8 Ways to Set Your ECommerce Business Up For Success

eCommerce -

When many people think of starting an eCommerce business, they tend to believe it is a “set it and forget it” type of situation. There’s an inclination to think that all they have to do is set up an attractive website, and customers will just naturally gravitate to their homepage and start making purchases.

However, an eCommerce business requires just as much, if not more, legwork than a brick-and-mortar business to make it a success. You’ll want to identify your target demographic, solidify your supply chain, and incorporate proper SEO, among other steps. While there’s a lot to learn, start with these steps.

1. Learn Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is step number one. This is important because you can’t just post your products online, put out a general message, and hope you’ll get clicks. Instead, look at your products and research the people you believe will use them the most. Identify their characteristics, be it their age, gender, purchasing history, or location. Once you have that information, you can create targeted advertisements to share on the social media platform your target audience uses most. 

Consider using an advertising tool like Facebook Ads. This neat tool allows you to enter the age and interests of your target demographic, so you can send ads right to them. 

2. Get Your Site Mobile Ready

The next step is ensuring your eCommerce website is accessible on computers and mobile devices to boost ecommerce sales. Recent studies show that the average smartphone user clicks or taps their smartphone over 2,500 times per day. If they are interested in something you’re selling, then one of those taps might be to your store. 

For your website to be mobile friendly, it must be formatted  to a smaller screen so information and products are as easy to find as they are on a larger device. Your entire website doesn’t need to be on the mobile version, but you should at least have the pages that analytics indicate that people visit and stay on the most. The website needs to be without large text blocks so it’s easy to skim, but you should make the buttons large enough so people can easily click on them when using their phones. Once you’re up and running, regularly run mobile-testing to ensure that all functions work correctly and there aren’t any bugs.

3. Incorporate Automation

As your website grows, you’ll see that it has many moving parts that require constant attention unless you try automation. When we talk about eCommerce automation, the goal is to simplify your processes and eliminate repetitive actions that don’t require a human touch. When you take a lot of leg work out of running your eCommerce company, you can boost the efficiency of your employees, and you’ll also reduce human errors.

So, where can you add automation to your small but growing business? Start with automating your emails so they automatically send out based on certain situations. So, you could have an email sent when a customer abandons a cart or when you get dissatisfied reviews so you can placate those users. You can also automate your customer support with chatbots that can help customers with inquiries and questions.

4. Build A Strong Supply Chain

The hope is that your eCommerce business will pick up steam, and you’ll start bringing in hundreds of customers per day. Before you get to that point, it’s wise to strengthen your supply chain because you never know when there could be an economic crisis or a product source could dry up when you need it the most. 

Start by diversifying your suppliers so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. That way, if one vendor falls through, you can still get your products. You should also monitor your inventory. Closely spot-check potential shortages so you can order ahead of time and keep your products full and ready to go. Also, stay abreast of vendor lead times so you don’t promise that an item is available to ship right away when there’s really a delay at the supplier.

5. Properly Train Your Employees

Just like at physical companies, your eCommerce business can only truly thrive if you have a properly trained team. Everyone that works for your company, from the order takers and customer service reps to the social media managers, must be provided with proper expectations for healthy job performance. If your web designers fall short and your website goes down one day, you could lose a lot of money. If a manager sends out an unsolicited tweet that tarnishes your website’s reputation, it can be hard to come back from that.

So, you must prioritize training and keep it up throughout the year. Constantly educate your employees on the newest tactics necessary to keep your eCommerce site running smoothly. Provide annual reviews so you can praise your team for what they do right and provide areas of improvement so they continue to give 100%.

6. SEO Is Key

There are a lot of eCommerce websites out there these days, so even if you think you’re in a niche market, you still likely have a decent amount of competition. You need to use search engine optimization to reach the top of Google and Bing so customers see you first. To achieve this goal, implement some of the tried and true strategies of solid SEO, including making the website easy to navigate, adding an accurate meta description, and using smart keywords that highlight the products that customers won’t find everywhere else.

Many people don’t realize that a big part of SEO is ensuring that your website is in peak condition and can be easily navigated. Google takes web speed very seriously. If the algorithm detects that customers will have difficulty shopping on your website, that alone could drop you in the search engine rankings. Increase the speed of your website by constantly testing all pages and links and keeping large graphics and long videos to a minimum.

7. Analyze Shopper Behavior

The goal should be to always make your company improve year after year, and you can do that by constantly researching and analyzing shopper behavior. You likely have many pages on your website full of products and services. However, how often are customers navigating to those pages, and are they buying what you’re selling? There are many website analytics tools you can try, like Google Analytics. Use them to dive deep and determine the amount of time your customers spend on each page, how long they interact with different products, and more. 

Once you find the answers, prioritize those products by putting them on the front page or making them the subject of your upcoming marketing push.

8. Add A Reviews Page

Some sources say that 95% of customers read and rely on the reviews of fellow customers to make their purchasing decisions, so take advantage of that fact. Whenever a customer provides positive feedback, put it on a dedicated reviews page that all visitors can see. If a customer provides a poor review, make it a point to respond publicly and provide a resolution. Customers who see that may shop with you based on the fact that they know they will be taken care of if a purchase goes south. 

It’s true that setting up a successful eCommerce business takes more than just a few clicks and a working home page. You need to constantly look for new ways to improve if you want to find true success and become the next major retailer.

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