Shopping has been transformed; brick and mortar stores are becoming an antiquated way of the past, and consumers are flocking to online platforms to make their purchases. In 2015, online sales accounted for over a third of total retail sales, making up a total of $341.7 billion. It’s safe to say e-commerce is the way of the future, and for an entrepreneur looking to get involved in this lucrative sector, there’s much to keep in mind. If you’d like to make your e-commerce venture successful, consider these important strategies.
Choose the Best Payment Gateway for Your Company
There are dozens upon dozens of payment gateways to choose from when you’re setting up your e-commerce store, and it’s important to take your time when making this selection. There are many aspects to take into consideration. Make sure the payment gateway is supported on the e-commerce platform you’ve decided to utilize. Second, consider the various fees that come along with different gateways. Some payment providers enforce contract terms, so make sure those terms are favorable to your ends. It’s also important to consider whether the payment gateway supports the type of payment methods your target market will be using to purchase your product.
PayPal tends to be the preferred gateway, and for good reason. First, for its credibility. PayPal is known and respected; e-commerce sellers of all types use this gateway, from soft line sales like clothing to services like online gambling. PayPal is straightforward, and easy to work with, and appeals to consumers because it offers more than credit card payment. While PayPal does tend to be a top contender, it’s important to sift through your options and determine which are best for your online aims.
Don’t Rush Your Website
Your website is the key to attracting and converting potential customers into loyal consumers, so be careful not to rush the launch of your website. It’s understandable to want to make your mark in the e-commerce industry as quickly as possible, but launching before everything is ready could see that mark being a bad one—and a permanent one at that. This means investing the time and money into all the essentials: SEO services, graphic design, content creation, and paid advertising efforts are just the tip of the iceberg. As consumers won’t be able to handle your product before purchasing, it’s up to your graphics to make the sale, your copy to entice, and your easy to use interface to make the sale happen. Getting all of these ducks in a row can take longer than anticipated, so give yourself plenty of time to craft the best site possible.
Consistent Testing and Data Collection
If you want to build and maintain a loyal and robust e-commerce community, it’s essential to focus on the user. To know what your community needs, you’ll need to perform consistent testing and collect website data. This data will allow you further insight into your target consumer, which can help you create targeted campaigns, improve customer loyalty, and allow you to customize your product or service to appeal to a bigger consumer base. You’ll want feedback from start to finish, because constructive criticism can be the make it or break it facet of your e-commerce venture.
Social Media Collaboration
In 2014, e-commerce orders from social media grew by a whopping 202 percent, meaning it’s vital to have solid social media efforts when you begin your venture. Sharing your brand and products on popular social media channels will see an expanded consumer base, and establish credibility; consider this, when a friend shares your product, their friend will inherently trust that recommendation, gaining you a new customer in one fell swoop. Make your site easy to share, with one-click Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram share buttons.
With a mind-blowing 80 percent of Internet users reporting to have purchased something online at least once in their life, there’s definite money to be made in e-commerce, but the startup of a successful e-commerce company requires a huge investment of both time and money.