Although starting a new business is exciting, it can also be daunting, overwhelming, challenging, and on many days, just plain hard, especially if your focus is e-commerce. There are generally hundreds of items on the to-do list to think about, and never enough hours in the day to get everything done or learn as much as you’d like. However, there are plenty of things you can do to succeed as an e-commerce startup. Read on for the rundown on some actions you can take today.
Build Your Website Specifically for E-Commerce
One of the most important factors in creating an e-commerce business that works is having a website that is built specifically for the purpose of selling online. An e-commerce site needs to be quite different to that of an information-only one, as the focus must be on encouraging potential customers to first put items in their basket, and then to complete the transaction.
All e-commerce websites need to have a comprehensive shopping-cart program incorporated into them. The best carts are those which not only can take orders, calculate shipping costs, and send order notifications, but also do things such as send reminders to shoppers of items in their cart, and analyze data about carts which have been abandoned.
Every page of an e-commerce website should be focused on making sales. Don’t have too many prominent points of focus for visitors (such as newsletter signups, social media buttons, and blog links), as this will distract them from their main purpose, which is buying your products.
Choose the Right Merchant Services Provider
Another vital part of running a successful e-commerce business is choosing the right payment processing firm. The best merchant services provider will positively impact your company’s results in numerous ways.
For example, they will charge affordable fees that make it easy for you to accept credit and debit card payments online, they will provide 24/7 support so that if any issues occur you can get assistance straight away, their software will be easy to install and use, and they will transfer funds to your bank account within a timely manner.
Reputable, well-established payment processing services also ensure that digital security is a top priority. With cybercriminals around the world finding ever more sophisticated ways to steal customer data, it’s imperative that the sensitive information provided by your clients is protected.
Each transaction should be processed using high-level security, with multiple precautions put in place. For example, the systems used by your merchant services firm should have complex encryption algorithms, data encryption, and always verify CVV2 details. Furthermore, billing address information should be securely processed, and top-level SSL certificates should be supported. Buyers won’t think twice about abandoning your site if you don’t have SSL.
Depending on what time of business you have, selecting the best pos system is crucial to the success and efficiency of your operations. For instance, if you are running a restaurant and you want your servers to be able to make transactions directly at the customers table, you would want a flexible and mobile pos system, such as the Clover Flex .
Build Trust With Shoppers
In order for customers to buy online, they must trust the business they provide their sensitive information to, and feel confident that they will receive their purchases promptly, and that what they purchase will be as advertised. As a result, every e-commerce store must find ways to help build trust with shoppers. There are multiple ways to go about this.
One thing you can do to show that your business is reputable is display logos and certifications prominently on your website. These can include the site seals and logos of well-known SSL certificate providers such as GeoTrust, payment processing services like PayPal, and shipping companies such as FedEx or USPS.
Look into verification programs too that many shoppers are familiar with. Google, for example, runs its own “Google Trusted” program which certifies that member online stores can be trusted to offer top-notch customer service and reliable shipping. In addition, shops in this program provide free purchase protection on transactions for customers, which can further help to alleviate buyer concerns or worries.
It also pays to join relevant industry groups and to display your membership online. Most sectors have their own member groups which businesses can join to show their dedication to, or experience in, a particular industry. These can include retail groups, national or international sustainability networks, and industry bodies. Display the logo or your membership certificates from these types of groups on your website and customers will feel more at ease in buying from you.
Showcasing the glowing testimonials of past and current customers can also help you to build trust with shoppers. Testimonials and product reviews (in text, audio, or video formats) are often one of the first things that buyers check out before they finish a purchase, and can make the difference between a completed transaction and an abandoned cart.
When you post feedback from satisfied clients on your website you will go a long way to overcoming shopper skepticism, highlighting the benefits of buying from your store or purchasing your particular products or services, and just generally lending more credibility to your organization.
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