(This is a guest post from our friends over at Finale Inventory, a cloud-based, multichannel inventory management software for eCommerce.)
Running an eCommerce business is both a daunting and rewarding task. A lot goes into building, growing, and managing a business whether it exists online or as a brick and mortar entity. However, eCommerce businesses take a little extra to thrive in today’s digital world. eCommerce businesses are not “new” by today’s standards, but they are still a business model that is being learned and improved by entrepreneurs the world over.
With this in mind, how can you make your own business as successful as it can be? Not only are there a lot of other businesses to compete with, but you want your business to be more than just successful. You want it to have staying power, monetary growth, and a strong following as time goes on. So, how can you ensure that your eCommerce business is successful and more? The following are some essential tips to keep in mind that can make positive, lasting differences.
Want Your eCommerce Business to Be Successful? These Essential Tips will Help
Don’t Cut Corners: Being Legal Should Be Your Top Priority
When you own an eCommerce business, it is helpful to think of it the same way you would a brick and mortar business rather than a garage sale. The launch of your website is your grand opening, which means you want every little thing to be as perfect as possible from the moment you say go. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of building a website and launching an eCommerce visit that you can overlook the legal aspects of a business opening. To ensure you don’t hit any road bumps and that potential customers view your business as credible legitimate, you need to make sure of the following:
- You are Registered with the Authorities
- All Transactions are Made Through Legitimate Bank Accounts
These may cause a little headache, but it is your duty to get them done and done right. Remember, while selling items online is allowed, you need to ensure that you’re doing so legally, especially when you’re managing a business. Before you move onto anything else, make sure your eCommerce business is legal.
Take Your Time
Remember how you want to think of your eCommerce business as you would a brick and mortar business? This also means that before you launch your business site and store in the world, you need to take your time to ensure everything is ready to go. Rushing a website launch for your eCommerce business is one of the worst things you can do for long-term success because it sets up poor business habits straight away. You want your launch to be as a grand as a brick and mortar grand opening, so the days and weeks leading up to the launch you should be going slowly, laying the groundwork, ensuring your stock and inventory is in order, and making sure your site looks and works the way you want it to. If this means you have to delay your launch, then do it. The main takeaway is that you are preparing your eCommerce business to be the best it can be for you and your customers, and sometimes that takes extra time.
Make Your Users the Focus
One of the most important factors in eCommerce business success is an excellent relationship with your customers. Since you are not operating out of a brick and mortar store, you are missing out on the opportunity to physically interact with your customers. Saying hello, asking if they need help, offering a handshake, and showing them where to find the products they are looking for are all important parts of customer service that are lost in an eCommerce setting. What’s more, customers are able to physically interact with your products: they can see, touch, smell, and inspect a product before they buy it, ensuring that they’re making the best decision possible. However, this doesn’t mean your eCommerce business is doomed to bond poorly with customers and make sales that will come back as returns. There are ways to engage with your customer as well as provide them with as much product information as they need for a successful business transaction.
There are online tools you can pair with your site that enable help windows and chatbots to pop up when a customer lands on a certain page. Chatbots allow customers to ask questions, get answers, and get directions in a simple and easy manner. Adding a call to action to product pages (sign-ups for mailing lists, etc) is also a great way to reach out to your customers and prompt them to stay in touch. To make their shopping experience easier, you can make sure that your store is available through multichannel marketplace integrations, all product listings show appropriate pricing, offer free shipping if you’re able, and make checking out a breeze with simple shopping carts.
Implement The Right Software and Tools
Another aspect of making your eCommerce business successful is working on the “behind the scenes” areas like warehouse and inventory management. It is important to note that your warehouse and stock should never be on the back burner of your business. In fact, they are two of the most important parts of running and sustaining a successful business. While they may not be at the forefront like your website or social media pages, you should ensure that you’re doing the best you can for warehouse management and inventory management. Leaving a warehouse to be run manually, meaning data entry, tracking of shipments and products, and more are tasks handled by employees, is a dangerous thing. The risk of human error is extremely high when things are done manually. Papers can get destroyed, numbers can be input wrongly or become smudged or erased, and data can simply get lost.
With this in mind, investing in an inventory management software is the best thing you can do for eCommerce business success. Inventory management software cuts labor costs, vastly improves accuracy, increases security, helps keep track of products either by lot or serial number and inputs data seamlessly. What’s more, most inventory management software systems exist in the cloud so that you and all your employees can access important information from any connected device.
Social Media is Everything
Your eCommerce business won’t make much of an impression with a strong social media presence. It is important to build your brand across social media platform to connect with your target audience, attract customers, and allow both potential and returning customers to interact with your business. It is also important that you, the owner and creator of your business, are heavily involved with the social brand. While you can certainly delegate some tasks to a social media manager, your business’ brand is really your brand, so you need to be involved in how it is developed, handled, and executed. Make sure you send out some Tweets every now and again, post to Instagram, and post updates on Facebook specifically from you so that your followers know you’re a big part of your business, too.
Make Sure Your Business is Mobile Friendly
Finally, you want your eCommerce business to be mobile friendly. This just means that you want your site to be easily viewed, accessed, and used from a mobile device. It’s no secret that most online shopping is done from a customer’s smartphone or tablet, which means your website should cater to this large group of customers. Ensure that you have software tools that allow your site to convert easily to a mobile format and that all other actions (product listings, browsing, shopping cart, and check-out) can be handled seamlessly from a mobile. When your site is accessible both from a laptop and mobile, you can reach more people and increase the likelihood for more sales.
These essential tips are easy and doable, so we hope you implement them and see amazing eCommerce business success in no time!