In the final quarter of 2017, $119 billion was spent in ecommerce stores across the States. And although that’s only 9% of total retail sales over the same period, online shopping is clearly here to stay.
Unfortunately, so are your competitors. They have a head start over you, with established customer bases and ecommerce portals whose teething troubles have already been ironed out. Building and launching a successful online store into this mature marketplace involves considering a number of factors.
Before we reveal our top tips, it’s worth noting Midphase offers an online store builder specifically designed for ecommerce customers. Our online store builder takes care of any coding and technical design elements. All you have to do is make a few selections from user-friendly menus, before clicking Publish. It’s possible to construct a store inside half an hour, harnessing a contemporary design optimized for desktop and mobile devices. We’ll even bundle in your choice of domain name, while site hosting and email are also included as standard.
These are Midphase’s tips for building a successful online store:
- Ensure the site looks crisp and clean. A good website won’t be cluttered by text or superfluous content. Put images in a slideshow rather than on one page, use unambiguous menu selections, and add a link to the customer’s basket on every page.
- Provide variety. Don’t just sell items in one color – sell them in every shade, shape, size and specification available to buy. Getting a customer onto your ecommerce site counts for nothing if you don’t stock the specific item they want.
- Tag items. If people want a particular type of clothing, why make them search through the categories you’ve decided to build the stock list around? Tags ensure people get the results they’re looking for quickly – which might just clinch a sale.
- Avoid running out of stock. Set up automated email notifications when stock levels reach a certain level, to ensure reorders are filed in good time. Drop shipping also helps sourcing items from multiple providers to maximize availability.
- Offer secure online payments. Customers will be wary about handing over credit card details to a site that doesn’t do everything it can to protect their data. High levels of payment security are standard in our online store builder platform.
- Accept multiple payment methods. You need to offer a variety of payment methods, in keeping with modern preferences. We’d recommend credit/debit cards alongside Stripe and PayPal, whose own security has steadily improved in recent years.
- Make payment terms clear. If you have different delivery rates for neighboring states, make this clear on product pages. If tax rates vary, ensure people aren’t surprised at the checkout. ‘Hidden’ costs are a leading cause of online checkout abandonment.
- Monitor activity and improve the site’s performance. Website development is a long-term process. Our online store builder has analytics reporting built in. You can check sales figures over different time periods, improve search engine optimization, etc.
- Promote it widely. Don’t assume customers will come to you. Set up social media accounts and post daily. Harvest customer email addresses for opt-in e-shots. Publish the site address on every email signature, business card and directory listing you can.
- Go the extra mile. Ecommerce customer service needs to be red hot. Send notification emails in response to order receipt, dispatch and delivery. Ensure customer service teams are accessible seven days a week, ready to resolve complaints or problems.
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