Entrepreneurs starting ecommerce businesses have access to very powerful technology at relatively low cost. The right combination of inventory, logistics and customer relationship management solutions can set any internet-based business on the path to success. Going the extra mile through offline communication, such as sending business thank you cards, can help a seller stand out. This guide breaks the startup process down to three steps necessary to establish any ecommerce operation.
- Find Your Niche
Practically any good or service you can imagine is available somewhere on the web. An aspiring ecommerce entrepreneur should look for and fill a unique niche. This area of focus may be vertical or horizontal. For instance, a seller could specialize in stocking a range of products made by one or a few selected brands or limited stock from many brands.
Creators who sell their own products may face unique challenges. Fee structures on online marketplaces may make hosting an ecommerce website look like a better long-term idea. Search engine optimization and advertising campaigns will be necessary to draw traffic toward an independent web store.
- Build a Presence
Maintaining a website and presence on major social media platforms and third-party marketplaces can increase the online visibility of a business. The easier it is for customers to view products and seller ratings, the more likely an ecommerce merchant is to succeed. Fulfilling orders correctly in a timely manner can lead to positive reviews and increase the trust buyers place in a seller.
A wide variety of ecommerce tools are available to business owners and employees. Free, low-cost or more expensive solutions are available for adding store functionality to any commercial website. Customer relationship management software empowers ecommerce entrepreneurs to manage customer relationships across platforms and supports online and offline marketing and messaging campaigns, such as sending out business thank you cards.
For the most effective results, be sure to directly engage with customers on the platforms they use most. Ecommerce sellers should be ready to answer questions and provide information to customers to secure more sales.
- Smooth Out Friction
A business should make it as easy as possible for customers to make purchases. Numerous studies have found that reducing sources of friction in the shopping and checkout process leads to more conversions and higher order amounts. One of the most effective ways to cut down on confusion is to ensure that all of the information on a business’s website and third-party profiles is accurate and consistent.
Ecommerce sellers also bear responsibility for secure payment processing. Sellers should strive to simplify the front-end of transactions and be sure to seek customer consent to stay in contact about orders and special offers. These measures make the front-end experience seamless and can securely provide all of the data necessary for a smarter approach to marketing.
Order fulfillment is another area where friction can enter into customer relations. Top sellers often do the logistical legwork necessary to negotiate free or reduced shipping rates. It is also possible to increase customer satisfaction by going above and beyond industry standards when it comes to packaging or any other aspect of fulfillment.
Determining which stock or services to market through your own website or any third-party platform is the first step toward starting out in ecommerce. Growing a presence on the web can organically raise the rank of a website in search engine results pages. Pay-per-click advertising is a more immediate way to gain first-page visibility. Owners of ecommerce businesses should strive to provide consistently helpful and timely responses to customer inquiries and real-world feedback in the form of business thank you cards to earn a reputation as a trusted seller.