The business world is always changing, but in the past few years, new technologies have made eCommerce and online stores more popular than ever. This allows many independent entrepreneurs to follow their dreams by bringing a personal touch to their small business, as well as the option of building a loyal customer base should future success lead to a brick and mortar business. That being said, no matter the size of a company, the basic strategies for overall company longevity remain the same. Here, we will look at the key components in making your business an effective one.
First Steps for Success
Let’s take as our example a startup eCommerce business, just starting out and taking those first steps into the marketplace. If you’re running any form of the online retail site, then you’ll need to begin with an organized structure. Getting organized in your strategy is crucial and is the best practice for making key decisions in moving forward. As a seller, this is the time to look closely at your budget and decide on your future vendors and suppliers. Studying examples of successful eCommerce vendors can teach you a lot in terms of customer outreach, merchant exposure, and the most effective means of using both social media, as well as your official website product page, in getting your business more public awareness.
If you’re launching your own online shop, then the odds are you’re also an experienced shopper. The best way to draw customers is to consider their needs and budget. When you’re buying IP address and domain space, designing your website, social media profiles, and networking with third-party retail apps for mobile devices (such as Shopify, Birchbox, or other similar subscription-based services for buyers to purchase items on an ongoing basis), put yourself in the place of a potential customer. Be creative and ask yourself what conveniences would draw your attention and allow that to help in designing your site’s homepage, product pages, and overall media outreach.
Competition and Security
Whether you’re running a strictly eCommerce website or planning a business model that could include a physical location, you’ll have to consider your competition and potential for cybersecurity from the very beginning. Although customers may benefit from healthy competition, it’s also an unfortunate fact that B2B eCommerce and the convenience of an eCommerce store also make conveniences for hackers. Take time to study your competitors and learn from what they do right, and what they do wrong. This can also help immensely when you’re choosing what products to stock and to emphasize on your product pages.
An online retail store is much more likely to suffer theft of both product and intellectual property than a physical store, and upping your firewall security and overall cybersecurity can have you from a lot of heartaches and financial loss. As you’re starting out, keep in mind that the best practices for corporate security call for you to license industrial-strength cybersecurity protocols on your eCommerce site, especially when you deal with sensitive data and customers’ financial records. Your customer base demands that their information remains safe with every transaction and, in the long run, this will lead to customer loyalty.
Customer Service and Consistency
You may be running an eCommerce platform, but the need for consistently great customer service is as important as in any other retail or service industry. Again, thinking like new customers from your own target audience can go a long way towards dictating the products and services you should offer.
Like any online retailer, you should make it a point to vary your selection, offer the best deals (that are still geared towards your profit), and provide such add-ons as a customer loyalty program and free shipping when a certain amount has been spent. If your online business could also benefit from cross-promoting with other, interrelated businesses, be sure to inform your customers of the professional relationship you have with other like-minded entrepreneurs. It always helps to get recommended by other businesses, and your own customers will be grateful if your own referrals as a business owner lead them towards better services and customer experiences in the future.