E-COMMERCE Tips & Strategies.

E-commerce tips and strategies for small businesses:

Introduction

Ecommerce enables businesses to sell products and services online to expand reach and unlock new revenue streams. Implementing an ecommerce strategy along with your physical retail locations allows you to significantly grow your customer base.

This guide will explore considerations for starting an ecommerce business, choosing an online store platform, driving traffic, and optimizing your online store for maximum conversions and sales.

Evaluating Product Viability

When assessing what to sell online, consider these factors:

  • Products with strong existing demand that are purchased repeatedly
  • Smaller items that are easy to stock, package and ship
  • Higher profit margin products to offset ecommerce costs
  • Items not requiring extensive customer touch and explanations
  • Products not reliant on precise sizing like clothes or shoes
  • Items with wide appeal rather than niche preferences

Study your current best-selling inventory and customer requests to identify top online prospects.

Choosing an Ecommerce Platform

Popular ecommerce platforms include:

  • Shopify – Robust hosted platform great for beginners. Easy Liquid templating.
  • WooCommerce – Build online stores powered by WordPress. Flexible customization.
  • BigCommerce – Scalable SaaS solution with built-in B2B features.
  • Squarespace – Integrated option if already using Squarespace for website.
  • Etsy – Great for handmade, vintage and craft-focused businesses.

Consider scalability needs, desired features, product types, and design flexibility when selecting a platform.

Configuring Payment Processing

Set up merchant accounts with payment providers like Stripe, Square, or PayPal to accept online payments:

  • Accept credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay and other common online payment methods.
  • Choose processors with fair rates, fraud protection, reporting, bank transfers and strong uptime.
  • Enable recurring billing for subscription packages.
  • Optimize checkout pages for ease-of-use, trust symbols and highlight security.

Frictionless payments are essential for checkout conversion.

Building Shipping Workflows

Determine fulfillment processes, warehouse storage, packing materials, returns procedures, and assessed carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx for reliable shipping.

  • Set up accounts with shipping carriers to access discounted commercial rates.
  • Configure weight-based shipping rates across zones and delivery speeds.
  • Integrate tracking numbers to display order status.
  • Accept returns/exchanges and re-stock resalable items.

Smooth shipping logistics greatly influence the customer experience.

Photographing Products

High-quality product photography drives sales. For professional images:

  • Take photos on a white background with natural lighting.
  • Minimize shadows, glare and backgrounds that detract focus.
  • Capture multiple angles – front, back, sides and details.
  • Edit images to improve brightness, contrast, cropping and color accuracy.
  • Optimize file sizes for fast loading.

Great visuals boost product appeal and trust.

Writing Product Descriptions

Compelling product copy provides key information to buyers and boosts SEO:

  • Highlight product benefits, features, materials, and specifications.
  • Include descriptive yet conversational narratives and titles.
  • Incorporate keywords naturally to help get found in search engines.
  • Add visual elements like infographics, diagrams, and videos for engagement.
  • Outline sizing, options, and other product details to guide purchase.

Informative descriptions help customers make confident purchase decisions.

Promoting your Online Store

Employ both free and paid tactics to promote your ecommerce store:

  • Create social media business pages driving to your online shop.
  • Claim local business listings on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
  • Run Google and social media ads focused on high-intent keywords.
  • Send promotional emails to existing customer lists announcing your online shop.
  • Attend vendor fairs and local markets to hand out business cards and flyers.
  • Offer limited-time discounts and special promotions around holidays and events.

Spread the word across channels to generate initial online sales momentum.

Analyzing Metrics to Optimize

Leverage built-in analytics across platforms to uncover optimization opportunities:

  • Identify your highest converting brands, products, and categories.
  • Review visitor behavior flows to minimize drop-off.
  • Check sales reports to see seasonal trends and peak periods.
  • Monitor acquisition channels driving the most customers.
  • Study lifetime value of customer cohorts to focus marketing.

Data reveals what’s working so you can double down on successful elements.

Providing Standout Customer Service

Delivering exceptional service online builds lasting customer loyalty:

  • Offer convenient contact options like phone, email, chat, and social media.
  • Respond to pre-sales questions promptly with detailed answers.
  • Follow up quickly on all customer inquiries and issues.
  • Proactively notify customers when orders are processed and shipped.
  • Make returns, exchanges and refunds easy.

Meeting customer service expectations helps your ecommerce store stand out.

Conclusion

By carefully evaluating products, selecting user-friendly platforms, optimizing online checkout experiences, promoting across channels, and delivering fantastic customer service, small businesses can successfully integrate online stores to boost overall sales and reach new demographics of customers. Follow an iterative approach of continually testing and improving based on data. With the right strategies, taking your business online unlocks major growth potential.

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