Smoother-Running E-Commerce

10 Tips for a Smoother-Running E-Commerce Business

Competition is fierce in the world of e-commerce. International online retailers such as Amazon and giants with physical and online stores (e.g., Walmart) can kill a small business. After all, they’re probably able to offer more competitive prices. Anything you can do to set your business apart from the rest, you should do. Even the tiniest change could make a big difference in your bottom line. Whether you’re new to the e-commerce game or want to find ways to increase sales, following these tips could do wonders for your bottom line.

1. Focus on Success

Even if your e-commerce business is just a hobby at this point, try treating it like it’s a highly successful business. When you can visualize the ultimate goal of your business, the future is now. Focus on its success and keep growing it.

2. Choose Software Wisely

In a digital age, the software you use comprises much of the foundation of your business. You should evaluate your software regularly to make sure that it’s still working for you. Security is a significant factor to watch. Also, your software should be user-friendly, include useful marketing tools and be scalable. Make a list of your business’s needs to find just the right software solution. The software doesn’t always come cheap, but it’s well worth the investment to have the solution that best suits your particular business needs. You can check into options like accounts receivable factoring to help finance these necessary expenses.

3. Simplify

Clutter only creates confusion. Make sure that your e-commerce site has a simple, clean look. When a visitor first looks at your homepage, the main focus should be your call-to-action button, which should be spotted in less than three seconds by a visitor. A tidy looking site will keep your visitors from becoming overwhelmed and make it easier for them to make a purchase.

Each of your products needs a concise, informational product description, explaining how it works and its key benefits. Keep in mind that in a physical store, they would at least be able to read the product packaging.

4. Allow Searching 

Including a search bar will help your visitors find what they’re looking for quickly, especially if you have a lot of different products for sale. You can add additional filters (e.g., color, gender, price, brand, etc.) to narrow their search even more. Spending the time and effort to tag every item on your e-commerce site accurately will be well worth it; no one is going to be patient enough to sift through possibly thousands of products searching for one particular item.

5. Optimize for Mobile

These days, many people use their smartphones more than their computers for web browsing, email, shopping, and so on. Make sure to optimize your e-commerce site for mobile devices. You can even go one step further and develop an app for your store. A customer’s purchase will be just a few clicks away, and you may end up becoming their go-to e-store.

6. Find Your Customers

Knowing your target audience and where to find them is the first step to getting your marketing strategy off the ground. You can waste a lot of time and money on marketing to “fish” who aren’t likely to bite. Figure out who your target audience is and where they spend their time. They could be heavy users of one or two social media platforms, but not others. They might frequent a couple of deal sites or other websites, or read particular publications in which you could advertise for more success.

7. Benefit From Reviews

Word-of-mouth can be the most impactful type of advertising at your disposal, so you should leverage it as much as possible. Make sure that your website and social media pages will allow people to post reviews. You can gather positive reviews and testimonials and feature them online.

8. Create a Fluid Checkout

Some online retail sites make you wonder if they really even want your money because the checkout process is so complicated. Your checkout should be quick and easy. One way to achieve a frictionless checkout is by limiting the number of screens a customer has to navigate to finalize the transaction. Allowing auto-fill form fields is also great for making a smoother sale. After all, your only requirement is the customer’s billing and shipping information.

9. Offer Free Shipping

Research has shown that the most common reason potential buyers abandon their shopping cart is because of the emergence of unexpected charges during the checkout process. Suppose they see a reasonable price listed on one of your products that excites them to reach for their wallet. They begin to check out and discover that they’re going to have to pay high shipping costs. In that case, it could be a deal-breaker. If you have to increase your product prices a bit to cover your shipping costs, people will be more likely to buy if you offer free shipping.

As much as you would love for everyone who visits your site to create an account, requiring it could lose some sales. Suppose they’re only shopping your store for a gift for someone else. In that case, they may not personally have an interest in your products for themselves, so they have no use for promotional emails from your company. Some customers who love your product may not want to create a profile because they don’t want their inbox filling up with more promotional mail.

10. Provide Payment Options

Provide as many payment options as possible. In addition to all the major credit cards, it’s very beneficial to offer payment options such as Paypal, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay. Also, don’t forget payment gateways like American Express, Visa Checkout and Masterpass. Some of these options have higher transaction fees than you’d like, but you’re likely to gain enough additional sales to make them worth it.

Your e-commerce business, at the least, is generating extra income for you. Whether it’s just a hobby or your full-time career, you should strive every day to reach your goals. It’ll take some time and effort and may even require you to hire someone to design your website. Consider it a small investment that’ll pay dividends over time.