online buyers factor in the visual appearance of a website in determining where to make their purchase.
For you to run a profitable online store, you can choose to either learn code or hire developers to create an intuitive web design that captivates your site visitors with great images and minimalistic text.
Carefully Select Your System
Another tip for successfully running an online shop lies in avoiding customized solutions with obscure code. Instead, you should settle for a popular system that is properly supported by an online community to ensure you come up with a stunning shop.
If you have no experience in dealing with code, there are many hosted platforms like Shopify to work with although they come at a small fee. Alternatively, if you have experience in coding, you can use other platforms like WordPress that give you control over the code.
Either way, you are required to pay for additional themes and functionality although the base system is absolutely free.
Provide Excellent Online Support
One thing most customers are concerned with is the support they will receive after making a purchase. By guaranteeing excellent customer support, you are essentially communicating to the customers that someone is on standby to help them solve their issues.
The most helpful and comprehensive customer support is a live-chat feature operating 24/7. Chat feature has been shown to increase customer conversion by at least 10% or more.
Offer Popular Payment Options
Whether you are working with an individual developer or a web development company, they should be able to help you build a system that accommodates a popular payment system. After all, an online shop wouldn’t exist without a payment system.
By providing a wide array of popular payment option, your customers can easily pay for the goods purchased without necessarily leaving your site. One of the reigning payment systems is PayPal although there are many others. Additionally, allow your buyers to save their payment info for future purchases.
Mobile app development is helping businesses increase their customer base worldwide. This is because customers feel comfortable using mobile apps on their smartphones while on the move. In 2017, approximately 30% of online purchases were transacted over mobile phones with mobile e-commerce expected to account for approximately 45% of all online shopping by 2020.
As a business owner, always ensure that your website is designed to be mobile-friendly for customers to purchase your products irrespective of the type of smartphone they use. Always check the guidelines for the respective Operating Systems and align them to your website to streamline the responsiveness of your website.
You can never improve your growth strategies if you fail to monitor the progress of your store. Google analytics is one of the best tracking tools for your sales activities and customer’s behavior. It provides you with clear metrics about your store including product sales percentages, site visits, and abandoned shopping carts.
At the end of it all, these metrics will give you long-term insights which form the basis for effective and personalized marketing engagements.
Most sellers grossly underestimate the power of marketing in building a viable online business. In the infancy stages of your business, a lot of energy is needed to get your brand’s name on the map. After launching your store, you should spend anything between 3-6 months exclusively on fanatical marketing!
Paid advertising is a great short-term strategy to kick-start your online business as it instantly diverts traffic to your website. However, such a model isn’t a sustainable strategy for traffic generation as it can be expensive to run which may eat into your profits if not wipe them altogether. Instead, you can pursue Search Engine Optimization and other organic marketing efforts which are more sustainable and have a much higher return.
On top of web design and development, blogging can help you increase site visits by 50%. Ideally, publish at least 3 or more articles on a weekly basis if you have the time to write. Don’t forget to include pictures that are related to your brand as they help to improve your search engine rankings.
Encourage Social Discussion and Sharing
Marketing isn’t just limited to paid ads. Word-of-mouth on different social media platforms can help increase customer conversion for your online shop.
By encouraging your customers to engage in public discussions on matters touching your products and brand provides social proof that your business is reliable. In fact, if a potential customer hasn’t had the chance to physically interact with your brand, they can go through these discussions to establish what your business is all about.
Leverage on Email Marketing
Email marketing is another easy way to a foster seller-customer relationship. Using the metrics collected from your customers, you can send out targeted marketing campaigns to different segments of your customer base addressing their specific wants.
For targeted marketing, you need to start by harvesting your customer’s emails and ensuring the customers are comfortable with your emails without feeling like someone is spamming them. One way to do that is to ask them whether they would like to receive emails during the checkout process.
Online shopping gives you autonomy over our customers’ experiences. Instead of endorsing pre-determined marketplace’s policies, you can simply set up your e-commerce shop by your terms hence creating your own narrative on how customers interact with your products.
It also gives you an opportunity to eliminate all the geographical barriers that exist in the business world by reaching your customers even in the remotest parts of the world. As a result, you get to learn more about your customers’ needs at the same time reduce operational costs in terms of setting up physical locations.
If you have been wondering on how to build an online store, the above-stated tips will help you design, develop, and actualize your shop.