If you’re an entrepreneur looking to build an ecommerce business, attracting customers (and then retaining their loyalty) with so much competition can often feel like an uphill struggle. Fortunately, establishing yourself in the digital space is easier than ever with the right tools and support – here’s how to get started.

Website Design

When your business operates online, it’s crucial to ensure that you have a functional, optimized website with User Experience (UX) at its core. Building one from the ground up can often be an expensive and long winded process but if you work with developers to customize each page, you’ll have increased control over user activity, the ability to track this activity more easily and you can refine your interface to help drive sales and better accommodate your company’s OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).

Alternatively, there is the option of using a site builder – this route may be cheaper and quicker but is likely to offer you less control over user activity and could prove detrimental to customer relations if you’re unable to respond to glitches, provide an intuitive interface or accommodate their more specific needs.

Ecommerce is an area where the build and design of your online shop are paramount to the success of your business. If you’re using a site builder, make sure to pick widgets that are best suited for your product. If you’re building a site from scratch, be certain to pick developers who specialize in or have experience constructing sites for ecommerce brands. Often a simple, reliable interface is best, with clear product descriptions, images, the ability to dictate quantities on-page, and easy access to reviews or testimonials.

Social Media

Leveraging social media is key for establishing a steady inflow of new customers, it can also be used as an excellent way to manage customer service. Start by identifying the right social channels for your brand – depending on your product/service and target demographics, this might be an informal platform such as Instagram or a more business-focused channel like Linkedin.

It’s often a good idea to carry out some market analysis to help you shape your company’s online presence – pay close attention to competitors, customer preferences, and spending habits and shape your aesthetic/voice accordingly.

Paid social media marketing remains one of the most cost-efficient means to acquire new customers. Most major channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or search engine advertisements (such as Google Adwords) allow you to target specific locations, tastes, ages, and even income.

With this key knowledge, it’s possible to sculpt more efficient campaigns that place your brand in front of the people most likely to buy into it.

Payment Methods

With customers from all different walks of life and from every corner of the globe, it’s important to offer a variety of payment methods. Be ready to complete all the necessary legal documentation to qualify for standard bank payments and, if possible, it’s worth going the extra step to verify with Paypal, Skrill, or other popular providers. The more difficult you make payment, the more likely customers are to click off or avoid returning.

If you’re servicing a tech-savvy clientele, you may want to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment option. The advantages of this are numerous (such as irreversible payments, lower fees, and security) but there are also some key downsides (tax implications, currency volatility, etc.) and it’s worth doing plenty of research before including the option.

Finances

Learning how to manage your finances efficiently is key for the smooth running of your business and, ultimately, will allow you to allocate more resources to cater to your customers or find new ones. Start by identifying your ideal spreadsheet program – realistically, this is likely to be either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and you may want to look into the rest of the Microsoft or Google suite programs before making your decision.

Intuitive accountancy software is a must-have for any entrepreneur looking to responsibly manage finances. Easy to implement invoicing system will help you keep accurate books and improve ease of payments. Ideally, this program will have advanced invoicing capabilities, allowing you to schedule recurring invoices and notifying you of when customers have viewed or paid.

Recent studies have shown that ecommerce sales are due to pass $1trillion this year, a sign of an increasing competitive online marketplace. If you want to stand out from the competition it’s important to get the basic things right and ensure you’re on top of the most up-to-date technology.

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