One of the fastest growing and most profitable industries of the past few years has been e-commerce. It’s a market that is worth billions of dollars each year, and is one that continues to show excellent signs of growth, year on year.
Though most people will think of companies such as Amazon and eBay when it comes to e-commerce, there are hundreds of thousands of small independent businesses that are also selling their products and services online.
Who is e-commerce for?
Whether you sell toys, clothes or food stuff, there is no reason why you too shouldn’t be taking advantage of the huge e-commerce market, and start generating more sales, clients and revenue.
Everyone is online these days, especially through mobile devices, which actually make up the largest percentage of traffic on the internet. Gone are the days when desktop computers and laptops were the main source of web traffic. Today everything is about being mobile, where you can be online wherever you are.
If you operate a business, but are not involved in e-commerce, then you are potentially losing out on a lot of additional sales and revenue for your business.
What do you need to sell online?
The most important thing is your own company website. You want to be able to sell your products from your own website, and not some third party service that is going to take commission and monthly costs to run the store for you.
Getting an e-shop set up for your business is a lot easier than it was many years ago. There are lots of platforms you can use such as WordPress or Magento, and they provide you with a very powerful e-commerce system. Once you’ve got your e-store up and running, you now have to start marketing it.
If you are looking for a little inspiration about what makes a good e-commerce site, then pop over and check out Preeco.fi, which is one of the most successful e-commerce businesses in Finland.
Marketing your E-Commerce business
Running a marketing campaign is vital to your e-commerce venture, and without a carefully thought out marketing plan, you won’t do very well at all. There are a number of things that you can do for your online business to increase sales, and in this article we will take a look at some of the most effective and easiest to implement solutions that can make an immediate impact to your business.
Use High quality images
If you are selling products such as clothing, toys or home furniture, you will want to make sure that you are using high quality images for your e-shop. Avoid using small tiny images that you’ve taken with your old Nokia 3310 phone 15 years ago.
Either invest in a good camera, or upgrade your mobile, and start taking some high quality shots. If you are selling something such as a pair of jeans, then you’d want to take multiple photos showing the jeans from different angles. The more images for a potential customer to see, the better chance of them adding the produce to their basket.
Make sure your e-store is mobile friendly
As mentioned earlier, most traffic to websites is coming from mobile devices rather than desktops, so it’s vital that your website is providing mobile users with a fast and easy to use experience. The speed of your e-shop is very important, and if it takes more than 3-4 seconds to load up, there’s a good chance you’ve lost that customer.
Get your e-store developed by a professional developer, rather than trying to make it yourself, unless of course you have experience in websites. Your site should be easy to navigate and take users to where they want to go.
Offer a Variety of Payment Methods
The checkout process to your e-store should be very streamlined and quick, and it’s a good idea to offer a range of payment methods. Some people will prefer using Paypal, while others want to use their debit card. The better choice of payment options you offer, the higher the chance of a sale being successful.
What you don’t want are customers who are abandoning their shopping carts on your website due to not being able to pay with the method they want.
Use testimonials on your pages
Having a positive review of a product is a great way to reinforce a positive view of your business and what you offer. Many e-shops will display product reviews on the same page as each individual product, which makes it very easy for a site visitor to see and read.
Reviews are a great way to let people see what others think about your products, your company and the whole purchasing experience that they had. Keep your customers happy, ask them to leave a review, and connect with them on a one-to-one level if they have any concerns about any aspect of your business.
Run deals and promotions
A great and very effective way to increase sales is to run various offers and special discounts. You can create a discount coupon that people can use to either have a discount on their total cost, or even for free delivery. Most e-store systems will have the ability for you to create various discount codes and coupons, as well as letting you set an expiry date, or how often the coupon can be used.
Promote any offers or deals you are running on your social media accounts. They are a great way to create a bit of a buzz about your business, and there is the potential for your posts to be shared with other users, who could end up as a new customer.
Stay in contact with customers
Running an e-shop is a great way to build up a mailing list of your clients, who you can then contact with news and information about any new products you will be launching or any special offers that you are currently running.
There are a number of mailing and newsletter systems that you can use, with a few of them offering a free account for businesses that have under 1000 subscribers. There will probably be a few limitations on the number of emails you can send, but for any small business, they are a great way to start building that all important mailing list.