The world of e-commerce is a rapidly developing one that has pushed some traditional business models aside. However, some fall under the false assumption that just because a business operates on the Internet, it is efficient and thorough. Plenty of e-commerce companies end up crumbling to the ground and closing their doors, so understanding the top practices for operating such a business is crucial.
Although many people love to shop on the Internet, that doesn’t mean they like to conduct all of their communication through the Internet. On your website, let individuals know what the phone number is, and ensure that a live person is available to chat and handle concerns. You should also consider a chat feature on the page. Have certain hours each day where customers can connect with a representative through an online chat forum, and they will have the ability to get all of their questions answered in an efficient manner.
Little shops that operate on the street corner and major grocery stores that all of the residents in a town love do not need to worry about staying open past the prime of the day. However, as a company that serves individuals from around the country, or even all over the globe, you will likely need to extend your hours. Businesses on the East Coast, for example, may want to consider staying open until 8 p.m. so they can service the needs of customers on the Pacific Coast.
Revised shipping practices
Some people stay away from online shopping because they are afraid their products are going to take too long to arrive. Consider setting up automated shipping through inventory management software so goods can be on their way no matter what time of the day or night someone places an order. Also, find out how much it would cost to expedite the speed at which goods are sent or how to provide a packaged deal where customers receive free expedited shipping on select products for a certain period of time. The more quickly customers can receive their products, the more likely they are to be intrigued about using your company.
Features for returning customers
Getting people to come to your website and shop in the first place is a major goal, but you also want to turn these individuals into repeat customers. Give shoppers the option to save their information so they can easily make purchases the next time they come to the site. Of course, you need to make sure the site is safe and secure, especially if they are storing personal details like their credit card information. You might also want the site to make recommendations for customers based on their recent purchases.
Clear and focused checkout process
Whether the customers are on your site for the first time or have returned for a second round of a product, they can quickly become frustrated if your website is convoluted. Some individuals, no matter how much you encourage them to signup for the site, are going to want to remain anonymous. To stay ahead of the competition, you really need to give people the choice to checkout as a guest. Furthermore, they should not need to click a bunch of different buttons to simply purchase their products. Keep it simple, and you may find that you have greater levels of success.
Offer online promotions and sales
Even if you have a traditional storefront where people come to shop, consider offering some promotions for online customers only. When you are trying to build up an online storefront, making this avenue of shopping look as appealing as possible is important. You might offer a coupon code that can be used on the Internet or promote a special sale for a certain day between set hours. Consider using an email marketing campaign to distribute your coupons.
Incorporating these practices into your online business campaign can help to make a significant difference in your success rate.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in the Southern California area and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s most likely with his beautiful wife and three children. He may be reached at email@example.com.