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Published On: Mon, Jun 27th, 2016

Five Tips for Establishing a Successful E-Commerce Business

Few industries are growing as rapidly or as dependable as e-commerce. According to an early 2016 report from the website InternetRetailer.com, e-commerce grew by 14.6%. That number is impressive even in a vacuum, but considering it in the context of the overall retail industry, it becomes even more striking. Indeed, e-commerce’s growth accounted for one-third of all retail sales growth in 2015—suggesting that selling online might someday even become the predominant form of retail.

Needless to say, entrepreneurs looking to find a niche and stake their claim would be smart to consider e-commerce. With a good product and reliable customer service, your brand could be a part of another 15% growth year for e-commerce in 2016. The question is, how can you launch your e-commerce business and establish a successful online store without hitting any of the pitfalls that are common for new e-commerce companies?

donkeyhotey  donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

Below, we have compiled five tips for establishing a successful e-commerce business on your first try. From the foundational principles like setting up a website to the ongoing business strategy to focusing on superior customer service, these five tips will help you to lay the groundwork for a profitable retail venture online.

 

 

  • Focus on the Website: Your website—and specifically your online store—is the heart, soul, body, and mind of your e-commerce business. Without a good online store, you might as well just skip the launch and go right to the “going out of business” post on Facebook. Your store needs to look great, offer quick load times, have a killer user interface, and be both easy to navigate and entertaining to browse. Take your time perfecting the site and invest in proper testing, from focus groups to A/B trials. Only when you’ve tested everything and ensured a fully functional and easy-to-use online store are you ready to launch your business.

  • Offer Free Returns and Shipping: E-commerce is growing, but some consumers are still hesitant to shop online. Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t dead because there is still something to be said for being able to see, touch, test, or try on a product before you buy it. As an online retailer, there is nothing you can realistically do to overcome this shortcoming. Consumers who shop online either need to know what they want to such an extent that they don’t need to see it or test it out, or they need to be willing to take a leap of faith on a product based on pictures and descriptions. What your e-commerce business can do to win over the more skeptical customers out there is to offer free shipping and free, no-hassle returns or exchanges. These proposals might seem like they would cost your business money, but they can actually improve your profits by encouraging more people to take the plunge and place orders through your store.

  • Allow for Customer Reviews: Another thing you can do to give your prospective buyers additional peace of mind is to allow for customer reviews on your product pages. Again, this strategy might seem like something that could hinder rather than help your business. After all, what if the reviews are negative and drive customers away from your store rather than getting them to place their orders? The fact is, though, that if your products are inferior, word of mouth will eventually kill you anyway. As long as you are offering quality products, allowing for customer reviews will help you make more sales—simply because most people trust their peers more than they trust a product description clearly slanted for marketing purposes. Having customer reviews, then, can help remove the element of doubt from the minds of your prospective buyers.

 

 

 

  • Choose a Great Warehouse, Distribution, and Order Fulfillment Service: Free shipping isn’t worth much if it takes you four weeks to deliver an order. Hiring an order fulfillment service takes some of the complexity out of shipping. Your fulfillment service will manage and store your inventory and handle shipping and distribution when orders come in. The result? Orders that go out in a timely fashion, without you having to run to the post office a dozen times a week or hire an employee to handle the extra work. There’s a chance your business won’t need fulfillment right away, but it’s a good idea to have a fulfillment service in mind for when demand starts to pick up, and you have to start thinking about scaling up to the next level. Visit a website like Materialogic.com to see what an order fulfillment service should entail.

 
These steps aren’t the only ones necessary to find success in the e-commerce realm. As we mentioned above, having a great product is as vital as any of these strategies. However, by keeping these tips in mind as you build and launch your e-commerce venture, you will hopefully have the momentum you need to build a long-lasting online retail company.

Guest Author: Paul Smith

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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