Let’s be real: a large number of e-commerce businesses end up failing. In fact, the rate is a staggering 97 percent. While the idea of starting an e-commerce business is the ultimate dream, many people make the mistake of venturing into it utterly unprepared with the challenges it comes with.
Online businesses come with unlimited reach; while you can target customers anywhere across the globe, you are also competing with companies anywhere around the world. E-commerce businesses, especially, need to go the extra mile to ensure their competitive advantage is sorted out, and they’re offering a unique experience to their target audience.
Hence, to survive in this highly competitive arena, it’s essential for e-commerce businesses to play every trick in the handbook to ensure they not only make ends meet but soar way beyond them.
It’s surprising how many fledgling e-commerce businesses fail to grasp the basics and, as a result, meet their end. Hence, here are seven tips that will definitely help you build a winning e-commerce website:
Consider Your Passion’s Business Potential
Some people start a business through a hobby or something they like doing in their free time and, in some cases, fail to realize the business potential it offers. By cashing in on your hobby and turning it into a functioning business, you can strategically build it to massive returns.
While the idea that it’s too small to sustain might cloud your judgment sometimes, keep thinking about how your hobby can potentially grow. Here’s how you can do it:
- Develop a business plan keeping business growth in mind. Once you have an idea in front of you, you can start working on it.
- Attain funding for your venture. Reach out to investors or banks. Capital is vital for any business, big or small.
- Have a marketing strategy in place. Start marketing your offerings as soon as you have it sorted out. Marketing is the best way to grow your business.
Choose a Good eCommerce Platform
As a business owner, you need to know your website inside out to ensure you’re able to see potential problems before they rear their ugly heads. You should explore different e-commerce platforms for your business since a well thought out decision is always better than one that’s made hastily. Think about what you need from a platform and which one best suits those needs.
While many factors will come into when choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business, there are some things that you should absolutely not compromise on, including security, scalability, integration of marketing tools, user-friendliness. Other factors that should also play a role in decision-making are:
- Customer service
- Mobile friendliness
Recognize Your Potential Customers
The primary rule of any business is to know your buyer persona. Without knowing your target audience, you will fail to create content that will appeal to them. For starters, you need to know their demographics, interests, habits, and purchase patterns. Many entrepreneurs overlook this step and generalize their approach, eventually wasting valuable resources and creating ineffective marketing strategies.
For starters, you can work with a coupon website to identify your target audience. However, this approach will only be useful if you have sorted out your target audience, business aims, and product/service offering.
It is at the buyer persona stage that you will determine what marketing resources to employ that will yield the highest return.
Here are a few extra steps you can take at this stage:
- Work with existing data
- Map the customer journey
- Interview existing and potential customers
- Conducting surveys
- Knowing your competition
Make The Checkout Process As Easy As Possible
Every business wants to increase its sales. However, many fail to identify how exactly the process can be made smoother for their target audience.
For starters, you can improve your checkout process and reduce the cart abandonment rate. If the checkout process is tedious, your customers will simply switch to another brand.
So, how do you simplify this process? Well, firstly, you can eliminate the need for users to create an account to purchase something and, hence, decrease the number of pages users have to cross through before making a purchase.
Here’s how you can help customers speed through the checkout process:
- Create an inexpensive shipping option that shows up on the final purchase page
- Enable auto-fill
- Save billing, shipping, and payment information, so customers don’t have to fill it out every time
- Offer multiple options, such as credit/debit cards and PayPal
- Add security features
- Add a progress bar
- Ensure the checkout process is mobile-friendly
- Ask for vital information only
Make Your Customers Your Biggest Supporters
Nothing pushes a potential customer to make a purchase more than a recommendation from someone who has already had a positive experience. Adding testimonials and reviews is a surefire way to increase sales from potential customers who are visiting your product page.
Once a customer writes a positive review, it must be shared. Customers are the most invaluable assets your business possesses, and they must be used wisely. Here’s how you can obtain a glowing review:
- Understand that every little action count so make an extra effort to create a positive impact
- Resolve customer complaints swiftly and ensure they know you care
- Offer rewards to loyal customers
Create An Outstanding Marketing Plan
You should branch out to multiple marketing channels to expand your reach as much as possible. While social media is a given, you should also reach out to magazines and blogs and keep your subscribers updated with the latest information through email newsletters.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to ensure your website is ranking high on Google. Incorporate widely-used keywords to your site to maximize organic traffic and ensure customers have no problem finding you.
Here’s how you can improve your ecommerce website’s marketing strategy:
- Build authority, so customers recognize your website as an authoritative and credible platform
- Create a winning content marketing strategy to build your reach and use targeted ad campaigns
- Localize branding and marketing according to different regions
- Stay up to date with industry trends and news
- Use cross-selling and up-selling effectively to maximize benefits
Keep Testing Your Website
Once you’ve successfully built a top-notch e-commerce website, you might think your work is done, but it isn’t. You need to keep testing your site regularly to ensure there are no unnecessary lags and, hence, are maximizing your CSAT score.
While there are various you can measure the effectiveness of your website, here are the basics of how you can do it:
- Security tests
- Transaction tests
- Usability tests
- A/B tests
- Performance tests
While the idea of setting up and running an e-commerce business may seem daunting, with the right approach and with the right tools in your belt, it’s entirely possible to build one that’s absolutely brilliant. Like everything else, all it takes is an investment in the right places.
Do you have any other tips on how to create a successful e-commerce website? Sound off in the comments below!