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How to Make a Successful Online Store: A Detailed Guide

December 6, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Peter McAllister, Marketing Enthusiast and Independent Technology Author

online shopping final 300x217 How to Make a Successful Online Store: A Detailed Guide

Running an online business is a great way to earn some money on the side. Statistics show that e-commerce sales account for 9.8% of total retail sales, with online retailing itself growing at an astonishing rate of 13.7% year-on-year. There’s never been a better time to start an online business. While running a successful online store has its appeal, it comes with its own set of challenges. There are lots of decisions to make and focusing your efforts on wrong areas can lead to wasted time and efforts.

To help, we’ve put together six tips for creating a successful online store.

1. Pick an Easy-to-Use Platform

The first step in building a successful online store is to choose the right platform. An easy-to-use platform is a great option as it will give you more time to focus on what really matters: marketing your business and interacting with your customers. The nice thing is that you can always change or upgrade later if you need to.

You have three options for putting together the shopping cart: hosted shopping cart services, built in-house and API integration. The best platform to use is a fully hosted, subscription-based service. This option takes care of all the hosting, technical details and payment integration, allowing you to quickly get a website up and running.

2. Do It Yourself

While the most successful online stores have different people contributing in a variety of ways, it’s a good idea to do as much as possible yourself in the beginning. Understanding how your business works will allow you to effectively train your team in the future. Additionally, you won’t have to rely on paid contractors (web designers, programmers, etc.) every time you need to make a change.

Having essential business management skills can help you start your business on the right foot. Studying business administration can equip you with key business management skills. If you’re looking to acquire such skills, you can study at VU online. The university offers online courses designed to help you elevate your e-commerce business.

3. Pursue SEO and Other Organic Marketing Efforts

Once your business is up and humming along, it’s time to get it on the map and noticed. Investing in marketing is a great way to build your brand and differentiate yourself from the competition. You can use organic marketing strategies to drive traffic to your store, convert the traffic into paying customers and retain those customers post-purchase.

4. Advertise on Social Media

Social media advertising is an effective way to promote your e-commerce business. It gives you the ability to laser target your audience, allowing you to reach existing customers and find potential ones. It’s also a great way to grow your sales and your fanbase.

When looking to advertise on social media, it’s best to invest your ad money on the most popular networks. Once your business starts becoming more profitable, you can allocate a percentage of your budget toward more experimental platforms.

5. Deliver Effective Customer Service

Your customer service is just as important as your other marketing efforts. The customer service you provide is powerful, in both positive and negative ways. About 70% of customers say they would remain loyal to a retailer because of good customer service. And 70% of customers leaving a company because of poor customer service.

One way to offer your customers an excellent, helpful service is to have an FAQ page or other documentation where customers can find answers themselves. Also, consider offering live chat, 24-hour phone support, and social customer service.

6. Provide Popular Payment Options

Your payment methods are a crucial part of converting a browser into a buyer. Choose payment gateways that meet your needs and offer a single, integration solution for (POS) and payment processing.

Building a successful e-commerce business takes a lot of hard work and effort, but it is also very rewarding. Our hope is that this guide will help you learn how to set up and scale your store.

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