The Ecommerce Component of Your Small Business

Are you selling online?

As a small business owner, an Ecommerce store can be a profitable component of your business.

With the Office of National Statistics estimating that in the UK alone 74% of adults now buy goods and services online, it's worth giving serious consideration to an online store as part of your business.

That said, building and maintaining an Ecommerce store is no small undertaking, so naturally you want to make sure the time and money you invest in it is well spent.

How can you best set up and run your online store to help it succeed

Start with Planning

Careful planning is key to success with an Ecommerce store.

Time invested in research and planning now will help you avoid costly or time-wasting mistakes down the road.

You can start by breaking your planning down into three main areas:

  • Products and delivery: What will you sell, how will you sell it, and how will the product be delivered ?
  • Shopping experience: How will your customers browse and buy, and how will they
  • The market and competition: Who will you sell to and how do you know they'll be interested in your products or service? What's working for your competition?

Once you have a clear plan in place, you can start building your Ecommerce store.

Shop Around to Build Your Shop

When you're starting out, the range of Ecommerce software, shopping carts, payment options and store layouts can seem dizzying. The best way to handle this is in two stages.

First of all, figure out what kind of functionality your store will need.

An easy, secure way to browse and buy and a commonly accepted way of paying, such as PayPal or by credit card, are a must. Your exact needs will vary depending on the range and type of products you're selling.

Once you know what you need, shop around.

Google is your friend here - once you've found solutions that match your needs, you can research other users' experience of them to help you work out what's best for you.

Make Customer Service a Priority

When it comes to online shopping, your customer service needs to be on-form 24/7.

This starts with ensuring shopping and buying from you is easy, enjoyable and secure.

Provide your customers with plenty of helpful information about both shopping and shipping, and make sure it's easy to get in touch with you if they have any questions or problems.

As the article "Benefits of SMS Order Notifications for Ecommerce Stores" points out, when your Ecommerce store gets busy it can be all too easy to neglect after-sales service.

A personal service such as a text message follow up can help your customers feel valued, and keep them up to date on their order.

Spread the Word

When it comes to building your Ecommerce store, you certainly can't sit back and wait for the orders to pour in.

Making sure your customers, both existing and new, know all about your store and have a strong incentive to visit it is important.

Social media can be a great help to you here, giving you a low-cost option for reaching out to your customers and making sure you get your message in front of people who will be interested. Try using limited-time deals to encourage customers to snap them up before they're gone.

Building and running an Ecommerce store, if done right, is a good investment of resources that will help you grow your business and elevate your profits.

It can seem daunting at first, but with careful planning and an eye on customer experience, you can build an Ecommerce store that's a strong asset for your business.