Whether you have recently launched an online store, want to in the future or have been running one for a while, you need to understand the sector and what’s required to make an ecommerce venture work.
While ecommerce has definitely been a booming industry (set to generate a minimum of $490 billion in U.S. sales by the end of 2018) and isn’t likely to slow down soon, there are more people entering the market each year, too. As a result, you’ll have plenty of competition and must continually find ways to help your business not just survive, but thrive.
To get great results, you must provide the best shopping experience possible to your customers. Consumers are savvy these days and have high expectations. To get them to buy from you repeatedly, and recommend your firm to their friends, you must be smart in the way you operate. Read on for some key things to do if you want to build a big ecommerce venture and meet your goals.
Have a True Point of Difference
If you want to achieve top results with your business, make sure you have a true point of difference. With so many ecommerce sites trading these days, you must find a way to stand out. Search for a unique selling proposition that relates to things such as the products you sell, the service you provide, the price point you charge at, where or how you sell your goods, which people or organizations you target or another factor.
To help you discover your point of difference, look at all your competitors. What do they offer, and how do they go about doing this? You must sell wares that are different in some way or have processes or points of focus that enable you to showcase your difference and get people’s attention.
Perhaps, for example, there’s a particular customer pain point you solve that others don’t, or you provide a benefit no one else does. If you don’t find this unique feature, you’ll end up having to continually discount your goods to try to get traction — something that can’t occur indefinitely.
Good Design Is Crucial
Of course, good design is also crucial. To grow your business, you need a website that’s scalable, so it can handle increasing traffic and orders as time goes on. It particularly needs to have a good navigation, so when shoppers arrive on your site they immediately work out what they must do to find the products or information they’re after and complete transactions.
Difficult sites with challenging navigation never do well since shoppers simply click away to another store if things get hard. To avoid this happening, have clear, large “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” buttons; ensure offers work as they should; that people don’t have to input a huge array of information to make a purchase; and that they can easily see your terms and conditions and prices when it comes to shipping, refunds and the like.
When considering design, get your ecommerce store to reflect your business brand. You don’t want any disconnect here. Also, ensure the site doesn’t look unprofessional or too cluttered or confusing. Keep things as simple as possible. This refers to the font you use and the color palette you choose, too. Break up large blocks of text into small chunks, and leave enough white space on each page that the eye doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Websites these days have to be mobile-friendly, too. More and more people are using their smartphones to not only browse for goods but also buy, so you need a site that works just as well on a small screen as it does on a large one.
Provide Multiple Payment Options
When you’re operating as a virtual merchant, it’s important to provide multiple payment options for customers. Today, clients expect to be able to pay by the payment type that suits them best at the time and will no longer be okay with limited choices.
To cater to this demand, accept numerous credit and debit cards. On top of the ubiquitous Visa and MasterCard, consider accepting American Express and Discover cards. Other transaction options worthwhile adding to your list are PayPal, Apple Pay, BPAY, direct deposit, gift cards and loyalty points.
It’s wise to use a well-known, reliable and secure third-party merchant services provider to handle these transactions, too. This way, customers will feel safe knowing their transactions are processed securely. At the same time, you’ll protect your business by not needing to store sensitive data. Credit card processors also have fraud checks in place, which can help to limit your exposure to fraudulent payments.