Competition is everywhere. In sports, in politics; and especially in business. Ecommerce has perhaps the largest concentration of competitiveness in the world right now. That is because the Internet has given everyone the power to start their own online store.
With the tools available on the World Wide Web, hundreds of people quit their jobs daily to pursue a career in the self-employed ecommerce sector. Some are successful. Many are not. Most are asking for their old jobs back within a month.
So how do you keep from having to return to your old job; or worse, how to you prevent having to spend endless hours on the Internet searching for a new job?
If you are entering the world of ecommerce, and you want to remain in the business, then you have to set yourself up for success from the start. You can’t afford to make things up as you go. You have got to get it right from the start!
Below, we discuss some of the ways you can set yourself up for success. Implement these during your start-up phase so you can focus on marketing your business after you are established.
It all begins here. If your website looks bad, you just lost any sales your potential customers were going to make. You need a great layout for your online store with easy to find navigation buttons and categories. Your site needs to appear clean, uncluttered, and professional.
You can make use of one of hundreds of templates available to design your site. They are pre-designed from a layout standpoint. You simply need to edit the button words and pictures. This is the equivalent to plug-n-play. You should have no problem getting your site up and running with one of these.
If you can afford to do so, you can hire a professional web designer to create your store for you. This would give you a truly unique design, something not every independent ecommerce retailer can say. This would help you establish your brand among the thousands of competitors you will be faced with.
If you go the route of using a template, put some extra thought into not only the placement of images, buttons, and written content, but also the colors you use. Websites that use certain colors in one part of the world may help generate excitement, making them more appealing, but they may create a different sentiment in another region.
White in America may be the color of weddings and would work great as a site selling accessories for wedding ceremonies. In Japan however, white is the color of death. If you are selling your products internationally, then you will need to be aware of color meanings in the different areas you will be servicing.
If you want your online store to be successful, you need to build your credibility. One way to differentiate yourself from all of the thousands of other ecommerce sites is to include your contact information on the site. There are so many individuals creating their own online stores daily. Not all of them include a section for this on their sites. They want to make the money but not fix any issues that may arise. You need to do the opposite.
To establish yourself as a reputable business, you absolutely must have your business contact information where customers can see. Notice that says “business contact information.” You do not have to give out your personal phone number. You will want to set one up specifically for your online store. You can have calls forwarded to your personal phone during business hours but then you can send it straight to voicemail for after hours calls.
The same goes for the address. Do not give out your home address, even though you are probably working out of your home. Instead, set up an address with the post office. Not a P.O.Box – these do not speak to credibility – but instead ask for a physical address. The post office is able to accommodate this request.
You may not realize it, but this section of a website is one of the most crucial. Not from a sales perspective, this section instead adds to your business’s overall credibility. So many sites are started up by people throwing a site together and rushing into business without giving any thought to their actual business. This is recognized by consumers; this leads back to the design aspect of your website.
Those consumers will not only want some forethought put into your business – they want to know you intend to be in business a year from now – they will also want to know more about you. If you give them this information, if you tell them who you are and why you got into the ecommerce industry, then they will connect with you. If you, as a small business, are able to connect with consumers, then you will have an easier time converting them into customers, an easier time converting window shopping into sales.
The more diverse you can be with your payment options, the better your sales will be. Obviously, any form of payment you accept on your online store will require electronic processing. Shop around for the best pricing among the various payment processing companies. Each one has their own transaction fee and additional services they offer. Choose the one that fits your business the best.
Credit cards are the preferred method of doing business online, but they are not the only one. Money transfer services like PayPal (the largest one in the world) offer payment solutions for all sizes of businesses. Their transaction fees may be comparable to traditional credit card processing services in many cases, but in others they could differ vastly.
Having multiple payment options makes your online store more enticing to customers who lean towards one type of payment over another. The more flexibility you offer, the more customers you can convince to make a purchase from you.