Building a top-quality eCommerce site is only half the job; you then have to make sure it’s run efficiently and successfully. Even if your product or service is of highest quality, and your site is being found by the right people, it doesn’t guarantee a sale if your eCommerce website is lacking.
Why is eCommerce a Good Business Idea?
eCommerce businesses are completely on trend with customer buying habits. They embrace the consumer’s love (and need) for shopping online. That means, with eCommerce, you’ve already got a successful shopping market to move into.
eCommerce has fast become an in-demand and necessary way to shop — it would be difficult to imagine a world where shopping online wasn’t a possibility.
How you choose to start, operate and market your eCommerce business is up to you, but what’s certain is that looking to start an eCommerce business and run it efficiently can be a very lucrative business decision if done right.
How to Start a Successful eCommerce Business? 10 Quick Tips
Some quick tips to get you started so you can explore the steps you’d need to take to start your successful eCommerce store.
- Do your research, including other eCommerce stores and possible business models for your own
- Focus on your particular product, or small range of products in one category
- Get to know your target market
- Choose your business and brand name
- Register your business with your chosen brand and site URL, and do the legal necessities, such as gaining a license
- Design and build your website, keeping imperative design features in mind, such as displaying your business logo
- Create your perfect business plan
- Create your online store
- Unveil your eCommerce store and make it live (but avoid this step until it’s absolutely perfect!)
- Market your eCommerce store to your consumer market
Running Your eCommerce Business Efficiently
You’ve spent a lot of time building your eCommerce store and taking the right marketing steps. Now it’s time to make sure that it’s run in the most efficient way possible.
Here are 6 steps for eCommerce efficiency.
Step 1: Don’t Neglect Your Site’s SEO
Search Engine Optimization is necessary for having your eCommerce store found, and also building its positive reputation in regard to online searches. To have a site working as efficiently as possible, you also need it to include the best SEO methods to ensure that your site is found by the right people.
Having an eCommerce store doesn’t mean that you can’t include other content for visitors alongside product offerings. You could still include a blog section for topics relating to your product or industry, for example.
Other eCommerce SEO tips include:
- Research keywords. Find out which keywords your consumers are using online to better implement them into your website. Also think about keywords in regard to product description. For example, if you’re a clothing store, be descriptive with your product information in line with what consumers may try to search for, like ‘suede black boot low heel’.
- Build the authority of your site. Try to achieve successful link building practices to give your eCommerce site more authority and make it more easily found through search engines.
- Improve your content marketing. Make sure your marketing strategies are optimized to push your site’s success.
- Measure your SEO. It’s important to measure your SEO as well as implement it, so that you can learn what’s working for your site and what isn’t. Analytics tools will be essential for this.
Step 2: Ensure Efficiency for Your Manufacturing or Operations Management
If your eCommerce store is providing a product which needs to be manufactured for the consumer, then efficiency is going to extend beyond your eCommerce store and apply to your manufacturing process, too.
Even if your site is running as smoothly as possible and the orders are coming in, this can easily be disrupted if you have a manufacturing process which is lagging behind.
Efficiency in manufacturing can be achieved in many ways. You may want to consider:
- Automated processes. Automation in manufacturing can make a lot of tasks quicker and easier, and can eliminate hefty employee costs if you require a big team. There are pros and cons to using automated processes in operations (see this link), but what matters is understanding automation vs manual, and what would work best regarding your business for maximum efficiency within budget.
- Good organization. Improved organization can help to keep everything running smoothly and the manufacturing space tidy. This can help to prevent errors, damage or mistakes.
- Reduce waste. Excess waste can be costly, so make sure to only invest in the material you need, and improve productivity to avoid mistakes and therefore waste.
Step 3: Be Realistic and Transparent with Supply and Delivery Information
To run an eCommerce store efficiently, you need to be open and honest with how you can supply your product. You don’t want to risk too many backorders, too many orders than what you have capacity for, or failure to deliver altogether. All of this can build a negative reputation for your site and risk complaints or order cancellations.
With your eCommerce store, be sure to always provide accurate lead time information for all products and how long delivery of products would take. It’s better to have it take longer and be able to deliver on time (or earlier than expected) than trying to fulfil impossible promises.
Step 4: Use a Simple Checkout Process
You’ve done the hard work to have your consumer happily reach the checkout stage and want to invest in your product. However, a lot can still go wrong between the ‘add to bag’ and ‘checkout’ finalization. This is all dependent on the checkout process itself.
As with anything online, consumers are going to expect a process which is as fast and as simple as possible. If your checkout process isn’t too clear or overly complicated, consumers may abandon the order altogether — and you lose a sale.
With the checkout process, it’s a good idea to give many options. The following could apply:
- An instant checkout option alongside ‘add to cart’
- Guest checkout option so consumers don’t need to create an account
- The option to create an account if consumers would like to
- A variety of different payment options (including the fastest options like PayPal compared to entering credit card details)
- The option to review the basket total before checkout completion
- A variety of different delivery options (if possible)
Incidentally, also ensure that your checkout process is as secure and dependable as possible. Final checkout screens failing to load or providing an error message when customers are trying to pay will also risk an abandoned sale.
Concentrate on checkout efficiency, proper security and speed.
Step 5: Improve Customer Service
Consumers need a platform for any queries or problems. Due to eCommerce sites being focused on online interactions, customers will expect the same from your customer service, too.
You therefore might want to install a live help feature for your site, such as live chat, to ensure that customers stay on your site. If you consumer has a query about a product, they may want an answer there and then whilst browsing. It’s unlikely that online shoppers who are browsing in the moment will wait a few days for an answer to a query, as they’re likely to simply find what they need on a different website.
Therefore the faster you can answer, the more likely it is consumers will stay on your site and make a purchase.
Customer service also needs to extend beyond your eCommerce site, too. Be sure to provide alternative contact details — like a support email address, or a telephone number if possible — as well as providing support on your social media channels.
Step 6: Always Check Your Site on A Consistent Basis
It’s always a good idea to put yourself in your website visitor’s shoes and interact with your site to check how it’s running. Load up your site on a regular basis and take the path of a consumer to understand what’s working for your site, and whether you’ve run into anything which needs improving.
It’s important to do this on a regular basis as areas of your site can always change as your business develops, such as site speed slowing if you’re adding more and more products or content.
With this in mind, it’s important to also check how your site loads on all relevant platforms. With online shopping, it’s most likely that consumers are going to be browsing on their phones or smaller devices rather than a desktop computer, so checking how your eCommerce site loads on mobile devices is key.
Functionality needs to be at its all-time best for maximum efficiency.
There are many building blocks to an eCommerce site, and each one plays a significant part in its maximum efficiency. To run an effective eCommerce site, you should combine high-quality website design, product offering, team management and improved manufacturing focus.