Running an e-commerce business takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are many challenging steps and important decisions that need to be made along the way.
Before starting an ecommerce business, you must first decide which e-commerce solutions are right for you. It’s important to be knowledgeable about your options before diving into the process.
What are e-commerce solutions?
There are two main types of e-commerce solutions. A hosted ecommerce solutions company is a service where the providers take care of all the technical elements of managing a website. This option may be best suited to someone who hasn’t got a lot of technical knowledge. The service provides you with an easy framework to work within immediately so that you can start building your website. Prominent examples of e-commerce solution services include Shopify and BigCommerce. A self-hosted e-commerce solution is more advanced and requires hands-on experience with the technical set up.
Once you’ve determined which e-commerce solutions best suit your needs, you can begin the process of creating your e-commerce website. Here are 5 things that every e-commerce business should have.
The content on your website should be easy to read, rich in information and reliable. Most importantly, it needs to be relevant and useful to your potential customers. For instance, if your e-commerce website is selling fishing supplies, then it would be smart to include detailed product descriptions, as well as additional contents that elaborate on the topic of fishing. The aim is for customers to resonate with you so that you can develop a following and maintain steady sales.
The type of marketing techniques you use will depend on what your e-commerce business is centred on and who your target audience is. For example, a travel booking website may find it most effective to advertise their business in in-flight magazines, since many of these readers may be interested in that service. A jewelry or clothing store, on the other hand, may find it more useful to market through social media platforms like Pinterest, because their audience demographic may be most active on these networks. Doing proper will help you figure out the most effective marketing strategy for your business.
An Office or Warehouse
Even though you’re running an online business, you will still need an office space or warehouse to store goods and get work done. This will help you manage your business smoothly and efficiently.
Shipping containers make ideal warehouses and offices. The steel structures are most often used for the transportation of heavy cargo, but they have the flexibility to be modified for a wide variety of purposes. Many e-commerce business owners view shipping containers as a great alternative to renting out an expensive traditional building space. Shipping containers are portable, durable and are probably the safest method to storing valuable goods.
Most e-commerce businesses have an abundance of responsibilities related to web development, accounting, marketing, and manufacturing. As your e-commerce business begins to grow, it will become very difficult to manage all of these tasks on your own. At a certain point, you will need to consider hiring help.
When it comes time to hiring staff, the first step is to determine what specific jobs you need to delegate. This will help you define what qualifications you are looking for, the type of contract you will offer, and the amount you will pay. Many start-up e-commerce businesses tend to to independent contractors and outside firms. This is a cheaper and easier option than hiring full-time employees. Whether you’re outsourcing work or hiring employees in-house, always make sure to do proper background checks and reference checks first.
The packaging, delivery and presentation of goods all contribute to the online shopping experience. It’s essential that your business has a well thought out operational plan in place so that your customers’ expectations are met. You will need to find a reputable company to assist you with the safe transportation of goods.
Determining the right shipping strategy for charging customers is also an important step. The main options here are to charge a flat fee, charge real-time shipping rates, or offer free shipping. The challenge will be to figure out a solution that is both attractive to customers yet doesn’t make a big dent in your margins.
The success of your e-commerce business all comes down to customer satisfaction. After all, you need happy customers to drive further sales and maintain a positive reputation.
Providing good customer support is central to increasing customer satisfaction. If customers have a query or concern, it’s crucial that there is someone at your end they can contact at any time throughout the day, whether it’s online or over the phone. Implementing a live chat application is a particularly effective strategy . This feature provides customers with a fast, convenient and efficient way to contact your team, and adds a nice personal touch to your e-commerce website.
Social media has also become a prominent way for businesses to communicate with customers. Popular platforms such as Twitter and Facebook provide an excellent front line for customer queries. These tools allow companies to take a more proactive approach to engaging and interacting with customers. E-commerce companies can now use their social media pages to ask customers questions or invite a discussion about a particular product.
The competition of e-commerce businesses is only getting stronger. It is, therefore, more important than ever to get the user experience right and stand out above the rest. Putting in the extra time, money and effort to the five factors mentioned above will help you get there.
About the Author:
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand, who is passionate about business and technology. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her checking out the latest business trends or reading about upcoming tech products and projects. Find more of her work .