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Tips for Starting a Successful E-Commerce Business

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by Amanda Green
May 11, 2017


Amanda Green
Amanda Green has written 16 articles for PromotionWorld.
View all articles by Amanda Green...

In the current day and age, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of e-commerce for small businesses with big ambitions. In fact, the estimation is that by 2018 the number of online shoppers in the United States alone will break 215 million. The promise of huge online markets has all kinds of businesses scrambling to represent themselves via the Internet, but could some of these online shop-jockeys be leaping before they look? What makes the difference between a successful e-commerce business and one that nobody notices, and how can you make sure that your company falls into the former category instead of the latter?

To start answering some of these important questions, it’s helpful to look at some of the most successful practices for new e-commerce businesses in recent years. Before doing that though, pause a moment and consider the landscape. Recent research shows that over 70% of shoppers assume they will find better deals over the Internet than they would by shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, mobile e-commerce is on the rise in a major way, with more people expected to start using their phones than their computers in future years. The amount of time spent shopping is also way down from what it used to be a couple of years ago, with 65% of consumers spending just over 16 minutes per transaction. How are successful companies using this information to their advantage? Let’s take a look:

Focus on the Basics: Domain Names and Web Design

For SMEs, fancy bells and whistles won’t be nearly as important as the meat and potatoes of your operation, namely: your domain name and the basic layout of your website. Remember, you’re not going up against the major multinationals (at least, not yet)—you’re going head to head with other SMEs whose products and services compete with your own. In other words, you won’t need to spend millions on flashy visuals to stand out. You’ll just need a website that’s clearer and easier to find than the others.

The first step is to figure out where you want to host your website. All websites need to be hosted from somewhere unless you plan to use a page on an existing platform like Etsy instead. While pre-existing platforms might be useful in some cases, it’s considered more professional to own your website, since it gives you greater control over your branding. To do so, you’ll have to purchase your domain name from a hosting service that offers useful e-commerce options.

Your domain name should be a relevant phrase telling visitors something about your company. In many successful cases, the domain name is the same as the name of the company (like coca-cola.com). There may be other cases where using the name of your main product is more effective—especially if your company name is a common word and the domain name you want is already in use.

Once you’ve settled on your hosting service and purchased your domain name, you’ll want to think about the way you design your website. Now is an excellent time to think back to those statistics at the top of this article. Specifically, remember that an extraordinary amount of people are using their mobile devices to shop for products these days, and design your page accordingly. If you have a website optimized for personal computers but not one optimized for smartphones, you could be in big trouble. Making sure that your mobile page is as clear and user-friendly as your main page is key to your success, especially over the next several years.

Finally, don’t restrict your online presence to your website. Social media is becoming more effective as a digital marketing tool, so find out what platforms your target market favors and get on them. For most companies marketing to US consumers, Facebook and Facebook Messenger are essential. Companies focused on international clients may be more interested in platforms like WeChat.

Jumping into the world of e-commerce can be easy. Just nail the basics, keep your website clear and simple, and don’t slack on your digital marketing. With a little luck, you could turn your new online business into one of the coming year’s biggest success stories.

         


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