You are part of the new frontier: e-commerce. As online stores start branching out, lots of small businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. Still, with so many competitors, it could be difficult to gain a foothold in the market. Plus, as Google and the other search engines continue to change up their algorithms, using cheap tricks are guaranteed to be fleeting. Here's some online shop tips...
Online Shop TipsYou’re going to need to use surefire strategies to ensure that you don’t lose any customers.
There’s not much point to keeping your virtual shop open with nobody visiting. How will you attract those people that you need, facilitating their conversion into customers, and transforming this into revenue? Let’s take a look at some proven tactics to help you sell your products and services.
1. Expand your customer horizonsYour store is on the Internet, so don’t limit yourself to customers in your locality. Cater to customers nationwide, and, once you’re ready, start offering worldwide service as well. Technology has decreased the distance between borders, and, especially if you’re selling a digital service, there’s very little stopping you from serving anybody anywhere.
Use social media to gain a foothold in new markets. Good business decisions are universally understood, and reaching out is a gesture appreciated by people all over the world. Once you have loyal customers in several different countries, you can count on positive word of mouth to drive you forward.
2. Set up excellent customer service supportConsidering that your customers are the most important part of your company—no customers means no source of income—keeping them happy is paramount. Be with your customers every step of the way, even before they make a purchase, offering them advice and being open for questions and concerns. If you treat them this well now, they can expect similar service once they become loyal patrons.
Provide long-term warranties on your products, and have your support staff readily available to field any potential issues. As your customers become more and more satisfied, the more willing they will be to keep returning to your store.
3. Offer multiple modes of payment
If a customer gets to the end of the shopping process, filling their cart and taking it to the checkout, you can bet that they won’t be pleased when they see that their preferred way to pay isn’t available. Make the extra effort to enable different methods of payment—whether it be debit or credit card, PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon, or even the increasingly popular BitCoin—everyone loves more options. If your customers leave because you won’t let them pay, then that’s revenue and a customer lost permanently.
4. Raise your prices
This step may seem counterintuitive, but bear with us. As your competitors race each other to the bottom, slashing their prices in an attempt to appear more appealing, you can go for a different approach: that of the premium retailer. Your products may be more expensive, but if you have the service, support, and overall customer experience to make up for it, then you’ll be worth the extra cash. How do you think Apple entered its resurgence? Make sure that you don’t go overboard, though—don’t raise your prices more than 15 percent above the average.
5. Go mobile
Smartphones and tablets have become the primary means by which people go online, and if you can’t cater to this market, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Set up a streamlined version of your site that will run on mobile browsers and a cellular connection, and let your customers purchase using their mobiles and tablets. If you’re popular enough, you can even release an app for your customers to download. Entice them by offering a discount to people who purchase certain items via the app.
Running an online business is an iterative process. You can’t sit idly by and wait for your big break. Use these strategies, fine-tune them, try others, but always keep in mind that you need to be agile so that you can react to anything. How do you handle your own online store? Let us know in the comments below.