Last year turned out to be very successful for the eCommerce industry. Both the revenue figures and the growing number of shopping apps confirm that the global eCommerce market is continuing to develop at a rapid pace. Future forecasts are even more positive. In 2016, for instance, global B2C eCommerce sales are expected to reach $1.92 trillion. By 2018, that figure may even be as large as $2.36 trillion.
These days, more businesses than ever are getting into eCommerce. While there are plenty of recommendations for how a new eCommerce business should start their venture, the following are seven essential rules you should keep in mind as you begin setting up your online store.
1. Don’t Rush the Launch
No matter how tempting it is to start off immediately, take your time. Have you adequately researched the demand for your products or services in the market? Are you familiar with your potential competitors? You will need to keep up with already established market players in order to gain and retain new clients. It is essential to consider all of this in order for you to become an outstanding merchant.
Before you launch, it is also important to thoroughly test your online store . Make sure every single button works, every click has its purpose, and the entire checkout process runs smoothly. If your website still has flaws when you launch, it will be that much harder attracting customers and increasing your sales.
2. Opt for a Proper eCommerce Platform and Tools
If you are new to eCommerce, it can be difficult choosing which eCommerce platform your business should use. There are many available, each with different features, and selecting the wrong one may make it more likely for your business to experience technical problems, security breaches, and even lower sales.
This is why, keeping your organization’s specific requirements and business model in mind, you should first investigate the features and core functionalities of each business application platform, rather than focusing on anything else.
For instance, are you looking for a solution that addresses B2B, B2C, or both? Is your primary focus marketing, sales, or customer support? What reporting tools are most important to you? Do you need a helicopter view of your clients? Do you need to integrate with any existing third-party platforms? While the answers to these questions are case-specific, you should attempt to run your business on an easy-to-use and reliable platform that is flexible enough to be customized to your individual needs.
3. Ensure a User-Friendly and User-Centric Environment
The more client-oriented your online sales environment is, the more likely your customers are to fill their shopping carts and complete their purchases. This means that your eCommerce store must have a comprehensive and easy-to-use navigation, a layout that targets users with different levels of technical proficiency, a well-functioning search option, an easily identifiable sales section, a fast loading speed, and other beneficial features.
You should also pay close attention to your product descriptions. For example, aside from text, there should be illustrative, real-life photos of each of your products. In addition, customers should not feel left alone if they have a problem or want to ask a question. Even if an answer can be found in the FAQ – which is also a nice feature to have – they should be able to get an answer or clarification as soon as possible, ideally through an immediate service such as Live Chat Support.
All this will help give your customers a smooth and seamless checkout experience, which is an essential step to closing a deal and minimizing the number of abandoned shopping carts customers leave at your store.
4. Make Company Info Transparent
The About Us page helps shed light on you as a merchant, especially for first-time visitors. It contributes to their general impression of your business and gives ita personal touch. You should never underestimate the importance of this section: visitors who read your About Us page are, on average, 30% more likely to convert than those who do not read it.
Another great way of gaining your customers’ trust is to put all your company’s contact information, including an email address for inquiries and a phone number for support, in one place so that it is easily accessible. When your customers need to contact you, they prefer not to exert effort in searching for your information.
5. Mind Mobile Users
These days, anyone who wants to be competitive in the eCommerce world needs to give some thought to mobile users: the analysis of shopping data from Q4 2015 revealed that about four-in-ten transactions had been performed on multiple devices and had been completed on a mobile device almost a third of the time. The future forecasts are overwhelmingly positive. For example, according to the BI Intelligence report, mobile commerce will hit 45 percent of total e-commerce by 2020 with $284 billion in sales respectively. Ensure that your web page, when accessed from either a smartphone or tablet, is responsive and easily adaptable for mobile devices, regardless of the platform. Every single feature and process, including a smooth checkout, should be just as flawless and attractive as your desktop version.
6. Stay Tuned for SEO
As eCommerce continues to become more lucrative, more new market players are likely to join, possibly making your niche even more competitive. This makes SEO strategies increasingly important to stay ahead of your competition. By using a well-planned SEO strategy and inserting certain keywords into your content (they can be linkable and shareable), you will help search engines find your online store, identify what goods or services you sell, and drive more traffic to your site.
7. Social Media
Utilizing social media for your eCommerce business or incorporating social elements, such as follow buttons or social login options on your web page, can bring you closer to your clientele and help foster more conversions. It will also build trust among your customers, since having a large number of followers and subscribers will make you look more credible to them.
While these essentials may not guarantee your business’s success, they will help put you on the right path as you start building your customer base. As you start growing your business, the next thing to think about is when is the right time to start investing in technology solutions that will help scale your business. Marketing automation tools, customer service solutions, and CRM systems all help your business but it is important to invest at the right time. Going in too early can lead to your investment going to waste. Going in too late can result in missing valuable opportunities.
About Oro Inc.
Oro, founded in 2012 by industry leaders in open-source business application development, is the company behind the suite of products including OroCRM, OroCommerce and OroPlatform. Prior to founding Oro, the founding and senior leadership team helped lead Magento’s success and have an extensive history in e-Commerce technology.
Oro’s founding team consists of Yoav Kutner, Co-Founder and former CTO of Magento, Jary Carter, former VP of Sales and Channel of Magento, and Dima Soroka, former Lead Architect for Magento. Roy Rubin, Co-Founder and former CEO of Magento, has also joined the Oro team as an advisor. Through many years of experience in commerce and CRM, Oro are committed to delivering innovative solutions that will further disrupt customer experience.
For further information, visit www.orocrm.com