With 79 percent of American consumers shopping online, now is a prime time to be running an e-commerce website. However, with so many competing sites in the market, it’s important to make yours stand out. And this success starts with getting back to basics and prioritizing quality.
While the perfect e-commerce formula is changing, there are some ways that new and existing business owners can take their online store to the next level. This guide will outline some essential tips for running a successful e-commerce business. With the right approach, you can improve your user interface, attract buyers, and turn them into returning customers.
Know your niche
Operating a lucrative e-commerce website is all about finding your niche. However, this can be tricky. Narrowing your niche too much can greatly reduce your potential number of customers. And widening too much can cause you to get lost in the search results. So, it’s important to find something in the middle.
For example, you might focus on acquiring liquidation pallets to sell online, attracting customers who are looking for popular retail items at a lower price. You could also create a niche like organic children’s clothing or pet grooming supplies. Knowing who your target customer is and what they are looking for can help you narrow your niche just enough.
Find the right software
Software is everything when operating a business online. You want to make sure that your payment processing and accounting tools are up to industry standard, allowing you to run your business smoothly. A functional asset tracking system can help you centralize your IT, which can be especially useful if you don’t have an in-house staff. Make sure that your web hosting is also up-to-date, since you might want to switch to more efficient platforms when they are released.
Optimize your listings
You likely know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any website, but optimizing an e-commerce site might take more detail work. Be sure that each of your online listings is optimized with keywords. You should also optimize the meta titles and descriptions, since these components will help potential customers find you online. The file names of your photos can also contain keywords, optimizing your site even more.
Keep the buying process simple
Today’s online shoppers want a clean, simple, and convenient buying experience. Potential buyers will likely click away from your site if the navigation and buying experience is too clunky. Keep your menu as simple as possible, and include a search bar in your web design. You should also reduce the number of screens that the buyer needs to click through in order to purchase a product. Avoid asking for a login or security questions, simply requiring their billing information and shipping address. You might risk abandoned carts with too many more steps.
Prioritize customer service
Since you don’t have a retail location, you won’t have the opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face. Remember that your customers will not have this luxury, either, so you need to make it easy for them to get in touch with you. Amp up your customer service by responding to emails promptly and including an online chatbox. And if you have the means, include a phone number whenever possible. Even if you are running your business alone or with a small team, attending to customer needs will turn buyers into repeat site visitors.
Keep in mind that e-commerce practices are constantly changing. New technology, shifts in buyer behavior, and e-commerce giants are always shifting the online shopping landscape. It is your role to keep up with these best practices and determine which work in your favor. Over time, you will find a plan that works for you and your customers.