Apparently, one of the biggest benefits the Internet has brought into the world (and even our lives) today is the ease of shopping online. You can see stuff you like online today, buy it and have it delivered to your doorstep -- without you having to step out of your house.
In the same vein, you can also decide to start an ecommerce business and sell to people -- regardless of where they are.
If starting an ecommerce business is something you’re looking into, here are five important things you need to do:
1. Have checkout process at PayPal.
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PayPal is pretty much the quickest and easiest payment transfer solution on the Internet today. You don’t have to fill any form unless you’re using it for the first time and a sizeable number of people accept it as their preferred payment method.
However, as 56 percent of people -- according to data from Milo -- expect that you provide a variety of payment options, you want to make sure that your other payment options are as easy and quick as (or nearly as) PayPal.
When I asked Eyal Lasker,Senior Product Manager of Customer Experience at Klarna, about how checkout processes affect overall shopping experience online, he said:
“…there are these long forms to complete with questions that have nothing to do with the action you’re taking, a complete context switch and loss of focus. When I checkout in an offline store, the cashier doesn’t ask me for my mother’s maiden name or my first pet’s name; so why do so when I'm buying online? I want to pay and get it over with, I don't want to create an account or type a password -- twice. It should be quick and effective.”
2. Make SEO one of your priorities.
In a post on Kissmetrics,Yotpo’s Content and Social Marketing Manager, Justin Bullion mentioned that he analyzed more than 18,000 ecommerce sites in Yotpo’s database and found that 30.5 percent of all the traffic to those sites was coming from organic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
If the average ecommerce business gets 30.5 percent of its traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines, then search should be taken seriously. Get backlinks from reputable sites, use targeted keywords on your site, and so on. Make SEO a priority.
3. Get a social media manager.
Your presence on social media means a lot. It helps to build a strong reputation, rapport with customers/prospects, gain traffic, and so on. But you need an expert to manage your social channels so you can focus your time and resources on growing your business. You need a social media manager.
Yes, once in a while, you can head over to your company’s Twitter and post something. But that can’t be all the time. You need to get a social media manager who will spend hours on your social channels, and bring the best out of it.
4. Tread carefully on list prices.
You might want to consider quoting your products below list prices to entice customers. That’s a great idea. But make sure you’re not trying to use that to mislead anyone into buying your stuff. According to a post on WIRED, Overstock.com recently was fined $6.8 million for "false advertising".
In a recent article on Upstream Commerce (a retail intelligence company), Naomi Shapiro listed some of the common charges that many retailers are taken to court for:
- Referring to list prices that never existed;
- Citing prices (for comparison) that virtually no-one is selling at;
- Selling goods at "rack" or "outlet" stores that customers thought were from the main store, when, in fact, the products were exclusively manufactured for sale in the outlet stores.
5. Pick a simple business name.
Last but not least, you definitely don’t want your business to carry a name that’s hard to remember. When you pick a name that is simple, it’s easy to stick to people’s minds. In a post on The Next Web, Victor Ijidola puts it this way: When a business name is simple, over time it becomes memorable, easily marketable and ultimately, strong.
In another article, Alexandra Watkins -- the chief innovation officer of Eat My Words -- says "Any time you have to explain your name or apologize for it, you're just devaluing your brand." In other words, your business name should be so simple that people understand what it means without you having to explain it.
There are several other things to consider when it comes to starting an ecommerce business, but the few tips above are highly important. When you get them right, you’re mostly on your way to establishing a strong and successful ecommerce business.