This is a day in age where society opens up a laptop, and not a phone book, when they need to buy or find something.
If you have a store and products that you are proud of, then you have probably considered developing an online store or installing an eCommerce plugin to your pre-existing site. Depending on the size of the inventory, the popularity of the products, and transaction frequencies, different eCommerce builders accommodate different businesses. The most popular of these are BigCommerce, Shopify, and Wix.com.
Whatever the case, there are several helpful tips from expert online entrepreneurs that should not be overlooked.
- Make it as functional as it is attractive. This may seem like a no-brainer, but despite how well-designed and beautiful a website is, customers will not know how they can buy, or even if they can buy items, unless it is explicit. Having buttons like “Buy Now” and “Shop Now” indicate products are for sale on the site. Many developers are known to leave this out. Ensure that all items pictured are indeed available for purchase; always keeping an eye on your inventory. Be sure to check that no links are broken, and that customers can easily access their shopping cart.
- But while we’re on that, ensure that it is, indeed, visually pleasing. Upon the first visit to a website, most people decide in the first few seconds whether they like it or not. From there, it does not take long to make a decision to spend their money there. Make sure that the design complements the overall motif of the company. This creates credibility and looks professional.
- Get an SSL Certificate. Customers are not going to shop somewhere they do not trust. eCommerce websites have to show more credibility than ordinary sites because they are responsible for protecting several names, addresses, and credit card numbers. SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, and it more or less protects sensitive information using small data files and a cryptographic key to bind them to a server. It is not difficult to get this certification, there are several creditable ones that ensure the utmost protection that can be found here.
- Keep up with the flow. Does your shipping take forever? Is your inventory consistently lacking where there is a high demand? Many developers have shipping modules you can purchase to add to your site which mails the product to the customer for you. However, many independent entrepreneurs like making shipping free for their customers to increase their value. Keep track of the time of year your transactions really appear to spike, and stock accordingly. Take note of certain items that are getting bought out right away because of their popularity. If you fail to be accommodating, you can say hello to dissatisfied reviews and kiss that customer goodbye.
- Sales, promotions, deals. Both historical and sociological studies have proven the lengths individuals will go to just to snag a deal. If you would ever like to see a real-life representation of this, just YouTube “Black Friday Shopping”, or go to the zoo during feeding time, because they both look pretty much the same.
The wonderful part about having eCommerce is the enormous amount of convenience involved. Think about the sales magazines stores like Target and Shopko put out almost every week. You have to physically drive to that location in order to take advantage of the sale. With online shopping, what do you have to lose, except for a few minutes in front of a mobile device or computer screen? Promotions via internet are a win-win. There’s a higher chance they’ll at least peruse the website simply because it is convenient for them, and the chances of there being a transaction only improve from there. Using social media to drive these promotions make it even easier if you include a link to your website in the post. However, do NOT spam your fellow cyber-friends. If all of your posts are ads, you will watch your number of followers go down. As with anything in sales, follow the 80/20 principle: 80% personable, non-work related content, and 20% promotion.
- Put yourself out there. Speaking of social media, it is easy as pie to gain attention on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. These avenues include attaching a photo, a brief description, clever caption, and a link. Certain Etsy store owners even have special cameras or backgrounds in their home or office to capture the perfect eye-catching image of the product.
This is also the best time to show what sets you apart from the rest. Why would someone choose what you are selling over something else? While you market, it is mandatory to simultaneously display your value. Is it hand-made? Is it the best possible price? Is it environmentally friendly? Think about what makes your company unique, and sell it. This is primarily why eCommerce websites are recommended to have a blog.
Be original and tell your story. Do not be afraid to stand out.